Elias Boudinot, 10th Pres. of the Cont. Congress

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Elias Boudinot, IV

Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA
Death: Died in Burlington, NJ
Place of Burial: St Mary's Episcopal Churchyard, Burlington, Burlington, NJ, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Elias Boudinot, III and Catherine Boudinot
Husband of Hannah Boudinot
Father of Susan Vergereau Bradford
Brother of John Boudinot; Annis Stockton; Mary Hetfield and Elisha Boudinot

Occupation: Director of the Mint, Brother of Annis Boudinot Stockton
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Elias Boudinot, IV

Elias Boudinot (May 2, 1740 – October 24, 1821) was a lawyer and statesman from Elizabeth, New Jersey who was a delegate to the Continental Congress and a U.S. Congressman for New Jersey. He also served as President of the Continental Congress from 1782 to 1783 and Director of the United States Mint from 1795 until 1805.

Parents: Elias Boudinot, III (8 August 1706 - 1770), son of Elias Boudinot II and Marie CARREE, and Catherine WILLIAMS (1714 - 1765).

Siblings: John Boudinot (10 January 1734 - unknown) and Elisha Boudinot (1749 - 1819); half brother of Annis BOUDINOT (1 July 1736 - 6 February 1801).

Marriage: to Hannah STOCKTON (21 July 1736 - 28 October 1808) on 21 April 1762. Hannah was the daughter of John Stockton and Abigail PHILLIPS and the sister of Richard Stockton, himself a Signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Children: Susan Vergereau BOUDINOT (1764 - unknown), wife of William Bradford.


BOUDINOT, Elias, a Delegate and a Representative from New Jersey; born in Philadelphia, Pa., May 2, 1740; received a classical education; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1760 and commenced practice in Elizabethtown, N.J.; member of the board of trustees of Princeton College 1772-1821; member of the committee of safety in 1775; commissary general of prisoners in the Revolutionary Army 1776-1779; Member of the Continental Congress in 1778, 1781, 1782 and 1783, serving as President in 1782 and 1783, and signing the treaty of peace with England; resumed the practice of law; elected as a Pro-Administration candidate to the First, Second, and Third Congresses (March 4, 1789-March 3, 1795); was not a candidate for renomination in 1794 to the Fourth Congress; Director of the Mint from October 1795 to July 1805, when he resigned; elected first president of the American Bible Society, in 1816; died in Burlington, Burlington County, N.J., October 24, 1821; interment in St. Mary’s Protestant Episcopal Church Cemetery.

Personal History

Boudinot was born in Philadelphia on May 2, 1740. His father, Elias Boudinot III, was a silversmith and a neighbor and friend of Benjamin Franklin. His mother, Mary Catherine Williams, was from the British West Indies and Boudinot's maternal grandfather was from Wales.[1] His paternal grandfather, Elie (sometimes called Elias) Boudinot, was the son of Jean Boudinot and Marie Suire of Marans, Aunis, France, a Huguenot (French Protestant) family who fled to New York about 1687 to avoid the religious persecutions of King Louis XIV. Mary Catherine Williams and Elias Boudinot Sr. were married on Aug 8,1729 and, over the next twenty years, had nine children. The first, John, was born in the British West Indies-Antigua. Of the others, only the younger Elias and his siblings Annis, Mary, and Elisha reached adulthood.

After studying and being tutored at home, Elias Boudinot went to Princeton, New Jersey to read the law with another attorney. His mentor was Richard Stockton, who later signed the Declaration of Independence, and was married to Elias's sister Annis Boudinot Stockton. In 1760, he was admitted to the bar, and began his practice in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He owned land adjacent to the road from Elizabethtown to Woodbridge Township, New Jersey.

Then, on April 21, 1762, he married Richard's sister, Hannah Stockton (1736–1808). Elias and Hannah had two children, Maria Boudinot, who died at age two, and Susan Vergereau Boudinot. Susan married William Bradford who became Chief Justice of Pennsylvania and Attorney General under George Washington. After Bradford's death in 1795, Susan came back to make her home with her father and edit his papers, which are a light into the events of the Revolutionary era. Elias's brother, Elisha, became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

In 1805, Elias moved his family to a new home in Burlington, New Jersey and lived there the rest of his life. In his later years, he invested and speculated in land. He owned large tracts in Ohio including most of Green Township in what is now the western suburbs of Cincinnati. On his death, he willed 13,000 acres (53 km²) to the city of Philadelphia for parks and city needs.

