A little-known Founder from Connecticut: William Williams
William Williams was born in Lebanon, Connecticut, in 1731, and was a public servant for much of his life. He was a selectman in Lebanon, and later a representative to the colonial legislature. He eventually became Speaker of the House. It was said of him that he was hardly ever absent from the legislature–except when he was a member of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
Williams was an ardent supporter of the cause of independence. He often wrote and spoke in favor of the Revolution. He was chosen in 1776 to replace the ailing Oliver Wolcott at the Continental Congress, and arrived too late to vote for the Declaration. However, he did sign it. That’s his signature at the bottom right, underneath Samuel Huntington and above Oliver Wolcott. He remained in the Congress until 1778, and again from 1783-84. During that time he was on the committee that framed the Articles of Confederation.
After this, Williams became a member of the governor’s council, then the upper house of the Connecticut legislature. Williams was a delegate in 1788 to the convention in Hartford which ratified the U.S. Constitution. Interestingly, he objected to the clause forbidding religious tests (he was a deeply religious man) but voted for the Constitution regardless. He died in 1811.
Happy Independence Day!