ELLERY, WILLIAM (1727-1820), American politician, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born in Newport, Rhode Island, on the 22nd of December 1727. He graduated from Harvard in 1747, engaged in trade, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1770. He was a member of the Rhode Island committee of safety in 1775-1776, and was a delegate in Congress in 1776-1781 and again in 1783-1785. Just after his first election to Congress, he was placed on the important marine committee, and he was made a member of the board of admiralty when it was established in 1779. In April 1786 he was elected commissioner of the continental loan office for the state of Rhode Island and from 1790 until his death at Newport, on the 15th of February 1820, he was collector of the customs for the district of Newport.
See Edward T. Channing, "Life of William Ellery," in vol. 6 of Jared Sparks's American Biography (Boston and London, 1836).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)