Button Gwinnett follow-up

In this History Blog post, I raged about people who misspell “Gwinnett”, the name of a county in metro Atlanta. It’s named after Button Gwinnett, one of Georgia’s signers of the Declaration of Independence.

In the article, I mentioned that Gwinnett’s signature is one of the most valuable and sought-after in the whole world. This is because there’s a group of autograph collectors who try to collect signatures from all the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Gwinnett’s signature is very rare, because he was practically unknown before the American Revolution and died in a duel only ten months after signing the Declaration.

Well, it looks like another copy of his signature has been found. According to the linked article, St Peter’s Church in Wolverhampton has discovered his signature in its parish register, from when Gwinnett married a local girl named Ann Bourne in 1757. Five years later, Gwinnett and wife would emigrate to the colonies, first to Charleston and later to a plantation on St. Catherine’s Island, Georgia.

The document, which has since been secretly moved to a bank for safe keeping, is expected to fetch over £500,000 ($795,550) at auction, a huge windfall for St Peter’s.

And, just to show you what a small world it really is, the current mayor of Wolverhampton, Malcolm Gwinnett, is descended from Button Gwinnett.

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