John Adams
Founding father. Second President of the United States, first vice-president of the U.S., member of the Continental Congress, helped draft the Declaration of Independence, helped negotiate the treaty of Paris with England in 1783.
Samuel Adams
A major leader and activist in the American Revolution, led protest against the Stamp Act, founder of the Sons of Liberty, principal organizer of the Boston Tea Party, member of the Continental Congress, signer of the Declaration of Independence.
John Andre
Officer in British army, posing as civilian conspired with American traitor Benedict Arnold, received plans of defenses at West Point, captured before mission completed, tried by U.S. military court, found guilty as spy & hanged at Tappan, New York.


Benedict Arnold
Prominent U.S. army officer, secretly arranged with British Major John Andre to hand over West Point to British; after discovery of his treason he fled to the British side, became General in British Army, led raids against American forces.


Charles Cornwallis
British general and colonial governor, served with distinction in American Revolution, won battle of Brandywine, captured Philadelphia in 1777 and Charleston in 1780, forced to surrender to Washington at Yorktown in 1781 ending the war.


Benjamin Franklin
Statesman, scientist, inventor, publisher of the Pennsylvania Gazette, author of Poor Richard's Almanac, member of the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, signer of the Declaration of Independence, first U.S. Postmaster General, American commissioner to Paris.


George III
King of England. Instrumental in ending Seven Years War at Peace of Paris, 1763. Strong supporter of policies leading to American Revolution, opposed liberalization of colonial government in America. After loss of colonies, he withdrew his efforts at personal government.


Nathanael Greene
Revolutionary War General, studied law under Thomas Jefferson, led American forces in major battles, supreme commander of Continental Army in Sept., 1780; his battlefield strategy forced Cornwallis to Yorktown.


Alexander Hamilton
Founding father, first Secretary of the Treasury, advocate of strong national government, member of the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention, co-author of the Federalist Papers, proposed Bank of the U. S., helped create Federalist Party, died in a duel with rival Aaron Burr.


John Hancock
Leading figure in the American Revolutionary movement, first signer of the Declaration of Independence, president of the Continental Congress, governor of Massachusetts from 1780-1793.


Patrick Henry
Revolutionary War orator and statesman. In a speech urging armed resistance against the British, he declared: "Give me liberty, or give me death!"


Anthony Wayne
Revolutionary War General, served with Washington at Valley Forge, negotiated treaties with Creek & Cherokee Indians, Member of House of Representatives in 2nd Congress, defeated Indians in famous battle at Fallen Timbers on Maumee River.


John Jay
Statesman, diplomat, first Chief Justice of the U.S. President of Continental Congress, minister to Spain, secretary of foreign affairs, author of the Federalist Papers (with Madison and Hamilton). Negotiated Jay's Treaty with Great Britain to settle disputes over debts and navigation.


Thomas Jefferson
Founding father. Author of the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia statute for religious freedom, member of the Continental Congress, statesman, diplomat, Secretary of State, Vice-President, 3rd President of the United States, founder of the University of Virginia.


Henry Knox
Major figure in American Independence, first Secretary of War, General in Continental Army, principal founder of U.S. Military Academy, co-founder of U.S. Navy.


Marquis de LAFAYETTE
French citizen who joined Continental Army during Revolutionary War, ardent supporter of American Revolution, voted Major General by Continental Congress, commanded light division in Battle of Yorktown, close associate of George Washington.


James Madison
Member of the Continental Congress, author of the Bill of Rights and 29 of the Federalist papers, Secretary of State and the 4th President of the United States.


Francis Marion
Continental Army Officer, Southern partisan leader. Commander of only Revolutionary forces in South Carolina, nicknamed "The Swamp Fox" by British for disrupting their plans with his outstanding guerilla warfare tactics from his base in swamps.


Increase Mather
Clergyman, College President. Pastor of North Church, Boston, first president of Harvard College, intermediary with Congregational churches and James II, author of treatises on Indians and noted sermons, father of Cotton Mather.


James Monroe
Fifth President of the United States, officer in Revolutionary War battles, member of the Continental Congress, U.S. Senator from Virginia, Minister to France & England, Secretary of State under Madison, drew up the Monroe Doctrine in 1823.


Thomas Paine
Revolutionary War writer, gained fame as author of Common Sense, The Crisis, The Rights of Man and The Age of Reason. Served in the War as aide to Gen. Nathanael Greene, and appointed by Congress as secretary to the committee on foreign affairs. In his later years, he established himself as "a missionary of world revolution."


