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John Adams served in the First Continental Congress in 1774 and helped draft the Declaration of Independence. Adams became the first vice president of the United States and the second president. He demonstrated his ability to be an independent thinker by representing the eight British soldiers accused of murdering five citizens in the Boston Massacre. Along with Ben Franklin and John Jay, he negotiated the Treaty of Paris. He also persuaded the Netherland to lend money to pay the national debt.
John Adams Birthplace was built around 1722 and where John Adams was born in the east room in 1735. It is now a part of the Adams National Historic Park and is open for guided tours.
The Old House at Peacefield was built in 1731 and became the residence of the Adams family for four generations from 1788 to 1927. It was home to Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams; First Ladies Abigail and Louisa Catherine Adams; Civil War Minister to Great Britain Charles Francis Adams; and literary historians Henry and Brooks Adams.
Samuel Adams (1722 - 1803)
Samuel Adams began his career as a tax collector in Boston. He drafted Boston’s response to the Stamp Act and delivered an oration at Faneuil Hall that led to the Boston Tea Party. He represented the state of MA in the Continental Congress and was elected governor of MA from 1794 until his retirement. Thomas Jefferson called Adams “the helmsman of the American Revolution.” He died in the morning of October 2, 1803 and is buried at Granary Burial Ground in Boston.
Adams house no longer exists but a marker can be found where the house once stood. The original plaque placed by the Sons of the Revolution in 1893 appears to be missing. Another plaque has been placed about 15 feet from the first plaque and facing Winter Street.
Josiah Bartlett started his career as a physician and later became active in colonial politics. He served in the legislature from 1765 – 1775 when he became a member of the Continental Congress. He was the first to vote for independence and the second to sign the Declaration. He was chosen as the Chief Justice of the state supreme court in 1788. And in 1790 he was elected as the Chief Executive of New Hampshire which was later changed to Governor. After serving for four years, he retired in 1794.
Josiah Bartlett’s house was built in 1774 as a replacement of his house destroyed by fire. The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1971. It remained in the family for seven generations but was put on the market in 2014 and has remained unsold.
Carter Braxton was elected to the Virginia Convention. After the death of Peter Randolph, he was elected to take his place in the Continental Congress. He was a wealthy man and slaveholder who invested most of his money in the war for independence. He funded the shipping and privateering but was censured by Congress after seizing a neutral Portuguese ship. Most of his land and property was destroyed by the British and as a result, he accumulated much debt from it. began a successful political career and was elected to the Virginia Convention.
Braxton was born in Newington, Virginia. In 1758, he bought Elsing Green and lived there until 1767. The original interior was destroyed by a fire 1800. The property is maintained as an operating plantation and a wildlife refuge.
Charles Carroll missed the vote on independence but signed the final draft of the Declaration of Independence, becoming the only Catholic to do so. While a member of the Maryland state Senate, he also held a seat in the U.S. Senate. He resigned from his post as State senate after Maryland passed a law disqualifying the members of the State senate who held seats in Congress. He retired to private life in 1800. At the time of his death in 1832, he was the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence.
The Charles Carroll House has been a prominent structure in Annapolis for over three centuries and was home to three generations of Carrolls. The garden boasts of a geometrically-planned landscape charged with social and cultural meanings. The four-storey house we see today was constructed in 1790 to accommodate Carroll's growing family. Today, the house is a restoration-in-progress and is open to the public for tours.
Prior to becoming a Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Chase served in the Maryland General Assembly for 20 years. He was appointed to the Supreme Court by George Washington. In 1804, he was impeached by the House of Representatives due to his partisan bias. He was eventually acquitted by the Senate in 1805 and remains the only Supreme Court judge ever impeached. Chase stayed on the Supreme Court until his death in 1811.
The Samuel Chase House was built in 1715 and features a transition between First Period and Georgian styling and construction methods.
The Chase-Lloyd House was constructed by Chase in 1769 when he was only 25 years old before his wealth ran out. However, he had to sell the unfinished mansion to the wealthy plantation-owner, Edward Lloyd IV. The house was sold back to the descendants of Chase and in 1888, the house was bequeathed for use as a home for elderly women. It continues in this use today.
Abraham Clark earned the reputation of “the poor man’s counselor” for his refusal to accept payments for legal advice. He served the Crown for years as a clerk and as high sheriff. He was elected to the Provincial Congress in 1775 and was the delegate of New Jersey in the Second Continental Congress. He retired from public service in 1794 and died of sunstroke that September.