He was buried in Saint Mary's Episcopal Churchyard in Burlington.[1]

Political career

Boudinot became a prominent lawyer and his practice prospered, As the revolution drew near, he aligned with the Whigs, and was elected to the New Jersey provincial assembly in 1775. In the early stages of the Revolutionary War, he was active in promoting enlistment and several times loaned money to field commanders for supplies. Elias also became one of the focal points for rebel spies, who were sent to Staten Island and Long Island to observe and report on movements of specific British garrisons and regiments.

On May 5, 1777, General George Washington asked for him to be made commissary general for prisoners. Congress through the board of war concurred. Boudinot was made a colonel in the Continental Army for this task. He held this job until other responsibilities force him to resign in July of 1778. The commissary was responsible not just for enemy prisoners, but for supplying American prisoners held by the British.

In November 1777, the New Jersey legislature named Boudinot as one of their delegates to the Second Continental Congress. His duties as Commissary prevented his attendance, so in May 1778 he submitted his resignation, and by early July he was replaced and able to attend his first meeting on July 7, 1778. He maintained his concerns for the welfare of prisoners of war throughout his term as a delegate. His first term ended that year.

In 1781, Boudinot returned to the Congress, and this term lasted through 1783. In 1783, he signed the Treaty of Paris. In November 1782 he was elected the President of the Continental Congress for a one year term. The President of Congress was a mostly ceremonial position with no real authority, but the office did require him to handle a good deal of correspondence and sign official documents.[2]

When the United States government was formed in 1789, New Jersey sent Boudinot to the House of Representatives. He was elected to the second and third congresses as well, where he generally supported the administration, but refused to join the growing forces that led to formal political parties. In 1794, he declined to serve another term, and left Congress in early 1795. In October of 1795, President Washington appointed him the Director of the United States Mint, a position he held until his retirement in 1805. After many turbulent decades in law and politics, he was to recall the metallurgic skill learned in his father's silversmithy. He was scrupulous in his accounting, as reported to Congress, and left the US Mint in excellent order for the future. [edit] Later public service

In addition to political office Elias supported many civic, religious, and educational causes during his life. He is intimately connected with Princeton University. In Revolutionary times, Princeton was the College of New Jersey, and Boudinot served as one of its trustees for nearly half a century, from 1772 until 1821. When the Continental Congress was forced to leave Philadelphia in 1783 while he was its president, he moved the meetings to Princeton where they met in the University's Nassau Hall.

A devout Presbyterian, Boudinot supported missions and missionary work. He even wrote "The Age of Revelation" in response to Thomas Paine's "The Age of Reason". To that end, he was one of the founders of the American Bible Society, and served as its President after 1816. He argued for the rights of black and Indian citizens, and sponsored students to the Board School for Indians in Connecticut. One of these, a young Cherokee named Gallegina Watie, stayed with him while traveling to the school. The two so impressed each other that Gallegina asked for and was given permission to use his name, and was afterward known as Elias Boudinot.


   * Elias Boudinot Elementary School in Burlington, New Jersey is named after him.
   * Princeton University Library has a collection of his papers and many family possessions and portraits.
   * Boudinot Street in Philadelphia, located between C and D Streets.
   * Boudinot Avenue in Western Hills, Cincinnati, Ohio
   * Boudinot Place in Elizabeth, New Jersey


   * “Be religiously careful in our choice of all public officers...and judge of the tree by its fruits.”
   * "Good government generally begins in the family, and if the moral character of a people once degenerate, their political character must soon follow."


  1. Boyd, George Adams. Elias Boudinot: Patriot and Statesman, 1740-1821. 1952. Reprint, Westwood, Conn.: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1969.
  2. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=B000661
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elias_Boudinot
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Elias Boudinot, 10th Pres. of the Cont. Congress's Timeline

May 2, 1740
Philadelphia, PA
April 21, 1762
Age 21
Age 23
October 24, 1821
Age 81
Burlington, NJ
Burlington, Burlington, NJ, USA