Jonathan Bayard Smith

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Jonathan Bayard Smith (February 21, 1742 – June 16, 1812) was an American merchant from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He served as a delegate for Pennsylvania to the Continental Congress in 1777 and 1778. Smith was a signatory to the Articles of Confederation.

Early life[edit]

Jonathan Smith was the son of a successful mercantile businessman, Samuel Smith, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, who had moved to Philadelphia. Smith graduated from Princeton in 1760 and joined his father in business. Smith became an early advocate for American Independence.

Revolutionary War service[edit]

Smith became a member of the local Committee of Safety, and in 1775 was made its secretary. He was elected a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1777, serving from April 4 of that year until November 1778. While in Congress, Smith endorsed the Articles of Confederation for Pennsylvania, but his role as a civic leader seems more important.[citation needed] Having advocated taking up arms (a sometimes unpopular stance in largely Quaker Pennsylvania) he also joined the militia, becoming a lieutenant colonel of John Bayard's regiment.

Later work[edit]

After his congressional career, Smith returned his attention to business, but remained active in civic affairs. He became a great promoter of education, and in 1779 was one of the founders and a trustee of the "University of the State of Pennsylvania". In 1795, when it merged with two other schools to become the University of Pennsylvania, Smith became a trustee of the new school, serving until his death. He also served as a trustee for his alma mater, Princeton, for thirty years.

Smith served in other fraternal and civic organizations. He became an alderman in Philadelphia, a grand master of the Masons, and a member of the American Philosophical Society.

Smith died at his residence in Philadelphia in 1812, and is buried in the Second Presbyterian Church Graveyard there.

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