New Hampshire’s Signers and the U.S. Constitution–17 September 1787

Signatures of John Langdon and Nicholas Gilman on the US Constitution document.

Signatures of John Langdon and Nicholas Gilman on the US Constitution document.

September 17, 2016 is the 229th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution, that occurred on 17 September 1787. This event is completely different than the earlier signing of New Hampshire’s state constitution (established October 31, 1783, that took effect June 2, 1784).

Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the states present the seventeenth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven and of the independence of the United States of America the twelfth. In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,” appears just before the signatures.

Painting of John Langdon, by artist Edward Savage. Later owned by Rev. Alfred Langdon Elwyn of Philadelphia PA, his great grandson. From History of New Hampshire, by Everett S. Stackpole, Vol II, 1916; page 325

Painting of John Langdon, by artist Edward Savage. Later owned by Rev. Alfred Langdon Elwyn of Philadelphia PA, his great grandson. From History of New Hampshire, by Everett S. Stackpole, Vol II, 1916; page 325

Two men represented New Hampshire at the national event–Nicholas Gilman and John Langdon.  According to The Charters of Freedom website, “Langdon was forced to pay his own expenses and those of Nicholas Gilman to the Constitutional Convention because New Hampshire was unable or unwilling to pay them.” They arrived in Philadelphia PA in late July, when much of the discussion and business was already finished (the event convened on May 25th, earlier that same year).

–About the New Hampshire Signers of the U.S. Constitution document–

John Langdon
was a native, born 25 June 1741 in Portsmouth NH. He was a merchant, shipbuilder and patriot. In December 1774 he helped seize ammunition at Fort William and Mary, an armed rebellion prior to the American Revolution. He built the ship, Ranger, for John Paul Jones, on an island that then bore his name. He was delegate to the Continental Congress in 1775 and 1776. He helped equip General John Stark’s Bennington brigade. He was elected the second President of New Hampshire in 1785, and 1788. He was the first elected United States Senator. Later he was Governor of New Hampshire five times.

Lithograph. Portrait of Nicholas Gilman (1755-1814). Printed on paper. New Hampshire Historical Society Collection. Used with permission.

Lithograph. Portrait of Nicholas Gilman (1755-1814). Printed on paper. New Hampshire Historical Society Collection. Used with permission.

Nicholas Gilman was also a native of New Hampshire, born in 1762 at Exeter NH. He served during the Revolutionary war as lieutenant, captain adjutant and adjutant-general. He was the youngest member of the Congress of the Confederation from 1786-1788. He was a member of the first through fourth congresses until 1797 when he became a United States Senator (as a Democrat).  [Read more of his biography]

***Additional Reading***

Water Color of the Signers of the US Constitution — National Archives collection

Ratification of the Constitution: The Federal Pillars, from

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