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Joseph Hewes - One of America's Founding Fathers

Posted on Thursday, December 12, 2019

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Birth: July 9, 1730
Death: November 10, 1779 (age 49)
Colony: North Carolina
Occupation: Merchant, Politician
Significance: Signed The Declaration of Independence (at the age of 45); served as Secretary of the Navy (1776-1779)

Joseph Hewes

Joseph Hewes was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Born in New Jersey to Quaker parents, Hewes attended Princeton University. Hewes moved to North Carolina in 1760 where he got involved in politics and was elected to the North Carolina Legislature in 1763.

In 1774, Hewes was voted to be one of North Carolina's representatives to the First Continental Congress. The following year, Hewes was re-elected and served in the Second Continental Congress. Hewes voted for Independence, and he signed The Declaration of Independence. After signing The Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776, Hewes continued to serve in the Continental Congress until his death in 1779. Hewes was also appointed Secretary of the Navy in 1776, another position that he held until his death. 

Even though Hewes was from New Jersey and a representative of North Carolina (at the time of his death), Hewes died in Philadelphia, and he was buried in Philadelphia at Christ Church Burial Ground.

Joseph Hewes in Philadelphia

Hewes arrived in Philadelphia as a Delegate to the First Continental Congress which met at Carpenters' Hall in September 1774. Hewes returned the following year in 1775 as a Delegate to the Second Continental Congress. While serving as a member of the Second Continental Congress, Hewes worked at Independence Hall, and he signed The Declaration of Independence. A plaque commemorating Hewes for signing The Declaration of Independence can be found on Signers' Walk on the 600 block of Chestnut Street (between 5th and 6th Streets). Hewes' grave is located in Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia along with four other signers of The Declaration of Independence.


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