William Whipple

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Founding Fathers
William Whipple
State New Hampshire
Religion Christian- Congregationalist [1]
Founding Documents Declaration of Independence

William Whipple (January 14, 1730 – November 28, 1785) is an American Founding Father. He was a Ship's Master, a merchant, and was involved in the Patriot movement. William Whipple was elected to the Provincial Congress, the House of Representatives and he was involved in the Council of Safety for the defense of the colony. He was made Brigadier General of the New Hampshire Militia and elected as a delegate of New Hampshire to the Continental Congress that signed the Declaration of Independence. After the American Revolution, Whipple became an associate justice of the Superior Court of New Hampshire.

William Whipple owned a slave, Prince Whipple, who he emancipated because he believed it was contradictory to fight for liberty while holding another man against his liberty. Prince Whipple would fight against the British as one of many Black Patriots in the Revolutionary War.

Early life

William Whipple was born at Kittery, Maine, the eldest son of father William Whipple. Young William was educated a public schools. At age twenty-one he took a fondness for the sea and commanded a ship of his own. He would make a small fortune in the merchant marine business importing slaves from the West Indies and Africa. During the American Revolution, it was recorded that Whipple freed his slaves. In 1759, he left sea life and entered into business with his brother Joseph in Portsmouth, as a merchant.[2] Whipple would marry Catherine Moffatt and they had one child. From the very start, Whipple sided with the colonies over Britain.

American Revolution

Whipple is depicted in John Trumbull's Surrender of General Burgoyne, standing at the fifth from the right next to General John Glover.

In 1775, he was elected a delegate from New Hampshire to the Continental Congress. Whipple would be seated on the on the marine and commerce committees. In 1777, Brigadier General Whipple would aid General George Washington with his military plans for the summer campaign. He led a contingent of New Hampshire troops in the successful expedition against General Burgoyne at the battles of Stillwater and Saratoga.[3] At the conclusion of the Battle of Saratoga and the surrender of John Burgoyne, Whipple was a signatory of the Convention of Saratoga.[4] After, Whipple informed John Paul Jones of the surrender, who sailed for France and informed diplomat Benjamin Franklin of the victory. This news helped make possible the alliance that led to the victory at the Battle of Yorktown.[5]

Whipple resigned from Congress in 1779 and from the military in 1782. Whipple was appointed an associate justice of the Superior Court of New Hampshire until his death.


William Whipple suffered from heart problems. In the fall of 1785, his heart problem worsened and he died at the age of fifty-five.


  • "A recommendation is gone thither for raising some regiments of Blacks. This will I suppose will lay a foundation for the emancipation of those wretches in that country & I hope be the means of dispensing the Blessings of freedom to all the Human Race in America."[6]


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