-Lived from July 17th, 1744 – November 23rd, 1814
-Signer of both the Articles of Confederation and the Declaration of Independence.
-Was Vice President to James Madison, becoming the fifth Vice President of the United States.
-Born in Marblehead, Massachusetts.
-He was the son of a merchant and one of 12 children.
-Attended Harvard College.
-After graduating college, he worked with his father and was a leading merchant in Marblehead. He became quite wealthy.
-He took an active role in Massachusetts’ political movements.
-Mr. Gerry was elected as a delegate to the provincial Congress when the American War for Independence broke out.
-During the war, Mr. Gerry helped procure gunpowder from all over the county. He paid out of his own pocket where payment was required immediately. Since record of the payments were lost during the war, Mr. Gerry suffered great financial loss.
-Absent during the initial signing of the Declaration of Independence, he signed it later on November 19th, 1776.
-“Among his achievements [during the war] were arranging the plan of a general hospital, introducing better discipline into the army, and regulating commissary departments.” Also, “He often visited the army to examine the state of the country’s finances.” – For You They Signed, Marilyn Boyer
-He was known as being a friend to the soldiers during the American War for Independence since he supported better pay and supplies for the troops.
-Mr. Gerry used his funds to bless others and advance the cause of liberty.
-According to Dennis Fradin in his book, The Signers: The 56 Stories Behind the Declaration of Independence, Gerry considered the signing of the Declaration of Independence as the crowning achievement of his life.
-Married Ann Thompson in 1786. They had 10 children, seven of whom lived to adulthood.
-Due to various concerns, he was one of the three men who attended the Constitutional Convention, yet didn’t sign it. However, when it was adopted, he joyfully helped carry it into effect since his country had approved of it.
-In Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, Charles Goodrich stated of Gerry, “Indeed, he took occasion, on the floor of congress, not long after taking his seat in that body, to declare, that ‘the federal constitution having become the supreme law of the land, he [Gerry] conceived the salvation of the country depended on its being carried into effect.'”
-It is interesting to note that, apparently, Elbridge Gerry stuttered. However, this didn’t diminish his ability to be greatly used by God for his country!
Some of his other accomplishments throughout his life include:
-Serving in the General Court of the Province of Massachusetts Bay.
-Being elected as a delegate to the First Continental Congress. However, he refused as he was currently grieving the death of his father.
-Becoming the ninth governor of Massachusetts.
-Serving as a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts third district.
-Being appointed by President Adams as a member of the diplomatic commission sent to France during the XYZ Affair.
-He served his country to the end and is the only signer of the Declaration of Independence to be buried in our nation’s capital. David C. Whitney, author of Founders of Freedom in America, wrote of Gerry, “Thus fulfilling his own memorable injunction – ‘It is the duty of every citizen, though he may have but one day to live, to devote that day to the service of his country.'”
-Photo credit: Wikipedia public domain
– For You They Signed, 2009, Marilyn Boyer