William Ellery account and letter book 1751-1773
William Ellery was born in Newport, Rhode Island, on December 22, 1727. After graduating from Harvard College in 1747, Ellery returned to Newport and established himself as a merchant. As his financial success increased, Ellery became involved in politics, soon establishing himself as a local leader of the Sons of Liberty. By 1769, he had taken up the legal profession, and in March 1776 the Rhode Island Assembly chose Ellery to succeed the deceased Samuel Ward as a member of the Continental Congress. Ellery signed the Declaration of Independence in July 1776 and later served on the Congressional Board of Admiralty. Following the American Revolution, Ellery returned to Newport as a merchant and lawyer, and was appointed a customs collector by George Washington in 1790. Ellery died on February 5, 1820. He had two wives and fathered sixteen children.