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Meet the American who was the 'working man' Founding Father, Irish ironsmith George Taylor

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George Taylor was the Founding Father who earned his keep in America by sweating over hot coals. 

He arrived in Pennsylvania from Ireland in 1736, an indentured servant to an iron foundry owner who paid for his passage to America.

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He shoveled coal into a blast furnace, melting the abundant ore of the Lehigh Valley into pig, wrought and cast iron – later into musket and cannon shot, an arsenal of independence. 

“Hard, dirty work,” said historian and author Tim Betz, curator of exhibitions at the Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society in Easton, Pennsylvania.

MEET THE AMERICAN WHO MENDED DEFECTIVE INFANT HEARTS, VIVIEN THOMAS, HIGH-SCHOOL EDUCATED CARDIAC SURGEON

Taylor rose to become a wealthy foundry owner himself. In 1776, he joined a short list of just 56 men who propelled humanity out of darkness when he inked his name upon the Declaration of Independence.

Three of those men — Taylor, James Smith and Matthew Thornton — were born in Ireland, according to the National Archives.  

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George Taylor (1716-1781), circa 1765. A continental politician born in Ireland, he came to the American colonies in 1736 and became a member of the Pennsylvania provincial assembly and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Irish are the most represented people, other than those born in America, on the daring but triumphant call for a new world order.

Eminent historian Joseph Ellis, himself of Irish descent, told Fox News Digital that Ireland’s imprint on the foundational document of the United States is no surprise.

“The Irish were already committed to American independence.”

“The Irish already had hatred for Britain and King George III,” said Ellis, who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning historical account, “Founding Brothers,” among other books.

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“Their own country had been overtaken and destroyed by the British. They didn’t have to read Thomas Paine’s ‘Common Sense.’ The Irish were already committed to American independence.”

Arrived in America ‘destitute’

George Taylor was born around 1716, most likely in the province of Ulster, in what is now Northern Ireland. Some accounts say he was born in Dublin, now the capital of the Republic of Ireland. 

“He was the son of a responsible clergyman,” the Rev. Charles A. Goodrich wrote in an 1840 tome, “The Signers to the Declaration of Independence.” 

Philadelphia in the 1700s

View of the City of Philadelphia in the 18th century. Artist: George Heap (1714–1752).  (Sepia Times/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Taylor planned to study medicine, Goodrich writes, but instead arrived in America “destitute.”

He went to work for Samuel Savage Jr., who owned the Durham iron works on the Delaware River, near Easton, and who paid for Taylor’s journey to America. The Irishman, like other newcomers of the era, was an indentured servant. 

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“Exploitative labor,” said historian Betz. 

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Taylor began at the bottom, fueling fires hot enough to melt iron.  

“He worked his way up from furnace filler, to clerk, and then manager as the owner became aware of his education and aptitudes,” writes the Durham Historical Society. 

Durham Iron works

Durham Iron Works, where Taylor oversaw production of cannon shot and shells for the Continental Army. (“History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania,” William Watts Hunt Davis, 1876, Public Domain)

Taylor’s aptitudes apparently caught the attention of another Savage: the owner’s wife. 

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Samuel Savage died in 1742. Taylor married his widow, Ann, in 1743. 

The circumstances of their relationship are unknown, said Betz.

Goodrich writes only, “Upon the death of Mr. Savage, [Taylor] became connected in marriage with his widow.” 

“He worked his way up from furnace filler, to clerk, then manager as the owner became aware of his education and aptitudes.”

One circumstance is known. “In a few years the fortune of Mr. Taylor was considerably farther increased.” 

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The indentured servant who shoveled coal spent much of his time running the business of ironmaking. 

Pennsylvania miltia

The Pennsylvania Regiment, 1760. Corporal. One of a collection of 12 watercolors of American Colonial militia uniforms, 1756-1761. Figure in blue, orange and white with rifle facing right. Artist Herbert Knotel, 1949.  (Pierce Archive LLC/Buyenlarge via Getty Images)

He also served as a captain in the Pennsylvania militia, and became a vocal member of both the Pennsylvania assembly and its Committee of Correspondence.

Those same colonial committees eventually served as a shadow government that pushed the American colonies toward independence from Britain.

His ‘sacred honor’

The Founding Fathers are widely portrayed as triumphantly signing the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 — Independence Day in America.

The reality is quite convoluted and procedural. Most notably, “nothing really happened on July 4th,” said Ellis. 

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Declaration of Independence

A feather quill and inkwell sitting on top of the American Declaration of Independence. The quill and inkwell sit next to the scribing of one of the most famous dates in world history, July 4, 1776.   (iStock)

The Second Continental Congress voted for independence two days earlier. Twelve of the 13 colonies voted in favor; New York abstained. 

