Stephen Hopkins

The second oldest signer of the Declaration of Independence (at 69, one year younger than Ben Franklin), Hopkins had defied the demographic age limit of his times by many years. He had participated with his family in the slave trade, but ended up freeing his own slaves, then played the key role in outlawing slavery in his state, the first anti-slavery legislation in America. As a farmer and a merchant, there were few offices that had eluded his public service and he was, perhaps, the best known man in the colony when he was sent to Congress. He had joined Franklin in the earliest attempts to unify the colonies and he lived to see it happen.