- John Hart was born sometime between 1706 – 1713 in either Hopewell Township, New Jersey or Stonington, Connecticut.
- He was a delegate from New Jersey.
- John Hart was the son of Captain Edward Hart who was the leader of a local militia unit in the French and India War.
- John Hart married Deborah Shudder. They had a total of 13 children.
- In 1740, he bought 193 acres in the Town of Hopewell, New Jersey. In the 1770s, he acquired more land and became the largest land owner in Hopewell, New Jersey with a total of 600 acres.
- In 1750, he was elected to the Hunterdon County New Jersey Board of Chosen Freeholders and was also elected as Justice of the Peace in 1755.
- From 1761 – 1771 he was elected to the New Jersey colonial Assembly.
- He was a part of the Second Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence.
- He was one of five New Jersey delegates to the Second Continental Congress.
- He was the 13th man to put his name on the Declaration of Independence.
- Hart was promoted to Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly.
- In 1776, when the British advanced into New Jersey, Hart was forced to flee because of his high position of being Speaker of the Assembly.
- John Hart was often called “Honest John”.
- In 1778, Hart invited Washington and the American army to camp on his lands. Washington accepted and 12,000 men camped on Hart’s land.
- John Hart died a painful death of kidney stones on May 11, 1779. He was 66 years old.
- Benjamin Rush, another signer of the Declaration described Hart as “a plain, honest, well-meaning Jersey farmer, with but little education, but with good sense and virtue enough to pursue the true interest of his country.”
Photo credit: Library of Congress public domain
The Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence