Born in England, Button Gwinnett left for America at the age of 27 and ended up on a farm in Georgia.
He soon made a name for himself in local politics and was sent by his colony to the Second Continental Congress.
Gwinnett was a strong supporter of the Revolutionary Cause. He voted for and signed the Declaration of Independence.
Upon returning to Georgia, Button was appointed to the position of Governor.
Four months later, he was dead.
How'd he die so suddenly? He lost a duel.
That's right, Alexander Hamilton was not the only Founding Father to be lousy at dueling. Mr. Gwinnett also took a 'gentlemanly' bullet.
It turns out he had made enemies with a man named Lachlan McIntosh. Gwinnett got mad when McIntosh got the Brigadier General job he wanted. Then McIntosh got mad when Gwinnett got the Governor job he wanted. Then they both got mad when Gwinnett ordered McIntosh to invade Florida and it went very poorly.
Gwinnett soon had McIntosh's brother arrested, and McIntosh called Gwinnett some real mean names (like 'scoundrel' and 'rascal'). Soon they met at the dueling ground and shot each other. One lived, one died.
And that would be the conclusion to Button Gwinnett's revolutionary career.
But why is Button Gwinnett important to us now?
Button Gwinnett was the first of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence to die.
This is a big deal because there are people out there (like myself) who would love to have the autograph of all 56 of those people. This is hard to achieve, because of Button Gwinnett.
You see, at the time, people would sign there names frequently to items like letters and receipts. It's actually not that expensive to purchase some of these. This is because there are so many examples left for us today.
Button is different, though. He didn't leave us with much. As of now, we have 51 copies of his signature.
And people want that signature.
Right now, Button Gwinnett has the third most expensive signature in the world.
It goes: Julius Caesar. William Shakespeare. Button Gwinnett.
Take that Hamilton.
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It seems like people in the 1920's really wanted to write books about Gwinnett. You can give one a try or pick up Failed Merchant if you'd prefer to have something written more recently.