Signer of the US Constitution. Born near Trenton, New Jersey this young lawyer's outspoken passion concerning the independence of the American colonies led to him being arrested by British forces and charged with high treason. Before his trial, however, he was set free by a group of fellow-citizens. In 1776 he participated in New Jersey's convention to draft a new state constitution and joined the state militia where he participated in several Revolutionary War battles eventually achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel. In 1779, at the young age of thirty-four, he was appointed chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. He held that position for ten years presiding over several precedent setting cases. In 1787 he was sent to Philadelphia, as one of his state's delegates, to the convention convened to develop a new US constitution. He was an ardent supporter of fellow New Jersey delegate William Paterson and the "New Jersey Plan" developed by him which was designed to protect the rights of the smaller sates. Brearley also served on the committee which decided the term length and powers of the president. Sadly, the young lawyer did not get to see the fruition of his efforts mature. Three years after the convention, and shortly after being appointed a federal district judge, he died at the age of forty-five, prematurely ending his promising career in public service.
Bio by: Bigwoo
Sacred to the memory of the Hon. David Brearley, Lieutenant Colonel in the Army of the United States, a member of the state and federal conventions, nine years Chief-Justice of New Jersey. As a soldier, he was cool, determined and brave; as a judge, intelligent an upright; as a citizen, an early, decided, and faithful patriot; in private and social life, irreproachable. He died, much regretted, 16th of August, 1790, in the 45th year of his age.