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Karen Palumbo

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Blogs by Karen Palumbo

On This Day 6/24/1803
6/24/2011 5:21:34 PM

New Hampshire Patriot Matthew Thornton dies



Matthew Thornton, one of New Hampshire's delegates to the Second Continental Congress and an ex post facto signer of the "Declaration of Independence", dies at age eighty-nine, while visiting his daughter in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Born in Ireland in 1714, Matthew Thornton immigrated as a child to Wiscasset, in the Massachusetts territory that is now the state of Maine. Matthew Thornton was educated in Worcester, Massachusetts and began a medical practice in Londonderry, New Hampshire in 1740.

In 1745, Matthew Thornton, MD traveled with the New Hampshire militia in the successful seizure of Fort Louisbourg, in what is now Nova Scotia from the French. Matthew Thornton's success as a medical physician allowed him to purchase significant land holdings in Londonderry, New Hampshire and he established himself among the political elite of the community, serving as Justice of the Peace, and a member of the Provincial Assembly.

In 1760, he married Hannah Jack, the eighteen year old daughter of fellow Scotch-Irish Presbyterian. The couple had five children of whom four survived until adulthood. In 1775, Matthew Thornton became the first President of the Provincial Assembly and Chairman of the Committee of Safety, as relations between Great Britain and its American colonies deteriorated.

Matthew Thornton penned the document that would serve as New Hampshire's first State Constitution. In 1776, Matthew Thornton was elected to the Second Continental Congress. Because he did not arrive in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania until September, he missed the debates and initial approval of the "Declaration of Independence", but later added his signature to the document.

Upon Matthew Thornton's return to New Hampshire, he became a High Judge and Colonel in the militia. In 1779, he moved to Exeter, where he served the new state in the Assembly and Senate, before retiring to a farm in Merrimack ten years later.



(K) (HST)

Matthew Thornton American Patriot
Hanna Jack Thornton Wife of Matthew Thornton


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