The original Clark house was located near the colonial Wheatsheaf Road, now Crane Street. The house burned down at the beginning of the 20th century. A replica of the house was built in 1941 in the land once owned by Clark at Roselle, New Jersey. It houses a small museum and serves as a headquarters for SAR and DAR meetings.
George Clymer was orphaned as an infant and adopted by an uncle, William Coleman, a wealthy Philadelphia merchant, and friend of Benjamin Franklin. He was made a City Councilman, City Alderman, appointed joint treasurer of the Continental Congress, served as a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly and later as a member of the Constitutional Convention. Clymer was a patriot and leader in the demonstrations in Philadelphia resulting from the Tea Act and the Stamp Act. After retiring from public life, Clymer served as the President of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and also of the Pennsylvania Bank.
Summerseat is the only house known to be owned by two signers of the Declaration of Independence, George Clymer and Robert Morris. It was used as headquarters of General George Washington during the Revolutionary War.
William Ellery (1727 - 1820)
William Ellery searched for the right career for many years. At the age of 43, he finally found his calling as a lawyer. He played an active role in the Rhode Island Sons of Liberty, and was sent to the Continental Congress in 1776 as a replacement to Samuel Ward who had died. He was an advocate for the abolition of slavery and was the first customs Collector of the port of Newport, under the provisions of the Federal Constitution, where he served until his death in February of 1820.
Ellery's house no longer exists but a commemorative plaque is placed where it once stood - across the street from William Ellery Park which is the site of the Tree of Liberty.
William Floyd was born to a wealthy family in Long Island, New York. His father died early and as a result, he had to take over their estate at a young age. He was a member of the Suffolk County Militia in the early conflict with Britain, attaining the rank of Major General. In 1774 he was chosen to represent New York in the first Continental Congress. He was then elected to the 1st Congress under the new Constitution, serving until 1791. In 1792 he served as a presidential elector, voting for the re-election of George Washington. He was called to the service of his state as a Senator in 1803. After serving his term he retired to his true passion, farming.
Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston on January 17, 1706. He made a major contribution in drafting the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. He negotiated the 1783 Treaty of Paris, which ended the Revolutionary War. A known polymath, Franklin was a printer, a writer known for his wit and wisdom, and the publisher of Poor Richard’s Almanack. He also pursued investigations into electricity, mathematics, mapmaking, invented bifocal glasses, and organized the first successful American lending library.
Franklin was born in Boston in what was known as the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was a small house on 17 Milk Street, located across the street from the Old Meeting House. The original house was destroyed by fire in 1811. On the facade of the current building a bust of Franklin was erected with the inscription, “Birthplace of Franklin”
Franklin Court was the site of the house Franklin built in 1763. It was demolished in 1812 with plans of transforming it into a commercial property. The lot was purchased in the 1950’s by the Park Service. It now contains a “ghost structure” where Franklin’s house once stood and a museum showcasing his life and character through archeological and architectural exhibits.
The house in London served as Franklin’s residence from 1757-1775 while he served as a diplomat prior to the revolution. It is now a museum.
The term “gerrymandering” or the division of electoral districts for political gain is associated with Elbridge Gerry. He was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 1810 and became Vice President under James Madison. Gerry supported the War of 1812 and died while in office.
Elbridge Gerry House was the birthplace of Gerry and was built between 1730 and 1742. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973.
Gwinnett was born in Gloucestershire, England in 1735. He came to Georgia in 1765 and acquired a store in Savannah. He later purchased St. Catherine’s Island in Saint John’s Parish (now Liberty County). He moved to the island and engaged in farming and cattle raising. He was a member of the Continental Congress, Speaker of the Assembly, and President of the Executive Council. He also was a member of the Convention that met in Savannah in October 1776, in which he played a prominent part in drafting the first Constitution of the State of Georgia. On May 16, 1777, Mr. Gwinnett was mortally wounded in a duel on the outskirts of Savannah with Gen. Lachlan McIntosh. He passed away a few days later on May 19.
John Hancock was a wealthy merchant and businessman. He became the second president of the Continental Congress and was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence. He was elected the first governor of Massachusetts and served until his death in 1793.
Hancock Manor was built in 1737, and torn down in 1863, to make way for a new wing of the State House. This is one of the precursors that lead to the preservation movement in Boston.A replica of the Hancock Manor was erected in 1926 as a gift to The New York State Historical Association (NYSHA) from native son and philanthropist Horace Moses.
Stephen Hopkins was a self-educated man who quickly climbed the ranks from moderator of the first town meeting of Scituate until he became Governor of Rhode Island and elected nine times throughout his lifetime.
