Benjamin Harrison V

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Founding Fathers
Benjamin Harrison V
State Virginia
Religion Christian- Episcopalian [1]
Founding Documents Declaration of Independence

Benjamin Harrison (April 5, 1726 – April 24, 1791) is a founding father of America, was a member of the House of Burgesses, representative of Virginia to the Continental Congress that signed the Declaration of Independence. He was chairman of the board of war during the American Revolution. Also, Speaker of the House and two-term Governor of Virginia. He was a close personal friend of General Washington.

Early life

Born at Berkeley Plantation in Charles City County, Virginia to Benjamin Harrison, Sr and Anne Carter. He was the oldest of 10 siblings and lived on the family plantation overlooking the banks of the James River. Harrison attended William and Mary College, but was unable to complete his studies due to the sudden death of his father and two sisters in a lightning strike.[2] He returned home to manage his father's estate. Harrison married Elizabeth Bassett and they had seven children. His third son William Harrison would become the ninth President of the United States. His great grandson Benjamin Harrison would become the twenty-third President.


in 1764, Harrison was elected to the Provincial Assembly. The British were aware of his influence and respectability, decided to nominate him to the executive council of Virginia. The Royal Governor tried to bribe him but he would identify himself with the people and did not take the position. In 1764 he served on the committee that prepared the memorials to the King, Lords and commons. In 1765 defied the Royal Governor and passed the Stamp Act resolutions. He was chosen to represent the committee of correspondence that united the colonies against Britain in 1773. In 1774, he would serve as a delegate in the Continental Congress having been re-elected four times, until 1777.[3] During that time, he was involved with the creation and passage of such important acts such as the Model Treaty and the Declaration of Independence. Harrison and a delegation attended General Washington in Cambridge to plan the future of the American Army.

After the war Harrison resigned his seat to return to Virginia and once again elected to his state legislature. In 1782, he was elected to the office of chief magistrate of Virginia. After serving as Governor of Virgina twice, he returned to private life in 1785. In his final service to the country and to Virginia, Harrison was elected a member of the state convention to oversee ratification of the U.S. Constitution. In 1791, he was again elected a member of his state legislature.


Harrison had suffered from gout in his later years, having succumbed and recovered several times. On the evening of the day after his election in 1791, he suffered again from gout and died at the age of 65.


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