William Paterson: 1745 - 1806

Date Event
1745: Born in the town of Antrim in what is now northern Ireland.
1747: Emigrates to America with his family, eventually settling in Princeton, New Jersey.
1759: Enters the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University).
1763: B.A., College of New Jersey. Enters apprenticeship with lawyer Richard Stockton.
1766: M.A., College of New Jersey.
1768: Admitted to New Jersey Bar. Established first practice in New Bromley, Hunterdon County, New Jersey.
1775: Elected first as delegate to, then as secretary of, the First Provincial Congress of New Jersey.
1776: Selected as delegate to Third Provincial Congress; continued to serve as secretary. Appointed first attorney general of the State of New Jersey.
1778/1781: Twice selected to sit in Continental Congress but declines on both occasions.
1779: Marries Cornelia Bell, daughter of wealthy Somerset County landowner John Bell.
1783: Wife Cornelia dies four days after giving birth to their second child. Paterson resigns as attorney general to devote full time to law practice.
1784: Marries Euphemia White, dear friend of Cornelia.
1787: Attends Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Proposes New Jersey Plan, which advocates a unicameral body with equal representation from each state, as counter to Virginia Plan, which proposes representation based on population. Leads to Great Compromise and eventual bicameral legislature.
1788: Elected to serve in the first Senate of the United States.
1791: Elected governor of New Jersey.
1792: Signs charter for the Society for Useful Manufactures, which names its site, at the base of the Passaic River's Great Falls, for him (now the city of Paterson). His revision and reform of New Jersey's legal code and penal practice culminate in the 1799 publication of the Laws of New Jersey.
1793: Appointed associate justice of the United States Supreme Court by George Washington.
1806: In failing health, dies on September 9, 1806 at the home of his daughter in Albany, where he is buried.