The Stephen Hopkins House was built in 1707 & 1743 and was home to Stephen Hopkins, his family, and their slaves for 4 decades.
Thomas Jefferson authored the Declaration of Independence and championed the Bill of Rights. He was the first Secretary of State under Washington, vice president under Adams and was the third president of the United States.
Shadwell was the birthplace of Jefferson and the main plantation of his father, Peter Jefferson. The original house was destroyed by fire in February of 1770.
Jefferson designed and redesigned, built and rebuilt Monticello for over forty years. Jefferson calls it his “essay in architecture.” It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
Jefferson and his wife inherited Poplar Forest from his father-in-law in 1773. This is where his family went to elude British capture and where he compiled much of the material for his only book, Notes on the State of Virginia. Today, archaeological discovery and research is conducted to uncover new knowledge about Thomas Jefferson and its community.
Francis Lightfoot Lee is the brother of Richard Henry Lee. He was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses, in 1765 where he served until 1775. He was a noted radical, on the side of Patrick Henry in opposing the Stamp Act. He Joined the group who called for a general congress and a Virginia Convention in 1774. He attended that convention and that year was sent to the first Continental Congress. He represented his state there until 1779, working on numerous committees. He retired from the Congress in 1779 and returned to his home. He served for a while in the Virginia Senate and then retired to private life. He died in 1797.
Richard Henry Lee was known by contemporaries as the "Cicero" of the American Revolution. He was a politician and planter from Virginia. He co-authored the Westmoreland Resolves which is one of the first deliberate acts of sedition against the Crown. He was president of the Continental Congress from 1784 - 1787.
Stratford Hall was the residence of four generations of the Lee family and their slaves. In 1929, a group of women joined together to form the Robert E. Lee Memorial Association who restored the house and opened it to the public as a historic house museum.
Francis Lewis (1713 - 1802) House site in Whitestone, New York
Francis was born in Wales and moved to Whitestone, New York in 1734. He was taken prisoner while serving as a British mercantile agent in 1756 and sent to France for imprisonment. On his return to America, he became active in politics serving as a member of the New York Provincial Congress, and was later elected as a delegate to the NY Continental Congress in 1775. His mansion was destroyed by the British the following year, aware he supported the patriots’ cause while his wife was captured by the British and was treated harshly.
Phillip Livingston (1716-1778) House site in Brooklyn, New York
Philip Livingston believed in the importance of public service. He supported many organizations and causes important to his colony’s development including King’s College (later Columbia University), the New York Society Library, the New York Chamber of Commerce, and New York Hospital. In a decade of service which included membership in the colonial legislature, he was a proponent of political and religious freedom. He believed in dignified protests and disapproved of the violent tactics of such groups as the Sons of Liberty. Between 1774 and 1778, he divided his time between Congress and the New York legislature.
Both his home in New York City and his home in Brooklyn Heights were overrun and damaged by the British.
Lyman Hall was a physician who practiced in Charleston, South Carolina. He bought land in Georgia in 1760 and established a plantation there. In 1774, he earned the attention of the Royal Governor, James Wright and secured election to the Continental Congress, where he was involved in provisioning food and medicine for the Revolutionary Armies. He was reelected to Congress through 1780. He was elected to the House of Assembly in 1783 and then elevated to the office of the Governor. After a single year as Governor, he served one more year in the Assembly, then a year as a judge. He then returned to private life and was involved in the continued development of agriculture in the state.
Thomas McKean (1734 - 1817) House site in New London, Pennsylvania
Thomas McKean was one of the most influential member of the Stamp Act Congress. He proposed the one colony, one vote system under the Articles of Confederation. He served as interim president of the state of Delaware and Chief Justice of Pennsylvania concurrently. He also served as the president of the United States under the Articles of Confederation for a brief time. McKean became governor of Pennsylvania until his death in 1817.
Lewis Morris was a fierce proponent of American independence, reportedly said, "Damn the consequences, give me the pen" right before signing the Declaration of Independence. He was appointed by the Crown to a judgeship of the Admiralty Court. He later resigned and became active in the New York Convention. He also served as brigadier-general in the New York militia and was often torn between his duties in congress and those to the defense of his own colony. He was later succeeded in congress by his brother, Gouverneur Morris.
Morrisania was a 2,000-acre estate owned by the Morris family. Today, the name is associated with the village of Morrisania, a small portion of the original Morrisania. It is mostly a low-income residential neighborhood geographically located in the southwestern Bronx.
