Joseph Hewes, U.S. Secretary of the Navy (signer of the "Declaration of Independence")

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Joseph Hewes

Also Known As: "Declaration Signer"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Princeton, Mercer, New Jersey, United States
Death: Died
Place of Burial: Christ Church Burial Ground Philadelphia Philadelphia County Pennsylvania, USA [unmarked]
Immediate Family:

Son of Aaron Hewes and Providence Hewes

Occupation: Secretary of Navy
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Joseph Hewes, U.S. Secretary of the Navy (signer of the "Declaration of Independence")

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Hewes

Joseph Hewes (January 23, 1730 – November 10, 1779) was a native of Princeton, New Jersey, where he was born in 1730. Hewes’s parents were members of the Society of Friends, commonly known as Quakers. Immediately after their marriage they moved to New Jersey, which became Joseph Hewes’s home state. Hewes attended Princeton but there isn't any evidence that he actually graduated. What is known is that he became an apprentice of a merchant and in fact became a very successful merchant. After finishing his apprenticeship he earned himself a good name and a strong reputation, which would serve him well in becoming one of the most famous signers of the Declaration of Independence for North Carolina, along with William Hooper and John Penn. Hewes moved to Edenton, North Carolina at the age of 30 and won over the people of the colony with his charm and honorable businesslike character. Hewes was elected to the North Carolina legislature in 1763, only three years after he moved to the colony. After being re-elected numerous times in the legislature, Hewes was now focused on a new and more ambitious job as a continental congressman.


Continental Congress


By 1773, the majority of North Carolina was in favor of independence. North Carolina elected Hewes to become a representative of the Continental Congress in 1774. The people of North Carolina thought that he would best represent them because of his activism for the American cause of independence, which appealed to people in other states as well. However initially, Joseph Hewes was not in favor of independence but came to accept the idea due to the urging of his constituents in North Carolina. In later years John Adams wrote of the struggles that Hewes experienced as he set about serving in the Continental Congress: "For many days the majority depended on Mr. Hewes of North Carolina. While a member one day was speaking and reading documents from all the colonies to prove that public opinion, the general sense of all, was in favor of the measure, when he came to North Carolina and produced letters and public proceedings which demonstrated that the majority in that colony were in favor of it, Mr. Hewes, who had hitherto constantly voted against it, started suddenly upright and lifting both hands to heaven as if he had been in a trance, cried out, "It is done and I will abide by it." I would give more for the perfect painting of the terror and horror upon the face of the old majority at that critical moment than for the best piece of Raphael. The question, however, was eluded by an immediate motion for adjournment". Though the people of the United States wanted independence, Hewes found it much harder in Congress to convey his opinion without being laughed at or scolded. Even in the year leading up to the revolution, more than two-thirds of the Continental Congress still believed that ties between King George and the colonies could stay intact. Hewes was barely able to speak in Congress because he was usually interrupted by those who disagreed with him. Nevertheless he was actively involved in many committees, most of which favored the revolution. One such committee was the Committee of Correspondence, which advocated ideas that supported independence. One of the ideas that Hewes contributed to this committee was the following statement: "State the rights of the colonies in general, the several instances in which these rights are violated or infringed, and the means most proper to be pursued for obtaining a restoration of them."


Traditionally the Quakers were pacifists. Ironically, Hewes was not only one of the few people in favor of a war against Britain but was one of the few Quakers in Congress. The Quakers not only opposed war, but strongly opposed the committees that supported war too. Despite Joseph Hewes' obvious departure from Quaker principles, he did continue to have a relationship with his family and visited his mother, a Quaker minister, when he was able. There isn't any record of Mr. Hewes ever relinquishing his Quaker membership nor is there any evidence that he was disowned by any Friends Monthly Meeting. Upon his death, he left sizable bequests to not only his family but also to several Quaker institutions.


Secretary of the Navy


At the beginning of the year 1776, Hewes was appointed as the new Secretary of the Naval Affairs Committee. John Adams often said that Hewes "laid the foundation, the cornerstone of the American Navy." Alongside General George Washington, Hewes became one of the greatest military achievers in American history. He was also involved with the secret committee of claims, which further promoted the independence of the colonies. Hewes was one of the primary reasons why North Carolina submitted to independence before any other colony.


