James Smith (Pennsylvania politician)

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James Smith
James Smith (1700s).png
BornSeptember 17, 1719
DiedJuly 26, 1806 (aged 87)
Resting placeFirst Presbyterian Churchyard,
Known forsigner of the United States Declaration of Independence
James Smith signature.png

James Smith (September 17, 1719[1][2] – July 11, 1806), was an American lawyer and a signer to the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Pennsylvania.

He was born in the province of Ulster, Ireland; his family immigrated to Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1729.[1] Smith attended the Philadelphia Academy.[3] He studied law at the office of his brother George and was admitted to the bar in Pennsylvania, initially practicing near Shippensburg, and later near York.[4] He became captain of the militia there. He was appointed to the provincial convention in Philadelphia in 1775, to the state constitutional convention in 1776, and was elected to the Continental Congress. He was reelected to Congress in 1785 but declined to attend because of his advanced age.

Smith died on July 11, 1806 and is buried in York, Pennsylvania, First Presbyterian Churchyard.[5] The University of Delaware has a dorm on its North Campus bearing his name.


  1. ^ a b Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1888). Appleton's Cyclopædia of American Biography: Vol V. Pickering–Sumter. D. Appleton and Company. p. 1559. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  2. ^ Maszczak, Steve. "Smith, James". Literary and Cultural Heritage Map of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  3. ^ "Smith, James, (1713–1806)". Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  4. ^ Losser, B.J. (1857). Biographical Sketches of Signers of the American Declaration of Independence. New York: Derby & Jackson. p. 120. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  5. ^ James Smith at Find a Grave
  • Lawyers and Leaders: The Role of Lawyers in the Development of York County, Pennsylvania, 2005, ISBN 978-0-9766629-0-7, York County Bar Association by Georg R. Sheets

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