Rev. John Witherspoon

1723 - 1794

Monument to John Witherspoon, Gifford
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Monument to John Witherspoon, Gifford

Clergyman born in Gifford, East Lothian. Witherspoon served as the Minister of churches in Beith and then Paisley. He led a group of men from Beith against the Jacobites in 1745, was captured at the Battle of Falkirk and briefly imprisoned in Doune Castle.

He emigrated to USA in 1768 to become President of Princeton University (then the College of New Jersey). Witherspoon taught and influenced many future leaders of the USA. He helped frame the US Declaration of Independence, taking that country away from the British King he once defended, and was one of its signatories. He also coined the word "Americanism".

Witherspoon is remembered by plaques in Gifford and Beith, and a statue in Paisley.

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