A signer of the Constitution licensed to preach? This was Hugh Williamson, delegate from North Carolina, born DECEMBER 5, 1735.
At age 24 he studied theology in Connecticut, was admitted to the Presbytery of Philadelphia and preached two years, visiting and praying for the sick, till a chronic chest weakness caused him to seek another career. He traveled to London to study medicine, but not before seeing the Boston Tea Party, of which he testified before a Privy Counsel that if Britain did not change its policy, the Colonies would rebel.
Dr. Hugh Williamson was a Surgeon General, caring for wounded North Carolina troops during the Revolution. He helped Ben Franklin conduct electrical experiments. In 1784, during the Congress of the Confederation, Williamson helped write the Northwest Territory laws, forbidding slavery and “reserving the central section of every township for the maintenance of public schools and the section immediately to the northward for the support of religion.”
In 1811, Hugh Williamson wrote “Observations of the Climate in Different Parts of America,” giving scientific explanation for Noah’s flood and the events of Moses’ exodus.
He was buried at Trinity Church.
Williamson, Hugh., John Neal, Trinity College Historical Society Papers, Series 13 (NY: AMS Press, 1915), pp. 62-63.
Tim LaHaye, Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc., 1987), p. 182.
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