John Beatty (Continental Congress)

John Beatty (December 10, 1749 – May 30, 1826) was an American slave owner,[1] physician, and statesman from Princeton, New Jersey.[2][3]

John Beatty
John Beatty, M.D., member of the Continental Congress (NYPL b12349195-420168).tif
Secretary of State of New Jersey
In office
GovernorRichard Howell
Joseph Bloomfield
Preceded bySamuel W. Stockton
Succeeded byJames Linn
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's At-large district
In office
1793 – 1795
alongside Elias Boudinot, Abraham Clark, Jonathan Dayton, and Lambert Cadwalader
Preceded byElias Boudinot, Abraham Clark, Jonathan Dayton, and Aaron Kitchell
Succeeded byJonathan Dayton, Aaron Kitchell, Mark Thomson, Thomas Henderson, and Isaac Smith
Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly
In office
Preceded byBenjamin Van Cleve
Succeeded byJonathan Dayton
Personal details
Born(1749-12-10)December 10, 1749
Neshaminy, Province of Pennsylvania, British America
DiedMay 30, 1826(1826-05-30) (aged 76)
Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.
RelationsJohn Reading (grandfather)
James Clinton (great-grandfather)
Parent(s)Charles Clinton Beatty
Anne Reading
Alma materCollege of New Jersey
OccupationPhysician, politician

Early lifeEdit

He was born in Neshaminy in the Province of Pennsylvania on December 10, 1749.[2] Beatty was the oldest of ten children of Irish born Rev. Charles Clinton Beatty and Anne (née Reading) Beatty, who were married in 1746. His father was a Presbyterian minister who did missionary work among the Native Americans.

His maternal grandfather was John Reading, president of the New Jersey Provincial Council and acting Governor of the Province of New Jersey.[4] His paternal grandparents were John Beatty and Christiana (née Clinton) Beatty.[5] John's grandmother was the daughter of James Clinton and the sister of Charles Clinton (himself the father of Revolutionary War Major General James Clinton and Vice President George Clinton, and the grandfather of New York Governor DeWitt Clinton).[6][7]

Beatty graduated from the College of New Jersey (later known as Princeton University) in 1769.[8] He was a student of Founding Father Benjamin Rush.[9]


Letter from John Beatty, 1784

Beatty became a doctor and opened his first practice in Hartsville, Pennsylvania.[10] He rose to the rank of major in the 6th Pennsylvania Regiment of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He was captured at the surrender of Fort Washington on November 16, 1776. After his exchange, he was appointed Commissary General for Prisoners with the rank of colonel.[11][12]

By the end of the war he had become a resident of New Jersey, serving as a member of the New Jersey Legislative Council (now the New Jersey Senate) from 1781 to 1783, representing Middlesex County,[13] and delegate from that state to the Continental Congress in 1784 and 1785.[2]

In 1784, when Thomas Jefferson's proposed ban on slavery in all future territories came up for a vote in Congress, Beatty became sick and was absent from the meeting. As Jefferson noted, "[Je]rsey would have been for it, but there were but two members, one of whom [Beatty] was sick in his chambers"; thus, New Jersey could not submit its vote.[14] The proposal failed to pass by one vote.[15]

Beatty was the speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly from 1789 to 1790, and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in the Third Congress from 1793 to 1795. He later served as Secretary of State of New Jersey from 1795 to 1805.[2]

Personal lifeEdit

Beatty was married to Catherine DeKlyn (1773–1861), the daughter of Mary (née Van Sant) DeKlyn and Barnt DeKlyn, who became wealthy selling textiles to the Continental Army during the American Revolution.[16] Together, they were the parents of Robert Beatty and William Beatty.[17]

Beatty was admitted as an original member of The Society of the Cincinnati in the state of New Jersey,[18][19] and served as the organization's Treasurer from 1823 until his death on May 30, 1826 in Trenton in Mercer County, New Jersey.[20][21]


The Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has a collection of personal papers, including diaries, correspondences and genealogical notes, related to the Beatty Family. Besides John Beatty's papers, the collection also includes journals by his father, Charles Clinton Beatty, who served as an early missionary with George Duffield among Native Americans.[4]


  1. ^ "Congress slaveowners", The Washington Post, January 19, 2022, retrieved January 25, 2022
  2. ^ a b c d "BEATTY, John - Biographical Information". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  3. ^ Mays, Terry M. (2005). Historical Dictionary of Revolutionary America. Scarecrow Press. p. 24. ISBN 9780810853898. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Guide to the Beatty Family Papers". Presbyterian Historical Society. May 5, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  5. ^ Jordan, John Woolf (1913). Genealogical and Personal History of the Allegheny Valley, Pennsylvania. Lewis Historical Publishing Company. p. 721. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  6. ^ Bergen, Tunis Garret (1915). Genealogies of the State of New York: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Founding of a Nation. Lewis Historical Publishing Company. Retrieved July 18, 2017.
  7. ^ Moore, Charles B., "Introductory Sketch to the History of the Clinton Family", The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, (Richard Henry Greene at al, eds.), New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, 1880
  8. ^ "To George Washington from John Beatty, 28 April 1789". Founders Online. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  9. ^ Gansevoort Jr., Peter (2014). Hero of Fort Schuyler: Selected Revolutionary War Correspondence of Brigadier General Peter Gansevoort, Jr. McFarland. p. 254. ISBN 9781476616803. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  10. ^ Bulletin of the History of Medicine. Johns Hopkins University Press. 1958. pp. 38–41. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  11. ^ Heitman, Francis Bernard (1914). Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army During the War of the Revolution, April 1775, to December, 1783. Rare Book Shop Publishing Company. p. 95. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  12. ^ Purcell, L. Edward. Who Was Who in the American Revolution. New York: Facts on File, 1993. ISBN 0-8160-2107-4.
  13. ^ Jensen, Merrill; DenBoer, Gordon; Becker, Robert A. (1976). The Documentary History of the First Federal Elections, 1788-1790. Univ of Wisconsin Press. p. 52. ISBN 9780299106508. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  14. ^ "Founders Online: To James Madison from Thomas Jefferson, 25 April 1784".
  15. ^ Merkel, William (2009). "Jefferson's Failed Anti-Slavery Proviso of 1784 and the Nascence of Free Soil Constitutionalism". Seton Hall Law Review. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  16. ^ "New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places - Mercer County" (PDF). New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection - Historic Preservation Office. March 1, 2011. p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 3, 2010. Retrieved March 28, 2011.
  17. ^ Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Book. Daughters of the American Revolution. 1935. p. 99. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  18. ^ Metcalf, Bryce (1938). Original Members and Other Officers Eligible to the Society of the Cincinnati, 1783-1938: With the Institution, Rules of Admission, and Lists of the Officers of the General and State Societies Strasburg, VA: Shenandoah Publishing House, Inc., p. 48.
  19. ^ "Officers Represented in the Society of the Cincinnati". The American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  20. ^ "John Beatty | The Society of the Cincinnati in the State of New Jersey". Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  21. ^ Wilson, J. G.; Fiske, J., eds. (1900). "Beatty, John (physician)" . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.

External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's at-large congressional district

alongside Elias Boudinot, Abraham Clark, Jonathan Dayton, and Lambert Cadwalader on a General ticket
1793 – 1795
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly
1789 – 1790
Succeeded by
Preceded by Secretary of State of New Jersey
1795 – 1805
Succeeded by