Back to former New York governors
John Jay
New York

Gov. John Jay

  • April 1, 1795 - April 1, 1801
  • Federalist
  • December 12, 1745
  • May 17, 1829
  • New York
  • Columbia College
  • Married Sarah Livingston; seven children
  • Cabinet secretary, Supreme Court, Ambassador


JOHN JAY, the second governor of New York, was born in New York City on December 12, 1745. His early education was attained in a New Rochelle boarding school, and later he attended Columbia University, where he graduated in 1764. He went on to study law, and in 1768 was admitted to the New York bar. Jay first entered politics as a member of the New York Committee of Correspondence, a position he held in 1774. From 1774 to 1777 he served as a member of the Continental Congress; and from 1778 to 1779 he served as president of the Continental Congress. He also served as a delegate to the 1776 New York Provincial Congress; and was instrumental in drafting a constitution for New York. In 1777 he secured an appointment to serve as the first chief justice of New York; and in 1779 he was named the U.S. Minister to Spain. Jay also was one of the signers of the 1782 peace treaty with Great Britain; he served as the U.S. Secretary of Foreign Affairs in 1784; and was one of the authors of the Federalist Papers. In 1789 he was named the first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; and in 1794 he negotiated the Jay Treaty with Great Britain. Jay next won election to the New York governorship on April 27, 1795; and was reelected to a second term in 1798. During his tenure, construction of roads and canals progressed; judicial and penal reform measures were initiated; and steps were taken to eliminate slavery. After leaving the governorship, he declined a reappointment to the U.S. Supreme Court bench. Governor John Jay passed away on May 17, 1829, and was buried in the family cemetery in Rye, New York.


Heritage by

Recent New York Governors