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Langdon, John

Langdon, John

LANGDON, JOHN. (1741–1819). Patriot merchant and politician. New Hampshire. Born at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on 26 June 1741, John Langdon had become a wealthy merchant and shipbuilder resentful of British commercial and civil policies by the early 1770s. He served on the Portsmouth Committee of Correspondence, and in December 1774 he took part in the raid on Fort William and Mary in Portsmouth Harbor. Elected to the legislature in 1775, he served as speaker of the house in the New Hampshire Provincial Congress from 1776 to 1782. That body elected him to the Continental Congress for 1775–1776. On 25 June 1776 Congress named him agent for prizes in New Hampshire, which required him to relinquish his seat at the Continental Congress and return home. He quickly saw the possibilities of naval operations against British shipping, and built several vessels for the government. Among these ships were the Raleigh, the first ship to be completed and set sail for the American navy, and the Ranger, which was commanded by John Paul Jones. In 1777 he pressured the legislature to appoint and fund John Stark to command a unit to resist General John Burgoyne's invasion through Vermont. Langdon himself led a company of militia which was present at Burgoyne's surrender in Saratoga, and he commanded troops under John Sullivan at Newport in 1778. Having served as president of the state from 1785 to 1787 and from 1788 to 1789, he won election by the legislature to the first U.S. Senate. He served in the Senate from 1789 to 1801, then returned to serve as governor of New Hampshire from 1805 to 1812. He declined later offers of public service. His wife Elizabeth (Sherburne) died in 1813, and he died in Portsmouth 18 September 1819. He was brother to Woodbury Langdon.

SEE ALSO Burgoyne's Offensive.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Adams, Steve. "John Langdon." In New Hampshire: Years of Revolution. Edited by Peter E. Randall. Portsmouth, N.H.: Profiles Publishing Co., 1976

Mayo, Lawrence Shaw. John Langdon of New Hampshire. Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1970.

Upton, Richard F. "John Langdon and John Sullivan: A Biographical Essay." In New Hampshire: The State That Made Us a Nation. Edited by William M. Gardner, Frank C. Mevers, and Richard F. Upton. Portsmouth, N.H.: Peter E. Randall, 1989.

                             revised by Frank C. Mevers

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