Thomas McKean

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Thomas McKean

Thomas McKean (March 19, 1734June 24, 1817) was the second President of the United States in Congress assembled, from July 10, 1781, until November 4, 1781. During his term in office, the British surrendered after the Battle of Yorktown.

McKean was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania. He became a Presbyterian minister and read law after moving to New Castle, Delaware. From the age of eighteen he served in many official positions: deputy general, clerk of the provincial assembly, member of the assembly, judge of the court of common pleas, collector of customs for New Castle. At the age of twenty, he was admitted to the bar in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

McKean had opposed British rule since the 1765 Stamp Act; as a Delaware representative in the Continental Congress, he urged Delaware to vote for independence. Ironically, he was the last delegate to sign the Declaration of Independence, because soon after the vote to adopt it, he left Congress to lead a battalion in the Continental Army. He signed the declaration at some later date in January 1777, though his name does not appear on the copy that was authenticated that same month. He was elected Governor of Pennsylvania in 1799 and served three terms.

McKean died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is buried in the Laurel Hill Cemetery there. McKean County, Pennsylvania is named in his honor. His grandson, William Wister McKean, was a hero in the United States Navy during the American Civil War.

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Preceded by:
Samuel Huntington
President of the United States in Congress Assembled
July 10, 1781November 4, 1781
Succeeded by:
John Hanson
Preceded by:
Thomas Mifflin
Governor of Pennsylvania
1799–1808
Succeeded by:
Simon Snyder

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