Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789


Portrait of Rufus King.
enlarge image icon Rufus King (1755-1827).
Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827).
Oil on canvas, c. 1818.
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-6061.

Rufus King (1755-1827)

During the Revolutionary War, Rufus King divided his time between studying and fighting; by war's end, he had served as a soldier in Rhode Island, and established a law practice in Massachusetts.

Named to the Continental Congress in 1784, King quickly proved his value. Although only twenty-nine years old, he was one of the key contributors to the Ordinances of 1785 and 1787, which formally divided America's new western territories into townships, provided a government for the territories, and established a formal procedure for the admission of new states into the Union.