Did You Know?
Benjamin Franklin was 81 when he signed the Constitution. He was in poor health and needed help signing.
Thomas Jefferson did not sign the Constitution as he was away in France as the U.S. Minister.
Some historians argue that there are six main ‘Founding Fathers’, due to their important roles during the lead up and during the Revolution. These are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton. Other historians would include more, or even Founding Mothers, such as Abigail Adams or Martha Washington.
George Washington was known as an avid dancer. Dancing was a popular social pass time. A letter from General Nathanael Green of New Jersey notes that Washington once danced with his wife for three hours without taking a break!
44 members of the Constitutional Convention has bee at the 1st Continental Congress. But only eight members of the Constitutional Convention were signers on the Declaration of Independence.
Three Constitutional Convention members were bachelors:
Nicholas Gilman of New Hampshire
Abraham Baldwin of Georgia
Daniel Jenifer of Maryland
The average age at the Convention was 43. Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey was the youngest at age 26 while Ben Franklin from Pennsylvania was the oldest at 81.
William Samuel Johnson From Connecticut was the longest surviving signer. He died at the age of 92 in 1819.
James McHenry, a signer for Maryland, wrote the United States National Anthem in 1812.
Benjamin Franklin was the oldest signer at 81, and was the first to die three years alter at the age of 84.
Hugh Williamson, the last man to sign the Constitution, was an avid astronomer. He claimed that all planets and comets had a mild climate that supported intelligent life.
Nicholas Gilman of New Hampshire was known as the most handsome signer of the Constitution. He was often picked on by his fellows for his looks and cocky attitude.
Two Constitution signers died in duels:
Alexander Hamilton, a signer for New York, died in a duel with Aaron Burr in 1804 over an election for the New York Governor.
Richard Dobbs Spaight of North Carolina got into a fight with his follower John Stanly who badmouthed Richard after his retirement from the Congress. Richard, too sick to match John, was hit and died the day after their duel.
Johnathan Dayton from New Jersey was notorious for bad investments land deals. At one point he illegally invested $18,000 of Congress’ money into a land speculation deal. Congress forced him to repay it, but he tried again a few years later convincing Vice President Aaron Burr to invest in Spanish held lands out west. President Thomas Jefferson had Dayton arrested for treason in 1807.