Col. George Ross, Signer of the "Declaration of Independence"

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George Ross

Birthplace: New Castle, Delaware, United States
Death: Died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Cause of death: from gout on July 14, 1779
Place of Burial: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of George Aeneas Ross, Fifth of Balblair and Catherine Van Gezel
Husband of Anne Ross
Father of George Ross; Lt. Colonel James Ross; Mary Scott and Catherine R. Claiborne
Brother of James Ross; Catherine Thompson; Dorothy Asbill; Gertrude Read; Susanna Thompson and 2 others
Half brother of David Ross; Margaret Currie; John Ross; Ann Catherine Ross; Jacob Ross and 1 other

Occupation: Attorney; politician
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Col. George Ross, Signer of the "Declaration of Independence"

George Ross (May 10, 1730 – July 14, 1779) was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Pennsylvania. He was the uncle of Betsy Ross, who is credited with making the first American flag.

George Ross was born in May of 1730 in Newcastle, Delaware, into very large family. His father was a minister, educated at Edenburgh, and the Ross children received a sound classical education at home. George then proceeded to read law at the office of his older brother, John. George attained the Bar in Philadelphia at the age of 20 and established his own practice in Lancaster. As was typical of many gentlemen of the day, his politics were Tory. He served for some twelve years as Crown Prosecutor (attorney general) to Carlisle, until elected to the provincial legislature of his state in 1768. There he came to understand first hand the rising conflict between the colonial assemblies and the Parliament. He was an unabashed supporter of the powers of the former. In 1774 he was elected to the provincial conference that would select delegates to attend the General Congress, and was selected as a representative of Pennsylvania that same year. Ross continued to serve his provincial legislature and was a member of the Committee of Safety for his colony in 1775. In 1776 he was again elected to the Continental Congress, while serving as a provincial legislator, and a Colonel in the Continental Army. That year he also undertook negotiations with the Northwestern Indians on behalf of his colony, and took a seat as vice-president of the first constitutional convention for Pennsylvania. He was reelected to the Continental Congress once more in 1777, but resigned the seat before the close due to poor health. In March of 1779 he was appointed to a judgeship in the Pennsylvania Court of Admiralty. He died in that office, in July of the same year.


The last gentleman who belonged to the Pennsylvania delegation at the time the members of the revolutionary congress affixed their signature to the declaration of independence, was George Ross. He was the son of a clergyman by the same name, who presided over the Episcopal Church at New Castle, in the state of Delaware in which town he was born in the year 1730.


George Ross (May 10, 1730–July 14, 1779), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Pennsylvania. He was born in New Castle, Delaware and educated at home. He studied law at his brother John's law office, the common practice in those days, and was admitted to the bar in Philadelphia. Initially a Tory, he served as Crown Prosecutor for 12 years and was elected to the provincial legislature in 1768. There his sympathies began to change and he became a strong supporter of the colonial assemblies in their disputes with Parliament.

He was a member of the Committee of Safety and was elected to the Continental Congress. He was a colonel in the Pennsylvania militia (1775–1776), and vice-president of the first constitutional convention for Pennsylvania. He resigned from the Continental Congress in 1777 because of poor health, and was appointed to the Pennsylvania Court of Admiralty, in which office he died.


Signer of the Declaration of Independence from Pennsylvania, he was also the uncle of Betsy Ross, who is credited with making the first American Flag. Born in New Castle, Delaware, he studied law and moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he set up a law practice. One of his first clients was Anne Lawler, a pretty young woman that he fell in love with and married in 1751. They would have a daughter and two sons. From 1768 to 1776, he served in the Pennsylvania Assembly, where he often opposed the Royal Governor. For a long time, he opposed American independence, but in 1774, he changed his mind and began to support the patriot cause. In 1776, he helped to draft Pennsylvania’s first constitution. He served as a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses, from 1774 to 1777. George had a niece, Betsy Ross, who was an excellent seamstress and lived in Philadelphia. Along with George Washington and Robert Morris, the three men met her to ask her to make up an American flag. According to folklore, it was Betsy who decided to use five-pointed stars instead of the suggested six-pointed stars. Many historians also credit Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey with coming up with the original design, but almost every historian agrees that young Betsy made several American Flags for the new country. During the war, Ross helped to make several treaties with the Indians. In 1779, he was commissioned an admiralty judge for the State of Pennsylvania, serving until his death later that year. Afflicted by severe gout, Ross died in 1779, just three years after signing the Declaration of Independence.

~bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson


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Col. George Ross, Signer of the "Declaration of Independence"'s Timeline

May 10, 1730
New Castle, Delaware, United States
August 17, 1751
Age 21
Lancaster, Lancaster , Pennsylvania
Age 20

1751 is the approximate date. They were married in Lancaster, PA.

