Revolutionary Biographies

GENERALS, FEDERALISTS, PRESIDENTS,
AND MAJOR PERSONALITIES

Abigail Smith Adams 1744-1818

Abigail Adams was born November 11, 1744 in Weymouth, to Elizabeth Quincy Smith and Reverend William Smith, pastor of Weymouth’s First Church. Like most girls of her time, she did not receive a formal education, but…

Benedict Arnold 1741-1801

Early Life Benedict Arnold was born on January 14, 1741 in Norwich, Connecticut. Arnold was one of a number of Benedict Arnolds including an early governor of Rhode Island and his father. Arnold’s mother was…

Benjamin Franklin 1706-1790

Early Life Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts on 17 January 1706, the 15th of 17 children. His dad was an English tallow chandler and soap boiler who had emigrated 20 years earlier. Franklin…

Brigadier General Henry Knox

“…Our political machine, composed of thirteen independent sovereignties, have been perpetually operating against each other and against the federal head ever since the peace. The powers of Congress are totally inadequate to preserve the balance…

Captain John Paul Jones

Early Life John Paul (afterwards known as John Paul Jones) was born at Arbigland, in the Parish of Kirkbean, and in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, Scotland, on 6 July 1747. Born John Paul, his father…

Dr. Benjamin Rush

Early Life Benjamin Rush was born on the 24th of December, 1745, 0. S. in the township of Byberry, twelve or fourteen miles northeast of Philadelphia. His ancestors emigrated front England to Pennsylvania, about the…

Dr. Joseph Warren

Early Life Joseph Warren, the father, was a thrifty farmer, much respected by his townsmen, by whom he was elected to several offices of trust, He was interested in fruit-raising, and introduced into that part…

Ethan Allen 1738-1789

Overview Ethan Allen was born in 1738 in Litchfield, Connecticut, the eldest of the eight children of Joseph and Mary Allen. He had five brothers (Heman, Heber, Levi, Zimri, and Ira) and two sisters (Lydia…

Francis Lightfoot Lee

Early Life Francis Lightfoot Lee, the fourth son of Thomas Lee, was born on the fourteenth day of October, 1734. His father for several years held the office of president of the king’s council of…

General George Washington

Early Life and Career Born in Westmoreland County, Va., on Feb. 22, 1732, George Washington was the eldest son of Augustine Washington and his second wife, Mary Ball Washington, who were prosperous Virginia gentry of…

James Madison

Early Life James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, was born at Port Conway, in King George county, Virginia, on the 16th of March 1751. His first ancestor in America may possibly have…

James Monroe

Overview James Monroe, (1758-1831), 5th President of the United States. Monroe’s public career was shaped by three great influences: the American Revolution; the principles of the Republican party, which he helped found; and his diplomatic…

James Wilson

Early Life James Wilson was born September 14, 1742 near St. Andrews, Scotland. He was educated at the universities of St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Edinburgh, initially studying to become a Presbyterian minister. However, in his…

John Adams 1735-1826

John Adams, Jr., the eldest of three sons, was born on October 30, 1735 (October 19, 1735 Old Style, Julian calendar), in what is now Quincy, Massachusetts (then called the “north precinct” of Braintree, Massachusetts),…

John Askin 1739-1815

John Askin was born in Aughnaclay, County Tyrone, to James Askin and Alice Rae in 1739. John came to Albany, New York as a sulter with the British Army in 1758, and entered the western…

John Dickinson 1732-1808

Early Life The leading opponent of John Adams in the debate upon the Declaration of Independence was John Dickinson, of Delaware–an honest, able, patriotic, but timid statesman. He was born in Maryland, in December, 1732,…

John Hancock 1737-1793

Overview A signature to the declaration of independence, without reference to general views, was, to each individual, a personal consideration of the most momentous import. It would be regarded in England as treason, and expose…

John Howe

Howe was born in 1754, the same year that the French and Indian War or Seven Years’ War (1754–1763) began.

