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George Ross - One of America's Founding Fathers

Posted on Thursday, January 30, 2020

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Birth: May 10, 1730
Death: July 14, 1779 (age 49)
Colony: Pennsylvania
Occupation: Lawyer, Politician
Significance: Signed The Declaration of Independence (at the age of 46)

George Ross

George Ross was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Born in Delaware, Ross was educated by his father, a minister, and then moved to Philadelphia in 1748 to study law with his older brother, John. After passing the Bar in 1750, Ross moved to Lancaster and began to practice law. In 1768, Ross first became involved in politics when he was elected to represent the Lancaster area in the Pennsylvania Assembly. 

As tensions grew between Great Britain and the American Colonies, Ross became a strong voice on behalf of American patriots. In 1774, Ross was voted to be one Pennsylvania's representatives to the First Continental Congress. The following year, Ross was re-elected and served in the Second Continental Congress. Ross voted for Independence, and he signed The Declaration of Independence. After signing The Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776, Ross continued to serve in the Continental Congress until 1777 when he resigned due to his failing health.

In 1779, Ross was appointed Judge of the Court of the Admiralty in Pennsylvania, but Ross held the job for only a few months before he died on July 14, 1779.

George Ross in Philadelphia

Ross first came to Philadelphia as a teenager studying law under his brother. While Ross maintained a residence in Lancaster for the rest of his life, his duties frequently brought him to Philadelphia. For nearly a decade starting in 1768, Ross served in Philadelphia as part of the Pennsylvania Assembly.  Ross' work in 1774 as a Delegate to the First Continental Congress also brought him to Philadelphia as the assembly met at Carpenters' Hall. Ross returned the following year in 1775 as a Delegate to the Second Continental Congress. While serving as a member of the Second Continental Congress, Ross worked at Independence Hall, and he signed The Declaration of Independence.

George Ross was also the Uncle of John Ross, who married Elizabeth Griscom, better known as Betsy Ross. According to the story that was passed down through the descendants of Betsy Ross, she is said to have sewn the first American flag in the Spring of 1776. The house where Ross is said to have sewn the flag still stands today and is open for tours.

A plaque commemorating Ross for signing The Declaration of Independence can be found on Signers' Walk on the 600 block of Chestnut Street (between 5th and 6th Street). Signers' Garden pays tribute to the Founding Fathers, including those such as Ross who signed The Declaration of Independence. Today, Carpenter's Hall, Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross House, Signers' Walk and Signers' Garden are all stops visited along The Constitutional Walking Tour!

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