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Samuel Adams

Gov. Samuel Adams

  • October 8, 1793 - June 2, 1797
  • Democratic-Republican
  • September 27, 1722
  • October 2, 1803
  • Massachusetts
  • Harvard University
  • Married twice--Elizabeth Checkley, Elizabeth Wells; four children
  • Succeeded
  • Signer of the Declaration of Independence


SAMUEL ADAMS, the second governor of Massachusetts, was born in Boston, Massachusetts on September 27, 1722. His education was attained at the Boston Latin School, and at Harvard University, where he graduated in 1740. After several unsuccessful business ventures, Adams entered into a political career. He served as the Boston tax collector from 1756 to 1764, was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1765 to 1774, served as clerk of the house in 1774, and was a member of the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1782. Adams rapidly emerged as an outspoken and driven advocate of establishing independence from Great Britain, and subsequently, was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He also served as a member of the 1779 and 1788 Massachusetts Constitutional Conventions, was president of the Massachusetts State Senate in 1781, served as a key delegate in Massachusetts’s ratifying of the U.S. Constitution in 1787, and served as the Massachusetts lieutenant governor from 1789 to 1794. On October 8, 1793, Governor John Hancock passed away, and Adams, who was lieutenant governor at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. He was elected to his own term on April 7, 1794. He won reelection to a second term in 1795, and to a third term in 1796. During his tenure, he worked to establish and form the separate powers between state and federal government. After completing his term, Adams left office on June 2, 1797, and retired from public service. Governor Samuel Adams passed away on October 2, 1803, and was buried in the Granary Burial Ground in Boston, 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.

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