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Wednesday
May082013

Meet the Duke, Richard Stockton, Jr.  1764-1828

Like most Americans, you would have to admit that you might be a little hazy on your knowledge of the important movers and shakers of our earliest history. This blog will help you get to know one of our founding fathers.

We present to you, The Duke. Richard Stockton, Jr. was the son of Richard Stockton (1730 - 1781) Signer of the Declaration of Independence. Richard Stockton, Jr. followed in the footsteps of his Father and his Uncle Elisha Boudinot. He became an outstanding lawyer.

Here are some fast facts:

-          Graduated from the College of New Jersey in  1779

-          Entered the bar in 1784

-          Married Mary Field of Bordentown in 1788

-          Was a dominant figure in the Federalist Party, however ran unsuccessfully for Governor from 1801-1804

-          Appointed to an unexpired term in the US Senate and served in Philadelphia until March 1799

-          Was a Congressman from 1813-1815

-          Did not serve a second term in Congress, but, returned to his law practice, frequently appearing in cases in the New Jersey and US Supreme Courts

-          Served on the Boards of the College of New Jersey and the Presbyterian Church

-          Contributed a large portion of land to the Princeton Theological Seminary

Why was he nicknamed, The Duke?  Richard Stockton, Jr. was a successful and imposing figure after the Revolutionary War. Perhaps, he may have thought quite highly of himself and his role in the fledgling colonies. After all, he was the son of a Signer of the Declaration of Independence. His Father and his uncle Elias Boudinot held prominent positions throughout the war. The Duke represented a number of important cases dealing with passage rights on the Delaware River. Perhaps, his imperious nature earned his nickname and today provides a convenient distinction from his Father.

The Stockton Family residence, Morven, is located at 55 Stockton Street in Princeton New Jersey. We took a tour of Morven and discovered that an identical portrait of the Duke, which we have on consignment, hangs in the gallery there. On further investigation, we learned that Morven owns two more identical portraits of the Duke.

Pictured here is a comparison of the two portraits in the Morven gallery. Charles Lawrence, regional portrait artist of the early elite, painted the portrait, which hangs in the Morven  gallery. His name appears on the back of our consignment, citing that the portrait is by him. You can see this portrait by clicking on the “Art” category in this website.                                            

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