Levi Lincoln, Sr.

Levi Lincoln, Sr. (May 15, 1749April 14, 1820) was an American revolutionary and statesman who served as a Minuteman at the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, a state legislator in Massachusetts, a participant in Massachusetts' state constitutional convention, Governor of Massachusetts, Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, a U.S. Representative, Attorney General for President Thomas Jefferson and Acting Secretary of State.

Lincoln was born in Hingham, Massachusetts, on May 15, 1749. He graduated from Harvard in 1772 and studied law under Joseph Hawley. When the Battle of Lexington occurred he volunteered to fight with the Minutemen. From 1775 to 1781, he served as clerk of the court and probate judge of Worcester County. Though elected to the Continental Congress in 1781, he declined to serve. Lincoln was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1796, and of the Senate in 1797. In 1800, he was elected to Congress and served until March 5, 1801, when President Jefferson appointed him Attorney General of the United States. He held the office until March 5, 1805. Lincoln was acting Secretary of State from March 5, 1801 to May 2, 1801.

Lincoln was a member of the Council of Massachusetts in 1806, and served as Lieutenant Governor in 1807-1808. Upon the death of James Sullivan, he became Governor, but was not elected in 1809. In 1811 he was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court but declined. He died in Worcester, Massachusetts on April 14, 1820.

Lincoln was distantly related to General Benjamin Lincoln IV, Secretary of War 1781-1783, as well as Abraham Lincoln, sharing a common ancestor with the sixteenth U.S. President in Samuel Lincoln, who had settled in Hingham, Massachusetts, in the 17th Century. He had two sons who were also governors - Levi Lincoln, Jr., who was also Governor of Massachusetts, and Enoch Lincoln, who was Governor of Maine.


  • Marvin J. Petroelje, "Levi Lincoln, Sr.: Jeffersonian Republican of Massachusetts". Ph.D. dissertaion, Michigan State University, 1969.

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