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Roger Sherman

Autograph judicial order by Sherman, the only person who signed

all four major American founding documents,

including the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution

Roger Sherman, 1721–1793.  Founding Father; Signer of the Declaration of Independence.  Autograph Document Signed, Roger Sherman, one page, 6¼” x 5¼”, New Haven, [Connecticut], May 9, 1786.

Sherman is the only person in American history who signed all four of the United States’ great founding documents:  the Continental Association, by which the First Continental Congress implemented a trade boycott against Great Britain; the Declaration of Independence; the Articles of Confederation; and the United States Constitution. 

All the while Sherman was a Connecticut Superior Court judge, a position that he held from 1766 to 1789, when he resigned to become a member of the United States Congress, the first under the Constitution.  In this document, Judge Sherman directs State Treasurer John Lawrence to issue payment for articles supplied to prisoner.  He writes, in full:  “Sir / Please to pay to Jonathan Fitch Esqr fifteen Shillings lawful money for a Blanket and some necessary clothing provided for Joseph Dickerman a State Prisoner which was allowed by the Supr Court.”  By his signature, he has added “one / of the Judges.”

In 1776, Sherman, a delegate to the Second Continental Congress, worked alongside John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Robert Livingston as one of the Committee of Five who drafted the Declaration of Independence.  He subsequently signed the Declaration as a member of the Connecticut delegation.

Sherman has signed written and signed this document in dark brown ink.  The document is irregularly trimmed but is nicely suitable for framing.  The vertical signature of Hezekiah Rogers (1753–1811), Hez Rogers, touches parts of four letters in Sherman’s last name, and one of the vertical folds goes through the “g” in “Roger.”  There are scattered stains and ink transfers, brushing to two letters of the text, a couple of creases, and an archivally repaired fold split in the upper left blank margin.  The back contains docketing and perhaps an endorsement by Fitch.  Overall the piece is in fine condition.




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