Joseph Hewes

Joseph Hewes, a newcomer to Edenton signed the Declaration of Independence and as detailed in wikipedia:

“Hewes was formally educated at Princeton and after college he became an apprentice of a merchant. After finishing his apprenticeship he earned himself a good name and a strong reputation, which would serve him well in becoming one of the most famous signers of the Declaration of Independence for North Carolina, along with William Hooper and John Penn. After a few years as a successful merchant, he became very wealthy. Hewes moved to Edenton, North Carolina at the age of 30 and won over the people of the state with his charm and honorable businesslike character. Hewes was elected to the North Carolina legislature in 1763, only three years after he moved to the state. Second to the delegates of Massachusetts, Hewes was a pioneer of independence who influenced his state to be more rebellious during the years leading up to the revolution. After being re-elected numerous times in the legislature, Hewes was now focused on a new and more ambitious job as a continental congressman.”

“At the beginning of the year 1776, Hewes was appointed as the first ever Secretary of the Navy. John Adams often said that Hewes “laid the foundation, the cornerstone of the American Navy.” Alongside General George Washington, Hewes became one of the greatest military achievers in American history. He was also involved with the secret committee of claims, which further promoted the independence of the colonies. Hewes was one of the primary reasons why North Carolina submitted to independence before any other colony. He was also one of the few reasons why the Declaration of Independence was ever signed.

Hewes was initially faced with an ill equipped navy of which to fight the British Navy. To remedy this, he provided his own extensive fleet of ships, outfitted them, and chose the most capable of men to captain these ships. John Paul Jones was one of these captains for whom Hewes was instrumental in providing a command.”

Fun Facts: Three citizens from what is now the state of North Carolina signed the Declaration of Independence: They were Joseph Hewes, William Hooper and John Penn. Three other North Carolinians signed the Constitution: William Blount, Richard Dobbs Spaight and Hugh Williamson. Hewes and Williamson were from Edenton.