Wikijunior:American Founding Fathers/Josiah Bartlett
Who is this?
What did he do that made him important?
Josiah Bartlett was an American physician and statesman who, as a delegate to the Continental Congress for New Hampshire, signed the Declaration of Independence. He was later Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Superior Court of Judicature and Governor of the state.
What did he do when he was young?
Josiah Bartlett was born in Amesbury, Massachusetts to Stephen and Hannah-Mary (Webster) Bartlett. By the age of sixteen, he had built a foundation in Latin and learned some Greek. He also began the study of medicine. Before Bartlett turned twenty-one, in 1750, he moved to Kingston, New Hampshire in Rockingham County, and began his practice.
On August 2, 1776 when delegates signed the formal copy of the Declaration of Independence, his position made him the second to sign, just after John Hancock, the president of the Congress.
What did he do afterward?
In 1788, Bartlett was made the Chief Justice of the state's supreme court. That same year he was a delegate to the New Hampshire convention for adoption of the Constitution, serving part of the time as its Chairman. He argued for ratification, which finally took place on June 21, 1788. The legislature of the new State of New Hampshire, selected him to be a U. S. Senator, but he declined the office.
How do we remember him today?
He retired to his home in Kingston, and died there on May 19, 1795. He is buried next to his wife Mary in the Plains Cemetery, also at Kingston. Relatives of Bartlett still live in his home and give tours throughout the year.
A bronze statue of Bartlett stands in the town square of Amesbury, Massachusetts. His portrait hangs in the State House in Concord, New Hampshire, drawn from an original by Jonathan Trumbull.
Bartlett, New Hampshire is named in his honor, and The Josiah Bartlett elementary school is a visible presence on its major roadway. A town just north of North Conway, NH, has the name Bartlett.