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Cyrus Griffin

In office
January 22, 1788 – November 2, 1788
Preceded by Arthur St. Clair
Succeeded by Office abolished

Born July 16, 1749(1749-07-16)
Farnham, Virginia
Died December 14, 1810 (aged 61)

Cyrus Griffin (July 16, 1749 – December 14, 1810) was a lawyer and judge who served as the last President of the Continental Congress, holding office from January 22, 1788, to November 2, 1788. He resigned after the ratification of the United States Constitution rendered the old Congress obsolete.

Griffin was born in Farnham, Virginia, in 1749. He was educated in England and in Scotland at the University of Edinburgh. While there Griffin married Christina Stewart, daughter of James Stewart, the sixth Earl of Traquair (1699-1779). This was done via a secret elopement and escape through the hills of Scotland after the Earl had forbade contact between Christina and Griffin after the suitor had announced his intentions. Estranged for many years, the Earl reconciled with his daughter via correspondence shortly before his death.

He was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates and a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1778 to 1781, and again from 1787 to 1788, serving as an appeals court judge in the interim. He served as President of Congress from January to November 1788, a mostly ceremonial position with no real authority.[1] Some amateur historians later promoted Griffin and other Presidents of Congress as the original "Presidents of the United States", but the offices are unrelated.[2]

Griffin was president of the Supreme Court of the Admiralty from its creation until its abolition, was commissioner to the Creek nation in 1789, and was judge of the United States District Court for the District of Virginia from December 1789, until his death (in Yorktown, Virginia) on December 14, 1810. He is buried next to his wife in the churchyard at Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg, Virginia.


  1. ^ Rick K. Wilson, Congressional Dynamics: Structure, Coordination, and Choice in the First American Congress, 1774–1789 (Stanford University Press, 1994), 76–80.
  2. ^ Richard J. Ellis, Founding the American Presidency (Rowman & Littlefield, 1999), 1.
Political offices
Preceded by
Arthur St. Clair
President of the Continental Congress
January 22, 1788 – April 30, 1789
Succeeded by
Office abolished

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