Portrait by Charles Willson Peale
|Born||March 16, 1739|
|Died||January 23, 1813 (aged 73)|
|Known for||Founding Father of the United States|
George Clymer (March 16, 1739 – January 23, 1813) was an American politician and Founding Father of the United States. He was one of the first Patriots to advocate complete independence from Britain. As a Pennsylvania representative, Clymer was, along with five others, a signatory of both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. He attended the Continental Congress, and served in political office until the end of his life.
Clymer was born in Philadelphia on 16 March 1739. Orphaned when only a year old, he was apprenticed to his maternal aunt and uncle, Hannah and William Coleman, to prepare to become a merchant. He married Elizabeth Merh on March 22, 1765. In a letter written by George Clymer to the rector of Christ Church, the Reverend Richard Peters, Clymer states that he had previously fathered a child; neither the child's nor mother's name is mentioned. George Clymer and Elizabeth Merh had nine children, four of whom died in infancy. His oldest surviving son, Henry (born 1767), married the Philadelphia socialite Mary Willing in 1794. John Merh, Margaret, George, and Ann also survived to adulthood, though John Merh was killed in the Whiskey Rebellion in 1787 at the age of 18.
Clymer was a patriot and leader in the demonstrations in Philadelphia resulting from the Tea Act and the Stamp Act. Clymer accepted the command as a leader of a volunteer corps belonging to General John Cadwalader's brigade. In 1759, he was inducted as a member of the original American Philosophical Society. He became a member of the Philadelphia Committee of Safety in 1773, and was elected to the Continental Congress 1776–1780. Clymer shared the responsibility of being treasurer of the Continental Congress with Michael Hillegas, later the first Treasurer of the United States. He served ably on several committees during his first congressional term and was sent with Sampson Mathews to inspect the northern army at Fort Ticonderoga on behalf of Congress in the fall of 1776. When Congress fled Philadelphia in the face of Sir Henry Clinton's threatened occupation, Clymer stayed behind with George Walton and Robert Morris. Clymer’s business ventures during and after war served to increase his wealth. In 1779 and 1780, Clymer and his son Merh engaged in a lucrative trade with St. Eustatius. Although not partial to the merchant business, Clymer continued in business with his father-in-law and brother-in-law until 1782.
He resigned from Congress in 1777 and, in 1780, was elected to a seat in the Pennsylvania Legislature. In 1782, he was sent on a tour of the southern states in a vain attempt to get the legislatures to pay up on subscriptions due to the central government. He was reelected to the Pennsylvania legislature in 1784, and represented his state at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. He was elected to the first U.S. Congress in 1789.
He was the first president of the Philadelphia Bank and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and vice-president of the Philadelphia Agricultural Society. When Congress passed a bill imposing a duty on spirits distilled in the United States in 1791, Clymer was placed as head of the excise department in the state of Pennsylvania. He was also one of the commissioners to negotiate a treaty with the Creek Indian confederacy at Colerain, Georgia on June 29, 1796. He is considered the benefactor of Indiana Borough, as it was he who donated the property for a county seat in Indiana County, Pennsylvania.
Clymer, Indiana County, Pennsylvania was named in his honor as was Clymer, New York. There is a George Clymer Elementary School in the School District of Philadelphia. This school has educated majority children of color[further explanation needed] following Clymer's legacy of rights for all people.
Clymer's home in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, known as Summerseat, still stands, as does a house he owned in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park known as Ridgeland Mansion. One of the streets running alongside Summerseat in Morrisville is Clymer Avenue.
In Reading, Pennsylvania, Clymer Street is named in honor of George Clymer. At its intersection with Hill Road once stood the mansion of William H. Luden, who founded Luden's in Reading in 1879. That mansion later hosted Central Catholic—a now-defunct Roman Catholic parochial high school.
In the Leedom Estates section of Ridley Township, Pennsylvania, Clymer Lane is named after George Clymer.
In Pentwater, Michigan, Clymer Street is named after George Clymer.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's at-large congressional district
alongside: Thomas Fitzsimons, Frederick A. C. Muhlenberg, Thomas Hartley, Thomas Scott, Henry Wynkoop, Daniel Hiester and Peter G. Muhlenberg
At large on a general ticket:
Thomas Fitzsimons, Frederick A. C. Muhlenberg, Thomas Hartley, Israel Jacobs, John W. Kittera, Daniel Hiester, William Findley, and Andrew Gregg