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Photo credit:
John (Bubenheim) Bayard (1738-1807), 1850.  Edward Ludlow Mooney, after Charles Willson Peale, oil on canvas; gift of Jane Bayard Kirkpatrick, Princeton University. artmuseum.princeton.com

Photo credit:
John (Bubenheim) Bayard (1738-1807), 1850.  Edward Ludlow Mooney, after Charles Willson Peale, oil on canvas; gift of Jane Bayard Kirkpatrick, Princeton University. artmuseum.princeton.com

John B. Bayard

(Elected to replace John Jacobs following his resignation)

Born: August 11, 1738, Bohemia Manor, Cecil County, MD.  Died: January 7, 1807, New Brunswick, Middlesex County, NJ.  Member of the General Assembly: Philadelphia County, 1776-1780, 1784-1785.  Affiliation: Federalist.  

John Bubenheim Bayard was born on August 11, 1738, in Cecil County, Maryland, to a wealthy landholding family of French Huguenot descent.  After his father’s death, Bayard inherited the family estate, of which he transferred half to his brother.  Upon his 18th birthday in 1756, he and his brother moved to Philadelphia, where Bayard began work as a merchant in the counting house of John Rhea.  Bayard entered the import business for himself, starting the firm of Hodge & Bayard.  In 1759 Bayard married his first wife, the former Margaret Hodge, and before she died in 1780, the couple had a number of children, including James Ashton, Andrew, John Murray, Samuel, Jane (Kirkpatrick), Dr. Nicholas Serl, Margaret (Smith), and Anna (Boyd).  Bayard remarried twice afterwards, to the former Mary Hodgson in 1781 until her death in 1785, and to the former Johanna White in 1787.

By the 1770s Bayard was actively involved in civic affairs, first as a member of the Provincial Congress that met in July 1774, and later that year as a member of the General Congress, held in Philadelphia.  He was an active patriot, joining the Sons of Liberty and denouncing attempts by Great Britain to impose taxes upon the Colonies.  His firm began supplying arms to the Continental Congress in 1776, and he served in the Revolutionary War as a colonel in the Second Regiment of the Philadelphia Volunteers, seeing action in the battles of Brandywine, Germantown, and Princeton.

Bayard was elected to the General Assembly for the 1776 session.  He was elected the 31st Speaker of the Assembly on March 17, 1777, after the resignation of John Jacobs.  On February 20, 1778, November 6, 1778, and November 2, 1779, he was re-elected to the Speakership.  He was elected Speaker one last time on November 3, 1784.  Much of Bayard’s time as Speaker occurred during the Revolutionary War, and the Assembly dealt mostly with payment of war debts and the raising of funds for the Continental Congress; however, 2 particular events stand out as noteworthy: in March of 1778 the Assembly debated and ratified the Articles of Confederation, the nation’s first attempt at creating a Federal Government, and later that year, Bayard signed an order urging the Continental Congress to do in all in their power to secure the release of Pennsylvania’s prisoners of war.

In 1788 John Bayard retired from active business in Philadelphia and sold his Bohemia Manor home in Cecil County, Maryland, to relatives. He then relocated to New Brunswick, New Jersey, where he was elected mayor in 1790.  Afterwards, he was appointed as a judge on the Court of Common Pleas, and served as a trustee of the College of New Jersey and of the First Presbyterian Church in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

John Bayard died January 7, 1807, in his New Brunswick home.  He is interred at First Presbyterian Churchyard in New Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey.