Ross, George, 1730-1779

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George Ross (1730-1779) was a lawyer, a member of the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly, vice-president of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention, a member of the First and Second Continental Congresses and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Ross was born in New Castle, Delaware, the son of the Anglican rector of Immanuel Church Rev. George Ross and his wife Catherine Van Gezel. He received a sound private classical education at home. He read the Law in his brother John’s law firm and was admitted to the bar in Philadelphia at the age of twenty. Afterward, he moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to set up a law practice in 1751. Also, in 1751 he married Ann Lawler, with whom he had three children. He served as the king’s prosecutor from 1756-1768, and as an assemblyman in the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly from 1768-1775. Although originally a moderate in the controversy engendered by the new colonial trade regulations and taxes after the French and Indian War, the events of the Boston Tea Party and passage of the Coercive Acts pushed Ross into the Whig camp of those seeking American independence from Great Britain. Ross was elected to the Pennsylvania Provincial Conference on July 15, 1774 and then to the First Continental Congress. In addition to his congressional service, he was appointed to the Pennsylvania Committee of Public Safety, as well as the Lancaster County Committee of Observation. As vice-president of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention of 1776, Ross helped to draft the Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights, but ended up opposing the Pennsylvania constitution of 1776, which he considered too radical. Another major source of conflict for Ross was the Pennsylvania Test Acts, from which he and other Republicans recoiled. As part of the Continental Congress, Ross participated in the debates on July 2-4, 1776 to amend Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence. Elected to the Second Continental Congress, Ross signed the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776. Ross was appointed judge of the Admiralty Court of Pennsylvania in March 1779, and presided over the important case of Olmsted et al. v. Rittenhouse’s Executors, which raised serious questions regarding the prerogatives of a state government and its courts in conflict with federal authorities. Ross died of gout in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1779.

From the guide to the Will of George Ross, July 10, 1779, (American Philosophical Society)

Ross was a Signer of the Declaration of Independence and a Continental Congressman from Pennsylvania.

From the description of ALS, 1746. : Extract from deed. (Copley Press, J S Copley Library). WorldCat record id: 13880688

From the description of ALS, 1766 May 10 : to Sir John St. Clair, Deputy Q. Master General, New York. (Copley Press, J S Copley Library). WorldCat record id: 13881052

1779 03 25.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : to his son George, 1779 Mar. 25. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270657682

At this time, George Ross was the Crown Prosecutor (attorney general) for Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Edward Shippen was a member of Philadelphia's common council.

From the description of Letter to Edward Shippen, 1756 March 12. (University of Pennsylvania Library). WorldCat record id: 155866494

George Ross was a Pennsylvania jurist who practiced at Lancaster. He served on the first and second Continental Congresses, was vice-president of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Committee of 1776, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He served in Congress and was a judge of the Admiralty Court of Pennsylvania.

From the description of George Ross receipt fragment, 1760 May 31. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 70122991

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Rosenbach, A. S. W. (Abraham Simon Wolf), 1876-1952,. Signers of the Declaration of Independence autograph collection, 1756-1818. Rosenbach Museum & Library
creatorOf McCasland, William, fl. 1769. Assignment, 1769 June 19, Philadelphia. Rosenbach Museum & Library
creatorOf Kountze, De Lancey, d. 1946,. Petition, 1775 Jan. 16. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn Henry A. Willard II Collection, 1743-1888, (bulk 1770-1840) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Will of George Ross, July 10, 1779 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Ross, George, 1730-1779. Autograph letter signed : to John, 1768 Jan. 14. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Ross, George, 1730-1779. Autograph testimony signed, 1779 Jan. 6. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Ross, George, 1730-1779. ALS, 1746. : Extract from deed. Copley Press, J S Copley Library
creatorOf Ross, George, 1730-1779. George Ross receipt fragment, 1760 May 31. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
creatorOf Forbes, John, 1707-1759. Papers of John Forbes [manuscript], 1755-1759. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Read, John Meredith, 1837-1896. Letters : Albany, N.Y., Philadelphia, New York, Newport, R.I., and Paris, to Samuel Sartain, 1865-1896. Bryn Mawr College, Mariam Coffin Canaday Library
referencedIn Read family. Manuscripts, 1716-1872. Historical Society of Pennsylvania
creatorOf Ross, George, 1730-1779. Autograph letter signed : to his son George, 1779 Mar. 25. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Butler, Charles, 1750-1832,. Sidney F. Parham autograph collection, ca. 1662-1886. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Ross, George, 1730-1779. ALS, 1766 May 10 : to Sir John St. Clair, Deputy Q. Master General, New York. Copley Press, J S Copley Library
referencedIn Hooper, William, 1742-1790. ALS, 1777 February 1, Baltimore, to Robert Morris. Copley Press, J S Copley Library
referencedIn Frederick M. Dearborn collection of military and political Americana, Part I: The Revolution and the Administration, 1669-1958. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Read, George, 1733-1798. Clymer-Meredith-Read family papers, 1675-1902, bulk (1760s-1850s). Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Ross, George, 1730-1779. Autograph document, signed, Term of [17]56 Jul. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Pennsylvania. Constitutional Convention (1776). Order, 1776 Aug. 12, Philadelphia, to the Council of Safety. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn Willard, Henry A. (Henry Augustus), 1902-. Henry A. Willard II collection, 1743-1888 (bulk 1770-1840). Library of Congress
referencedIn Spring Forge (York County, Pa.). Ledger 1772-1773. Hagley Museum & Library
referencedIn Hamilton, James, 1752-1819. James Hamilton collection, 1733-1899. Historical Society of Pennsylvania
creatorOf Ross, George, 1730-1779. Autograph letter signed : Eliz. Town, to John ----, 1768 Jan. 14. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Ross, George, 1730-1779. Letter to Edward Shippen, 1756 March 12. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Letters and documents of signers of the Declaration of Independence, 1750-1933. Houghton Library.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Dearborn, Frederick M. (Frederick Myers), b. 1876 person
associatedWith Drummond, Joshua person
associatedWith Forbes, John, 1707-1759. person
associatedWith Hamilton, James, 1752-1819. person
associatedWith Hooper, William, 1742-1790. person
associatedWith Hubbard, John, collector. person
associatedWith McCasland, William, fl. 1769. person
associatedWith McNichols, Francis person
associatedWith Pennsylvania. Constitutional Convention (1776) corporateBody
associatedWith Read family. family
associatedWith Read, John Meredith, 1837-1896. person
associatedWith Rosenbach, A. S. W. (Abraham Simon Wolf), 1876-1952, person
associatedWith Shippen, Edward, 1729-1806, person
associatedWith Spring Forge (York County, Pa.). corporateBody
associatedWith St. Clair, John. person
associatedWith Torquson, James person
associatedWith Willard, Henry A. (Henry Augustus), 1902- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
United States
Subject
Deeds
Pennsylvania History
Money
Receipts (Acknowledgments)--Specimens
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1730-05-10

Death 1779-07-14

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