Founding Fathers Black Hills

Rush over Rutledge; Paca takes on Clark


In the continuing search for the signer of the Declaration of Independence who will wear this season’s Founding Fathers Crown, Dr. Benjamin Rush of Pennsylvania handily dispatched the youngest signer, Edward Rutledge of South Carolina, in last week’s vote by a 2-to-1 margin.
This week’s contest features William Paca of Maryland against Abraham Clark of New Jersey.

Paca was just 35 when he signed the Declaration of Independence, but he got an early start in the patriot cause as a young lawyer from Annapolis who helped another signer, Samuel Chase, found a Sons of Liberty chapter and led some of the Stamp Act riots in Maryland. Paca was influential in convincing others in the conservative colony of Maryland to vote for independence.
Paca was born into a wealthy plantation family, but lost two wives in childbirth. Much about his life was lost to future generations when a fire at the Paca family plantation destroyed all his personal papers many years after his death. He was the governor of Maryland and he died while serving as a federal judge at the age of 58.
William Paca
Abraham Clark, the son of a New Jersey farmer, refused to recant his signature on the Declaration of Independence, even after the British offered to release his two sons who were being held as British prisoners of war if he would. As a boy, Clark proved too frail for farm work so he became a land surveyor who taught himself the law. He was known to provide free legal services to farmers and remained in public service most of his life.