Most U.S. Founding Fathers were age 40 and younger
UPI News Service, 08/18/2013
Portraits of the U.S. founding fathers often portray them with white powdered wigs and many think they were older than the young men they were, an expert says.
Todd Andrlik, founder and editor of Journal of the American Revolution and curator, author and editor of "Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before It Was History, It Was News," said most Founding Fathers were under age 40 in 1776 with several qualifying as Founding Teenagers and twentysomethings.
David McCullough said in a 2005 speech that Americans tend to see the Founding Fathers as much older than they were.
"Because we're seeing them in portraits by Gilbert Stuart and others when they were truly the Founding Fathers -- when they were president or chief justice of the Supreme Court and their hair, if it hadn't turned white, was powdered white," McCullough said. "At the time of the Revolution, they were all young. It was a young man's -- young woman's -- cause."
The average age of the signers of the Declaration of Independence was 44, but more than a dozen of them were 35 or younger, Andrlik said.
"A list of ages of important American Revolution characters seems elementary enough, and certainly easy to assemble, yet I wasn't able to find such a list anywhere I looked online," Andrlik said. "And I don't recall ever stumbling upon such an appendix while researching my book, so I figured I'd just make one."
This is a list of ages, from youngest to oldest, of key American Revolution participants, providing the precise age as of July 4, 1776 -- names with a this mark "^" indicates signers of the Declaration of Independence:
The vast majority of the signers of the Declaration of Independence lived to their 50s and 60s, Johnson died at 92, Adams at age 90, while Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Williamson and Wythe lived into their 80s.