On This Day in History -
Hewes served as Secretary of the Navy (not a given title at the time) until his death in 1779. He worked relentlessly, often for 12-14 hours a day to ensure the Navy's success, often without eating, until his health began to deteriorate. John Adams said Joseph Hewes "laid the foundation, the cornerstone of the American Navy." Hewes also appointed America's first naval hero, John Paul Jones, as the First Lieutenant on the Navy's first commissioned ship.
Hewes began the term in Congress in September of 1779, but collapsed in October and never recovered. Some believe he worked himself to death for the cause of independence. Hewes passed away on November 10th and his funeral was held the next day. His funeral was held at Christ Church in Philadelphia and was attended by George Washington and the entire Congress.
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