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John Wentworth Jr. - One of America's Founding Fathers

Posted on Thursday, December 24, 2020

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Birth: July 17, 1745
Death: January 10, 1787 (age 41)
Colony: New Hampshire
Occupation: Lawyer, Politician
Significance: Signed The Articles of Confederation (at the age of 31); served as a member of the Continental Congress (1778-1779)

Articles of Confederation - Original 1777 Printing

John Wentworth Jr. was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Wentworth Jr. was born in New Hampshire to a very prominent family.

Wentworth Jr. is descended from William Wentworth, one of the early settlers of New Hampshire, whose descendants formed a political dynasty in New Hampshire. Numerous descendants of William Wentworth served as the Governor of the Colony of New Hampshire, including Sir John Wentworth who sided with the British and served as the Royal Governor of New Hampshire during the American Revolution.

Sir John Wentworth was cousins with Judge John Wentworth who was the father of John Wentworth Jr., the focus of this blog. John Wentworth Jr. had many advantages growing up and after an excellent private education, he attended Harvard where he studied to be a lawyer. After his graduation in 1768, Wentworth Jr. worked as a lawyer in Dover, New Hampshire.

The American Revolutionary War split the prominent Wentworth family in half. Both John Wentworth Jr. and his father Judge John Wentworth backed the American Revolutionary War cause and joined the New Hampshire Committee of Safety, in open opposition to Judge John Wentworth's cousin, Sir John Wentworth, the Royal Governor. In 1778, Wentworth Jr. was elected and served in the Second Continental Congress. Wentworth Jr. traveled to Philadelphia to serve in the Continental Congress, and he was among the first signers of the Articles of Confederation on July 9, 1778 after the Articles were ratified by his Colony of New Hampshire. 

Wentworth Jr. continued to serve in the Continental Congress until 1779 when he returned to Connecticut. Back in Connecticut, Wentworth Jr. continued to practice law, and he was eventually elected to the State Senate in 1784 and served until 1786. He died shortly afterwards in 1787 at the age of 41. 

John Wentworth Jr. in Philadelphia

John Wentworth Jr. came to Philadelphia in 1778 as a Delegate to the Second Continental Congress. While serving as a member of the Second Continental Congress, Wentworth Jr. worked at Independence Hall, where he signed The Articles of Confederation.

Today, Independence Hall is a stop visited along The Constitutional Walking Tour!

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