“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America,” John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail in Massachusetts the following day.

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“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.”

Congress approved the language and sent it to the printer two days later. Splashed in bold across the top of the document was this: “In Congress, July 4, 1776.”

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The Declaration of Independence that we picture today, headlined by the dramatic signature of John Hancock, was not signed until Aug. 2.

George Taylor signature

George Taylor’s signature, as featured on the Declaration of Independence.  (Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence (DSDI))

It was the moment of truth, the day the revolutionaries publicly declared their opposition to King George — and, in the eyes of the crown, declared themselves traitors to suffer death by hanging. 

“We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor,” reads the last sentence of the most influential and politically radical document in human history.

“We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

John Hancock added his oversized splash of ink below those words first; 49 of 56 signatories followed, Taylor among them. The remaining six followed at later dates. 

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“I would say that of all the people who are in that room,” said Betz, “he was the one we might say was a regular guy. Just a working guy.”

The working man Taylor’s labor in support of the American Revolution was not over.

Letter written by George Taylor.

George Taylor discussed the iron forge business in a 1780 letter while the American Revolution was still being fought. Taylor arrived in America as an indentured servant from Ireland in 1736, later signing the Declaration of Independence in 1776.   (Paul Frasier/Paul Frasier Collectibles)

“Taylor transformed the ironworks into a munitions factory for the Continental Army. Durham produced cannon, cannonballs, shot, and other military equipment, probably at a financial loss,” writes ExploreHistoryPA.com.  

“Taylor’s commitment to an independent United States took precedence over financial gain.”

A ‘promise for future generations’

George Taylor died on Feb. 23, 1781 in Easton, around age 65.

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He had been stricken with illness in 1777 and ended his public service, according to the Pennsylvania Center for the Book.

He’s buried at Easton Cemetery, beneath a monument erected in his honor in 1854.

George Taylor, as he appeared in a document, circa 1876, of portraits and autographs of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.  (HUM Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Taylor did not himself live up to the standards set forth in the Declaration of Independence, most notably the ideal that “all men are created equal.” He owned two slaves. 

But the power of the Declaration of Independence is that it gave humanity, for the first time in its history, political standards and ideals. 

“Abraham Lincoln called those words the most important in American history,” said Ellis. “He said they were not for immediate effect, but were a promise — a promise that we in future generations need to live up to.”

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The Declaration of Independence “helped to inspire countless movements for independence, self-determination and revolution after 1776.”

Ireland’s impact on the Declaration of Independence ran deeper than just its three signatories, each of whom represented Pennsylvania.

Charles Thomson, the secretary of the Continental Congress, assigned among other duties to revising the final Declaration, was born in Ireland. 

So, too, was printer John Dunlap, the man who put the July 4th date on the document. 

Declaration signatures

The signatures to the American Declaration of Independence. Illustration from “Story of the British Nation, Volume III,” Walter Hutchinson (London, c1920s).  (The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)

They came from what’s now both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. 

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“The people of the United States and of Northern Ireland remain closely bound by these deep, historic ties and by the values we share,” James Applegate, Consul General for the U.S. Consulate General Belfast, said in a statement sent to Fox News Digital.

Fox News Digital requested comment from the Embassy of the Republic of Ireland in Washington, D.C.

Signers Thomas McKean, George Reed and Edward Rutledge were the children of Irish immigrants. Lt. Col. John Nixon, the first man to read the Declaration of Independence in public in Philadelphia on July 8, was also the son of an Irish immigrant.

Founding Father George Taylor

George Taylor was born in Ireland, arrived in America as an indentured servant and signed the Declaration of Independence, with U.S. flag and Declaration composite.  (Hulton Archive and H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock both via Getty Images)

The statement of purpose and revolt was “the first successful declaration of independence in world history,” historian and author David Armitage wrote for the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. 

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“Its example helped to inspire countless movements for independence, self-determination, and revolution after 1776.” 

Ireland in 1776 had already lived under British subjugation for 500 years. 

George Taylor and the Irish in America “carried in their hearts and souls and memories a history of the kind of horrid treatment that their country and their countrymen and their ancestors had received from the Brits,” said author and historian Ellis.

“They didn’t need to be convinced at all to support American Independence.”

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Northeast

Family of grandmother attacked on church steps blasts lawmakers for not holding criminals accountable

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A 16-year-old suspect accused of shoving a grandmother down a flight of church steps and rummaging through her purse was arrested Thursday, the NYPD said. 