Arthur St. Clair
President of the Continental Congress, Major General in the Continental Army, first Governor of the Northwest Territory. Commanded large force of Americans that was badly defeated by the Miami Indians in crucial battle near Ft. Wayne on Nov. 4, 1791.


Baron von Steuben
Served under Washington at Valley Forge, inspector general of Continental Army, trained troops & wrote drill manual adopted by Continental Army, commanded a division at Battle of Yorktown, military planner to Washington following end of the War.


George Washington
Founding father. Member of the Continental Congress, commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, presiding officer of the Constitutional Convention, first President of the United States.


The Women

Abigail Smith Adams
Born November 23, 1744 -- Died October 28, 1818
First Lady
Catherine Ferguson
Born 1779 -- Died July 11, 1854
Founder, New York City's First Sunday School
Dorothea Payne Todd Madison
(Dolly Madison)
Born May 20, 1772 -- Died July 12, 1849
First Lady

Wife of John Adams, second president of the United States, Abigail
Adams was among the most remarkable women of the Revolutionary period. She shared the interest of her husband in the political
disputes that were to happen in war. Later, when Mr. Adams became President, it is said she had a lot of influence over her husband

Born a slave, Catherine Ferguson was eight years old when her mother was sold. She never saw her mother again. She cared a lot about displaced children and took in 48 children off the streets and either raised them or found good parents for them. She started the first Sunday School in New York City, gathering both black and white children for religious instruction every Sunday.

Dolly Madison was a granddaughter of John Payne, an English gentleman who migrated to Virginia early in the 18th century. After her first husband Philadelphia lawyer John Todd died in the yellow-fever epidemic of 1793, she was introduced to and eventually married James Madison who was then Secretary of State. Dolly served as unofficial first lady to President Thomas Jefferson, who was a widower. Later, she became the official First Lady as the wife of President Madison. Her enormous popularity as a hostess is credited with Madison's re-election to a second term. During the burning of the White House by the British in 1814, she removed the portrait of George Washington from the house, saving it from the fire.

(Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley)
Born October 13, 1754 -- Died January 22, 1832
Betsy Ross
Born January 1, 1752 -- Died January 30, 1836
Born September 25, 1728 -- Died October 19, 1814


During the Battle of Monmouth on June 28, 1778 the fighting was fierce. The soldiers' throats were dry. Many were exhausted and wounded. All through the day a private's young wife, Mrs. John Hays, carried water in a pitcher back and forth from a well to her husband and his fellow artillery gunners. Thus, the nickname Molly Pitcher. As the battle went on, Molly's husband was shot dead, but she knew his job well enough to grab a rammer and keep the gun firing. She served at the cannon for the remainder of the battle.

Operating an upholsterer's shop in Philadelphia, Betsy Ross is credited with making the first stars-and-stripes flag. She did so at the request of George Washington, Robert Morris and George Ross. The stars-and-stripes was adopted as the national flag by a resolution of the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777.

One of the most educated and brilliant women of her time, Mercy Warren was close friends with Thomas Jefferson, John and Abigail Adams, James Winthrop and Elbridge Gerry. Wife of Revolutionary War leader James Warren, she wrote a number of political plays. Her three-volume "History of the American Revolution" published in 1805 is valuable because of her first-hand knowledge of many of the key personalities of the war.


Born June 2, 1732 -- Died 1802
First Lady
Born 1753 -- Died December 5, 1784

When she was seventeen years old, Martha Dandridge married Daniel Parke Custis, one of the wealthiest planters of eastern Virginia. Eight years later her husband died, leaving her with two children. It was said she was "the prettiest and richest widow in Virginia". She met Colonel George Washington in 1758. They were married a year later. They made Mount Vernon their home where Martha managed her husband's plantations in his absence. During the war she visited him in camp. She became the "first" First Lady.


Phillis Wheatley was America's first black poet. Born in Senegal, Africa in 1753, she was kidnapped on a slave ship to Boston and sold at the age of seven to John and Susannah Wheatley of Boston as Mrs. Wheatley's personal servant. Phillis, however, was soon accepted as a member of the family, and was raised and educated with the Wheatley's other two children. Phillis soon displayed her remarkable talents by learning to read and write English. At the age of twelve she was reading the Greek and Latin classics, and passages from the Bible. At thirteen she wrote her first poem. Phillis became a Boston sensation after she wrote a poem on the death of the evangelical preacher George Whitefield in 1770. Three years later thirty-nine of her poems were published in London as "Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral." It was the first book published by a black American.

From the Early American Digital Library