(b. May 28, 1736, d. April 14, 1829)

He Penned the Official
Declaration of Independence!

Matlack read Congress's
Declaration of Independence
to the crowd gathered at the
State House on July 4th, 1776

Col. Matlack and his 5th Rifle Battalion crossed the frozen Delaware River with George Washington in Dec. 1776 to the Victory of Trenton, during the American Revolution

Matlack later helped found the
Society of Free Quakers, after being expelled, with numerous others, for their support in the American Revolutionary War and failure to adhere to the Peace Testimony of Quakers


Timothy Matlack, Scribe of the Declaration of Independence
By Chris Coelh


[Matlack's wikipedia page]

[Matlack's Find-A-Grave page]




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The copy of the Declaration of Independence that is housed at the National Archives is not the draft that was approved by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. Instead it is a formal copy that the Continental Congress hired someone to make for them after the text was approved. This formal copy was made by Timothy Matlack, an assistant to the Secretary of Congress. This copy was signed on August 2, 1776.

Thomas Jefferson is often called the “author” of the Declaration of Independence, although he wasn’t the only person who contributed important ideas. Jefferson was a member of a five-person committee appointed by the Continental Congress to write the Declaration. The committee included Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman.

One of the most widely held misconceptions about the Declaration of Independence is that it was signed on July 4, 1776. In fact, independence was formally declared on July 2, 1776, a date that John Adams believed would be “the most memorable epocha in the history of America.” On July 4, 1776, Congress approved the final text of the Declaration. It wasn’t signed until August 2, 1776.


Patriot, Soldier & Coloniel Revolutionary War, Member of Congress, Member of Pennsylvania Convention, Architect,
Scribed/Penned/Handwrote the Declaration of Independence

"He outlived the pleasant pictures of his imagination,
and most of his ties to existence"

The Original Declaration of Independence
Official Copy, Penned by Timothy Matlack, that members of Congress signed on August 2nd, 1776!


[1] Timothy Hancock progenitor (1m. Rachel Firman, d. 1684 - 2m. Susannah Ives, d. 1698)
--- (2) Elizabeth Hancock (dau. of Rachel Firman, m. Robert Braddock[1])
--- (2) Hannah Hancock (m. Manuel Stratton[1])
--- (2) Ann Hancock (m. Mark Stratton[1])

[1] Mary (Hancock) Matlack (sister of Timothy Hancock) (m. William Matlack[1] 1682)
--- (2) John
--- (2) George
--- (2) Mary
--- (2) William b. 1690
--- (2) Joseph
--- (2) Richard
--- (2) Timothy Matlack Sr. (1m. Mary Haines 1720, 2m. Martha Burr Haines 1730) b. 1695, d. 1752
------- (3a) Priscilla, b. 1722
------- (3a) Letitia, b. 1724
------- (3a) Achsah, b. 1726
------- (3a) Abi, b. 1728
------- (3b) Sybil Matlack, b. 1730
------- (3b) Elizabeth Matlack b. 1734
------- (3b) Timothy Matlack (Dec. of Ind.) b. 1736 (son of Timothy & Martha) (1m. Ellen Yornall 1748, 2m. Elizabeth Capper 1767)
----------- (4a) William Matlack, b. 1759
--------------- (5) Timothy
--------------- (5) James, b. 1791
----------- (4a) Mordecai Matlack, b. 1778
----------- (4a) Sibyl Stretch, b. 1764
----------- (4a) Catharine Murray, b. 1767
----------- (4a) Martha Bryan, b. 1770
------- (3) Titus Matlack b. 1738
------- (3) Seth Matlack b. 1743
------- (3) White Matlack b. 1745
------- (3) Josiah Matlack b. 1748
--- (2) Sarah Matlack (m. Carlile Haines 1721) b. 1704
------- (3) Sarah Haines (m. Amos Wilkins)
----------- (4) Amos Wilkins (m. Lydia Jenkins)
--------------- (5) Amos Wilkins
--- (2) Jane (m. Irwin)

* Timothy Matlack (Sr.) was named after his uncle Timothy Hancock, his mother's brother. Timothy Hancock came with his sister from Brailes, Warwickshire, England and settled on a hundred acre tract of land in Chester Township, Burlington County, New Jersey, adjoining the plantation of William Matlack.

[1] William Matlack progenitor (m. Mary Hancock, dau. of Timothy Hancock [1])
--- (2) Sarah Matlack (m. Carlile Haines)
------- (3) Sarah Haines (m. Amos Wilkins)
----------- (4) Amos Wilkins (m. Lydia Jenkins)
--------------- (5) Amos Wilkins

Timothy Matlack, by Charles Wilson Peale, from life, 1826

"La Fayette, on his way from Bristol to Philadelphia, called on Mr. Matlack, and a very short time before the death of the late Charles H. Peale, that venerable artist paid him a visit for the purpose of obtaining his portrait. 1826, 86-years-old.
(the excellent one now in the Philadelphia Museum.)

"The 86 year old Matlack insisted on wearing a liberty cap to show his life-long identification with the rights of the common man"

Peale - "I paid him a visit in July, 1828, and his strikingly venerable appearance was calculated forcibly to remind one of the patriarchal times. He was clad in a loose morning gown, and a white cap somewhat resembling a turban, and his highly interesting countenance, his sightless but expressive eyes and long white beard indicated an age not commonly allotted to mortals. To an inquiry respecting his health he replied,

"I scarcely know how I am, or who I am
where I am or what I am
I only know that I'm alive and that's all"

He died 9 months later


Engraving of Timothy Matlack by Samuel Sartain, after Charles W. Peale.


The Indian King Tavern Museum
in Haddonfield, New Jersey

Built on land owned by Timothy Matlack's father, Timothy Matlack Sr.
The oldest part of the building dates to 1740, the year the Matlacks moved to Philadelphia


The Signature Page from the First Contintental Congress' petition to King George II - October 26, 1774
In the hand of Timothy Matlack


"After Benedict Arnold's treason was discovered, Philadelphians burned him in effigy.
Timothy Matlack had previously suggested a duel."


a drawing for the Free Quaker Meeting House, with Timothy Matlack notation at the bottom.
He was construction manager and probably designed the small building.


In 1810, Timothy Matlack offers Tea, Wine, Beer, and Cyder.
He has reserved a few demijohns for the 4th of July, that shall do honor to the day.


A letter written by 25-year-old Matlack.


13-year-old Timothy Matlack signs his apprentice contract with a flourish.
His father's signature is below, left.


Benjamin Franklin purchased 47 quarts of Maderia Wine from Timothy in March and April 1763


Timothy Matlack indirectly challenges Benedict Arnold to a duel, during the dispute between his son.

"Timothy Matlack was Benedict Arnold's nemesis"

Dinner Invitation from George Washington to Timothy Matlack


"American Scribe" font created after Timothy Matlack and his handwritting on the first original American documents.