Massachusetts politician and judge.
Kept school at Dorchester and Cambridge (1719-30), then turned his attention to surveying and medicine. An early advocate of inoculation. Ridiculed for his belief in alchemy. Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives for Cambridge (1734-36, 1737-39). Member of the Massachusetts Council (1739-74). Judge (later chief justice) of the Middlesex County Court of Common Pleas (1741-75). A Loyalist, he resigned from all public offices in 1774-75.
Son of Reverend John and Elizabeth (Minot) Danforth of Dorchester, Massachusetts. Educated at Harvard (B.A. 1715). Married Elizabeth Symmes (1726); five children, including Samuel, Jr., a physician, and Thomas, a lawyer. Longtime friend of Franklin.