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Signers of the "Declaration of Independence" on 4 July 1776

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This project is part of the Notables series. The Geni profiles included are of the signers of the "Declaration of Independence" on 4 July 1776.

Alphabetical listing: Signers of the Declaration of Independence"' from Wikipedia:

  • * John Adams
  • * Samuel Adams
  • * Josiah Bartlett
  • * Carter Braxton
  • * Charles Carroll
  • * Samuel Chase
  • * Abraham Clark
  • * George Clymer
  • * William Ellery
  • * William Floyd
  • * Benjamin Franklin
  • * Elbridge Gerry
  • * Button Gwinnett
  • * John Hancock
  • * Lyman Hall
  • * Benjamin Harrison
  • * John Hart
  • * Joseph Hewes
  • * Thomas Heyward, Jr.
  • * William Hooper
  • * Stephen Hopkins
  • * Francis Hopkinson
  • * Samuel Huntington
  • * Thomas Jefferson
  • * Francis Lightfoot Lee
  • * Richard Henry Lee
  • * Francis Lewis
  • * Philip Livingston
  • * Thomas Lynch, Jr.
  • * Thomas McKean
  • * Arthur Middleton
  • * Lewis Morris
  • * Robert Morris
  • * John Morton
  • * Thomas Nelson, Jr.
  • * William Paca
  • * John Penn
  • * Robert Treat Paine
  • * George Read
  • * Caesar Rodney
  • * George Ross
  • * Benjamin Rush
  • * Edward Rutledge
  • * Roger Sherman
  • * James Smith
  • * Richard Stockton
  • * Thomas Stone
  • * George Taylor
  • * Charles Thomson (Secretary, attested to Hancock's signature)
  • * Matthew Thornton
  • * George Walton
  • * William Whipple
  • * William Williams
  • * James Wilson
  • * John Witherspoon
  • * Oliver Wolcott
  • * George Wythe


Please see for a listing by state


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 are known to have same surname (male) descendants.

_________ has a complete list of signers, with links to their biographies.


Signers of the Declaration of Independence

  • (I could not find the original source for this and I hope that it is accurate, but as so much that passes through the Internet, I cannot guarantee its truthfulness. Whether or not this piece is true, it does offer us the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the Fourth of July Holiday) By: Steven M Sultanoff, Ph.D.
  • Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2, but the last signature wasn't added until 5 years later.
  • Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?
  • Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.
  • Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.
  • Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.
  • They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
  • What kind of men were they?
  • Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
  • Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
  • Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family
kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
  • Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of 
Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walalton, Guinett, Heyward,
Ruttledge, and Middleton.

  • At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr, noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt. Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
  • John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.
  • Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

  • * They gave you and me a free and independent America.
  • * The history books never told you a lot about what happened in the Revolutionary War. We didn't fight just the British.
  • * We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government! Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn’t. So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It’s not much to ask for the price they paid.



4th of July Trivia

In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress. Thereafter, the 13 colonies embarked on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. This American holiday is traditionally celebrated with parades, fireworks, and backyard barbecues across the country. Take a minute to think about how much you really know about what we are celebrating.

  • The major objection to being ruled by Britain was taxation without representation. The colonists had no say in the decisions of English Parliament.
  • In May 1776, after nearly a year of trying to resolve their differences with England, the colonies sent delegates to the Second Continental Congress. Finally, in June, admitting that their efforts were hopeless; a committee was formed to compose the formal Declaration of Independence. Headed by Thomas Jefferson, the committee also included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman. On June 28, 1776, Thomas Jefferson presented the first draft of the declaration to Congress.
  • Betsy Ross, according to legend, sewed the first American flag in May or June 1776, as commissioned by the Congressional Committee.
  • Independence Day was first celebrated in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776.
  • The Liberty Bell sounded from the tower of Independence Hall on July 8, 1776, summoning citizens to gather for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon.
  • June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress, looking to promote national pride and unity, adopted the national flag. “Resolved: that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

Fourth of July invitation by PurpleTrail.