Robert Morris is known as the “Financier of the Revolution.” He was a shrewd businessman and one of the most wealthy and powerful men in Philadelphia. He represented PA in the Continental Congress and opted not to vote for independence, hoping instead for a peaceful resolution. He did support the revolution once it began. He was one of only two men to sign all three seminal founding documents: Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, & US Constitution
The President's House, the home that George Washington and John Adams's resided in prior to construction of The White House, originally belonged to Morris. He moved next door so Washington could live there. Today, it's an open-air exhibit that shows the outline of the original buildings and allows visitors to view the remaining foundations and artifacts.
Little is known about Morton's childhood, but as an adult, he held various posts and was among the most respected statesmen in Colonial America. He was a member of Pennsylvania's Provincial Assembly for nearly three decades and was elected as President of the assembly in 1775. He also held positions as Justice of the Peace, High Sheriff, Presiding Judge of the General Court and the Court of Common Pleas.
Robert Treat Paine led a full life and was involved in politics, government, law, business, theology, clergy, and education. He held a prominent role in the Olive Branch Petition, helped frame the rules of debate, acquired gunpowder for the American Revolutionary War, and served as justice of the Supreme Court before retiring.
Stonehurst was designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted completed in 1886. The Paine family continued to occupy the house until the mid-1960s until it was donated to the city of Waltham in 1974.
George Read was an Attorney-general in three counties before he resigned his post to represent Delaware in the first Continental Congress. He became a member of the Constitutional Convention in Delaware and served as president of the committee that drafted the document. He became acting governor after the capture of Gov. John McKinley, was appointed Judge in Court of Appeals, elected twice as State Senator and was later appointed as Chief Justice where he served until his death in 1798.
The George Read House was built in the 1730 ’s and is one of the oldest houses in Old New Castle. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973.
Caesar Rodney (1728 - 1784) House site in Kent County, Delaware
Caesar Rodney was a brigadier general of Delaware militia. He was the speaker of the Delaware House of Assembly, represented the state in the Continental Congress and was elected governor in 1778. He was called away from Second Continental Congress to investigate potential riots by loyalists and was still away as the vote for independence approached. One remaining DE delegate voted for independence, the other opposed so, in order for the vote to be unanimous amongst the colonies, DE needed to vote in favor. Rodney road 80 miles throughout the night back to Philly so that he could cast his vote in favor of independence, thereby avoiding any dissent in the vote among the colonies. This prevented the legitimacy of the decision from being questioned.
Rodney's home used to be situated across John Dickinson's Plantation. Today, only a field remains there.
George Ross (1730 - 1779) House site in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
George Ross was first opposed to the Patriot movement but his views began to change at the Provincial Legislature after he saw the unfair treatment of the British. He was then elected in the Continental Congress while serving as a colonel in the militia. In 1777, his health began to falter and he resigned from his post. We was then appointed to the Pennsylvania Court of Admirality but died while in office.
Benjamin Rush (1745 - 1813) House site in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Benjamin Rush is known as the “Father of American Psychiatry” for his groundbreaking observations about "diseases of the mind." He became the first professor of chemistry in America and was the surgeon general of the Middle Department of the army. Outside of medicine, Rush delved into publishing and helped organize the first anti-slavery society in America, the Pennyslvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage.
The Benjamin Rush Birthplace in Red Lion Road, Philadelphia was built in 1690 and over the next several years, portions have been added to it. It was accidentally destroyed by a bulldozer in February 1969.
Roger Sherman came from humble origins. He was the son of a cobbler and followed his father’s footsteps. He later studied law, became a judge and had a long career in government. He is one of only two men to sign all three seminal founding documents: Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, & US Constitution. Along with Oliver Ellsworth, proposed the Great Compromise, which called for a two-part legislature. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate and also served as the mayor of New Haven.
Roger Sherman lived in New Milford before moving to New Haven in 1761. Today, there is a marker in the building where his house once stood.
James Smith (1719 - 1806)
James Smith was born in Ireland and emigrated to Cheshire County in Pennsylvania in his adolescence. In a provincial assembly in 1774, he wrote an essay called "Essay on the Constitutional Power of Great Britain over the Colonies in America" which promotes the boycott of British goods, and a General Congress of the Colonies. Little is know about his work because his office and papers were destroyed by fire shortly before he died.
Thomas Stone was born into a wealthy family but never took this privilege for granted. He was a lawyer and a planter. He served as a delegate from Maryland in the Continental Congress, was part of the committee that drafted the Articles of Confederation and became state Senator. After his wife became ill from the effects of mercury contained in a smallpox vaccine, Stone watched over her with devotion until her death. Afterwards, Stone’s health declined and four months later, he succumbed to his own death.
