Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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MORTON, John, signer of the Declaration of Independence, born in that part of Chester county that is now Delaware county, Pennsylvania, in 1724; died there in April, 1777. His ancestors, who were among the first Swedish emigrants to this country, settled in what are now the suburbs of Philadelphia. His father died in the son's youth, and his stepfather, John Sketchley, an Englishman, superintended his education. He became a justice of the peace in 1764, was soon afterward elected to the general assembly of Pennsylvania, served for many years, and was frequently speaker of the house. He was a delegate to the Stamp-act congress in 1765, was sheriff of Chester county in 1766-'9, and subsequently president judge of the court of common pleas, and a judge of the supreme court of the province. He was a delegate to the 1st congress in 1774-'6, gave the casting vote of Pennsylvania in the affirmative upon the question of adopting the Declaration of Independence, and was chairman of the committee of the whole on the adoption of the system of confederation. At the close of his life he was abandoned by many of his friends whose political sentiments differed from his own. On his death-bed he said : "Tell them they will live to see the hour when they shall acknowledge my signing of the Declaration of Independence to have been the most glorious service that i ever rendered my country." There is no authentic portrait of Morton. In 1876 a memorial tablet was placed by his grandson in Independence hall, Philadelphia.
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