An Irish Central article written by Brendan Patrick Keane reports on the eight men of Irish descent who signed the Declaration of Independence.
Two-hundred-plus years later we probably aren’t capable of fully appreciating the risk involved with being a revolutionary. Their spirit of independence led these men to risk their lives for freedom in the new country. Here’s a summary of Keane’s story about the eight Irish signers (which can be read at www.irishcentral.com/opinion/others/the-irish-side-of-the-american-declaration-of-independence-97713259-238038151.html):
- Thomas McKean (1734-1817) – son of Antrim-born William Kean; served as President of Delaware, Chief Justice and Governor of Pennsylvania; led the movement for independence in Delaware.
- Charles Carroll (1734-1832) – descendant of a noble Tipperary clan; the only Catholic and the longest-living signer of the Declaration.
- James Smith (1719-1806) – born in Ireland; raised a militia group in York, PA, and joined the Continental Congress before serving as a Colonel in the PA militia during the Revolutionary War.
- George Taylor (1716-1781) – born in Antrim and emigrated at age 20; served in the Continental Congress and on Committee of Correspondence.
- Matthew Thornton (1714-1803) – born in Ireland and emigrated as a child; a pre-revolutionary agitator before serving as Colonel of the New Hampshire militia.
- Edward Rutledge (1749-1800) – son of Co. Tyrone-born father and youngest signer of the Declaration; Edward and his brother both served in the Continental Congress; a son would become 39th governor of South Carolina.
- Thomas Lynch Jr. (1749-1779)- descendant of the Galway Lynch tribe; stood in for his father (Thomas Sr.) who was too ill to represent South Carolina.
- George Read (1733-1798)- son of John Read of Dublin; studied law before serving as Crown Attorney General in Delaware and in the Continental Congress.
- John Dunlap (1747-1812) – born in Co. Tyrone and became official printer for the Continental Congress; saw action with George Washington at Trenton and Princeton.