Biographies

all  |  people you should know

Artists  |  British  |  Colonials  |  Enslaved People  |  French  |  Germans  |  Natives  |  Spanish  |  Others

A

  • Abigail AdamsWife of John Adams, mother of John Quincy Adams
  • John AdamsSigner of the Declaration of Independence, diplomat, second President
  • John Quincy AdamsDiplomat, senator, sixth President, congressman
  • Samuel AdamsBoston revolutionary leader, signer of the Declaration of Independence
  • William Alexander, Lord StirlingContinental Army general — one of Washington’s best
  • Ethan AllenFarmer, businessman, patriot, politician, founder of the state of Vermont
  • John AndréBritish officer, hung for his involvement in Benedict Arnold’s treason
  • Benedict ArnoldTalented Continental Army general who defected to the British

B

C

D

  • Silas DeaneMerchant, Continental congressman, diplomat to France
  • John DickinsonLawyer, politician, writer, signer of the Declaration of Independence
  • Carl von DonopGerman general; died at the Battle of Fort Mercer

E

  • Ralph EarlAmerican painter, principally of portraits
  • William EllerySigner of the Declaration of Independence from RI
  • comte d’EstaingFrench admiral, unsuccessful against British fleet at Newport

F

  • Benjamin FranklinPhiladelphia printer, writer, scientist, inventor, diplomat to France
  • William FranklinRoyal Governor of NJ, Loyalist, son of Benjamin Franklin

G

  • Thomas GageBritish general, Royal Governor of MA, ordered troops to Concord
  • Horatio GatesContinental Army general, won the Battles of Saratoga
  • King George IIIKing of Great Britain in 1760, at age 22, until 1820
  • George GermainBritish lord; American Secretary, 1775 - 82
  • Elbridge GerrySigner of the Declaration of Independence, vice president under Madison
  • comte de GrasseFrench Admiral, defeated British fleet at Chesapeake Capes
  • Nathanael GreeneContinental Army general; key to winning the war in the South

H

I

  • Ralph IzardFinancier, Continental congressman, U.S. senator

J

  • John JayLawyer, diplomat, Continental congressman, first Chief Justice
  • Thomas JeffersonLawyer, polymath, drafter of the Declaration of Independence, third President
  • John Paul JonesNaval commander for the U.S.
  • Ona JudgePersonal attendant to Martha Washington
  • Jupiter (Evans?)Slave of Thomas Jefferson, both born in 1743

K

L

M

  • James MadisonConstitutionalist, congressman, Secretary of State, fourth President
  • John MarshallSoldier, lawyer, politician, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
  • George MasonPolitician, author, political philosopher, Anti-Federalist
  • James MonroeSoldier, lawyer, VA governor, diplomat, fifth President
  • Richard MontgomeryIrish-born Continental Army general, formerly a British officer
  • Daniel MorganMilitia soldier, military tactician, Continental Army general
  • Gouverneur MorrisMerchant, financier; helped draft then stylized the Constitution
  • Robert MorrisSigner of the Declaration of Independence, “Financier of the Revolution”

N

O

P

R

S

  • Philip SchuylerContinental Army general, U.S. Senator for NY
  • Roger ShermanLawyer and politician from CT; signer of the Declaration of Independence
  • Arthur St. ClairContinental Army general, surrendered Fort Ticonderoga to the British
  • Baron von SteubenContinental Army general from Prussia, drilled the troops at Valley Forge
  • Richard StocktonLawyer, signer of the Declaration of Independence
  • Gilbert StuartAmerican painter of quintessential portraits, including George Washington
  • John SullivanContinental Army general, Continental Congress delegate, NH governor
  • Thomas SullyBritish-born painter, mainly of portraits

T

  • Banastre TarletonBritish officer of the cavalry, notorious for his exploits in the South
  • Tench TilghmanAide-de-camp to Washington throughout the Revolutionary War
  • John TrumbullAmerican artist, soldier at the Battle of Trenton

V

W

  • Joseph WarrenBoston doctor, revolutionary, militia general
  • Mercy Otis WarrenPlaywright, historian, sister of James Otis, Jr., wife of James Warren
  • George WashingtonCommander-in-chief of the Continental Army; first President
  • Martha WashingtonWife of George Washington, First Lady; 1731 – 1802
  • Anthony WayneContinental Army general, defeated the British at Stony Point
  • Benjamin WestAmerican-born painter who moved to England in 1763
  • James WilsonLawyer, signer of the Declaration of Independence, Supreme Court justice
  • John WitherspoonCollege of NJ president, signer of the Declaration of Independence
  • George WytheLawyer, teacher, scholar, signer of the Declaration of Independence

[George] Mason’s obvious legacy is in his contribution to America’s founding documents: the Declaration of Independence through the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the Constitution through his role at the Philadelphia Convention, and the Bill of Rights through his dogged opposition to a Constitution without one. Mason may have taken a circumscribed view of the rights he advocated — limiting the right of representation to white men or restricting freedom of the press to a ban on prior restraint — but he put words on paper that could be given more expansive meanings by later generations.

Jeff Broadwater
George Mason: Forgotten Founder (2006)