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Edmund Pendleton (September 9, 1721 – October 23, 1803) was a Virginia planter, politician, lawyer and judge. He served in the Virginia legislature before and during the American Revolutionary War, rising to the position of Speaker. Pendleton attended the First Continental Congress as one of Virginia's delegates alongside George Washington and Patrick Henry, and led the conventions both wherein Virginia declared independence (1776) and adopted the U.S. Constitution (1788). Unlike his sometime political rival Henry, Pendleton was a moderate who initially hoped for reconciliation, rather than revolt. With Thomas Jefferson and George Wythe, Pendleton revised Virginia's legal code after the break with Britain. To contemporaries, Pendleton may have distinguished himself most as a judge, particularly in the appellate roles in which he spent his final 25 years, including leadership of what is now known as the Supreme Court of Virginia. On his death, Congress donned black armbands and passed a resolution expressing "their regret that another star from the splendid constellation of virtue and talents which guided the people of the United States in their struggle for independence."
Pendleton County, West Virginia (formed 1788) and Pendleton County, Kentucky (formed 1798) were both named in Pendleton's honor.
Information on Edmund Pendleton
From Appleton's Encyclopedia of American Biography:
Edmund Pendleton, statesman, was born in Caroline county, Va. 9th Sept., 1721. His grandfather, Philip, descended from Pendleton, of Manchester, Lancaster county, England, came from Norwich, Eng., to this country in 1674. Edmund began his career in the Clerk's office of Caroline county. He was licensed to practice law in 1744; became County Justice in 1751, and the following year was elected to the House of Burgesses. In 1764 was one of the Committee to memorialize the King. During the session of 1766, he gave the opinion `that the stamp act was void, for want of Constitutional authority in Parliament to pass it,' and voted in the affirmative on the resolution that the `act did not bind the inhabitants of Virginia.' He was one of the Committee of correspondence in 1763; County Lieutenant of Caroline in 1774. A member of the colonial convention, of the latter year, that was consequent on the Boston Port Bill, and was chosen by that body to the first Continental Congress. Accordingly, in company with George Washington, Peyton Randolph, Patrick Henry, Benjamin Harrison, and Richard Henry Lee, he attended in Philadelphia in 1774. As President of Virginia Convention, he was at the head of the government of the Colony from 1775 until the creation of the Virginia constitution in 1776, and was appointed President of the Committee of Safety in that year. In May, 1776, he presided again over the convention, and drew up the celebrated resolutions, by which the delegates from Virginia were instructed to propose a declaration of independence in Congress, using the words that were afterwards incorporated almost verbatim with the Declaration. As the leader of the Cavalier or Planter class, he was the opponent of Patrick Henry, and as leader of the Committee of Public Safety, he was active in the control of the military and naval operations, and of the foreign correspondence of Virginia. On the organization of the State Government, he was chosen Speaker of the House, and appointed, with Chancellor George Wythe and Thomas Jefferson, to revise the Colonial laws. In 1777, he was crippled for life by a fall from his horse; but the same year he was re-elected Speaker of the House of Burgesses, and President of the Court of Chancery. In 1779, he became President of the Court of Appeals, holding the office until his death. He presided over the State Convention, which ratified the Constitution of the United States in 1788. His masterly advocacy of the document gained him the encomium from Jefferson that `taken all in all, he was the ablest man in debate that I ever met with.' He received very large grants of land from the State, and having no children, was ever generous to his nieces and nephews, whose descendants still hold his memory in tender veneration. He married twice--1st. Elizabeth Roy, 2nd. Sarah Pollard. He died in 1803.