John Penn


John Penn Famous memorial

Caroline County, Virginia, USA
Death 14 Sep 1788 (aged 48)
Granville County, North Carolina, USA
Burial Greensboro, Guilford County, North Carolina, USA
Memorial ID 2779 View Source

Declaration of Independence Signer. Born in Virginia, he studied law under his cousin, Edmund Pendleton, a lawyer who was also a prominent Virginia patriotic leader. When he was twenty-one he received his license to practice law, and practiced successfully for about twelve years in Virginia. In 1774 he moved to North Carolina, where he became a Revolutionary patriot leader while also setting up a law practice. In 1775 he was elected to be a delegate to the Second Continental Congress, serving from 1775 to 1780. Initially, he favored reconciliation with Great Britain, but when he realized that it would not happen, he came out for independence. While serving in Congress, Penn would have an argument over political issues with Henry Laurens of South Carolina, who was President of the Congress from late 1777 to late 1778, and Laurens challenged Penn to a duel. Neither man actually desired to fight the duel, but they could not find a way to back down either. However, then eventually settled the issue peaceably. In 1780, Penn left Congress to return to his law practice at home in Granville County, North Carolina, where he died in 1788, at the age of 48. He was buried at his homesite, but was exhumed and re-interred at Guilford Battle Grounds near Greensboro, North Carolina in 1894.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson

Family Members



In their memory
Plant Memorial Trees



How famous was John Penn?

Current rating:

109 votes

to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 25 Apr 1998
  • Find a Grave Memorial 2779
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Penn (6 May 1740–14 Sep 1788), Find a Grave Memorial ID 2779, citing Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, Greensboro, Guilford County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .