Charles Thomson

Thomson, Charles, LL.D., Secretary of the United States Congress during the Revolutionary War, was born at Maghera, in the County of Londonderry, 29th November 1729. In 1741 he and three sisters landed penniless at Newcastle, Delaware. He was educated by Dr. Allison, and became teacher in a school belonging to the Society of Friends. He early enjoyed the friendship of Benjamin Franklin. In 1758 he was sent to treat with the Indians at Oswego. The Delaware tribe adopted him, and conferred on him an Indian name signifying "One who speaks truth." He consistently espoused the cause of the Revolution, and his services as Secretary of the Continental Congress from 1774 to the organization of the government under the Federal Constitution in 1789, were highly esteemed. He made copious notes of the proceedings of Congress and the progress of the Revolution; and after retiring from public life prepared a history of his own times. But his goodness of heart would not permit him to publish it, and a short time before his death he destroyed the manuscript, giving as a reason that he was unwilling to blast the reputation of families rising into repute, by placing on record the want of patriotism of their progenitors during the war. He was a good classical scholar, and was the author of a Harmony of the Gospels, a translation of the Old and New Testaments, and an Inquiry into the cause of the Alienation of the Delaware and Shawnee Indians. He died in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 16th August 1824, aged 94.


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

40a. Biographical Dictionary—Lossing's Field-book of the American Revolution. 2 vols, 1852.