Welsh Journals

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BUTTON GWINNETT AND HIS FAMILY ASSOCIATIONS WITH GLAMORGAN. By D. R. PATERSON, M.D., F.S.A. The high prices recently paid in American sale- rooms* for an autograph of Button Gwinnett, a signatory or signer" of the Declaration of Independence, serve to recall his brief meteoric career with its tragic ending that goes far to explain the scarcity of letters and documents preserving his signature. His name was not familiar to the American public and even an official of the Library of Congress thought it applied to some breakfast food! Nor did its presence among the signatures of the immortals on the yellow and faded parch- ment, now preserved in the hall of the Library of Congress in Washington, prevent sceptics from regarding it with suspicion and in a pamphlet entitled Button Gwinnett, Man of Mystery," the author ventured to doubt even the authenticity of the name with the surmise that both Button and Gwinnett were cognomens deliberately assumed for a purpose unknown to us." But Gwinnett's name is nothing more than a family name, revealing his intimate connection with the Button and the Gwinnett families, well-known in Glamorgan in the eighteenth century, and it is fitting that we should put on record some particulars of him and of the association of his family with the county. Of the fifty-six signers who assembled in Philadelphia in 1776, eight were born in this country and of those, two, Gwinnett and the president of Princeton, John Witherspoon. a native of Scotland, attained manhood before they went to America. The incomplete account of Gwinnett in Sanger's Lives of the Signers which appeared in America in 1824 is far from correct and somewhat one-sided, and subsequent writers have followed it. On a different plane is the ex- *At the sale of the Terry library in New York in 1934 the highest price in the sale-l0,100 dollars-was paid for the will of Joseph Stanley which bears Button Gwinnett's signature and had sold in 1926 for 22,500 dollars.