June 1, 1752
Age 22
Lancaster, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States
November 28, 1753
Age 23
Lancaster, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
July 4, 1776
- 1776
Age 46
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States

Descent Only 15 of the 56 signers have male descendants today. These Signers have no descendants: William Whipple, John Hancock, Samuel Huntington, James Smith, James Wilson, Caesar Rodney, George Wythe, Francis Lightfoot Lee, Joseph Hewes, Thomas Lynch, Jr. Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, and George Walton. These Signers have no same surname (male) descendants: Josiah Bartlett, Matthew Thornton, Samuel Adams, Elbridge Gerry, William Williams, William Floyd, Francis Lewis, Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, George Clymer, George Taylor, George Ross, Thomas McKean, Samuel Chase, Thomas Stone, Thomas Jefferson, William Hooper and John Penn. These Signers have very doubtful same surname (male) descendants: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery, Oliver Wolcott, John Witherspoon, Abraham Clark, John Morton, Carter Braxton, Edward Rutledge. The remainder of the Signers is known to have same surname (male) descendants. (Talk about being blown away when you find out almost all of the signers are part of your family's history. You sit back shake your head and wonder am I dreaming. Then you double check in disbelief wondering how that could be. What does that mean for you and your.) =================================================================== Did Your Ancestor Sign the Declaration of Independence? By James Pylant And can you prove it? Kathy M. Cornwell's "Disspelling a Myth and Finding An Ancestor," in Seventeen Seventy-Six, Vol. 2, No. 2 (pp. 69-73), tells of a family tradition that her husband's ancestor, Jane Wilson Cornwell, was the daughter of James Wilson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. "Admittedly, there was plausibility for the claim, for descendants of all of Jane's children whom we could locate had heard the story, and firmly believed it. One relative knew it was true because his grandmother told him, and she was Jane's daughter." Her research did reveal her husband's ancestor was the daughter of James Wilson — only that he and the signer were not one and the same. Signer James Wilson, according to one source Cornwell found, had no living descendants. "Our search to prove or disprove it spanned several years," wrote Cornwell, "but at the end of the genealogical journey we found the real ancestor, another James Wilson, who turned out to be just as colorful and fascinating as the celebrated Wilson." Yet, some legends prove to be true. “I too had a family story that the Rev. Dr. John Witherspoon was an ancestor," says librarian Beatrice M. Beck. "It took three years to document this story. But it was one hundred percent correct.”* The Rev. Frederick W. Pyne’s Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, a nine-volume series, was published by Picton Press. The author’s work incorporates data from the application files of the Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, the Frank W. Leach manuscript, and many other published references. In 1987, the LDS Reference Unit at the Family History Library, in Salt Lake City, compiled the "Founding Fathers Project." The project encompasses genealogical data on signers of the Declaration of Independence, signers of the Articles of Confederation (1778), and members of the American Constitutional Convention (1787). The Reference Unit's objective was to identify names of wives, children, and parents. This reference is available on microfilm loan at the various Family History Centers. The film number is 1592751, item 3. However, for more complete data on descendants (up to 1900 in some cases), refer to the following microfilms: 001751: John Adams, Samuel Adams, Josiah Bartlett, William Ellery, Elbridge Gerry,John Hancock, Stephen Hopkins, Samuel Huntington, Robert Treat Paine, Roger Sherman, Matthew Thornton, William Whipple, William Williams, and Oliver Wolcott. 001752: Abraham Clark, William Floyd, John Hart, Francis Lewis, Phillip Livingston, and Lewis Morris. 001753: George Clymer, Benjamin Francis Hopkinson, Robert Morris, John Morton, and John Witherspoon. 001754: Charles Carroll, Samuel Chase, Thomas McKean, William Paca, George Read, Caesar Rodney, George Ross, Benjamin Rush, Thomas Stone, George Taylor, and James Wilson. 001755: Carter Braxton, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Jefferson, Francis Lightfoot Lee, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Nelson Jr., and George Wythe. 001756: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, Joseph Hewes, Thomas Heyward Jr., William Hooper, Thomas Lynch Jr., Arthur Middleton, John Penn, Edward Rutledge, and George Walton * Beatrice M. Beck to James Pylant, 4 June 2001.





William Woodruff's Facsimile

An upsurge in public interest in the Declaration of Independence occurred in the early nineteenth century. Among the various editions printed was one by Philadelphian William Woodruff, a journeyman engraver. Allegorical symbols of the new nation surround the text and signatures. The cursive signatures on the printing at the right indicate that it was one produced after Woodruff's initial 1819 printing.

July 4th, 2012 at the National Archives: Dramatic Reading of the Declaration of Independence
Declaration of Independence
John and Abigail (Adams)
Correspondence between John and Abigail Adams
Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 31 March - 5 April 1776

Age 45

George signed the Declaration August 2, 1776, the same day he was elected to Continental Congress.


July 14, 1779
Age 49
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
July 15, 1779
Age 49
Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States