The New International Encyclopædia/Penn, John (1741-88)

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PENN, John (1741-88). An American patriot, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, born in Caroline County, Va. He was admitted to the bar in 1762, and soon acquired a reputation as an eloquent and successful pleader. In 1774 he removed to Granville County, N. C., and almost immediately became prominent there. Having espoused the Patriot cause, he was, in September, 1775, chosen a delegate to the Continental Congress, and next year signed the Declaration of Independence. He was rechosen delegate in 1777, and once again in 1779. In 1780, after the disastrous defeat of Camden, he was given almost dictatorial power in North Carolina, and did much to assist General Greene in his campaign against the invaders under Cornwallis. In 1784 he was appointed receiver of taxes for North Carolina by Robert Morris, but found his duties so disagreeable that he soon resigned.