Richard Stockton

Signer of the Declaration of Independence

1730 Born in Mercer County, New Jersey
Graduated from the College of
New-Jersey (Princeton)
1754 Admitted to the bar
1760– Trustee of the College of New-Jersey
Recruited (with Benjamin Rush),
Rev. John Witherspoon, D.D. for the
presidency of the College of New-Jersey
1774-81 Judge of the New Jersey Supreme Court.
1776-1777 Delegate to the Continental Congress
1776 Signed the Declaration of Independence
1781 Died in New Jersey.
1781 Governor of Virginia
1789 Died in York County, Virginia

Richard Stockton recruits (with Benjamin Rush, M.D.) Rev. John Witherspoon, D.D., for the Presidency of Princeton.

Richard Stockton’s alma mater was the College of New-Jersey, which began as a Royal Charter college granted by King George the Second of England in 1748, “…for the more full and perfect erection of the said corporation and body politic, consisting of Trustees of the College of New-Jersey, we, of our special grace, certain knowledge and mere motion, do, by these presents, for us, our heirs and successors, create, make, ordain, constitute, nominate and appoint, the governor and commander-in-chief of our said province of New Jersey, for the time being, and also our trusty and well beloved …” Ten “ gentlemen” and twelve “ministers of the Gospel” are then named… “to be Trustees of the said College of New-Jersey.” Among the ministers of the Gospel listed is William Tennent, who founded a training school for the equipping of young men to preach and teach the Gospel, as ministers of Christ. This Presbyterian school began in a log cabin on the banks of the Neshaminy Creek in 1735. It is the famous Log College, forerunner of the College of New-Jersey.1
In 1768, being a graduate and Trustee of the College, Richard Stockton was chosen (with Benjamin Rush) to travel to Scotland for the purpose of recruiting Rev. John Witherspoon, D.D., a Presbyterian minister of the Gospel, to become president of Princeton. Witherspoon’s reputation as a revivalist in Scotland was well known. It was thus that John Witherspoon became not only the “greatest educator in Princeton’s history,” but one of the founders of the American Republic, together with Richard Stockton and Benjamin Rush. Witherspoon’s most famous pupil – James Madison – became “father of the United States Constitution.” 2

To learn more, click here. (Founders’ Book)




Royal Charter of the College of New-Jersey, September 13th, 1748. Library of Congress, Rare Book Collection.


Official Documentation. Architect of the Capitol, Washington, D.C.


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