The Thomas Stone National Historic Site, or Habre de Venture, was built in 1771. Thomas and his family lived at Habre de Venture until they moved to Annapolis early in 1783. The home passed through five generations of Stone family descendants until it was sold in 1936. It remained in private hands until 1977 after a great fire destroyed most of the main block of the house. In 1978, the property was declared a national historic site. After restoration, the home was opened to the public in 1997.
George Taylor was born in Ireland and later immigrated to America, landing in Philadelphia in 1736. He was an ironmaster and later entered the public life serving as a justice of peace. He was elected to the provincial assembly for Pennsylvania in 1764 and served for five consecutive years. In 1776, he was appointed to the Continental Congress. The following year, Taylor was elected to the new Supreme Council of his state but he resigned after a few months due to ill health.
Matthew Thornton was a physician and legislator. He was a man of principles who believed that freedom is everyone’s birth right. He was selected to serve as surgeon for the New Hampshire militia during the King George’s War. He became President of the New Hampshire Provincial Congress and served as the president of the five member committee that drafted the first state constitution that America was to adopt on her independence.
The Matthew Thornton House was home to Thornton from 1740 to 1779. In 1780, he moved to Merrimack where he lived until he died in 1803.
At the formation of the Georgia provincial Congress, Walton was elected Secretary and made President of the Council of Safety. In 1776 he was elected to the Continental Congress, where he signed the Declaration of Independence. He spent many of the following years engaged in the defense of his state, and in a messy political battle with Button Gwinnett, another signer from Georgia. Political conflict colored all of Walton's career and was dispatched from office on several occasions. He held many positions in government and retired to farming after he was not reelected in the Senate.
William Whipple who was one of 3 signers of the Declaration of Independence from NH. He also fought as a Brigadier General for the First Brigade of the NH Militia in the American Revolution, leading battles in Bennington and Saratoga. His slave, Prince Whipple, traveled with Whipple to Philadelphia for the drafting of the Declaration and went to battle with him as well. Prince was one of 20 enslaved black men who wrote and signed the Petition of Freedom asking the NH legislature for their freedom. They were denied but Whipple did free Print in 1781.
The Moffatt-Ladd House and Garden, built in 1763 and was home to three families. It is a National Historic Landmark and has been open to the public as a historic house museum since 1912. It is open to the public from June to October for guided tours.
James Wilson was born in Scotland and immigrated to the US in 1765. He studied law under John Dickinson. A great orator, he delivered a speech at Constitutional Convention on behalf of Ben Franklin. He delivered more speeches at the convention than anyone, save for Gouverneur Morris. He represented Pennsylvania and signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He became a Supreme Court associate justice. Later, he spent time in debtors' prison due to failures in land speculation and died penniless.
Fort Wilson is infamous for the Fort Wilson Riot. In October 1779, the house was attacked by an angry mob because Wilson defended the right of Philadelphian loyalists to hold private property. In the fighting that ensued, six died, and 17 to 19 were wounded.
Wythe became a delegate to the Continental Congress and was the last of seven VA delegates to sign the Declaration of Independence in 1776. He was best known for his work as an early American judge and law professor to future presidents. some his students included James Monroe, John Marshall, and Henry Clay. He is referred to the "godfather of the Declaration of Independence" for his role in shaping some of the finest minds in American history. He met an untimely death when he was allegedly poisoned by his grandnephew, George Wythe Sweeney.
The George Wythe house was built in 1753 and given as a gift from George Wythe’s father in law. The house served as General Washingtons' headquarters before the Battle of Yorktown. The house saw several subsequent owners until 1938 when Colonial Williamsburg officially obtained the property and restored the interior to the form and appearance the Wythe family would have known.
William Paca was appointed to the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1779. He was then appointed as Chief Justice of the State of Maryland and eventually became the third governor of that state in 1782. Paca also served as federal district judge for the State of Maryland from 1789, until his death in 1799.
The William Paca House was built in the 1760s by William Paca. He sold it in 1780 and the house became a rental property for much of the 19th century and was converted into a hotel in 1901 named Carvel Hall. After the hotel shut its doors, the house was restored by Historic Annapolis in 1965. It is now recognized as a National Historic Landmark and one of the finest 18th-century homes in the country.
Suggested by Kellie Hendley and Eric Paddock
We are working to add the remaining signers
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