The victim, who was identified by her family as 68-year-old Irene Tahliambouris, was pushed so hard that she went airborne and landed flat on her back, security video shows. 

She suffered a fractured skull and a black eye, according to her family, and as she writhed in pain, the suspect allegedly stole $300, her cellphone and her car before fleeing the scene outside St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Queens, New York, on Sunday.

“We are devastated to even imagine the pain she is experiencing after being knocked off the stairs of the church, hitting the back of her head on the concrete while this vicious person, with no consideration for life, attacked her and took all her belongings and her car,” her family said in a statement.

WOMAN HEADING TO CHURCH RANDOMLY SHOVED DOWN STEPS AND ROBBED, VIDEO SHOWS

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Queens, New York, grandmother Irene Tahliambouris was mugged while walking into church. (GoFundMe)

Tahliambouris walked up the church stairs on Sunday when the teenage suspect ran alongside her and then pushed her from the top step, surveillance footage shows.

Her family said a lax approach to law and order, coupled with a high recidivism rate, continues to put unsuspecting victims in harm’s way.

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“Criminals feel comfortable doing things to helpless people because the laws in our state do not hold them accountable,” her family said. “The recidivism rate of criminal felonies is high, yet the state refuses to change laws to remand them to jail or charge them to the fullest extent of the law. 

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“We are seeing an increase in petty crimes that are no longer able to be prosecuted, and those people are going on to commit violent crimes, yet Albany and NYC refuse to make the necessary changes to the law to ensure these criminals are held accountable.”

NYPD is looking for this man, who pushed a 68-year-old lady down the stairs in Queens and stole money, video shows

The NYPD arrested this suspect, who pushed a 68-year-old woman down the stairs in Queens and stole money, video shows. (NYPD)

The suspect in Sunday’s attack, who was not named because of his age, was arrested by the NYPD and charged with robbery and assault.

Meanwhile, the victim was rushed to the hospital in critical condition after the attack. She is now in “stable” condition.

“She is showing signs of recognition, giving us hope,” her family said. “Irene is a loving woman who has always been there to help anyone in need, always happy and in good spirits.”

POLICE, GUNMAN EXCHANGE FIRE IN HOTEL AFTER PHONY ‘MURDER’ 911 TEXT, BODYCAM SHOWS

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Irene Tahliambouris, a 68-year-old Queens, New York, grandmother, was seen on surveillance video being pushed down the stairs going to church and robbed.

Irene Tahliambouris, a 68-year-old Queens, New York, grandmother, was seen on surveillance video being pushed down the stairs going to church and robbed. (St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church)

Her son said in a verified GoFundMe post, “I’m helping my mom to be able to get what she needs to get her life back together.”

The brutality of the attack seen in the surveillance video brought more attention to this case. 

 

“We know that the District Attorney and the NYPD are giving this case the attention it deserves,” the family said. “We trust that they will take all necessary actions to bring the perpetrator to justice and uphold the safety of our community. 

“We are grateful for the support and prayers from our community and from people everywhere.”

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Boston, MA

State, federal officials provide security update ahead of Boston Marathon – Boston News, Weather, Sports | WHDH 7News

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State, federal officials provide security update ahead of Boston Marathon – Boston News, Weather, Sports | WHDH 7News


BOSTON (WHDH) – As participants prepare to put their bodies to the test in this year’s Boston Marathon, law enforcement officials provided a security update Friday in the hopes of providing runners and spectators with everything they need for a memorable and safe Marathon Monday.

Thousands of runners were at the Hynes Convention Center on Friday to pick up their race bibs.

“We’re well-prepared and I’m confident in our training,” said MBTA Transit Police Chief Kenneth Green.

MEMA Director Dawn Brantley said, “When it comes to the Boston Marathon, we are all one team, with one mission, a safe and successful race day for everyone.”

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Federal officials say there is no current or credible threat to the race but the war in the Middle East has raised the threat level in the US and residents should be vigilant.

More than 150 federal agents will be dispersed across the race route and MEMA will have two mobile command centers.

EOPSS Sec. Susan Terry said in many ways, spectators are their best tool against threats.

“I ask everyone to remember that safety and security are our shared responsibilities … if you see something say something.”

Participants are urged to sign up for the MBTA’s SeeSay app to report issues if there are any.

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This is a developing news story; stay with 7NEWS on-air and online for the latest details.

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Pittsburg, PA

Inside PA Politics with Jon Delano – 4/11/2024

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Inside PA Politics with Jon Delano – 4/11/2024


Inside PA Politics with Jon Delano – 4/11/2024 – CBS Pittsburgh

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Check out the newest edition of Inside PA Politics with Jon Delano!

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