The 56 People Who Signed the Declaration of Independence
Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794)
> State: Virginia
A signer with his brother, Francis, Lee was likewise a radical member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. Lee was elected to attend the first Continental Congress in 1774. He was to become the first state senator from Virginia under the newly formed U.S. government.
Francis Lewis (1713-1802)
> State: New York
Lewis was born in Wales and educated in Scotland and England, then worked as a merchant in London before emigrating to New York to set up his own business in 1734. He subsequently entered into international trade, making several trans-Atlantic voyages and surviving two shipwrecks off the coast of Ireland. Though he grew wealthy, he turned his attentions to radical causes and, along with fellow signer Philip Livingston, contracted to supply arms and ammunition to the rebellious colonists.
Philip Livingston (1716-1778)
> State: New York
Born in Albany and educated at Yale, Livingston became a prosperous merchant and alderman in New York City. He was a strong supporter of independence in the Continental Congress, and continued to serve in that body after being elected to the New York State Senate in 1777. Livingston was also one of the founders of King’s College, which became Columbia University.
Thomas Lynch, Jr. (1749-1779)
> State: South Carolina
One of the two youngest signers, along with Edward Rutledge — both were 26 — Lynch attended Cambridge University in England and studied law in London. Back home, he was elected to the Continental Congress, but fell ill shortly after signing the Declaration. Late in 1776, he and his wife sailed for the West Indies, but the ship disappeared and neither was ever heard from again.
Thomas McKean (1734-1817)
> State: Delaware
The Pennsylvania-born McKean held an astonishing number of positions in both that state and Delaware over the course of his career, including member of the Delaware Assembly, Delaware delegate to the Stamp Act Congress, collector of Customs and commissioner of revenue for New Castle County (Delaware), delegate to the Continental Congress, president of Delaware, and both chief justice and later governor of the new state of Pennsylvania.