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 Roger Sherman

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Roger Sherman

  • Birth 19 Apr 1721 Newton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Death 23 Jul 1793 New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut, USA
  • Burial New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut, USA
  • Memorial ID 950

Signer of the Declaration of Independence from Connecticut. He is also the only man to sign all four founding documents of the United States: the Articles of Association (1774), the Declaration of Independence (1776), the Articles of Confederation (1777), and the Constitution of the United States (1787). Born in Newton, Massachusetts, near Boston, to a poor farming family. To help earn additional money, his father also made shoes, and young Roger was taught the shoe making trade. In 1743, when he was 19 years old, Roger’s father died, and the Shermans moved to New Milford, Connecticut, where his older brother lived. For a time, Roger continued to farm and to make shoes. He also studied to become a surveyor, and at age 24, he was appointed surveyor of New Haven County, Connecticut. Roger would later run a country store, become a lawyer, and serve as a legislator and judge. Once he was established in Connecticut, he married Elizabeth Hartwell, his sweetheart from Massachusetts; they would have seven children before Elizabeth died at the age of 34. Roger then married Rebecca Prescott, with whom he had eight more children. He served as judge of the Connecticut Superior Court from 1766 to 1789. In 1774, he was sent to the First Continental Congress. At first, many delegates laughed at his rough, home made clothing and lack of a wig (all gentlemen wore wigs in those days), but it was his words that won him the respect of his fellow delegates. He was among the first patriot leaders to deny the supremacy of the British Parliament over the colonies. He became influential in the Continental Congresses, where John Adams said of him, “Sherman is as firm in the cause of American Independence as Mount Atlas.” He served on the committee to write the Declaration, and although his words did not go into the document, his views did. Sherman’s greatest service to his country came several years later, at the drafting of the US Constitution. During the Constitutional Convention of 1787, he presented the Connecticut Compromise, a proposal that resolved the major differences between the large states and the small states on representation in the national legislature – that each state would have a representative based upon its population, and an equal number of senators. It was this compromise that helped to get all of the states to agree on a constitution, and for this reason, Connecticut is called “the Constitution State.” Sherman served in the US Congress as Representative from Connecticut from 1789 to 1791, and as a Senator from 1791 until his death in 1793, at the age of 72. A quiet, self-assuming and honest man, he is considered one of the pillars of the Revolution and of the founding of United States democracy.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 950
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Roger Sherman (19 Apr 1721–23 Jul 1793), Find A Grave Memorial no. 950, citing Grove Street Cemetery, New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .