“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Dupont Circle in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

John Witherspoon

1722 Scotland – Princeton 1794

John Witherspoon Monument image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, April 3, 2010
1. John Witherspoon Monument
Signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Presbyterian Minister.

“For my own part, of property I have some reputation more that reputation staked. That property is pledged on the issue of this contest: and although these gray hairs must soon descend into the sepulchre, I would infinitely rather that they descend thither by the hand of the executioner than desert at this crisis the sacred cause of my country.”
Erected 1908 by the Witherspoon Memorial Association.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Signers of the Declaration of Independence marker series.
Location. 38° 54.417′ N, 77° 2.5′ W. Marker is near Dupont Circle, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and N Street and 18th Street, NW, on the right when traveling north on Connecticut Avenue. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1301 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20036, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The National Presbyterian Church (a few steps from this marker); Theodore Roosevelt (within shouting distance of this
“Signer of the Declaration of Independence” image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, April 3, 2010
2. “Signer of the Declaration of Independence”
marker); Henry Martyn Robert (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); General Federation of Women’s Clubs (about 500 feet away); The Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle (about 500 feet away); Nuns of the Battlefield (about 600 feet away); The mansion at 1801 Massachusetts Ave. (about 700 feet away); Andrew Mellon Building (approx. 0.2 miles away).
Also see . . .
1. Sculpture entry at the Smithsonian’s Art Inventory Catalog. “John Witherspoon (1722-1794), a Presbyterian clergyman, immigrated to the United States from Scotland and went on to become a leader in the Presbyterian Church and later president of the College of New Jersey at Princeton (Princeton University). In 1774 he became involved in American politics and served in the Second Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War. He signed the Declaration of Independence and helped to ratify the Federal Constitution in 1787.

“This sculpture was erected by the Witherspoon Memorial Association organized by Dr. George Graham, pastor of the National Presbyterian Church. Sculpture was authorized by an act of Congress on May 29, 1908. The sculpture was installed in front of the National Presbyterian Church until the church was torn down in 1966. The sculpture was then installed in its present site, although members of the National Presbyterian Church have lobbied to relocate the sculpture to the front of their new church on Nebraska Avenue,
“Presbyterian Minister” image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, April 3, 2010
3. “Presbyterian Minister”
N.W. The opposition to the relocation notes that there must be an act of Congress to move the sculpture.” (Submitted on April 10, 2010, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.) 

2. Witherspoon, John. “Not all of Witherspoon’s preaching was done on the road. Indeed, when in Princeton he normally preached twice each Sunday to a mixed congregation of townspeople and students, which only recently had acquired a place of worship apart from the Prayer Room of Nassau Hall. Their church had been constructed at the front of the present campus, where stands today a Presbyterian church of much later construction. According to Benjamin Rush, Witherspoon's manner in the pulpit was ‘solemn and graceful,’ his voice melodious, and his sermons ‘loaded with good sense and adorned’ with ‘elegance and beauty’ of expression. But Rush was impressed above all by the fact that Witherspoon carried no notes into the pulpit, in sharp contrast with the ‘too common practice of reading sermons in America.’ Other contemporary descriptions indicate that he depended upon no oratorical flourishes or gestures. The story is told of a visitor who, observing that Witherspoon’s enthusiasm for gardening was confined to growing vegetables, remarked, ‘Doctor, I see no flowers in your garden,’ to which came the reply, ‘No, nor in my discourses either.’

To the day of his death, his speech revealed his Scottish birth.
John Witherspoon Quote image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, April 3, 2010
4. John Witherspoon Quote
A man of medium height, tending toward stoutness, with bushy eybrows, a prominent nose, and large ears, he had a quality contemporaries were inclined to describe as ‘presence.’ One of his students, a later president of the College, recalled that Witherspoon had more presence than any other man he had known, except for General Washington. Witherspoon lived at first in the President’s House (now called the John Maclean House), but after several years he moved about a mile north of the village to ‘Tusculum,’ a handsome residence he built that still stands on Cherry Hill Road. His route to and from the College is well enough indicated by the street that bears his name.” (Submitted on April 10, 2010, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.) 

3. John Witherspoon and the Founding of the American Republic. 2005 book by Jeffry H. Morrison on “Sometime during the debates on July 1 and 2, 1776, a member of the conservative faction ... argued that the country at large was not yet ripe for independence. Witherspoon shot back that in his judgement the colonies were not only ripe for independence but also ‘in danger of becoming rotten for the want of it.’ By so replying, he helped prod Congress towards passing Richard Henry Lee’s Resolution for Independence on July 2, and the Declaration of Independence two days later.” (Submitted on April 10, 2010, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.) 
Categories. Patriots & PatriotismWar, US Revolutionary
John Witherspoon Monument image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, April 3, 2010
5. John Witherspoon Monument
Doctor John Witherspoon Sculpture image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, April 3, 2010
6. Doctor John Witherspoon Sculpture
Bronze by William Couper (1853–1942) is 8 feet tall on a 9 foot base was erected in 1966 at this site. It was originally erected in 1908 further south on Connecticut Avenue at L Street, where the National Presbyterian Church once stood.
Doctor John Witherspoon (1722–1794) image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, April 3, 2010
7. Doctor John Witherspoon (1722–1794)
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,277 times since then and 119 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.   2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.   6, 7. submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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