Josiah Bartlett

Josiah Bartlett

by Janelle Whitelocke

Josiah Bartlett was an American patriot and physician. He was a New Hampshire delegate to the Continental Congress, Supreme Court Justice, and a Governor of New Hampshire. In spite of all of these huge accomplishments in his life, he is best remember for being one of the 56 great men to sign his name on America's most sacred document: the Declaration of Independence.

Josiah Bartlett, signer of the Declaration of IndependenceJosiah Bartlett, signer of the Declaration of Independence
Public domain image.

Early Life

Josiah Bartlett was born on November 21, 1729 in Amesbury, Massachusetts. When Josiah was young he started to study Latin, Greek, and mathematics. Bartlett was extremely bright, and was well adversed in his schooling from a young age. When he was 17, he started to study medicine and became a local doctor's assistant at the same time.

By the age of 21, Josiah Bartlett moved to Rockingham County, New Hampshire and started his own private practice. In 1754, he married his first cousin and they had 12 children over the years.


In 1765, when political controversy was thick in the air, Josiah decided to dip his toes into the pool of politics. That year, he was elected to the colonial assembly. The following year he entered the world of war, when he became a colonel in the provincial militia.

In 1775, Josiah Bartlett was sent as a delegate for New Hampshire to the Continental Congress. As a matter of fact, for a few month Josiah was the only New Hampshire delegate. Finally, after Bartlett had pushed rather hard for help, William Whipple and Matthew Thornton were also sent on behalf of New Hampshire. In 1776, Josiah Bartlett was the second person to sign the Declaration of Independence.

Through the Revolutionary War, Bartlett served on the Congress and was on the committee that wrote the Articles of Confederation.

After the war, he went back to being a judge in New Hampshire. In 1790, Josiah was elected governor of New Hampshire. In 1794, his health proved to be too bad for him to continue his services, so he retired. Josiah Bartlett passed away on May 19, 1795.

William Whipple

William Whipple

Matthew Thornton

Matthew Thornton

Return to Signers of the Declaration of Independence


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