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Daniel Roberdeau - One of America's Founding Fathers

Posted on Thursday, December 24, 2020

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Birth: 1727
Death: January 5, 1795 (age 67 or 68)
Colony: Pennsylvania
Occupation: Merchant, Soldier, Politician
Significance: Signed The Articles of Confederation (at the age of 50 or 51); served as a member of the Continental Congress (1777-1779)

Daniel Roberdeau

Daniel Roberdeau was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Born in the West Indies to French and Scottish immigrants, Roberdeau and his family moved to Philadelphia after the death of his father.

Roberdeau started a successful mercantile business, and his success enabled him to meet prominent Philadelphian Benjamin Franklin. Franklin was impressed with Roberdeau, and he helped Roberdeau gain a position on the Board of Managers of Pennsylvania Hospital, America's First Hospital, which was founded by Franklin. Roberdeau also became involved in politics and served on the Pennsylvania Colonial Assembly from 1756-1760.

As the conflict between the American Colonies and Britain started pushing toward the Revolutionary War, Roberdeau joined the Pennsylvania Militia and was given the rank of Colonel, though he rose to the rank of Brigadier General by the time he left the militia. Roberdeau was also named to the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety.

After nearly a year of service during the American Revolution, Roberdeau moved back to Philadelphia in order to serve in the Second Continental Congress in early 1777. While in the Continental Congress, Roberdeau was among the first signers of the Articles of Confederation on July 9, 1778 after the Articles were ratified by his Colony of Pennsylvania. 

While serving in the Continental Congress, Roberdeau became aware of a critical shortage of lead in the Colonies to be manufactured into shot (ammunition) for muskets. Roberdeau left the Continental Congress, and at his own expense, Roberdeau established a lead mine in Western Pennsylvania near present day Altoona, Pennsylvania. To protect the operation from British loyalists and Native Americans, Roberdeau also built a fort around the mine which became known as Fort Roberdeau. In celebration of the American Bicentennial, Fort Roberdeau was reconstructed upon its original location in 1976 and stands today as a National Historical Site.

After the Revolutionary War, Roberdeau moved to Virginia, and he lived there for the remainder of his life.

Daniel Roberdeau in Philadelphia

Daniel Roberdeau lived in Philadelphia for much of his life. He began his career as a merchant in Philadelphia and became involved in politics while living in the city. It was in Philadelphia that Roberdeau met Benjamin Franklin and began working at Pennsylvania Hospital. Roberdeau also served as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia. While serving as a member of the Second Continental Congress, Roberdeau worked at Independence Hall, where he signed The Articles of Confederation. 

Today, Independence Hall is one of the stops visited along The Constitutional Walking Tour!

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