John Witherspoon

John Knox Witherspoon (1723 - 1794)

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John Knox Witherspoon
Born in Gifford, East Lothian, Scotlandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married in Beith, Ayrshire, Scotlandmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Middlesex, New Jerseymap
Profile last modified | Created 31 Aug 2011
This page has been accessed 2,527 times.

Categories: American Founding Fathers | Signers of the Articles of Confederation | Signers of the United States Declaration of Independence | American Revolution.

John Witherspoon served during the American Revolution
Service started:
Service ended:



John Witherspoon, Parson and Patriot

"He was one of the "Signers of the Declaration of Independence"


Wikipedia - John Witherspoon
President Witherspoon in the American Revolution (July 1, 1896)
The Works of the Rev. John Witherspoon...: A Sermon Occasioned by His Death (1802)
The History and Genealogy of the Witherspoon Family by Joseph Bailey Witherspoon


Dr. Witherspoon was married to his first wife. Miss Montgomery, at an early age, and at the time of his immigration had three sons and two daughters. The oldest, James, was a major in the Revolutionary army, and fell at the battle of Germantown. The two remaining sons were bred to professions, and arose to distinction. Ann, the eldest daughter, was married to the Rev. Dr. Samuel S. Smith, who succeeded Dr. W. as president of the college j and Frances, the second tiaughter, married Dr. David Ramsay, the celebrated historian. After the death of Mrs. Witherspoon, the Doctor, at the age of seventy, married a young woman of twenty-three, an alliance which occasioned much gossip and noise in the neighborhood and family circle. He was an affectionate husband, a tender parent and a cordial friend.

Biographical sketches of distinguished Jerseymen (1845)


Princeton Cemetery, Princeton, Mercer, New Jersey.
Find A Grave Memorial# 1156


His dust reposes in the grave yard at Princeton, and over it is a stone, bearing in latin the following chronicle of his usefulness, virtues and public services:
Beneath this marble lie interred the mortal remains of
a venerable and beloved President of the College of New-Jersey.
He was born in the parish of Yester, in Scotland,
on the 5th of February, 1722, O. S.
And was liberally educated in the University of Edinburgh;
invested with holy orders in the year 1743,
he faithfully performed the duties of his pastoral charge,
during five and twenty years,
first at Beith, and then at Paisley.
Elected president of Nassau Hall,
he assumed the duties of that office on the 13th of August, 1768,
with the elevated expectations of the public.
Excelling in every mental gift,
he was a man of pre-eminent piety and virtue
and deeply versed in the various branches
of literature and the liberal arts.
A grave and solemn preacher,
his sermons abounded in the most excellent doctrines and precepts,
and in lucid expositions of the Holy Scriptures.
Affable, pleasant, and courteous in familiar conversation,
he was eminently distinguished
in concerns and deliberations of the church,
and endowed with the greatest prudence
in the management and instruction of youth.
He exalted
the reputation of the college amongst foreigners,
and greatly promoted the advancement
of its literary character and taste.
He was, for a long time, conspicuous
Among the most brilliant luminaries of learning and of the Church.
At length,
universally venerated, beloved, and lamented,
he departed this life on the fifteenth of November, 1794 aged 73 years.


The Presidents of Princeton University

Colonial Times:Jonathan Dickinson, 1747
Aaron Burr, Sr., 1748–57
Jonathan Edwards, 1758
Samuel Davies, 1759–61
Samuel Finley, 1761–66
Revolutionary War
John Witherspoon, 1768–94

Princeton University History

Chartered in 1746 as the College of New Jersey — the name by which it was known for 150 years — Princeton University was British North America's fourth college. Located in Elizabeth for one year and then in Newark for nine, the College of New Jersey moved to Princeton in 1756. It was housed in Nassau Hall, which was newly built on land donated by Nathaniel FitzRandolph. Nassau Hall contained the entire College for nearly half a century.


  1. Entered by Laura Lee Scott, June 22, 2014


  • Melissa Kitano, firsthand knowledge. Click the Changes tab for the details of edits by Melissa and others.
  • WikiTree profile Witherspoon-160 created through the import of Maltby master 08282011.GED on Aug 30, 2011 by Harry Maltby. See the Changes page for the details of edits by Harry and others.

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No known carriers of John's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

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Images: 2
Parson John Witherspoon
Parson John Witherspoon

Signing the Declaration of Independence
Signing the Declaration of Independence

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On 7 May 2017 at 17:12 GMT Lynn Wiggers wrote:

Can someone please show primary source documentation that his middle name was Knox, because I find only that there is no middle name. I'm researching for a member of his family.

On 19 Jul 2014 at 18:11 GMT Maureen (Henigan) Rosenfeld wrote:

Could you add the son James in the data and then include him in the 1776 project?

John is 29 degrees from Jelena Eckstädt, 13 degrees from Theodore Roosevelt and 14 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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