Bob Gleason invites you to meet Reverend John Witherspoon, a man considered to have more presence, with the exception of George Washington, than anyone of his time. All this man had to do was to walk through the door and you immediately felt that you were basking in the glow of someone important. This imposing man was intelligent, hard-working and committed to being useful. Asked to head Princeton University, Witherspoon initially turned down the opportunity in deference to his wife’s desire to remain in Scotland. Then Richard Stockton implored Benjamin Rush to urge Mrs. Witherspoon to reconsider this chance to mold and/or educate America’s up-and-comers. Mrs. Witherspoon reconsidered.
Witherspoon loved America from the moment he arrived and he thrived on the challenges he faced at Princeton, before he turned his attention and his talents to American politics. He went to the Continental Congress and declared that the country isn’t just ripe for independence, it is fairly rotten for the lack of it! Reverend Witherspoon’s influence was felt for generations, whether he was inspiring Princeton students, officiating at the marriage of Benjamin Rush to Richard Stockton’s daughter Julia, or helping to pass the Declaration of Independence.