Hewes, Joseph (1730–1779), a Revolutionary War patriot and signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was born in Kingston, New Jersey. Hewes moved to Edenton, North Carolina, and became a wealthy merchant. He was a member of the colonial assembly, 1766–75, and of the Continental Congress, 1774–77 and 1779. As chairman of the committee on marine, he was in effect the first civilian head of the U.S. Navy, functioning much like a secretary of the navy. It was through his efforts that John Paul Jones, who became a national hero during the Revolutionary War, was given a naval commission and command of a ship.
In the dark of night on Dec. 16, 1773, residents of Boston poured more than 90,000 pounds of tea into the harbor. But they weren't trying to set a world record for the most cups of tea made at one time. They were protesting the British government.
President Jefferson sent a couple of his representatives over to France to buy the city of New Orleans. What he got was the Louisiana Purchase, a patch of land that nearly doubled the size of the young nation.