Button Gwinnett Biography, Life, Interesting Facts
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American founding father Button Gwinnett was born in Down Hatherley, Gloucestershire, England in 1735. He was the son of Anne and Samuel Gwinnett. His father was a cleric, and he was one of seven children born to Anne and Samuel.
Button Gwinnett was a pupil at The King’s School in Gloucester, England.
Rise To Fame
As a young man, Button Gwinnett moved to Wolverhampton where he worked as a merchant. Gwinnett immigrated to America in 1762 where after a brief stay in Charleston, he bought a large tract of land the Province of Georgia. He subsequently built a thriving plantation.
Political And Military Career
In 1769 Button Gwinnett was elected to the Provincial Assembly. He also got involved in immigrant rights and in time became a political rival of Lachlan McIntosh.
In 1776 Gwinnett was made commander of Georgia’s continental militia and was also elected to the Continental Congress. Because of political considerations, he had to refuse to become Georgia’s militia commander and instead Lachlan McIntosh was appointed.
Gwinnett was in favor of the Declaration of Independence and signed the document on the 2 August 1776.
Serving in the Georgia legislature, Gwinnett was involved in drawing up the state’s constitution and penned the original draft. He was speaker of the Georgia Assembly until Archibald Bulloch, the president of Georgia died. Gwinnett was then elected as president by the executive council. His rivalry with McIntosh had continued unabated, and once in power, he used it against him. After the general assembly had given the green light for Gwinnett to invade British Florida in April 1777, Lachlan interceded, and Button Gwinnett was charged with wrongdoing. Gwinnett was cleared of all charges. After the invasion of Florida had failed, both men blamed the other for the debacle, and the tension between the two men erupted into a duel.
The duel, using pistols, was fought on the 16 May 1777 and resulted in both men sustaining wounds. McIntosh survived, but Gwinnett died of his injuries on the 19 May 1777.
Button Gwinnett married Ann Bourne in 1757, and when he immigrated to America in 1762, his wife accompanied him.
Button Gwinnett died on the 19 May 1777 as a result of wounds sustained in a duel with Lachlan McIntosh on the 16 May 1777. Both men survived the contest wounded but McIntosh survived, and Gwinnett died.
Because of the scarcity of his signature, today they are considered highly collectible.