Revolutionary Brethren - The Sons of John Mercer
John Mercer was a successful Virginian lawyer in the late colonial period of American history.
In addition to handling many of the legal matters for a young George Washington, he also joined the future Commander-in-Chief in creating the Ohio Company, which speculated in lands west of the Appalachians.
Furthermore, Mercer was a respected poet who published several semi-successful books and pamphlets in his colony.
John Mercer passed away in 1768, so he was not a participant in the American Founding.
However, because of his association with George Washington and the Ohio Company, all of his children would be affected by the Revolutionary War, with many of his sons acting as leading citizens.
Let’s take a look at how Mercer’s offspring birthed the United States.
John Mercer’s oldest son, George, was present with Washington at Fort Necessity when the French and Indian War Broke out.
A decade later, George was chosen as a Tax Collector after the hated Stamp Act was passed, but he quickly resigned after witnessing the public’s backlash.
George moved to London to work as the representative of the Ohio Company and was there when the Revolutionary War broke out. He continued in this position throughout the Founding Period and there for missed most of the fun.
Since he was running a business that made money for other important figures of the time, I consider him a Founder.
John Fenton Mercer
John Fenton Mercer also fought with his older brother George as a Captain in the French and Indian War.
Unfortunately, he was killed in the Battle of Great Cacapon.
Also known as Mercer’s Massacre, John was leading a small group of soldiers when they were ambushed by the very Native Americans they were looking for.
The group was slaughtered and Mercer was unable to participate in the Founding with his siblings.
The youngest Mercer boy to participate in the French and Indian War, James would go on to serve next to George Washington in the House of Burgesses.
James was the first Mercer to serve in the Continental Congress and returned to serve as a judge, eventually sitting on the Virginia Supreme Court.
John Francis Mercer
Two decades younger than the previously mentioned Mercer boys, John Francis seems to have been named after his brother, John Fenton, who died three years before John Francis was born.
John Francis Mercer went on to be the most successful of the family, spending two years in the Continental Congress.
This Mercer, who lived his adult left in Maryland, was a Delegate in attendance at the Constitutional Convention. An Anti-Federalist, he left in protest before the document was completed and did not sign.
After serving two terms in the United States House of Representatives, John Francis Mercer was elected Governor of Maryland.
While most of John Mercer’s sons played a role in the American Revolution, none did so much as his adopted son...George Mason.
George Mason was one of the most important Founders in Revolutionary Virginia (read more about his life here)and played a substantial part in the creation of the United States.
When Mason’s mother died, John Mercer was charged with taking care of him.
Growing up partially in the Mercer household helped craft Mason into the Founder he was, and therefore he needed to be included in this essay.
Want to read about other Founding Families?
The French and Indian War was an important precursor to the Revolutionary War.
Since many of the Mercer boys fought in this war, I thought it would be a good opportunity to recommend ‘Deciding the Fate of North America.’
If you’d like a copy you can get one through the Amazon affiliate link below (you’ll support this site, but don’t worry, Amazon pays me while your price stays the same).