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Button Gwinnett

Also Known As: "Button Gwinnett", "Signer of the Declaration of Independence"
Birthdate: (42)
Birthplace: Gloucestershire, England, United Kingdom
Death: May 19, 1777 (42)
Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia, United States
Place of Burial: Burial: Colonial Park Cemetery * Savannah Chatham County Georgia, USA *Cenotaph [?]
Immediate Family:

Son of Samuel Gwinnett and Anne Eames Button
Husband of Ann Bourne Gwinnett
Father of Amelia Gwinnett; Ann Gwinnett and Elizabeth Ann Belin
Brother of Six Other Children

Managed by: Private User
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About Button Gwinnett

Button Gwinnett (1735 – May 19 or 27, 1777) was an British-born American political leader who, as a representative of Georgia to the Continental Congress, was the second of the signatories (first signature on the left) on the United States Declaration of Independence. He was also, briefly, the provisional president of Georgia in 1777, and Gwinnett County (now a major suburb of metropolitan Atlanta) was named for him. Gwinnett was killed in a duel by a rival, Lachlan McIntosh, following a dispute after a failed invasion of East Florida.


Button Gwinnett was born in 1732 in Gloucestershire, England, one of seven children of the Rev. Samuel and Anne Eames Gwinnett. The Gwinnett name was originally Gwynedd, a name of long standing from the northern part of Wales. His mother, Anne Eames, had prominent relatives in Herefordshire.


Birth: 1735 Death: May 19, 1777

Signer of the Declaration of Independence from Georgia. Born in Gloucestershire, England, he was named Button in honor of his godmother, Barbara Button. When in his early twenties, he married Ann Bourne and went into business as a merchant. Talking with the sailors who carried his goods to America, he became so interested in the colonies that in 1764, he and Ann decided to move to America, settling first in Charleston, SC, and then later moving to Savannah, Georgia, where he became a merchant. Not doing as well as he hoped, he decided to become a farmer instead, and purchased St. Catherines’ Island off the Georgia coast, where he set up a plantation. Unfortunately, he did not do well as a farmer either. In 1769, he was elected to the Georgia Assembly, and in the Second Continental Congress, from 1776 to 1777. Born and raised in England, he was undecided about the issue of independence until 1775. It is generally believed that Dr. Lyman Hall convinced him to side with those who favored independence. After signing the Declaration of Independence, he returned to Georgia, where he was elected speaker of the Georgia Assembly, and helped to write the state constitution in 1777. For a brief period, he served as acting governor of Georgia in 1777. What he most wanted to do was to lead troops in battle, and when General Lachlan McIntosh, a seasoned soldier, was selected to lead the Georgia soldiers, Gwinnett began to feud with him. In the spring of 1777, Acting Governor Gwinnett led an expedition to seize British held Florida, limiting General McIntosh’s role in the expedition. When the attack failed, the people blamed Gwinnett and he was defeated for election as governor on May 8, 1777. Both men were called before the Georgia Assembly to explain the expedition’s failure, and Gwinnett was able to place the blame on McIntosh. McIntosh, angry at being blamed for the expedition’s failure, called Gwinnett “a scoundrel and a lying rascal” in front of the Assembly. Gwinnett then challenged McIntosh to a duel, to avenge his honor. On the outskirts of Savannah the morning of May 16, both men took part in a duel, firing just twelve feet from each other. Both were wounded, but while McIntosh recovered from his wound, Gwinnett died just three days later. During the war, the British seized the Gwinnett estate on St. Catherines Island, and both his wife and only daughter died before the war’s end. (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson)

Family links:

 Ann Bourne Gwinnett (____ - 1780)*

 Elizabeth Ann Gwinnett Belin (1762 - 1780)*
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Burial: Colonial Park Cemetery * Savannah Chatham County Georgia, USA

  • Cenotaph [?]

Edit Virtual Cemetery info [?]

Maintained by: Find A Grave Record added: Apr 27, 1998 Find A Grave Memorial# 2793


Georgia Governor Button Gwinnett Georgia Governor Button Gwinnett

State Website

Office Dates: Mar 04, 1777 - May 08, 1777 Succeeded


Born: Jan 01, 1735 Passed: May 19, 1777 Birth State: Other Party: Whig (radical faction) Family: Married Ann Bourne; three daughters Military Service: National Guard Awards: Member of the Continental Congress in 1776; Signer of the Declaration of Independence BUTTON GWINNETT, president (the equivalent of governor) of Georgia, was born in Down Hatherley, Gloucestershire, England in about 1735. His education was attained at the King’s School in Gloucester. Around 1762 he immigrated to America, settling first in Savannah, Georgia. In 1765 he moved to St. Catherine's Island, where he established a plantation. Gwinnett first entered politics as a member of the Commons House of Assembly, a position he held in 1769. He served as a member of the Continental Congress in 1776 and was one of three Georgians to sign the Declaration of Independence. He also was an instrumental member and speaker of the Georgia state government that framed the state constitution in 1777. On February 24, 1777, Governor Archibald Bulloch died in office, and Gwinnett, who was speaker of the provincial congress was selected by the Council of Safety to succeed him on March 4, 1777. He was not elected governor when the new legislature met. Gwinnett left office on May 8, 1777. Gwinnett had always aspired to serve as brigadier general of Georgia; however, the position went to his rival Lachlan McIntosh. Shortly after his gubernatorial defeat, Gwinnett challenged his adversary (McIntosh) to a duel. Both men were seriously wounded, but only Gwinnett’s injury was fatal. Governor Button Gwinnett died three days later on May 19, 1777, and was buried in the Colonial Park Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia. His signature is extremely valuable, because it is so rare. Gwinnett County in north Georgia was named in his honor in 1818. Sources: About North Georgia Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress Button Gwinnett webpage Cook, James F. Governors of Georgia, 1754-2004. 3d ed. Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 2005.

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Button Gwinnett's Timeline

January 1, 1735
Gloucestershire, England, United Kingdom
Age 23
England, United Kingdom
Age 24
England, United Kingdom
Age 27
WolverhamptonWest Midlands, England
May 19, 1777
Age 42
Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia, United States
May 19, 1777
Age 42
Burial: Colonial Park Cemetery * Savannah Chatham County Georgia, USA *Cenotaph [?]