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George Ross

George Ross was a delegate to the Second Continental Congress from Pennsylvania and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He along with Benjamin Franklin served Pennsylvania.

  • George RossHe was born in New Castle, Delaware on May 10, 1730. Like many in the 18th century he received his education at home which developed a self-discipline that would serve him the rest of his life. After receiving his early-education, Ross went on to study law at his brother’s practice and was admitted to the bar a couple years later.
  • After his admission to the bar, Ross became a rising star among the British legislatures in Pennsylvania.
  • He faithfully served as Crown Prosecutor for 12 years and would be elected to the provincial legislature in 1768. It would be here that Ross, a loyal Tory, would begin to sympathize with the colonial rebellion.
  • He became a passionate supporter for the patriot cause. He served on the Committee of Safety and was elected to the Continental Congress.
  • He also served as a colonel in the Pennsylvania militia from 1775 – 1776. Ross also served as the vice president of the first Constitutional Convention and was a signer of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
  • He would be forced to retire from the Congress in 1777 due to health problems.
  • He was elected to Continental Congress in 1774, 1776, 1777. He was a Colonel in the Continental Army in 1776.
  • In 1776, he undertook negotiations with the northwestern Indians on behalf of his Colony and that year he acted as vice president of the State constitutional convention, which led to Ross drafting a declaration of rights.
  • George Ross was re-elected to the Continental Congress again in January 1777 but resigned that same year because of poor health. He was vice president of the Pennsylvania constitutional convention and was the Judge of the Admiralty Court of Pennsylvania in 1779. In 1778, while he was acting as admiralty judge, a congressional court of appeals overruled his decision in a case involving a dispute between a citizen of Connecticut and the state of Pennsylvania.
  • He refused to acknowledge the authority of the higher court to counter State decisions, which initiated a dispute between manifestation of the states’ rights controversy and did not subside until 1809.
  • George Ross died in office at the age of 49. He would never see America gain its Independence from Great Britain, but nevertheless was an important vote for independence during the convention.

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