Elizabeth Corbin Braxton

Wife of Declaration Signer Carter Braxton Carter Braxton Elizabeth Tayloe Corbin was born in 1747 at her family plantation, Middlesex, in King William County, Virginia. She was the eldest daughter of a British colonel who was the Receiver of Customs in Virginia for the King. Carter Braxton was born on September 10, 1736, into a wealthy family at Newington, a tobacco plantation in King and Queen County, Virginia. He was the son of George Braxton, a wealthy planter and merchant. His mother was the daughter of Robert “King” Carter, a prominent landowner and politician, who was for some time a member and the president of the King’s Council. Carter was liberally educated at the College of William and Mary and,…

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Laura Collins Wolcott

Wife of Declaration Signer Oliver Wolcott Laura Collins Wolcott Ralph Earl, Artist Laura Collins was born on January 1, 1731, the daughter of Captain Daniel and Lois Cornwall Collins of Guilford, Connecticut. She was descended from the first settlers, and brought up in the manner of Connecticut girls of well-to-do families of that day. The National Cyclopedia of American Biography says of her: She was a woman of almost masculine strength of mind, energetic and thrifty; and while Governor Wolcott was away from home, attended to the management of their farm, educated their younger children, and made it possible for her husband to devote his energies to his country. Oliver Wolcott was born on November 20, 1726, at South Windsor,…

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Elizabeth Lynch

Founding Father Thomas Lynch Jr. Wife of Declaration Signer Thomas Lynch Jr. Elizabeth Shubrick was born on February 5, 1749, in South Carolina. She would become the childhood sweetheart of Thomas Lynch, Jr., who was born on August 5, 1749, at Hopsewee Plantation on the North Santee River, Prince George’s Parish, Winyah, South Carolina. Jonack Lynch, the great-grandfather of Lynch, Jr., emigrated from Ireland and worked a small farm in the low country along the Atlantic coast, but had only modest financial success. At his death, he left his son Thomas his property and a little money, which was used to buy land and cultivate rice, which was to bring him a fortune. Hopsewee Plantation was built by the Lynch…

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Mary Bartlett

Wife of Declaration Signer Dr. Josiah Bartlett Mary Bartlett was born in 1730 in the town of Newton, New Hampshire, one of ten children. Her father, Joseph Bartlett, had been made captive by the French and Indians in 1707, and carried to Canada and held there for four years. Mary Bartlett grew into a lady of excellent character. Josiah Bartlett was born in on November 21, 1729, to shoemaker Stephen and Hannah (Webster) Bartlett in Amesbury, Massachusetts. He was their fifth child and fourth son. He attended the common schools, but with uncommon success. By the age of sixteen, he had built a foundation in Latin and learned some Greek. In 1745, Josiah began to study medicine, working in the…

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Elizabeth Wythe

George Wythe Wife of Signer George Wythe George Wythe (pronounced “with”) was born in 1726 on his family’s plantation on the Back River in Elizabeth City County, Virginia. George’s father died when George was three years old, but fortunately, his grandfather had given his mother an excellent education, and George received his early education from her. She instilled in her son a love of learning that served him all his life. In his teens, Wythe entered the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg. He was poor, however, and his stay was necessarily brief. A family connection opened the door for him to study in the law office of Thomas Dewey, and at age twenty he was admitted to the…

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Mary Osborn Hall

Wife of Declaration of Independence Signer Lyman Hall Dr. Lyman Hall Mary Osborn was born on August 8, 1736, at Fairfield, Connecticut, the daughter of Samuel and Hannah Osborn. Lyman Hall, son of John Hall and Mary Street Hall, was born April 12, 1724, in Wallingford, Connecticut, to a well-connected family. Lyman’s paternal grandfather, the Honorable John Hall, was a member of the Governor’s Council and a Justice of Connecticut’s Supreme Court. His maternal grandfather was the Reverend Samuel Street, Wallingford’s first pastor. Lyman went to Yale College and studied theology, graduating in 1747 at the age of 23. He also studied theology with his uncle, the Reverend Samuel Hall in Cheshire, Connecticut. He was called to pastor in 1749…

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Anne Ross

Wife of Declaration Signer George Ross Portrait of Anne Ross By Benjamin West West’s Anne Lawler Ross depicts a seated woman outdoors, holding a book on her lap in her right hand and a flower in her left. Her costume includes a pear-shaped pearl, bow and lace at the bodice. Her almond-shaped eyes and simplified modeling are characteristic of West’s colonial portraits. Anne Lawler, born July 10, 1731, was the only child of Mary Lawler, a widow in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who owned considerable property. George Ross was born May 10, 1730, in Newcastle, Delaware, where his father was clergyman of the Episcopal Church. His father was also twice married and had eleven children, all of whom became prominent members of…

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Abigail Carey Ellery

Wife of Declaration Signer William Ellery Abigail Carey was born in Bristol County, Rhode Island, on November 12, 1742, the daughter of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Wanton Carey. William Ellery was born in Newport, Rhode Island, to a wealthy mercantile family on December 22, 1727. His father, of the same name, was graduated at Harvard in 1722, became a successful merchant in Newport, and served successively as judge, senator, and lieutenant governor of the colony. Newport was then a unique community where despite many religious differences, there was a degree of tolerance. The elder Ellery prepared young William for college, and he entered Harvard in 1743. He was not enthused about becoming a merchant like his father, and entertained thoughts of…

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Annis Boudinot Stockton

Poet and Wife of Declaration Signer Richard Stockton Annis Boudinot was born July 1, 1736, in Darby, Pennsylvania, to Catherine Williams and Elias Boudinot, merchant and silversmith, who later moved his family to Princeton, New Jersey. She was their eldest daughter and the second of ten children, though the first to be born in North America (her parents had just returned from Antigua where her father had run a plantation). The Boudinot family settled in Princeton, New Jersey. There Annis was exposed to the intellectual and social circles of the area, and her parents gave her a good education. She became particularly interested in poetry, an unusual pastime for a woman of that time, and published her first poem at…

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Martha Jefferson

Wife of President Thomas Jefferson Martha Wayles was born at The Forest in Charles City County – near Williamsburg, Virginia – on October 30, 1748. Her parents were John Wayles and his first wife Martha (Patsy) Eppes, wealthy plantation owners. Martha’s mother was the daughter of Francis Eppes of Bermuda Hundred, a huge Virginia plantation. Patsy died when her daughter Martha was only three weeks old. No record of her early years exist but in light of her father’s wealth and prominence, Martha Wayles was likely educated at home by traveling tutors in literature, poetry, French, and Bible study; she likely received considerable training in music. Certainly a young woman of her region, era, and wealth would also be trained…

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