  • The word patriotism comes from the Latin patria, which means homeland or fatherland.
  • The first public Fourth of July event at the White House occurred in 1804.
  • Before cars ruled the roadway, the Fourth of July was traditionally the most miserable day of the year for horses, tormented by all the noise and by the boys and girls who threw firecrackers at them.
  • The first Independence Day celebration west of the Mississippi occurred at Independence Creek and was celebrated by Lewis and Clark in 1805.
  • On June 24, 1826, Thomas Jefferson sent a letter to Roger C. Weightman, declining an invitation to come to Washington, D.C. to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. It was the last letter that Jefferson, who was gravely ill, ever wrote.
  • Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on Independence Day, July 4, 1826.
  • The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence did not sign at the same time, nor did they sign on July 4, 1776. The official event occurred on August 2, 1776, when 50 men signed it.
  • The names of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were withheld from the public for more than six months to protect the signers. If independence had not been achieved, the treasonable act of the signers would have, by law, resulted in their deaths.
  • Thomas McKean was the last to sign in January 1777.
  • The origin of Uncle Sam probably began in 1812, when Samuel Wilson was a meat packer who provided meat to the US Army. The meat shipments were stamped with the initials U.S. Someone joked that the initials stood for “Uncle Sam”. This joke eventually led to the idea of Uncle Sam symbolizing the United States government.
  • In 1941, Congress declared 4th of July a federal legal holiday. It is one of the few federal holidays that have not been moved to the nearest Friday or Monday.

4th of July Trivia & Facts – An Inspired America

American’s truly embrace their freedom, liberty, and independence. Check out some of the facts below to learn more about how patriotic certain places and people in America can be. These details will make great additions to your 4th of July trivia game!

  • Thirty places nationwide with “liberty” in their name. Liberty, Missouri (26,232) boasts the highest population of the 30 at 26,232. Iowa has more of these places than any other state at four: Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty and West Liberty.
  • Eleven places have “independence” in their name. The most populous of these is Independence, Missouri, with 113,288 residents.
  • Five places adopted the name “freedom.” Freedom, California, with 6,000 residents, has the largest population among these.
  • There is one place named “patriot”: Patriot, Indiana, with a population of 202.
  • And what could be more fitting than spending the day in a place called “America”? There are five such places in the country, with the most populous being American Fork, Utah, with 21,941 residents.

4th of July Trivia – History of the Holiday

Here is some 4th of July trivia regarding the history of the holiday. Ever wonder how early Americans celebrated their independence? Read on to find out. You’ll be surprised to learn how the holiday has evolved over time.

  • The Fourth of July has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941.
  • In America, during the pre-Revolutionary years, colonists would hold annual celebration in honor of the kings birthday. In contrast, after 1976, colonist would celebrate independence by holding mock funerals for King George III, to symbolize the end of the monarchy’s hold on America’s liberty. Early Independence day festivities also included: concerts, bonfire, parades, and firing of cannons.
  • Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of independence on July 4, 1777, while Congress was still occupied with the ongoing war.
  • George Washington issued double rations of rum to all his soldiers to mark the anniversary of independence in 1778.
  • In 1781, several months before the key American victory at Yorktown, Massachusetts became the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday.
  • Independence Day acquired its unofficial theme song on July 4, 1897, at the Manhattan Beach Music Hall on the eastern end of Coney Island. On that Sunday afternoon, sometime after 4 p.m., John Philip Sousa lifted his baton and cued his band to launch into their latest hit, “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” Sousa had not composed it specifically for the holiday, but it has been a marching-band staple on every Fourth of July since 1897.
  • • Why fireworks on the Fourth of July? Fireworks have been used to celebrate special occasions for sometime, even before the American Revolution. Our founding father’s even believed in celebrating our independence with fireworks. In a famous letter John Adams wrote to his wife, he states how the holiday deserves to be celebrated with “illuminations” or fireworks. “The day will be most memorable in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, bonfires and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

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For consistency, please make sure the name fields of Master Profiles are first name, middle name, last name, birth surname. In the display name field only add "Signer of the "Declaration of Independence" to the end of the name, any title such as Gov. or Dr. preceding.

For example

FN Samuel MN (blank) LN Adams BN Adams Suffix Jr. Display name is Gov. Samuel Adams, Signer of the "Declaration of Independence"


The United States did not exist before 1776, nor did the UK. For consistency, please use the country names of England and the name of the colony / state e.g. Massachusetts.