Endicott Peabody

Endicott Peabody
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
Personal details
Born February 15, 1920(1920-02-15)
Lawrence, Massachusetts
Died December 1, 1997(1997-12-01) (aged 77)
Hollis, New Hampshire
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Barbara "Toni" Welch Gibbons, married June 24, 1944
Profession Lawyer
Religion Episcopalian

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


Early life

Peabody was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the son of Mary Elizabeth (née Parkman) and Malcolm Endicott Peabody. He served in the United States Navy during World War II, where he was decorated with the Silver Star for gallantry for service as a Lieutenant aboard the USS Tirante.[1][2] He earned A.B. and J.D. degrees from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, before being admitted to the Massachusetts bar on October 14, 1948.

An All-American star defensive lineman for the Harvard football team, he was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He was a grandson of the founder of the Groton School and Brooks School, also named Endicott Peabody. He ran for political office unsuccessfully in Massachusetts several times. In 1962 he was elected Governor, upsetting Republican Governor John Volpe by 4,431 votes out of over 2 million cast. He served a single two-year term, but in 1964, fellow Democrat Lieutenant Governor Francis X. Bellotti ran against him, defeating the sitting Governor in the primary. 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[1]

Peabody is remembered for recommending the commutation of every death sentence that he reviewed while serving as governor between 1963 and 1965,[2] in connection with his efforts to get the Legislature to abolish the death penalty. Massachusetts performed the last execution in state history in 1947.[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 the establishment of 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] Governor Peabody was defeated in the Democratic primary and did not stand for popular reelection to a second term.[1]

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.[citation needed] The story of her arrest is told in many books including one by her arrest companion Hester Campbell, called Four for Freedom.

1972 presidential election

Peabody undertook an extremely quixotic campaign for Vice President of the United States on the Democratic ticket in 1972;[5] 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 politics

In 1983, he moved to Hollis, New Hampshire, where he ran, again unsuccessfully, for local and statewide political office several times.

Personal life

Nicknamed "Chub", Peabody struggled to transcend his preppy-sounding name and WASP ethnicity at a time when Irish American politicians like the Kennedy family and their Italian American counterparts such as John A. Volpe and Foster Furcolo were appealing to large Catholic constituencies.

On 24 June 1944 he married Barbara "Toni" Welch Gibbons (born 1922), a native of Bermuda and 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 died of cancer and leukemia in 1997 in Hollis, New Hampshire at the age of 77, and is buried in Groton, Massachusetts.

Peabody was a descendant of the colonial Massachusetts governor John Endecott.


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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