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Sherman, Roger

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Sherman, Roger

(1721–1793) Born April 19 (old style), 1721, in Newton, Massachusetts, son of Mehetabel Wellington and William Sherman (shoemaker and farmer). Family moved to Stoughton (now Canton), Massachusetts, in 1723. Educated in common schools and read widely on his own. Worked on his father’s farm and learned the shoemaker’s craft. Father died in 1741. Moved to New Milford, Connecticut, where his older brother William lived, in 1743. In 1745, he was appointed surveyor for New Haven County (and for Litchfield County after it was organized in 1752) and served until 1758. With his brother, owned the town’s only store, and became its sole owner by 1756. Began buying land with money earned from surveying. Became a juryman, exciseman, town clerk pro tem, clerk of the church, deacon, school committeeman, and agent to the assembly on town business. Married Elizabeth Hartwell in November 1749, with whom he had seven children. Published a series of almanacs 1750–61. Admitted to the bar in Litchfield in 1754. Represented New Milford in the Connecticut General Assembly in 1755 and 1757–61. Appointed justice of the county court and commissary for the Connecticut troops in 1759. Wife Elizabeth died in 1760. In 1761, he moved to New Haven and became a merchant, importing goods and selling books to Yale students. Married Rebecca Prescott in May 1763, with whom he had eight children. Representative from New Haven to the lower house of the state legislature 1764–66 and an assistant to the upper house in 1766. Appointed justice of the peace in 1765. Appointed judge of the superior court of Connecticut in May 1766 and held office until 1789. Treasurer of Yale College 1765–76; received honorary degree in 1768. Sold his business in 1772 because of his public offices. Did not support activities of the Sons of Liberty. Delegate from Connecticut to First Continental Congress in 1774, where he denied the supremacy of parliament and signed the Association Agreement. Delegate to Continental Congress 1774–81 and 1783–84; served on committees that drafted the colonial Declaration of Rights and the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and other state papers. Member of the Connecticut Council of Safety 1777–79 and 1782. With Richard Law, he revised the statutory laws of Connecticut in 1783. Mayor of New Haven, 1784–86. Delegate from Connecticut to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, where he took active part in arranging the Connecticut compromise. Delegate to Connecticut ratifying convention of 1787, where he supported ratification. Wrote newspaper essays in support of Constitution. Only person to sign all the important documents in the course of creating the national government. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1789, giving up his seat on the supreme court of Connecticut. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1791. He died in New Haven on July 23, 1793.