On this date in 1789, after six months in session, the first session of the first Congress of the United States, meeting in Federal Hall in New York City, adjourned. The members returned in January, 1790, for the second session.
On this date in 1804, Michael Hillegas died at the age of 75. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he was a member of the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly from 1765 to 1775 and served as treasurer of the Committee of Safety under Benjamin Franklin in 1774. On July 29, 1775, Hillegas and George Clymer were appointed by the Continental Congress to share the office of Treasurer of the United Colonies. After Clymer's resignation on August 6, 1776, Hillegas continued as the sole Treasurer through the end of the American Revolution, using much of his own fortune to support the cause. On September 9, 1776, the Continental Congress officially changed the name of the country to the United States of America, but Hillegas's title did not officially change until March 1778. On September 11, 1789, Congress created the Treasury Department, and Alexander Hamilton took the oath of office as the first Secretary of the Treasury. On that same date, Hillegas tendered his resignation, and Samuel Meredith was appointed Treasurer. His portrait appeared on the ten-dollar gold certificate series issued in 1907 and 1922.