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Button Gwinnet - One of America's Founding Fathers

Posted on Monday, October 14, 2019

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Birth: 1735 (Exact date is unknown)
Death: May 19, 1777 (Age 42)
Colony: Georgia
Occupation: Merchant, Politician
Significance: Signed The Declaration of Independence (Age 41); served as the Governor of Georgia

Button Gwinnett

Button Gwinnett was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Gwinnett was one of only eight immigrants to sign The Declaration of Independence. Originally born in Gloucestershire, Great Britain (date of birth is unknown), Gwinnett was baptized on April 10, 1735 at St. Catherine's Church in Gloucester.  Gwinnett worked as a merchant in England until he emigrated to the American Colonies in 1762. Gwinnett settled in Charleston, South Carolina and became involved in politics there. After moving to Georgia, Gwinnett was elected to the Georgia Provincial Assembly.

Gwinnett would be selected to serve in the Second Continental Congress, where he represented Georgia, and where he would vote for Independence. Gwinnett also signed The Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776. After signing The Declaration of Independence, Gwinnett returned to Georgia where he became Governor of Georgia. While back in Georgia, he also feuded with fellow Georgian politician Lachlan McIntosh which eventually led to a duel between the two men which resulted in Gwinnett's untimely death on May 19, 1777.

Button Gwinnett in Philadelphia

Of all of America's Founding Fathers, few spent less time in Philadelphia than Button Gwinnett.  Gwinnett arrived in Philadelphia for the Second Continental Congress in January of 1776, and he stayed in the city for less than a year before departing back to Georgia where he died shortly thereafter. While serving as a member of the Second Continental Congress, Gwinnett worked at Independence Hall, and he signed The Declaration of Independence. A plaque commemorating Gwinnett for signing The Declaration of Independence can be found on Signers' Walk on the 600 block of Chestnut Street (between 5th and 6th Streets). 


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