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John Morton

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John Morton Famous memorial

Birth
Ridley Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death
1 Apr 1777 (aged 53)
Ridley Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, USA
Burial
Chester, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, USA GPS-Latitude: 39.8470078, Longitude: -75.3583603
Memorial ID
View Source
Declaration of Independence Signer. Born in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, his father died before he was born. When he was about seven years old, his mother remarried. John attended formal school only for about 3 months; most of his education he learned from his step-father, who taught him many subjects, including law and surveying. John Morton would grow up to become a farmer, a surveyor, lawyer, and judge. He married Ann Justis, and they would have five daughters and four sons. Morton began his political career in 1756 as a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly, serving in the Assembly for 17 years. He was one of four Pennsylvania delegates to the Stamp Act Congress in 1765. In 1774, he was elected as a delegate to the First Continental Congress, and the following year, to the Second Continental Congress. Although most Pennsylvanians in his home area were Loyalists, Morton favored independence. Of the seven Pennsylvania delegates to vote for independence on July 2, 1776, two voted against it, two voted for it, and two did not vote, leaving the decision to John Morton. His decision to vote for independence swung the decision of the colony to independence. As a result of his vote, friend, neighbors and even relatives turned against him. By early 1777, he became extremely ill, suspected to be tuberculosis. As he lay dying, he predicted that one day, people would realize that his voting for independence was “the most glorious service I have ever rendered my country.” John Morton was the first of the 56 signers to die, passing away at his birthplace on April 1, 1777.
Declaration of Independence Signer. Born in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, his father died before he was born. When he was about seven years old, his mother remarried. John attended formal school only for about 3 months; most of his education he learned from his step-father, who taught him many subjects, including law and surveying. John Morton would grow up to become a farmer, a surveyor, lawyer, and judge. He married Ann Justis, and they would have five daughters and four sons. Morton began his political career in 1756 as a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly, serving in the Assembly for 17 years. He was one of four Pennsylvania delegates to the Stamp Act Congress in 1765. In 1774, he was elected as a delegate to the First Continental Congress, and the following year, to the Second Continental Congress. Although most Pennsylvanians in his home area were Loyalists, Morton favored independence. Of the seven Pennsylvania delegates to vote for independence on July 2, 1776, two voted against it, two voted for it, and two did not vote, leaving the decision to John Morton. His decision to vote for independence swung the decision of the colony to independence. As a result of his vote, friend, neighbors and even relatives turned against him. By early 1777, he became extremely ill, suspected to be tuberculosis. As he lay dying, he predicted that one day, people would realize that his voting for independence was “the most glorious service I have ever rendered my country.” John Morton was the first of the 56 signers to die, passing away at his birthplace on April 1, 1777.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson


Inscription

The inscription on the west side of the monument reads:
Dedicated to the memory of John Morton, A member of the First American Congress from the State of Pennsylvania, Assembled in New York in 1765, and of the next Congress, assembled in Philadelphia in 1774. Born A.D., 1724 - Died April 1777.

The inscription of the east side of the monument reads:
In voting by States upon the question of the Independence of the American Colonies, there was a tie until the vote of Pennsylvania was given, two members of which voted in the affirmative, and two in the negative. The tie continued until the vote of the last member, John Morton, decided the promulgation of the Glorious Diploma of American Freedom.

The inscription on the south side of the monument reads:
In 1775, while speaker of the Assembly of Pennsylvania, John Morton was elected a Member of Congress, and in the ever memorable session of 1776, he attended that august body for the last time, establishing his name in the grateful remembrance of the American People by signing the Declaration of Independence.

The inscription on the north side of the monument reads:
John Morton being censured by his friends for his boldness in giving his casting vote for the Declaration of Independence, his prophetic spirit dictated from his death bed the following message to them: 'Tell them they shall live to see the hour when they shall acknowledge it to have been the most glorious service I ever rendered to my country.

Gravesite Details

Morton's grave was unmarked until his Morton descendants erected the obelisk monument in October 1845.



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: Apr 25, 1998
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID:
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/2781/john-morton: accessed ), memorial page for John Morton (10 Mar 1724–1 Apr 1777), Find a Grave Memorial ID 2781, citing Saint Paul's Episcopal Church Burying Ground, Chester, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, USA; Maintained by Find a Grave.