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John Penn - One of America's Founding Fathers

Posted on Thursday, January 30, 2020

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Birth: May 17, 1741
Death: September 14, 1788 (age 47)
Colony: North Carolina
Occupation: Lawyer, Politician
Significance: Signed The Declaration of Independence (at the age of 35)

John Penn

John Penn was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Born in Virginia, Penn was educated for only two years before beginning his legal studies in 1759. After passing the Bar, Penn working in Virginia until 1774 when Penn and his family moved to North Carolina. In North Carolina, Penn became an outspoken voice against British overreach, and he was elected to the North Carolina Provincial Congress starting in 1774. 

In 1775, Penn was elected and served in the Second Continental Congress. Penn voted for Independence, and he signed The Declaration of Independence. After signing The Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776, Penn continued to serve in the Continental Congress for many years until 1780. During this time, Penn was also a signatory of the Articles of Confederation

After leaving the Continental Congress, Penn returned to North Carolina and continued his law practice until his death in 1788 at the age of 47.

John Penn in Philadelphia

Penn first came to Philadelphia in 1775 as a Delegate to the Second Continental Congress. While serving as a member of the Second Continental Congress, Penn worked at Independence Hall, and he signed The Declaration of Independence.

A plaque commemorating Penn 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 Penn, who signed The Declaration of Independence. Today,  Independence Hall, Signers' Walk and Signers' Garden are all stops visited along The Constitutional Walking Tour!

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