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Endicott Peabody
62nd Governor of Massachusetts

In office
January 3, 1963 – January 7, 1965
Lieutenant Francis X. Bellotti
Preceded by John A. Volpe
Succeeded by John A. Volpe
Member of the Massachusetts Governor's Council for the 3rd District

In office
Preceded by Otis Whitney
Succeeded by Christian A. Herter, Jr.
Personal details
Born (1920-02-15)February 15, 1920
Lawrence, Massachusetts
Died December 1, 1997(1997-12-01) (aged 77)
Hollis, New Hampshire
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Barbara Welch Gibbons (m. June 24, 1944)
Profession Lawyer
Religion Episcopalian

Endicott Peabody (February 15, 1920 – December 1, 1997) was the 62nd Governor of Massachusetts from January 3, 1963 to January 7, 1965.

Early life

Endicott Peabody, nicknamed "Chub", was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, to Mary Elizabeth (née Parkman) and Malcolm Endicott Peabody. He was a grandson of the founder of the Groton School and Brooks School, also named Endicott Peabody. He earned his A.B. from Harvard College in 1942. An All-American star defensive lineman for the Harvard football team, he was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Peabody served in the United States Navy during World War II. He received the Silver Star for gallantry for service as a Lieutenant aboard the USS Tirante.[1][2]

After the war Peabody attended Harvard Law School, receiving his J.D. degree and attaining admission to the Massachusetts bar in 1948.

Peabody was Assistant Regional Counsel for the Office of Price Stabilization and Regional Counsel for the Small Defense Plants Administration in the early 1950s. A Democrat, from 1954 to 1956 he served on the Massachusetts Governor's Council. In 1962 he was elected Governor, upsetting Republican Governor John Volpe by only 4,431 votes out of over two million cast. He served a single two-year term, but in 1964 fellow Democrat Lieutenant Governor Francis X. Bellotti defeated him in the Democratic primary, and then lost the general election to Volpe. In 1966 he ran for a seat in the United States Senate and lost by a wide margin to then-state Attorney General Edward Brooke. Also, during the United States presidential election, 1960 he coordinated John F. Kennedy's Presidential campaigns in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire[3]

Tenure as Governor

During his administration as Governor, voters approved a state constitutional amendment extending the terms of office of all state constitutional offices from two years to four years, effective with the 1966 election. Peabody advocated laws to prevent discrimination in housing and to establish drug addiction treatment programs. He also strongly opposed capital punishment, and "vowed that he would not sign a death warrant even for the Boston Strangler, if he were ever caught and convicted."[4] In September, 1964, Peabody was defeated in the Democratic primary by Lieutenant Governor Francis X. Bellotti and, therefore, did not stand for election to a second term.[3]

It was front page news around the country on April 1, 1964 when the governor's 72-year-old mother, Mary Parkman Peabody, was arrested at the Ponce de Leon Motor Lodge in St. Augustine, Florida for attempting to be served in an integrated group at a racially segregated restaurant. This made Mrs. Peabody a hero to the civil rights movement, and brought the efforts in St. Augustine — the nation's oldest city — to national and international attention.The story of her arrest is told in many books including one by her arrest companion, Hester Campbell, entitled Four for Freedom.

Peabody is remembered for recommending the commutation of every death sentence that he reviewed while serving as governor between 1963 and 1965,[5] in connection with his efforts to get the Legislature to abolish the death penalty.[6]

During his governorship, a popular joke had it that he was the only governor to have had three Massachusetts towns named after him - Endicott, Peabody, and Marblehead[7]

Senate campaign

In 1966, Peabody successfully sought the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat for Massachusetts, which was open that year; he was defeated by a landslide in the general election by Edward Brooke.

1972 presidential election

Peabody undertook an extremely quixotic campaign for Vice President of the United States on the Democratic ticket in 1972;[8] he came in fourth in the balloting at the 1972 Democratic National Convention. He ran under the slogan "Endicott Peabody, the number one man for the number two job."

New Hampshire

In 1983, he moved to Hollis, New Hampshire, where he ran, unsuccessfully, for local and statewide political office several times. He died from leukemia in 1997 in Hollis, New Hampshire, aged 77. His remains were interred in Groton, Massachusetts.


On June 24, 1944 he married Barbara Welch Gibbons (born 1922), a native of Bermuda, the elder daughter of Morris Gibbons and his wife, the former Maude Madge Welch; they had a daughter, Barbara, and two sons, Robert and Endicott Jr.


  • Peabody was a descendant of the colonial Massachusetts governor John Endecott.
  • Peabody's sister, Marietta Peabody Tree represented the United States on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.[9]


External links

Political offices
Preceded by
John A. Volpe
Governor of Massachusetts
January 3, 1963 – January 7, 1965
Succeeded by
John A. Volpe

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