Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Anne Justis Morton

Anne Justis married John Morton, signer of the Declaration of Independence, in 1745 or 1746. John was already considered by members of the community to be "a young man with a promising future."

Anne and John had much in common. They both came from Swedish ancestors who were part of a "tide of immigration" about the beginning of the eighteenth century. They lived on neighboring farms in Chester (now Delaware) County, Pennsylvania.

There is not much more known about Anne. John farmed his own "patrimonial acres" as well as surveying new lands. John's stepfather, John Sketchley, taught him mathematics as well as other essential education. John became a wealthy farmer who was well respected by his neighbors, and his neighbors were instrumental in the many public offices to which he was appointed or elected: justice of the peace, Pennsylvania legislature (Speaker of the House), county sheriff, a judge on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and a delegate to the General Congress from 1774-1776. John cast the deciding vote for Pennsylvania that broke the tie for the Province and made the Colonies' vote for independence unanimous.

While John was working for the good of the public, Anne looked after their estate and took care of their eight children, three sons and five daughters.

John died in April 1777 at age 54 and left Anne a widow. When the British Army moved through the family's neighborhood, they "despoiled his widow and children of property to the value of over one thousand dollars." John and Anne were members of the St. James Church, and their bodies "are said to be interred in the old churchyard" in the town of Chester.

Facts and quotes are from Wives of the Signers: The women behind the Declaration of Independence, pp. 192-195.

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