John Witherspoon

Born and educated in Edinburgh, John Witherspoon became famous in the United States for his part in the signing of the Declaration of Independence on 4th July 1776.

John Witherspoon first entered public life in 1743 as a Presbyterian minister in the North Ayrshire town of Beith. After serving the town for 14 years, he moved to Paisley, where he was minister at the Abbey until 1768. He was invited to the United States to become Chancellor of the New Jersey College and shortly afterwards convened the first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the USA. In 1776 he was elected to the New Jersey Congress just days before the USA embarked on the War of Independence. 

Having guided his adopted country through its formative years following the end of the war, John Witherspoon finally left Congress in 1784. However, he continued as Chancellor of New Jersey College until shortly before his death in 1794. 

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