To answer the two questions I always get during a bow tie tour regarding good ol’ John Penn – Yes, his faceplate was probably stolen after it became loose and was probably melted down; and, no, he is not related to William.
What else is there left to know? Penn had limited schooling and taught himself to read and write as an adult, with the use of books. He practiced law in Virginia and then North Carolina, where he was chosen to be one of their three delegates. Penn was a signer of “the Halifax Resolves,” an early document advocating independence.
Penn served in the congress until 1780 and then became one of sixteen members to sign both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. He worked on the war board of North Carolina, but was forced to retire in 1781 due to ill health. He died at forty-eight, leaving behind a wife and three children.