- Frank C. Mevers
Whipple, William (14 January 1730–28 November 1785), merchant and signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born in Kittery, then part of Massachusetts (now Maine), the son of William Whipple, a farmer and maltster, and Mary Cutt. As a child in a small town at the mouth of the Piscataqua River, Whipple received an elementary education and early became well acquainted with ships in the harbor served by the larger town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on the opposite bank. At an early age he went to sea, and by his twenties he was master of his own vessel engaging in commercial trade, including the slave trade, through the port at Portsmouth. As a result, he maintained household slaves throughout his life. In 1767 he married Catherine Moffatt. Although Whipple had already accumulated his own fortune, the couple settled in a house owned by her family, overlooking the Portsmouth harbor, where they had one child, who died in infancy....