Francis Hopkinson, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born at Philadelphia in 1737 of English parents. His mother was the daughter of the Bishop of Worcester; she was well educated and moved in the best circles of England. His father was also well educated, and Francis received every advantage that a good social position could give to him.
Francis was only fourteen years old when his father passed away and his mother left to care for a large family with too little income. Francis received his primary education from his mother until he was prepared to enter the college of Philadelphia. After he left the college, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1765. He traveled to England to visit relatives and to gain more knowledge in 1765. He returned in 1768 and soon married Nancy (Ann) Borden of Bordentown, New Jersey.
Hopkinson was a musician, poet and wit. Leaders in Great Britain recognized his superior talents and appointed him to a "lucrative office" in New Jersey soon after his marriage. He continued in this position until the British could not continue to excuse his words and deeds about republican principles. In 1776 the people of New Jersey elected him to be their delegate to the General Congress. He voted for the Declaration of Independence and "joyfully" signed it.
Francis held the office of Loan Commissioner for several years until he was appointed as Pennsylvania Judge of Admiralty. He held that office until President George Washington appointed him as Pennsylvania District Judge in 1790.
Hopkinson was modest, quiet, and loyal and was considered as a true genius. He was very patriotic and very involved in the cause of liberty, but he seldom engaged in debate.
Judge Hopkinson died in May 1791 at age fifty-two, two hours after an attack of "apoplexy." He left a widow and five children.
Facts are from Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, pp. 85-87.
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