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Profile of the Day: John Witherspoon

Profile of the Day: John Witherspoon

John Witherspoon

On this day in 1723, John Witherspoon, a Presbyterian minster and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born.

Witherspoon was born in Gifford, Scotland on February 5, 1723 to the Reverend James Alexander Witherspoon and Anne Walker. Before emigrating to the American colonies, Witherspoon was a prominent Presbyterian minster in the Church of Scotland. In 1768, he sailed to New Jersey to become the 6th President of the College of New Jersey, which is today known as Princeton University.

During the American Revolution, Witherspoon was a vocal supporter of independence. He was elected to the Continental Congress and became an influential voice of the revolution. In 1776, he signed the Declaration of Independence, becoming the only active clergyman to do so.

Witherspoon died on November 15, 1794 at the age of 72.

Fun fact: Did you know actress Reese Witherspoon is related? They are first cousins 9 times removed!

Explore John Witherspoon’s family tree and share how you’re related!

View John Witherspoon’s Geni Profile


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Image: New York Public Library


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