Granite State Stories: William Whipple signs his name

  • Engraving of William Whipple (1730-85), an influential political figure of the Revolutionary era. Courtesy of the N.H. Historical Society

Published: 6/22/2018 3:50:38 PM

William Whipple was one of three signers of the Declaration of Independence from New Hampshire, along with Josiah Bartlett and Matthew Thornton.

A native of the Portsmouth area, Whipple made his fortune as a merchant and ship captain, transporting rum and, on occasion, enslaved people.

He served as a member of New Hampshire’s Provincial Congress and the Committee of Safety in the early months of the American Revolution before being appointed to the Second Continental Congress. In the Congress, he expressed exasperation at the lack of national spirit among the delegates and became an outspoken opponent of slavery, eventually freeing his own slaves.

Whipple signed the Declaration at the same time many of the other signatories did – on Aug. 2, 1776.

During the Revolutionary War, he was a brigadier general in the New Hampshire militia, commanding contingents in the Saratoga and Rhode Island campaigns.

N.H. Historical Society




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