Edmund Pendleton, an American statesman, born in Caroline co., Va., Sept. 9, 1721, died in Kichmond, Oct. 23,1803. He began his career as an apprentice in the clerk's office of Caroline co., in 1740 was made clerk of the county court martial, and in 1741 was licensed to practise law. In 1751 he became one of the county justices, and in 1752 was elected to the house of burgesses. In 1764 he was one of the committee appointed to memorialize the king, and in 1773 of the committee of correspondence. In 1774 he was elected to the colonial convention, consequent on the Boston port bill, and chosen by that convention to the first congress. In 1775 he presided over the colonial convention, and was appointed president of the committee of safety. In May, 1776, he again presided in the convention, and drew up the celebrated resolution of that body instructing the delegates from Virginia to propose in congress a declaration of independence. After the inauguration of the commonwealth he was called to preside over the first house of delegates, and was appointed by that body, in conjunction with Chancellor Wythe and Mr. Jefferson, to revise the colonial laws. He was the head of the committee of safety during the early part of the war.
In March, 1777, by a fall of his horse, he received an injury of the hip joint which made him a cripple for life. In the same year he was reelected speaker of the house of burgesses. On the organization of the chancery court that year, he was unanimously elected its president; and when, in 1779, the court of appeals was constituted, he also became its president. This last post he held till his death. He presided over the state convention of 1788, in which was to be considered the proposed constitution of the United States, and was a leading advocate of its adoption.