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Samuel Holten - One of America's Founding Fathers

Posted on Thursday, December 24, 2020

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Birth: June 9, 1738
Death: January 2, 1816 (age 77)
Colony: Massachusetts
Occupation: Physician, Politician, Judge
Significance: Signed The Articles of Confederation (at the age of 39); served in the Continental Congress (Congress of the Confederation) (1778-1783); served in the United States House of Representatives (1793-1795)

Samuel Holten Portrait

Samuel Holten was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Born in Massachusetts, Holten was educated in his hometown of Danvers, Massachusetts where he studied medicine. Following his education, Holten established a medical practice in Danvers.

Holten served as a member of Massachusetts Provincial Congress beginning in 1774, and he then joined the Massachusetts Committee of Safety as he grew increasingly hostile toward Britain and their attempts to control the American Colonies through unjust taxes and regulations.

Holten also joined the Massachusetts Militia and served as a Major. In 1778, Holten was elected and served in the Second Continental Congress. Holten 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 Massachusetts. 

Holten remained in the Continental Congress (Congress of the Confederation) until the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783. After leaving the Continental Congress, Holten served in the Massachusetts House and Massachusetts Senate before being elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1793. Holten served only one term in Congress before returning to Massachusetts. Back in Massachusetts, Holten was appointed as a Probate Court Judge in 1796, and he held that position until 1815 when he resigned due to failing health. Holten died shortly afterwards on January 2, 1816.

Samuel Holten in Philadelphia

Samuel Holten came to Philadelphia in 1778 as a Delegate to the Second Continental Congress. While serving as a member of the Second Continental Congress, Holten worked at Independence Hall, where he signed The Articles of Confederation. Fifteen years later when Holten was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Holten returned to Philadelphia and served in Congress Hall.

Today, Independence Hall and Congress Hall are both stops visited along The Constitutional Walking Tour!

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