Charles DeWitt – Continental Congressman – New York


Charles DeWitt (1727–1787) was an American miller and statesman from Kingston, New York. He served as a delegate to the Continental Congress.

Charles was the only son of Johannes and Mary Brodhead DeWitt. He was born on April 27, 1727. The DeWitt family lived in Kingston, and he was raised there, along with his three sisters. Johannes, and later Charles, operated the flour mill at Greenkill (in what is now Rosendale, New York). The first mill at the site had been built by Mattys Mattysen Van Keuren in 1677. Since he had no children, when he died it passed to his nephew who was a DeWitt.

DeWitt married Blandina DuBois (1731–1765) on December 20, 1754 in Hurley (town), New York. The couple would have five children. Their grandson Charles G. DeWitt would later serve in the U.S. Congress.

==Political career==

DeWitt was first elected to New York’s Colonial Assembly to represent Ulster County in 1768. He was returned to that seat in every election until the Assembly was replaced in the American Revolution by a Provisional Congress for the colony in 1775. That year he was one of the members who voted to approve the work of the Continental Congress. As the revolution drew near, and the Ulster militia was expanded, he was named Colonel of the 2nd Ulster Militia regiment.

Charles served in the New York Provincial Congress from 1775 to 1777, as well as continuing his militia duties. In that congress he served on the committee that drafted the states first constitution. He served on the Committee of Safety, and after active warfare slowed, under the new government he was elected to the New York Assembly for 1781–1785 and 1787. The assembly in turn sent him as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1781 and 1784.

Throughout these years DeWitt also published a newspaper (The Ulster Sentinel), and supplied a great deal of flour to the Continental Army. He died on August 27, 1787 and is buried in the Dutch Reformed Cemetery at Hurley (town), New York. He had written his will on July 7, 1776 as he prepared to set out for the defense of New York City. He left the mill to his son Gerrit, who expanded it in 1806, and the water-powered mill would continue in operation until 1922.