John Jay, 1745 - 1829

portrait of John Jay
Oil portrait by Gilbert Stuart
John Jay signature

Born: 12 December 1745, New York City
Died: 17 May 1829, Bedford, New York

Born to a prominent New York family, Jay was tutored mostly at home (he did spend three years studying under an Anglican priest at New Rochelle) before entering King's College, now Columbia University. He graduated in 1764 and clerked for a lawyer, then was admitted to the bar in 1768. He was a delegate to both the first and second Continental Congresses. Jay drafted New York's constitution in 1777 and then served as the first Chief Justice of New York. He was involved in negotiating the treaty with Great Britain that ended the Revolutionary War, then served as Secretary of Foreign Affairs under the Articles of Confederation. To encourage support for ratification of the Constitution, Jay wrote five of the articles that make up the Federalist Papers. George Washington appointed him to serve as the first Secretary of State, which he declined, and then was named as the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He was sent to England to negotiate another treaty, on his return he found that he had been elected as the second governor of New York, a post he held for six years. John Adams nominated him to be Chief Justice again in 1800, the Senate confirmed the assignment, but Jay declined. He retired to life as a farmer in Westchester County and lived there until he was stricken with a palsy, probably from a stroke, and died three days later.

Biography from Wikipedia and Independence Hall Association

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