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

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George Ross

Also Known As: "Signer of The Declaration of Independance"
Birthplace: New Castle, Delaware, United States
Death: July 14, 1779 (49)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States (from gout on July 14, 1779)
Place of Burial: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Rev. George Aeneas Ross, M.A. and Anna Catherine Ross
Husband of Anne Ross
Father of Cathrine Thompson Claiborne; James G Ross; George Ross, III; Lt. Colonel James Ross; Mary Scott and 6 others
Brother of John Ross; James Ross; Gertrude Read; Elizabeth Biddle; Catherine Thompson and 2 others
Half brother of David Ross; Margaret Currie; Rev. Aeneas Ross; Ann Catharine Yeates; Jacob Ross and 2 others

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

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

DAR# A098405

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.

Originally a Tory

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.

Elected to Continental Congress

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.

Early death

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 John Ross, the husband of Elizabeth 'Betsy' Ross (Griscom), who is credited (as part of American folk history) 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
February 8, 1750
Rutherford County, North Carolina, United States
June 1, 1752
Lancaster, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States
Lancaster, Lancaster, Pennsylvania Colony, UK
November 28, 1753
Lancaster, Lancaster, Pennsylvania