Thomas McKean -- From Ulster to Pennsylvania

Thomas McKean (March 19, 1734 – June 24, 1817) was the son of William McKean from County Antrim who came to Pennsylvania via the city of Derry as a child and later married Letitia Finney whose family had also emigrated from Ireland.

Thomas would become an American lawyer and politician, serving as President of Delaware, Chief Justice and then Governor of Pennsylvania. During the American Revolution he was a delegate to the Continental Congress where he signed the United States Declaration of Independence and served as a President of Congress. Thomas McKean led the movement in Delaware for American independence and served as commander of a patriot militia group known as the Pennsylvania “Associators.” Associators were members of a Military Association, more commonly known as a militia. He was in an Associator unit of the Loyal Irish Volunteers. They received no pay, and often no uniforms; they were usually issued provisions, but relied on labor or looting to earn money. Loyalist Associators often served in mixed-race units, composed of whites, escaped slaves, and even American Indians.

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Tags: Antrim, Derry, Diaspora History, Genealogy, United States


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