JOHN SULLIVAN, the third and fifth governor (president) of New Hampshire, was born in Somersworth, New Hampshire on February 17, 1740. His education was attained through his schoolmaster father who tutored him at home. He studied law, and then established his legal career, first in Berwick, Maine and later in Durham, New Hampshire. During the Revolutionary War, he served as a brigadier general and rose to the rank of major general, but resigned from active duty due to his poor health. Sullivan first entered politics as a member of the Continental Congress, a position he held in 1774, 1775, 1780, and 1781. He also served as the attorney general of New Hampshire from 1782 to 1786, was a member of the 1782 Constitutional Convention, and served as speaker of the house in 1785. Sullivan was first elected governor (then called president) in 1786. He won reelection in 1787, after which John Langdon succeeded him. Sullivan was again chosen governor on June 6, 1789. During his tenure, a paper money riot was successfully dealt with; military improvements were supported; and industrial developments were endorsed. Sullivan also presided over the 1788 state convention that ratified the federal constitution. On June 5, 1790 Sullivan resigned from office, to take a seat on federal bench, a position he held until his death. Governor John Sullivan was buried in the family cemetery overlooking the Oyster River in Durham, New Hampshire.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.