FW: fourscore...

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Thu Mar 6 19:52:44 UTC 2003

> > I recall being told that the average age at death for
> > the men who signed the Declaration of Independence was
> > over 80. I've never checked this out for myself, but
> > it should be fairly easy to confirm or disprove.
> I don't have a list of the signers handy but here are a few
> statistics:

One of the advantages of being unemployed is the ability to pursue minor
research projects that pique your interest...

I've done the following calculations on the ages of the 56 signers of the
Declaration of Independence. Some caveats: I used years of birth and death
only, not months or dates, so some of the individual ages might be off by a
year, but this should average out for the group. Also, several of signers
have only approximate dates of birth, and for at least one the year of death
is approximate. (Thomas Lynch of South Carolina, in ill health, sailed for
the West Indies in late 1776 and was never heard from again; year of death
is given as 1779.)

Age at Signing:
Mean:           44.84
Median: 44.50
Mode:           50, 46, and 42 (4 occurrences each)

Age at Death:
Mean:           66.46
Median: 65.50
Mode:           65 (4 occurrences)

Youngest at Signing: Thomas Lynch, SC, Age 27

Youngest at Death: Thomas Lynch, SC, Age 30 (approx.)

Oldest at Signing: Benjamin Franklin, PA, Age 70

Oldest at Death: Charles Carroll, MD, Age 95

First to Die: John Morton, PA, 1777, Age 53 (He died in April 1777, beating
out Button Gwinnett, 42, who was shot in a duel in May 1777, dying some days
later--accounts differ on the dates, but it was not on 4 July as is often
claimed. The misinformation about Gwinnett was probably concocted because
people wanted an excuse to repeat the name "Button Gwinnett.")

Last to Die: Charles Carroll, MD, 1832, Age 95

(Note: James Madison and Thomas Paine, mentioned in Jim Landau's earlier
post, were not signers of the Declaration.)

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