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William Gaston

Gov. William Gaston

  • January 7, 1875 - January 6, 1876
  • Democratic
  • October 3, 1820
  • January 19, 1894
  • Connecticut
  • Brown University
  • Married Louisa Augustus Beecher; three children


WILLIAM GASTON, the thirty-first governor of Massachusetts, was born in Killingly, Connecticut on October 3, 1820. His early education was attained at the Brooklyn and Plainfield Academies in Connecticut, and later at Brown University, where he graduated in 1840. He studied law, and was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1844. He then established a successful legal career in Roxbury, earning a reputation as a skillful trial lawyer. Gaston entered into politics as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, a position he held from 1853 to 1854 and 1856. He served as the Roxbury city solicitor from 1856 to 1860, and was the mayor of Roxbury from 1861 to 1862. He also served as a one-term member of the Massachusetts State Senate in 1868, and was the mayor of Boston from 1871 to 1872. In 1874, Gaston secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and then went on to win election to the Massachusetts governorship on November 3, 1874. During his tenure, the state’s prohibition law was rescinded; and new legislation was initiated that provided localities the authority to determine their liquor restrictions. After running unsuccessfully for reelection, Gaston left office on January 6, 1876, and retired from public service. Governor William Gaston passed away on January 19, 1894, and was buried at the Forest Hills Cemetery 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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