George Taylor

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Taylor, George, one of the signers of the American Declaration of Independence, was born in Ireland in 1716. At an early age he was placed with a physician to study medicine, but not liking the profession he ran away from home without consulting his friends. Finding a vessel ready to sail for Philadelphia, he entered as a "redemptioner" — one who sailed on the chance of having his passage paid at the port of arrival by some person to whom he would mortgage his services. He was redeemed by a Mr. Savage of Durham, Pennsylvania, owner of some ironworks, who employed him as a worker in his smelting house. Resolute, and ambitious of gaining the approbation of all around him, he persevered without complaint, through the unwonted toil imposed on him, until Mr. Savage discovered his intelligence, education, and talents, and made him a clerk in his office. There he was soon esteemed for his correct, deportment, and admired for clearness of perception and soundness of judgment.

After the death of Mr. Savage he married his widow, and thus became sole owner of a large property. He was elected, in 1764, to the "Provincial Assembly at Philadelphia, and for five years took a prominent part in its deliberations. He was afterwards made judge of the County Court and colonel of militia. In 1775 he was again returned to the Assembly, became one of the Committee of Safety, the virtual executive, and continued to exercise a powerful and salutary influence until the summer of 1776, when he became a member of the Continental Congress, and endorsed with his signature to the Declaration of Independence, the principles of liberty he had so boldly advocated. In the spring of 1777, after having successfully negotiated a treaty with some of the Indian tribes, he retired from Congress and from public life to Delaware, where he died 23rd February 1781, aged about 65.

Sources

37a. Biographical Dictionary—American Biography: Francis S. Drake. Boston, 1876.

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