Autograph document signed Josiah Bartlett ("J Bartlett"). Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Josiah Bartlett.

Autograph document signed Josiah Bartlett ("J Bartlett").

[Rockingham County NH]: May 15, 1769.

1 p. pen and ink on paper, blank on verso. 4.5 x 7.75 inches. Old folds, dog-eared corner, else fine Photo. Item #315321

A memo written during Bartlett’s tenure as justice of the Peace for Rockingham County, recording an agreement for the transfer of a deed from Joseph Chandler to Josiah Judkins upon payment of a note.

American physician, statesman, and jurist, Josiah Bartlett (1729-1795), was born in Amesbury in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, and moved to the frontier settlement of Kingston, in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, in 1751, where he opened his practice as the county’s sole physician. Bartlett was elected to the New Hampshire colonial assembly in 1765, served as colonel of the Rockingham County militia and was appointed justice of the peace. From 1775-1776, and in 1778 and 1788, Barteltt was New Hampshire’s delegate to the Continental Congress, where, as the representative of the northern most colony, he was the first delegate to vote for independence from Great Britain. Bartlett was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, served on the committee that drafted the Articles of Confederation and helped ratify the Constitution. He later served as a judge in the Court of Common Pleas and despite not being a lawyer, was appointed Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, and in 1792, he became New Hampshire’s fourth Governor.

Two-hundred years after his death, Josiah Bartlett entered the chronicles of American pop culture when (despite a difference in the spelling of his last name) he became the fictional direct ancestor of “President Josiah Bartlet,” a leading character played by actor Martin Sheen in NBC’s drama, The West Wing. Bartlett is also a character in both the stage and motion picture adaptation of the musical 1776.

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