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Thomas Heyward, Jr. - One of America's Founding Fathers

Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2019

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Birth: July 28, 1746
Death: March 6, 1809 (age 62)
Colony: South Carolina
Occupation: Politician, Judge
Significance: Signed The Declaration of Independence (at the age of 29)

Thomas Heyward, Jr.

Thomas Heyward, Jr. was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Born in South Carolina, Heyward traveled to England for his education and then returned to South Carolina where he practiced law.  

In 1776, Heyward was selected to represent South Carolina in the Second Continental Congress. Heyward voted for Independence, and he signed The Declaration of Independence. After signing The Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776, Heyward continued to serve in the Second Continental Congress until 1778.  

Upon leaving the Second Continental Congress, Heyward returned to South Carolina where he fought as a member of South Carolina Militia and was captured during the Siege of Charleston in 1780. A prisoner of war for over two years, Heyward was finally released by the British in Philadelphia as the Revolutionary War was in its final stages in 1782. After returning to South Carolina, Heyward served as judge until he retired in 1798.

Thomas Heyward, Jr.- One of America's Founding Fathers in Philadelphia

Heyward arrived in Philadelphia as a Delegate to the Second Continental Congress in 1776. While serving as a member of the Second Continental Congress, Heyward worked at Independence Hall, and he signed The Declaration of Independence. A plaque commemorating Heyward for signing The Declaration of Independence can be found on Signers' Walk on the 600 block of Chestnut Street (between 5th and 6th Streets).

Philadelphia was also where Heyward was released by the British after he had been held as a prisoner of war. Heyward's wife, Elizabeth, died in Philadelphia after she had traveled to Philadelphia to meet Heyward upon his release. Unfortunately, Elizabeth went into labor in Philadelphia and died during childbirth. She was buried in St. Peter's Church and Cemetery in Philadelphia.


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