Bullet-Point Bio: John Morton

-Another one of the signers from Pennsylvania.

-He was born near Chester, Pennsylvania and lived from 1724-1777.

-John’s father died before John was born.  When he was around seven years old, his mother remarried.  John Sketchley was a good stepfather to young John and treated him as if he was his own son.

-John’s stepfather was a surveyor and taught John that trade as well as mathematics.  As Marilyn Boyer writes in For You They Signed, “John Morton had no formal schooling, just the dedicated teaching of his stepfather.”

-John became a farmer and a surveyor.

-He married Ann Justis in 1754.  They had three sons and five daughters.

-He was commissioned justice of the peace in 1764.

-John was a representative in the Pennsylvania Legislature and also speaker of the house for a time.

-He was elected by the legislature as a member of the Stamp Act Congress.

-John served as sheriff of Delaware County Pennsylvania (his home county) for three years.

-He served as judge of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

-Again Marilyn Boyer writers, “He was on the committee to form and adopt a plan to obtain redress of American grievances with Great Britain.”

-John was a delegate to both the first and second Continental Congress.

-He was a member of the committee that wrote the Articles of Confederation.

-Pennsylvania had a large Quaker population that opposed military action.  There was division among the Pennsylvania delegates.  John Morton was the deciding vote in favor of Pennsylvania joining with the other colonies in favor of independence.

John Sanderson writes of this, “The meeting was awfully solemn.  The object which had called them together, was of incalculable magnitude.  The liberties of no less than three millions of people, with that of all their posterity, were staked on the wisdom and energy of their councils.”

-It is believed that the anxiety of mind he experienced over this decision, if it did not cause his death, hastened it.

-He died in 1777 of an inflammatory fever.




-Photo credit: Wikipedia public domain


For You They Signed, Marilyn Boyer

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