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SENTRY JOURNAL » American Revolution, bank of philadelphia, Declaration of Independence, George Clymer, George Washington, united states constitution » Meet a Founding Father

Meet a Founding Father

by RightHandMan

George Clymer was born in Philadelphia in 1739. He came from a respectable family, but was orphaned at an early age. Young Clymer’s mother died when he was one, and his father, the captain of a ship, died when he was seven. He was left in the care of his maternal uncle William Coleman, a respectable citizen of Philadelphia.
Clymer was well educated by his uncle and showed to be a good student, curious and of clear mind. George never took to any of the learned professions but was well versed in the principles of law, history, and politics.

When George was twenty-seven he married the daughter of a Philadelphia man named Mr. Meredith. This family association would prove valuable. Mr. Meredith was generous and well meaning. At some point Mr. Meredith, when visiting a public house, ran into a man who occasioned to visit Philadelphia but knew little of the city. He inquired of the man and invited him to his house to enjoy the hospitalities of his home. This man turned out to be General George Washington. This accidental acquaintance led to a friendship of many years.

Mr. Clymer, meanwhile, was still young and ambitious. He lacked little foresight, hence, when the British enacted acts to tax the citizens of the colonies, George rallied for measures of defense. In 1773, he took part in a company of volunteers for the defense of the province which opposed the sale of tea in order to circumvent the indirect levying of Americans without their consent. Mr. Clymer became chairman of a delicate committee which requested merchants not to sell tea within the city. Not a pound of tea was sold in the city of Philadelphia.
In July 1775, Mr. Clymer was elected a member of the Continental Congress and one month later became one of the 56 men to sign the Declaration of Independence. George Clymer didn’t just sign the Declaration – he took part in writing it. He was one of those who led the charge against the British monarchy. He knowingly and willingly risked his life, fortune and sacred honor for the sake of freedom.

In 1777, Mr. Clymer’s house was attacked by a band of British soldiers. He lost his furniture, his stock of liquors, and other possessions. The house was only saved because the British soldiers were informed that he did not own the home. Thankfully his family escaped without harm.

Later that year Mr. Clymer was appointed commissioner to proceed to Pittsburgh in order to preserve the good understanding with several Indian tribes in that area. Mr. Clymer formed the first treaty between America and Indian tribes. The proceedings enlisted the warriors from the Shawnee and Delaware Indians into the service of the United States.

In 1780, America’s army was close to disbanding due to lack of relief and funds. Mr. Clymer, along with many patriotic citizens, established the bank of Philadelphia in order to support the army. He was made the director of the bank which was praised by Congress as reliving the army and saving their efforts.
Later that year Mr. Clymer was again elected to Congress. It was during this time that George Clymer became one of only 5 men to sign both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. In 1784, he declined a re-election and closed his legislative career but did not stop serving his country.

Mr. Clymer continued to take part in politics and served on various commissions. He presided over the Philadelphia bank and over the Academy of Fine Arts, and was elected a vice president of the Philadelphia Agricultural Society and held these offices until his death, which occurred on the 23rd of January, 1813. He was 74 years old.

Few of us who live in this great country know George Clymer, but we owe him so much. He embodied the spirit of the revolution. He was the firecracker among the old men who saw the encroachment of King George and demanded a response. Eight times he had to uproot his family of nine and flee British forces. He toiled through many journeys with his life at stake for nothing but America’s freedom.

Today he is dust; but the stroke of his pen became the swipe of a sword that changed the world forever. The spirit of the revolution was born and survived because of men like George Clymer – and to him I pay homage. Thank you!


Filed under: American Revolution, bank of philadelphia, Declaration of Independence, George Clymer, George Washington, united states constitution

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  • John Carey August 21, 2010 at 7:18 AM

    Great post Right. We need to get to know all our founders again and remember why they were willing to pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. Thanks.

  • Gorges Smythe August 21, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    I guess I'm telling my age to say that I remember a time when stuff like this was taught in school. Thanks for an excellent post!

  • Right Hand Man August 21, 2010 at 3:52 PM

    Thanks guys. I plan on doing a few more of these. There are a lot of founders out there that I am ashamed to say aren't well known – and I am among those who are ignorant.

  • Anonymous August 21, 2010 at 7:59 PM
  • Matt August 21, 2010 at 10:19 PM

    That is a great history lesson. Thanks, RHM.

  • Maggie Thornton August 22, 2010 at 8:47 AM

    RightHandMan, what a great article! These men knew the perils of losing liberty. They fully understood what was at stake. We must take our courage and, especially our determination, and apply it in these desperate modern times.

    We certainly have only focused on those Founders with the higher profile, and the most monuments. I'll look forward to your future articles on these men.