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Ellery, William, 1727-1820

A signer of the Declaration of Independence; born in Newport, R. I., Dec. 22, 1727; graduated at Harvard in 1747; became a merchant in Newport; and was naval officer of Rhode Island in 1770. He afterwards studied and practised law at Newport, and gained a high reputation. An active patriot, he was a member of Congress from 1776 to 1785, excepting two years, and was very useful in matters pertaining to finance and diplomacy. He was especially serviceable as a member of the marine committee, and of the board of admiralty. During the occupation of Rhode Island by the British he suffered great loss of property, but bore it with quiet cheerfulness as a sacrifice for the public good. He was chief-justice of the Superior Court of Rhode Island, and in 1790 collector of the revenue at Newport. Mr. Ellery was a strenuous advocate of the abolition of slavery. He died in Newport, Feb. 15, 1820.

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