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Timothy Matlack
1730 - 1829

MATLACK, Timothy, patriot, born in Haddonfield, N. J., in 1730; died near Hornesburg, Pa., 15 April, 1829. He had been a member of the Society of Friends, but at the beginning of the Revolution left it for that of the free or “Fighting Quakers,” and is described by Christopher Marshall as “one of the most active spirits of the days of 1775-‘6.” When he first wore his sword in the streets of Philadelphia, some of the orthodox Friends ridiculed him, and inquired what its use was. “ It is to defend my property and my liberty,” he replied. 

He was one of the general committee of safety in 1776, a colonel of the battalion that served against the Delaware Tories, who in June of that year had cut off the land communication to Dover. He was also a deputy with Benjamin Franklin, Thomas McKean, Col. John Bayard, and others from Philadelphia to attend the state conference of 14 June, 1776. He was a delegate from Pennsylvania to the Continental congress in 1780-‘7, and for many years was master of the rolls of the state, residing in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, but, on becoming prothonotary of one of the courts of Philadelphia, he returned to that city. 

In 1783 the committee of safety of Philadelphia presented him with a silver urn “ for his patriotic devotion to the cause of freedom, and the many services rendered by him throughout the struggle.” With Benjamin Franklin, Robert Morris, and others, he established and contributed the funds to build the free Quaker meeting-house of Philadelphia. He lived to be more than ninety-nine years old, and retained his faculties to the last.  -- Edited A.C. Text  Copyright© 2001 by VirtualologyTM

 

 

This text Courtesy of National Archives: On July 9 the action of Congress was officially approved by the New York Convention. All 13 colonies had now signified their approval. On July 19, therefore, Congress was able to order that the Declaration be "fairly engrossed on parchment, with the title and stile [sic] of 'The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America,' and that the same, when engrossed, be signed by every member of Congress."

Engrossing is the process of preparing an official document in a large, clear hand. Timothy Matlack was probably the engrosser of the Declaration. He was a Pennsylvanian who had assisted the Secretary of the Congress, Charles Thomson, in his duties for over a year and who had written out George Washington's commission as commanding general of the Continental Army. Matlack set to work with pen, ink, parchment, and practiced hand, and finally, on August 2, the journal of the Continental Congress records that "The declaration of independence being engrossed and compared at the table was signed." One of the most widely held misconceptions about the Declaration is that it was signed on July 4, 1776, by all the delegates in attendance.

John Hancock, the President of the Congress, was the first to sign the sheet of parchment measuring 24¼ by 29¾ inches. He used a bold signature centered below the text. In accordance with prevailing custom, the other delegates began to sign at the right below the text, their signatures arranged according to the geographic location of the states they represented. New Hampshire, the northernmost state, began the list, and Georgia, the southernmost, ended it. Eventually 56 delegates signed, although all were not present on August 2. Among the later signers were Elbridge Gerry, Oliver Wolcott, Lewis Morris, Thomas McKean, and Matthew Thornton, who found that he had no room to sign with the other New Hampshire delegates. A few delegates who voted for adoption of the Declaration on July 4 were never to sign in spite of the July 19 order of Congress that the engrossed document "be signed by every member of Congress." Non-signers included John Dickinson, who clung to the idea of reconciliation with Britain, and Robert R. Livingston, one of the Committee of Five, who thought the Declaration was premature.

 

Research Links

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Timothy Matlack and the Declaration of Independence
Timothy Matlack and His Engrossed Masterpiece. Timothy Matlack was the engrosser
called upon to handletter the original Declaration of Independence. ...

Bailey - Timothy Matlack Obit & Photo
TIMOTHY MATLACK, [poss. descendent of Wm. MATLOCK & Mary HANCOCK. Obituary: Continental
Congressman; b. Haddonfield, NJ March 28 1736; son of Timothy and ...

Yahoo! Insider Trades - TIMOTHY, MATLACK D
... Insider: TIMOTHY, MATLACK D, Updated 3-Jan-01. Enter
symbol: symbol lookup, Declared Holdings. ...

Timothy Matlack & Mildred Ann Peay
John Peay (1775 - 1838). Mildred Lightfoot (~1773 - 1835). m. 8 May 1838 ... b.
d. br. b. 16 Aug 1807 d. 26 Jul 1854 br. spouses: 1, 2. ...

Matlack Family Genealogy Forum
... looking for leroy matlack from pa - pat orzechowski 7/15/00: Decendants
of Timothy Matlack - Stephanie Matlack Coomer 7/14/00: ...

Free Quaker Meetinghouse (Memory): American Treasures of the ...
... Free Quakers Meetinghouse Timothy Matlack Free Quakers Meetinghouse, Philadelphia,
elevation of east front Iron gall ink on laid paper, ca. 1783 Manuscript ...

November 1997 Newsletter
... one of our distant cousins was the penman for the Declaration - Timothy Matlack,
but heretofore unknown, this document contained the signature of a William ..

Start your search on Timothy Matlack.


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