Hopkinson, Francis

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Hopkinson, Francis

Francis Hopkinson, 1737–91, American writer and musician, signer of the Declaration of Independence, b. Philadelphia. A practicing lawyer, Hopkinson was also an accomplished poet, essayist, and musician and is considered the first native American composer of a secular song, My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free (1759). Hopkinson represented (1776) New Jersey in the Continental Congress and later (1776–78) served as chairman of the Navy Board (as such he may have designed the American flag) and as treasurer of the Continental Loan Office (1778–81). He wrote in support of the adoption of the U.S. Constitution and returned to public office in Pennsylvania, where he served as judge of the U.S. District Court (1789–91).

See his essays and writings (3 vol., 1792; repr. 1968); biographies by G. E. Hastings (1926, repr. 1968) and O. G. Sonneck (1905, repr. 1966).

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