New Hampshire politician.
Member of the New Hampshire Assembly (1749-55, 1762-75); speaker (1752-55). Became a judge of the Superior Court (1747); chief justice (1776).
Warm supporter of the revolutionary movement. Member of the first Provincial Congresses. Chairman of the Committee of Safety. Elected president of the Council of the new government, a position which made him, in effect, chief executive of the state (1776). He has been called “the voice of the Revolution in New Hampshire.”
When the new state constitution became effective in 1784 he was chosen president of New Hampshire. Resigned his position due to poor health (1785).
Born in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. Member of a prominent and well-to-do family. A.B., Harvard (1735).
Studied for the ministry but engaged instead in farming the large estate inherited by his first wife, Elizabeth Shaw.