William Patterson

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William Paterson (Patterson) was born in County Antrim, Ireland, in 1745. When he was almost 2 years of age, his family emigrated to America, disembarking at New Castle, DE. While the father traveled about the country, apparently selling tinware, the family lived in New London, other places in Connecticut, and in Trenton, NJ. In 1750 he settled in Princeton, NJ. There, he became a merchant and manufacturer of tin goods. His prosperity enabled William to attend local private schools and the College of New Jersey (later Princeton). He took a B.A. in 1763 and an M.A. 3 years later.
Meantime, Paterson had studied law in the city of Princeton under Richard Stockton, who later was to sign the Declaration of Independence, and near the end of the
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Paterson entered Princeton in 1759, at age 14, where he studied the classics, history, political theory and moral philosophy. He viewed college as the place to develop and perfect his character and to gain proficiency in eloquence and oratorial skill.
Following his graduation in 1763, Paterson began the study of law in the office of Richard Stockton, a prominent local attorney. In 1768 he was admitted to the bar, and opened a law practice at New Bromley in Hunterdon County and later at Raritan in Somerset County.
Though not an early participant in the politics of the day, Paterson became an outspoken supporter of American independence following the outbreak of hostilities in Lexington and Concord. In 1775 he was selected as a delegate from Somerset County to the First Provincial Congress of New Jersey, where he was named secretary. He later attended the Second Provincial Congress and the Third Provincial Congress, where as secretary he officially recorded New Jersey 's first constitution in 1776.
Soon after independence was declared, Paterson was appointed New Jersey 's first attorney general by Governor William Livingston. For the rest of the war he struggled successfully with the monumental task of maintaining law and order in the midst of a revolutionary
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