Caesar Rodney Document Signed as Delaware's register of wills. Three partially-printed pages, 8" x 13.25", Kent County, Delaware, December 14, 1773. The signer of the Declaration of Independence has signed this document, the "last Will and Testament" of William Kimmey of Kent County, in the lower margin of page one. Pages two and three contain the actual copy of the will, along with a secretarial copy of Rodney's signature.

    Caesar Rodney (1728-1784), a veteran of the French and Indian War, served in many important capacities during the American revolution, but he is most noted for his dramatic eighty-mile overnight ride to vote for the Declaration of Independence. In late June 1776, Rodney, a Delaware delegate to the Continental Congress, had been on a tour of south Delaware. On July 1, he received word that the other two Delaware delegates, Thomas McKean and George Read, disagreed on whether or not Delaware should approve independence. Rodney rode through the night to Philadelphia, arriving just as the voting began on July 2. He broke Delaware's deadlock by voting with McKean in favor of the declaration, which allowed all thirteen colonies to unanimously favor independence from Great Britain. A blind-embossed paper seal rests in the upper left corner of page one. The document is fragile, with repairs to several areas of paper loss, some resulting in a loss of text. Three larger areas of paper loss have not been repaired. Rodney's signature and paraph are still bold, but paper repairs run through both "Caesar" and "Rodney."

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