Honest John Hart

Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History:

Honest John Hart — February ?, 1713
by Rev. David T. Myers

There is much which we don’t know about Honest John Hart, as he was known by all. For example, no one seems to know the date of his birth. We know that it was the second month of the year, but the exact day is unknown. So for the purposes of this web magazine, we have chosen this day. Some don’t even know the year of his birth, though we have placed down the generally accepted year of 1713. And as far as the place of his birth, that too is not known. Some say John Hart was born in Connecticut, and others say New Jersey. But what this humble man accomplished for his new country and especially for the Lord God is well known.

His chief accomplishment was that John Hart was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, representing the State of New Jersey. And like his fellow delegate John Witherspoon, who signed the Declaration, John Hart was also a Presbyterian. We know that he was baptized as a child in the Maidenhead Meetinghouse, which is currently the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, on December 31, 1713. Fellow signer, Benjamin Rush, also a Presbyterian, described him as “a plain, honest, well meaning Jersey farmer, with little education, but with good sense and virtue enough to pursue the true interests of his country.”