William Murdock

ca. 1720–October 17, 1769

William Murdock was a lawyer and politician from Maryland. He participated in the Stamp Act Congress in 1765.

Early Life

  • Murdock was born in Scotland around 1720.
  • His father was Reverend George Murdock, who was appointed Rector of Prince George County, Maryland, in 1726 by Lord Baltimore.


  • Murdock married Anne Addison. They had eight children together.
  • Anne died in 1753.

Political Career

  • Morton served in the Maryland General Assembly.
  • He served as Sheriff of Prince George’s County, Maryland.
  • In 1765, he represented Maryland at the Stamp Act Congress.

Delegate to the Stamp Act Congress

On March 22, 1765, Parliament passed the Stamp Act, which required a stamp to be placed on all legal documents and many printed materials in the colonies.

In May, news of the new law reached the colonies. There was immediate opposition, including riots in Boston, Massachusetts, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Savannah, Georgia.

On June 8, 1765, the Massachusetts Assembly sent a circular letter to the legislatures of the other colonies, inviting them to send delegates to a congress in New York to discuss a unified response to the Stamp Act. The precedent for such a meeting had been set by the Albany Congress in 1754.

Nine of the 13 colonies, including Maryland, chose to send delegates to the meeting, which was held in New York City. Murdock was elected as a delegate from Maryland, along with Edward Tilghman Sr. and Thomas Ringgold.

The Stamp Act Congress convened on October 7, 1765. On October 19, the Stamp Act Congress issued a Declaration of Rights and Grievances. Congress sent petitions to the King and both houses of Parliament and asked for the Stamp Act to be repealed.

Murdock was a member of the committee that wrote the address to the King. The other members of the committee were Robert R. Livingston of New York and William Samuel Johnson of Connecticut.

Murdock signed his name to the official documents of the Stamp Act Congress.

On November 1, 1765, the Stamp Act took effect, but there were no stamp masters available to distribute the stamps. They had resigned or refused to perform their job due to violence and intimidation against them.

On March 18, 1766, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act, primarily due to protest from British merchants who believed it would damage their prospects of doing business in the colonies. However, on that same day, Parliament passed the Declaratory Act, which declared it had the “full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America, subjects of the crown of Great Britain, in all cases whatsoever.”


  • Murdock died on October 17, 1769, at his home in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
  • His home was called “Padsworth Farm.”
  • It is believed Murdock is buried in the Padsworth Farm Cemetery in Mitchellville, Maryland.


William Murdock is important because he was a delegate from Maryland to the Stamp Act Congress in 1765.