Button Gwinnett

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Founding Fathers
Button Gwinnett
State Georgia
Religion Christian- Episcopalian; Congregationalist [1]
Founding Documents Declaration of Independence
Georgia's Constitution

Button Gwinnett (b. circa 1732-1735 [2] - d. May 19, 1777) was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Gwinnett was president of Georgia's Revolutionary Council of Safety, developed Georgia's Constitution which was ratified. He led a failed invasion of British East Florida. He was killed in a duel with his arch-enemy Colonel Lachlan McIntosh.

Early life

Button Gwinnett was born in England. Not much is kn own of his early life other than as a young man he became a merchant. Some time after his marriage in England he moved to Charleston, South Carolina and became a landowner in Georgia. Gwinnett staked his personal fortune in the welfare of the colonies.


Button Gwinnett's first foray into government was his election victory for Commons House of Assembly in 1769. In 1776, he was elected by the general assembly congress in Savannah, Georgia.[3] Also in 1776, he was appointed commander of Georgia's continental militia. This action was hotly contested by Colonel Lackland McIntosh, brigadier general of the continental brigade. Subsequently, Gwinnett resigned and represented the Continental Congress, signing the Declaration. When he returned home, Gwinnett was elected president in Georgia. Once again, he took control of the continental militia and the rivalry with McIntosh ensued. With the assumption of great power, he relieved General McIntosh of his troops. Gwinnett led an expedition force against British East Florida. His actions failed miserably and it was thwarted by Lachlan McIntosh and his brother George. Gwinnett was charged with malfeasance but acquitted. Subsequently, the public soured on him, Gwinnett would lose election for Governor.


As fate would have it, a duel over personal honor was proposed outside of Savannah. On May 16, 1777, both men were shot in the duel, only Gwinnett failed to recover and he would die three days later.


  1. http://www.adherents.com/gov/Founding_Fathers_Religion.html
  2. Button Gwinnett, USHistory.org
  3. http://colonialhall.com/gwinnett/gwinnett.php Button Gwinnett, ColonialHall.com

External links