John Penn Signer of the Declaration of Independence

Many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence have been victims of neglect and distortion, their contributions either ignored or buried under the garble of political bias. Such has been the case of John Penn, a nephew of Edmund Pendleton, under whose tutelage he became one of those men who risked hanging to sign his name to a document which became the future hope of a nation and democracy. The success of such men has crept into the shadow of time but their courage and personal sacrifices remain an eternal beacon of hope for mankind everywhere.
For many people the name John Penn falls on deaf ears. They don’t know who he was or what he accomplished. Some even confuse him with another John Penn, the grandson of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania. Lest people lose sight of North Carolina’s John Penn, it is necessary to keep in mind several of his accomplishments:
(1) He served in the Continental Congress for six years
(2) He signed the Declaration of Independence
(3) He signed the Articles of Confederation
(4) He signed the Halifax Resolves (the North Carolina Constitution)
(5) He was virtual dictator of North Carolina at what arguably was the turning point of the American Revolution in 1781-1782
John Penn was born on May 17, 1741, at Port Royal, Caroline County, Virginia, the only child of Moses Penn and Catherine (Taylor) Penn.


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