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History

George Ross 1730-1779
By Ken Anderson
Jul 14, 2004 - 9:21:00 AM

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George Gross
George Ross, a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, was born into a large family on May 10, 1730, in New Castle, Delaware. The son of an Episcopal clergyman by the same name, he was educated at home; then, at the age of eighteen, studied law at his older brother John's law office, and was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar, at the age of twenty, in 1750.

Soon after being admitted to the bar, he established a practice in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and was married to a Scotts-Irish woman from a respectable family, who was one of his first clients.

Initially a Tory, who served as Crown Prosecutor for twelve years, he might have been considered an unlikely candidate to sign the Declaration of Independence. However, he was elected to the provincial legislature as a representative from Pennsylvania in 1768, and it was then that his sympathies changed, culminating in his strong support of the colonial assemblies in their disputes with the British Parliament. He was reelected, serving in that body even after he was chosen, in 1774, to be a delegate to the Continental Congress. Only Benjamin Franklin received a larger vote than Ross in the balloting.

In 1775, because of his membership in the Continental Congress, he was removed from the British controlled provincial legislature.

When war broke out between the colonies and Britain, George served as a Colonel in the Continental Army, and was elected Vice President of the first Constitutional Convention for Pennsylvania.

Due to poor health, he resigned from the Continental Congress in January of 1777, and accepted an appointment to the Pennsylvania Court of Admiralty, an office he held for three months, until his death on July 14, 1779. The cause of death was listed as gout.
The signature of George Ross on the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

While he didn't live to see independence, he did sign the Declaration of Independence, with a signature that was bold and underscored.

Despite the fact that George Ross was one of the signers of our Declaration of Independence, most Americans are more familiar with his nephew's wife, whose name was Betsy Ross, of flag fame.


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