" Thomas McKean " was born in New London Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania on March 19, 1734 the son of William and Letitia Finney McKean. He was raised a Presbyterian and educated by a Presbyterian clergyman. " McKean " was of Scots-Irish stock and was a man of vigorous personality, "with a thin face, hawk's nose and hot eyes."
After moving to Delaware, " McKean " lived in New Castle and read law. He had important family connections there and he wasted no time pursuing a career in politics. At eighteen, he became deputy prothonotary of New Castle, then moved from one public office to another: deputy general; clerk of the provincial assembly; member of the assembly; judge of the court of common pleas; collector of customs for New Castle. He was admitted to the bar at twenty years of age and had legal practice not only in the Lower Counties but in New Jersey and Pennsylvania as well.
At the time " Thomas McKean " was sent to the First Congress as a representative from Delaware in September, 1774 and he served in that position through 1776. When he was appointed he had just married his second wife, Sarah Armitage of New Castle. His first wife, Mary Borden, the daughter of Joseph Borden of Bordentown, New Jersey, and sister of the wife of Francis Hopkinson, had died in 1773, leaving him with six children. He would father four more children with his second wife.
At the Second Congress, " McKean " was a true fighter for independence. Since the Stamp Act of 1765 he had opposed British rule. He believed that the crown had "no right to regulate American affairs in any way".
In June, 1776, " McKean " returned to Delaware and gained authority for its delegates to vote for independence. A few days after " McKean " cast his vote, he left Congress to command a battalion of troops to assist Washington at Perth Amboy, New Jersey. He was not available when most Signers placed their signatures on the Declaration on August 2, 1776. There is considerable question as to when " McKean " actually signed the Declaration. He certainly did not do this in August, and although he claimed in old age that he attached his name some time in 1776, it did not appear on the printed copy that was authenticated on January 17, 1777, and it is assumed that he signed after that date.
" Signature of Thomas McKean "
In 1799 he was elected as the Governor of Pennslyvania where he served until 1808.
" Thomas McKean " died in Philadelphia on June 24, 1817 at the age of eighy-three where he was interred in Laurel Hill Cemetery.
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