LANGDON, John

1741–1819

Biography

LANGDON, John, (brother of Woodbury Langdon), a Delegate and a Senator from New Hampshire; born in Portsmouth, N.H., June 26, 1741; attended the local grammar school; served an apprenticeship as a clerk, went to sea, and engaged in mercantile pursuits; a prominent supporter of the revolutionary movement and active in the Revolutionary War; a representative in the general court; Member of the Continental Congress in 1775 and 1776; resigned in June 1776 to become agent for Continental prizes and superintended the construction of several ships of war; served several terms as speaker of the State house of representatives, and during the session of 1777 staked his fortune to equip an expedition against the British; participated in the Battle of Bennington and commanded a company at Saratoga and in Rhode Island; member, State senate 1784; President of New Hampshire 1785, 1788; again a Member of the Continental Congress in 1787; delegate to the Federal Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 and one of the signers of the Constitution; member of the State ratifying convention; elected to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1789, to March 3, 1801; elected the first President pro tempore of the Senate on April 6, 1789, in order that the Senate might organize to count the electoral vote for President and Vice President of the United States; also served as President pro tempore of the Senate during the Second Congress; declined to accept the portfolio of Secretary of the Navy in the Cabinet of President Thomas Jefferson in 1801; member, New Hampshire legislature from 1801-1805, the last two terms as speaker; Governor of New Hampshire 1805-1811, with the exception of 1809; declined the nomination as a candidate for vice president in 1812; died in Portsmouth, N.H., September 18, 1819; interment in the Langdon tomb in the North Cemetery.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Cornell University Libraries
Rare Books and Manuscript Collections

Ithaca, NY
Papers: Proclamation of Thanksgiving (October 21, 1785) in Washington Irving's Life of George Washington, Volume IX, Miscellany, 1766-1808.

Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH
Papers: 1775-1813. 45 letters.

Daughters of the American Revolution
Constitution Hall

Washington, DC
Papers: 1 item (February 24, 1791) in Signers of Constitution collection.

Harvard University
Graduate School of Business Administration Baker Library

Boston, MA
Papers: In Wendel family business records, 1722-1865.

Harvard University
Houghton Library

Cambridge, MA
Papers: 16 items (March 16, 1789-July 27, 1790) in Sturgis family papers; and in Joseph Whipple papers, 1717-1904 (bulk 1763-1814).

Historical Society of Delaware

Wilmington, DE
Papers: 2 items (February 1, 1789; March 18, 1789) in George Read papers.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: 1659-1824. Ca. 600 items. Chiefly correspondence, documents, and commercial accounts including correspondence pertaining to the Revolution and messages as governor of New Hampshire. Also 1 item (March 11, 1789) in Read manuscripts; and 1 item (May 2, 1789) in Gratz collection.

Library Company of Philadelphia

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: 1 item (March 21, 1789) in Benjamin Rush papers.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: 3 items (1776, 1788, 1809); 6 items (April 6, 1789-July 23, 1790) in George Washington papers; and correspondence in Samuel Sherburne papers, 1778-1812.

Massachusetts Historical Society

Boston, MA
Papers: Ca. 50 items (1773-1828) in various collections. Finding aid.

New Hampshire Historical Society

Concord, NH
Papers: 1716-1841. Ca. 1 foot; 1,000 items. In part, transcripts and photocopies. Correspondence (1762-1823), account books (1766-1795), and papers reflecting political and business activities. Topics include voyages to the West Indies, Newfoundland, and London; financial interests in privateers; the building and supplying of the Raleigh, and shipbuilding. Available on microfilm. Finding aid. Also portraits.

New Hampshire State Library

Concord, NH
Papers: 1 item (January 7, 1791) in Miscellaneous Province and State papers.

New York Public Library

New York, NY
Papers: 1774-1789. 108 letters. Correspondence on the Revolution, the activities of Congress, and affairs of New Hampshire. Formerly part of the Bancroft collection.

Northwestern University Library

Evanston, IL
Papers: April 14, 1789. 1 letter. From George Washington concerning his acceptance of the presidency.

Pierpont Morgan Library

New York, NY
Papers: 1777-1796. 3 items.

Portsmouth Athenaeum

Portsmouth, NH
Papers: 1761-1817. 3 linear feet; 2,320 items. Chiefly letters to Langdon (ca. 2,000); one letterbook (1775-1779); records of shipbuilding; and business records. Letters received are on business and political topics including correspondence with William Whipple (57 letters) and Samuel Livermore (60 letters), representatives to the Continental Congress; correspondence with Robert Morris; the navy board; Eastern department; and ship captains Thomas Thompson, Thomas Simpson, and Hopley Yeaton. The letterbook was primarily for governmental business and contains copies of letters sent (1776-1777) and orders to ship captains (1775-1779). Available on microfilm. Finding aid.

Smithsonian Institution
Archives of American Art

Washington, DC
Papers: 1 letter (June 1, 1799) to John Trumbull in Tony Canning collection. Available on microfilm.

Strawbery Banke Museum

Portsmouth, NH
Papers: 1663-1957 (bulk 1760-1820). 2 linear feet. Political correspondence especially with leaders of the Revolutionary cause in New Hampshire, family correspondence concerning business ventures and personal matters, bills, orders, receipts, accounts, and letterbooks (1777-1784). Revolutionary correspondence includes weekly letters (1776-1778) from Josiah Bartlett in Philadelphia, reports from Bunker Hill by Hall Jackson, and letters from James Lovell. Other correspondents include George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, John Paul Jones, John Hancock, Robert Morris, Samuel Adams, James Madison, James Monroe, and Alexander Hamilton. Includes papers of other family members. Available on microfilm. Finding aid.

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: Export permit (January 9, 1776) authorizing Langdon to serve as an export agent in Continental Congress in Miscellaneous manuscripts, 1776-1778.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Camden, Thomas E. "The Langdon/Elwyn Family Papers." Historical New Hampshire 36 (Winter 1981): 350-56.

Lacy, Harriet S. "The Langdon Papers (1716-1841)." Historical New Hampshire 22 (Autumn 1967): 55-65.

Mayo, Lawrence Shaw. John Langdon of New Hampshire. 1937. Reprint. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1970.

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