Hewes was initially faced with an ill equipped navy of which to fight the British Navy. To remedy this, he provided his own extensive fleet of ships, outfitted them, and chose the most capable of men to captain these ships. John Paul Jones was one of these captains for whom Hewes was instrumental in providing a command. Hewes served until 1779.


Retirement


After Hewes signed the Declaration of Independence, he retreated to his home in New Jersey because of his ailing health. Despite his health problems, Hewes ran for re-election in Congress but failed to win. In 1779 he finally served his last few months as a congressman and on November 10, 1779, Joseph Hewes died just before his fiftieth birthday. All of the Continental Congress came to his funeral the following day and mourned the great loss that the country had suffered. A 1779 inventory signed by Hewes, as well as a 1780 newspaper account of his estate sale, both indicate that Hewes owned slaves. Hewes kept a diary in the last years of his life. Before he died, he wrote that he was a sad and lonely man and had never wanted to remain a bachelor. The girl he loved had died a few days before their wedding and he never married leaving no children to inherit his money and estates.


Hewes was a member of Unanimity Lodge No. 7, visited in 1776, and was buried with Masonic funeral honors.

-------------------- First U.S Secretary of Navy, signer of Declaration of Independence

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Birth: Jan. 23, 1730 Death: Nov. 10, 1779

Signer of the Declaration of Independence from North Carolina. Born in Kingston, New Jersey, to a Quaker family, he worked as an apprentice to a Philadelphia merchant. At age 25, he moved to Edenton, North Carolina, where he became a successful merchant. Just days before he was to marry a young woman named Isabella Johnston, she took sick and died. Heartbroken, he would never marry. For the ten years prior to the Revolution, he served in North Carolina’s legislature, and in 1774, he was elected to the First Continental Congress. He served in the First and Second Continental Congresses, from 1774 to 1777, and again in 1779. A workaholic, he was often found laboring at his desk, from dawn to dusk, often without pausing to eat or drink. Because of his experience with shipping, he was made Chairman of the committee that helped establish the US Navy. Hewes became the first executive head of the United States Navy, although he did not have this official title at that time. In December 1775, he appointed John Paul Jones a Navy officer, and provided him with his first ship; John Paul Jones would become one of America’s greatest naval heroes. His war efforts brought him more problems – in 1775, the Quakers, who hated war, denounced the Continental Congress. John Hewes broke with his Quaker faith and never returned. Hewes himself was torn by the thought of independence. Even after several battles and after helping to establish the Navy, Hewes still had reservations about declaring independence. On the critical day of the vote for independence, he suddenly cried out that he would vote for independence, and suddenly praying aloud, “It is done and I will abide by it!” Illness forced Hewes to leave the Congress on October 29, 1779, and twelve days later, he died at the age of 49. Many believed that he died from overwork. (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson)


Family links:

Parents:
 Aaron Hewes (____ - 1755)
 Providence Worth Hewes

Burial: Christ Church Burial Ground Philadelphia Philadelphia County Pennsylvania, USA [unmarked]


Edit Virtual Cemetery info [?]


Maintained by: Find A Grave Record added: Apr 26, 1998 Find A Grave Memorial# 2773 http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=2773

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Joseph Hewes, U.S. Secretary of the Navy (signer of the "Declaration of Independence")'s Timeline

1730
January 23, 1730
Princeton, Mercer, New Jersey, United States
1776
July 4, 1776
- 1776
Age 46
Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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.)

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. http://www.genealogymagazine.com/didyouransig.html
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http://history.org/foundation/journal/Winter11/painting_magnify/

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http://research.history.org/pf/publishing/goddardsPrinting.cfm

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http://research.history.org/pf/publishing/dunlap.cfm

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http://research.history.org/pf/signers/

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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.

http://research.history.org/pf/viewer.cfm?image=lg_woodruff.jpg&amp...

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July 4th, 2012 at the National Archives: Dramatic Reading of the Declaration of Independence

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drIdEZ_om9w
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Declaration of Independence

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9ovu0a6pL8
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John and Abigail (Adams)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9ddILn141w
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Correspondence between John and Abigail Adams

http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/archive/letter/
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Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 31 March - 5 April 1776

http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/archive/doc?id=L17760331aa
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1776
Age 45
1779
November 10, 1779
Age 49
November 10, 1779
Age 49
Christ Church Burial Ground Philadelphia Philadelphia County Pennsylvania, USA [unmarked]