John WITHERSPOON, Congress, NJ (1723-1794)


WITHERSPOON, John, a Delegate from New Jersey; born in Gifford, Haddingtonshire, Scotland, February 5, 1723; completed preparatory studies; was graduated from Edinburgh University in 1739; studied theology at Edinburgh; was licensed in 1743 and ordained minister of the parish of Beith in 1745; was the author of various religious pamphlets; installed pastor at Paisley June 16, 1757; moderator of the synod of Glasgow and Ayr in 1758; became president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1768; member of the committee on correspondence from Somerset County July 28, 1775; member of the Provincial Congress of New Jersey from June 10 to June 22, 1776; Member of the Continental Congress from 1776-1782; a signer of the Declaration of Independence; member of the secret committee of the Congress on the conduct of the war and member of the board of war in 1778; member of the State council in 1780; drafted the instructions of June 1781 to the American peace commissioners; served in the State general assembly in 1783 and 1789; member of the State ratification convention in 1787; after the war returned to Princeton, where he continued his duties as president; died on his farm near Princeton, N.J., November 15, 1794; interment in the Princeton Cemetery, Princeton, N.J.


Collins, Varnum Lansing. President Witherspoon, A Biography. 2 vols. Princeton: Princeton University, 1925.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present