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Nicholas Gilman - One of America's Founding Fathers

Posted on Friday, December 20, 2019

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Birth: August 3, 1755
Death: May 2, 1814 (aged 58)
Colony: New Hampshire
Occupation: Merchant, Politician
Significance: Signed the United States Constitution (at the age of 32); served as United States Congressman (1789-1797); served as United States Senator from New Hampshire (1805-1814)

 Nicholas Gilman Statue in Signers' Hall at the National Constitution Center

Nicholas Gilman was born in New Hampshire where he worked with his father as a Merchant. As a supporter of Independence, Gilman was a member of the New Hampshire Provincial Congresses which began meeting after the outset of the Revolutionary War. In 1776, he was appointed to serve in the Continental Army and participated the Battles of Saratoga, an American victory which was a key turning point in the Revolutionary War. Gilman attained the rank of Captain and continued to serve throughout the entire Revolutionary War. Gilman wintered at Valley Forge and also fought in the pivotal battles of Monmouth and Yorktown.

After his lengthy military career, Gilman was elected to serve in the Continental Congress (Congress of the Confederation) in 1786. In 1787, Gilman was named a member of the Constitutional Convention which met in Philadelphia. At the Constitutional Convention, Gilman represented New Hampshire and helped to debate, draft and sign the United States Constitution

Gilman continued to serve in the Continental Congress until the newly ratified Constitution was adopted. Gilman then continued to represent New Hampshire as a member of the newly formed Congress. Gilman won four terms as a Congressman, and then in 1805, he was elected to the United States Senate to represent the state of New Hampshire. Gilman held his seat in the U.S. Senate until his death in 1814.

Nicholas Gilman in Philadelphia

Gilman first lived in Philadelphia when he helped to write the United States Constitution as a member of the Constitutional Convention which met at Independence Hall in 1787. Gilman also worked in Congress Hall as a United States Congressman while Philadelphia was the Capital city of the United States. Philadelphia was also the location of Gilman's death when he stopped in Philadelphia on his way back to New Hampshire from Washington D.C. while the U.S. Senate was on recess in 1814. Today, you can also see a statue commemorating Gilman for his role in the creation of the United States Constitution in the Signers' Hall exhibit of the National Constitution Center. Signers' Garden pays tribute to the Founding Fathers, including those such as Gilman who signed the Constitution of the United States. The National Constitution Center, Congress Hall, Signers' Garden and Independence Hall are all visited on The Constitutional Walking Tour!

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