Back to former Massachusetts governors
George Sewall Boutwell

Gov. George Sewall Boutwell

  • January 11, 1851 - January 14, 1853
  • Republican
  • January 28, 1818
  • February 27, 1905
  • Massachusetts
  • Married Adelia Thayer; two children
  • Representative, Senator, Cabinet secretary, Ambassador


GEORGE S. BOUTWELL, the twenty-first governor of Massachusetts, was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on January 28, 1818. His education was attained in the public schools of his native state. He taught school, worked in the mercantile industry, and later studied law, however he never practiced. Boutwell first entered politics as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, a position he held from 1842 to 1844 and again from 1847 to 1850. He also served as a member of the Massachusetts Banking Commission from 1849 to 1851. After an unsuccessful 1849 gubernatorial bid, Boutwell won election to the Massachusetts governorship on November 11, 1850. He was reelected to a second term in 1851. During his tenure, a state constitutional convention convened to address the need for equal representation in the state legislature; and the state’s first board of agriculture was created. After declining to run for reelection, Boutwell left office on January 14, 1853. He continued to stay politically active and was instrumental in the founding of the state Republican party in 1855. Boutwell served as the first U.S. Commissioner of Internal Revenue from 1862 to 1863, was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1863 to 1869, served as the U.S. Secretary of Treasury from 1869 to 1873, and was a member of the U.S. Senate from 1873 to 1877. He also served as the U.S. Consul to Haiti in 1885, as well as serving Hawaii in 1886, and Chile in 1893 and 1894. Governor George S. Boutwell, who authored several books, passed away on February 27, 1905. He was buried in the Groton Cemetery in Massachusetts.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

Interactive State House

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

1911 Encyclopedia

Recent Massachusetts Governors