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William Whipple

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — It’s William Whipple’s turn to be recognized.

The New Hampshire merchant is one of the lesser-known signers of the Declaration of Independence. This year, there are plans for Whipple and 11 others to be honored for their place in history with a small bronze plaque at their gravesites or homes, thanks to a group of descendants of the Founding Fathers.

Whipple, one of three men from New Hampshire who signed the famous document — the others were Josiah Bartlett and Matthew Thornton — had no direct descendants. His only child, a boy, died as an infant and is buried near him at the Old North Cemetery in Portsmouth. Whipple, who also commanded troops during the Revolutionary War and served as a state judge and legislator, died in 1785 at age 55.

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Some of the 56 signers, like Whipple, have no direct descendants. For others, it’s not clear where they’re buried. Some cemeteries don’t allow the plaques. In addition to the 45 who will end up with plaques, there are 11 signers who won’t be getting them; they will be honored at the historic Congressional Cemetery in Washington.

The bronze plaque quotes from the last sentence of the 1776 document, saying for the support of the declaration, “we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”

Read more of this fascinating story. William Whipple even has a website!

William Whipple
Signer of the Declaration of Independence

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