George Taylor, Signer of the "Declaration of Independence"

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George Taylor, Signer of the "Declaration of Independence"

Birthplace: Ireland
Death: February 23, 1781 (60-69)
Easton, PA, United States
Immediate Family:

Husband of Ann Taylor
Father of James Taylor and James Taylor

Occupation: Ironmaster, Delegate, signed Dec of Ind, col of militia 1775, first to make shot/shells for Rev Army, member of 1st Supreme Exec Council in Philly 1777, delegate to Cont Congress
Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About George Taylor, Signer of the "Declaration of Independence"

George [Founding Father] TAYLOR was born 18 JAN 1716 in Cork, Munster, Ireland, and died 23 FEB 1781 in Easton (Northampton Co), PA. He was the son of 2. Joshua TAYLOR and 3. Elizabeth GRIFFITHS.


He married

  1. Nancy Ann TAYLOR ABT 1744 in Duham (Bucks Co), PA, daughter of Isaac [Immigrant] TAYLOR and Martha [Immigrant] ROMAN. She was born 1710 in Thornbury (Chester Co), PA, and died 1768 in Catasaugua (Lehigh Co), PA. She was buried in Easton (Northampton Co), PA. Two children
  2. (not married to) Naomi SMITH. She was born 1718 in Duham (Bucks Co), PA, and died unk. 5 children
  3. Eleanor THOMPSON ABT 1768 in PA. She was born ABT 1726 in PA, and died AFT 1781 in PA. [this needs to be checked]

family notes


Almost nothing is known of George Taylors life before his arrival in Philadelphia in 1736, although there is general agreement regarding northern Ireland (possibly Ulster) as his birthplace.[1] Ann Taylors lineage, however, is well documented. Her grandfather, John Taylor, came to Pennsylvania from Wiltshire, England, in 1684, and became Surveyor General of Chester County, which then accounted for about one-third of the colony. Later, her father, Isaac Taylor, served as Chester Deputy Surveyor General. Ann's family belonged to the Society of Friends, but she was disowned as a Quaker in 1733 for her marriage "outside the circle" to Samuel Savage, Jr.[3]

George and Ann Taylor had two children: a daughter Ann, who was called Nancy and died sometime during childhood, and a son James, who was born at Warwick Furnace in 1746. James studied law after his parents moved to Easton in 1763. In 1767, he married Elizabeth Gordon, the 17-year-old daughter of Lewis Gordon, Eastons first resident attorney. The couple initially lived in Easton, but moved to Allentown, where James practiced law until his death in 1775. The Taylors had five children: George, Thomas, James, Jr., Ann and Mary.[6]

George Taylor's will was filed in January 1781, the month before his death, and was entered into probate in Northampton County on March 10. Taylor bequeathed 500 to George, his eldest grandchild, and another 500 to Naomi Smith, his housekeeper, "in Consideration of her great Care & Attendance on me for a Number of Years."[18]

The remainder of Taylor's estate was to be divided equally between the grandchildren and five children he fathered with Naomi Smith in the years following his wife's death: Sarah, Rebecca, Naomi, Elizabeth and Edward.[18] Apparently, these bequests were never fulfilled. Taylor had been experiencing financial difficulties in the last few years of his life, and legal entanglements over the Durham and Greenwich forges dragged on until 1799, at which point his estate was judged insolvent.[6]


Taylor immigrated to the American colonies at age 20. To pay for his passage, Taylor was indentured to Samuel Savage, Jr., ironmaster at Warwick Furnace and Coventry Forge. He started as a laborer, but it is believed that when Savage discovered Taylor had a certain degree of education, he promoted him to bookkeeper. In 1742, Savage died, and later that year, Taylor married his widow, Ann. Over the next 10 years, Taylor managed the two ironworks.

In 1764, Taylor was commissioned as a justice of the peace in Northampton County and was elected to the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly. He was re-elected to the Assembly in 1775 and attended the Provincial Convention on January 23. In July, as colonial forces prepared for war, he was commissioned as a colonel in the Third Battalion of the Pennsylvania Militia.

In 1776, the Continental Congress voted for independence on July 2 and adopted the Declaration of Independence two days later, July 4. Before the vote for independence, five of Pennsylvania's delegates, all loyalists, were forced to resign. On July 20, Taylor was among the replacements appointed by the Assembly. One of his first duties as a member of Congress was to affix his signature to the Declaration of Independence, which he did on August 2, along with most delegates. Of the 56 signers, he was one of only eight who were foreign born, the only one to have been indentured and the only one to hold the position of ironmaster.

Taylors service in the Congress was brief, just over seven months. In March 1777, he was appointed to Pennsylvanias Supreme Executive Council, which was formed to govern the province under its new constitution. He subsequently retired do to failing health. Taylor continued to oversee production of cannon shot and shells at Durham Furnace for the Continental Army and Navy.

Today, his former home, the George Taylor House in Catasaugua, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, is a National Historic Landmark.

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George Taylor, Signer of the "Declaration of Independence"'s Timeline

Warwick, PA, United States
February 23, 1781
Age 65
Easton, PA, United States