John Jay

“Let it be remembered that civil liberty consists, not in a right to every man to do just what he pleases, but it consists in an equal right to all citizens to have, enjoy, and…

John Quincy Adams 1767-1848

John Quincy Adams, (1767-1848), 6th President of the United States. He was the son of John Adams, 2nd president. Independence and Union were the watchwords of his career; a Union of the United States of…

Joseph Brant 1743-1807

Early years Brant was born in 1743, probably in March, probably in the Ohio Country somewhere along the Cuyahoga River. This was during the hunting season when Mohawks traveled to the area. He was named…

Joseph Galloway 1731-1803

Joseph Galloway was born near West River, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, and moved with his father to Pennsylvania in 1749, where he received a liberal schooling. He studied law, was admitted to the bar and began…

King George William Frederick 1738-1820

Early Life George was born in London at Norfolk House. He was the grandson of King George II, and the son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and Augusta of Saxe-Gotha. As Prince George was born…

Major General Nathanael Greene 1742-1786

Early Years Nathanael Greene was born on 27 July 1742 (Old Style) in Potowomut, Rhode Island.  The Gregorian Calendar, which is used today, was not adopted in England or her colonies until 1752.   Prior to…

Margaret Catharine Moore

Margaret Catherine “Kate” Moore was born in 1752 in Anson South Carolina to Charles and Mary Moore.  In 1767 at the age of fifteen she married Andrew Barry. The two settled in Spartanburg County across the…

Mary Draper

When the news reached Connecticut that blood had been shed, Putnam, who was at work in the field, left his plow in the furrow, and started for Cambridge without delaying to change his apparel. Stark…

Myles Cooper 1735-1785

Early life Cooper was educated at Queen’s College, Oxford where he later served as chaplain. Ordained as a priest in the Anglican Church in 1761, he attracted the influence of several high clergymen, including Thomas…

Patrick Henry 1736-1799

Early years Henry was born in Studley, Hanover County, Virginia on May 29, 1736. His father was John Henry, an immigrant from Aberdeenshire, Scotland, who had attended King’s College, Aberdeen before immigrating to the Colony…

Paul Revere

Early Life An obituary in the Boston Intelligence commented, “seldom has the tomb closed upon a life so honorable and useful”.  This seems an accurate representation of the life of one of the more modest…

Phillis Wheatley

In 1761 Phillis was purchased as a personal slave in Boston by Susannah Wheatley, wife of tailor John Wheatley. She was evidently around 7 years old at the time. Her only written memory of her…

Richard Henry Lee

Early Life Richard Henry Lee, a descendant from an ancient and distinguished family in Virginia, was born in Westmoreland county, of that province, on the twentieth of January, 1732. As the schools of the country…

Samuel Adams 1722-1803

Overview Among those who signed the Declaration of Independence, and were conspicuous in the revolution, there existed, of course, a great diversity of intellectual endowments; nor did all render to their country, in those perilous…

Simon Girty 1741-1818

Simon Girty (1741 – February 18, 1818) was an American colonial of Scots-Irish ancestry who served as a liaison between the British and their Native American allies during the American Revolution. He was portrayed as a…

Thomas Burnfoot Brown 1750-1825

America Born in Whitby, Yorkshire, England, Brown was of a prosperous family, his father Jonas owning a successful shipping company. In 1774 Thomas recruited colonists from Whitby and the Orkney Islands, and emigrated with them…

Thomas Hutchinson

Hutchinson was born in Boston. He showed remarkable aptitude for business early on, and by the time he was 24 had accumulated considerable property in trading ventures on his own account.

Thomas Jefferson

Overview Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), 3d PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. As the author of the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, he is probably the most conspicuous champion of political and…

Thomas Paine

Early Life The radical propagandist and voice of the common man, Thomas Paine, was born in Thetford in Norfolk on January 29, 1737. His father, Joseph, was a poor Quaker corset maker who tried to…

William Allen 1704-1780

Life and career Born in Philadelphia in 1704, Allen was the son of William Allen, sr., a successful Philadelphia merchant of Scotch-Irish descent who had immigrated to America from Dungannon, County Tyrone, Ireland with his…

William Augustus Bowles 1763-1805

William Augustus Bowles (1763–1805), also known as Estajoca, was a Maryland-born English adventurer and organizer of Native American attempts to create their own state outside of Euro-American control. Some sources give his date of birth as…

William Franklin 1731-1813

Early life He was born in Philadelphia, the illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin. His mother’s identity is unknown though evidence suggests she was a “Low Woman”. He was raised by his father and his common-law…

William Prescott

Overview William Prescott, soldier, born in Groton, Massachusetts, 20 February, 1726  died in Pepperell, Massachusetts, 13 October, 1795. His father, Judge Benjamin Prescott, was the grandson of John, of Lincolnshire, England, an early settler of…