Josiah Bartlett

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Josiah Bartlett
Josiah Bartlett
(No middle name)
Born: November 21, 1729
Died: May 19, 1795
Josiah Bartlett was born November 21, 1729 to Stephan & Hannah-Mary Bartlett (Webster) in Amesbury Massachusetts. The 5th child and 4th son born to the Bartlett’s of Amesbury. By age 17 Josiah knew Greek and Latin and studied to become a physician. Studying under Dr. Ordway of Amesbury, colony of New Hampshire
Josiah married his first cousin, daughter of his uncle Joseph, Mary Bartlett on January 15, 1754 together they had 10 children, 3 son’s  and 7 daughters, Mary1754, Lois 1756, Miriam 1758, Rhoda 1760, Hannah 1763 (died as an infant), Levi 1762, Josiah 1768, Ezra 1770, Sarah 1773,  and Hannah 1776 (also died as an infant. All three of his sons and 7 of his grandson’s became physicians. They stayed married until her death on July 14, 1789.
    Josiah became active in politics for his county of Kingston New Hampshire and was elected to the colonial assembly in 1756 and appointed Colonel of the county’s militia. Governor John Wentworth appointed him as a Justice of the Peace. As the Revolution neared, his Whig policies brought him into conflict with the British Governor John Wentworth. In 1774, Josiah Bartlett joined the Assembly Committee of Correspondence and began working with the other leaders of the 12 other Colonies. Governor Wentworth dismissed Josiah Bartlett for his revolutionary politics which were illegal in the eyes of the Crown. Shortly after that Josiah Bartlett’s home was burned to the ground, a total loss. The fire was allegedly set by Tories, A Tory is a Colonial citizen who sided with the British Crown against the Revolution, and no one was ever convicted for the burning of his home. Josiah Bartlett began rebuilding his home and farm after the fire, and turned down an appointment as a delegate to the Continental Congress with John Pickering, to attend to his family and their needs. Josiah remained very active in New Hampshire politics. In 1775 as one of his last acts Governor Wentworth made before being driven out of New Hampshire revoked Josiah Bartlett’s commission as Justice of the Peace, and his commission as Colonel of the New Hampshire militia, and as Assemblyman for his county.
    In 1775 Josiah was again selected to be a delegate at the Continental Congress at this time he accepted and became the only delegate from New Hampshire. Most of the work done at the Continental congress was done in committees and at least one delegate from each colony was on a committee which meant Josiah was on all the committees,  Safety, Secrecy, Munitions, Marine, and Civil Government. After several letters back to New Hampshire safety committee William Whipple and Matthew Thornton were appointed to the delegation to assist Josiah Bartlett who in 1776 was the first delegate to sign the Declaration of Independence as a delegate from New Hampshire the northern most state.
    In 1777 Josiah Bartlett declined to be elected to Congress citing fatigue due to earlier efforts. When trouble threatened Josiah Bartlett accompanied General John stark’s forces at the battle of Bennington in August and used his medical skills on the wounded. In the battle of Bennington (Vermont), Brigadier General John Stark defeated 2 detachments of General John Burgoyne’s army and was later designated as a turning point in the Revolutionary War.
    1778 Josiah Bartlett was reelected to Congress from New Hampshire and served on the committee that drafted the Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation were drafted as agreement uniting the 13 colonies and as serving as the first Constitution or set of principles by which the states are governed. Also known as the First U. S. Constitution this document set the principles for our present Constitution. After the articles of Confederation were adopted Josiah returned home to New Hampshire to attend to personal business. His wife Mary had been managing the farm and seeing to the rebuilding of their home plus carrying for their 9 children, she also had their 10th child Hannah while Josiah was away. This was the last of his Federal service.
    In 1779 Josiah returned to his role as judge serving in the Court of Common Pleas. 1782 saw his appointment to the New Hampshire State Supreme Court. Despite the fact he wasn’t a lawyer. In 1788 Judge Bartlett was appointed to the position of Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Josiah became a delegate for New Hampshire Convention for the adoption of the New Hampshire Constitution which finally took place June 21, 1788.
    1792 Josiah Bartlett became Governor of New Hampshire where he oversaw the completion of the state Constitution and finalization of the laws and statutes for the state. He also made provisions for the early payment of the state debt.
    Doctor Josiah practiced medicine for 45 years.
After having apprenticed with other doctors, he started his own private practice at age 20.
    Josiah, having returned to his home, in Amesbury, New Hampshire, he retired from public service and medicine.  Josiah Bartlett died on May 19, 1795. His descendants still live in his home today.