Abijah Cheever

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Abijah Cheever
Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from Saugus
In office
Preceded by Joseph Cheever
Succeeded by Jonathan Makepeace1
In office
Preceded by William Jackson
Succeeded by Zaccheus N. Stocker
Personal details
Born (1760-05-23)May 23, 1760
Saugus, Massachusetts
Died April 21, 1843(1843-04-21) (aged 82)
Saugus, Massachusetts
Nationality American
Political party Federalist[1]
Alma mater Harvard College
Religion Unitarian[1]

Abijah Cheever was an American doctor and politician from Saugus, Massachusetts.

Early life[edit]

Cheever was born on May 23, 1760 in Saugus.[1][2] He was a descendant of Ezekiel Cheever, longtime headmaster of the Boston Latin School. Cheever spent much of his youth working on his family's farm.[3]

American Revolution[edit]

On the evening before the Battle of Lexington and Concord, Cheever ran bullets from a mold over a fire for the muskets of his brothers, who would take part in the battle the following day.[3]

In 1779 Cheever graduated from Harvard College. He then studied medicine and surgery under John Warren and obtained his M. D. in 1782.[3]

On May 13, 1782 Cheever was commissioned as a surgeon aboard the Tartar, a ship fitted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for service in the American Revolution. On the ship's second voyage, it was captured by the HMS Belisarius and Cheever was sent to a prison ship in New York Harbor. Once the war ended, Cheever was exchanged and returned to Massachusetts.[3]


After the war, Cheever settled in Boston's North End, where he worked as a physician and surgeon.[3] On July 5, 1789 he married Elizabeth Scott. The couple would have three children before her death on July 5, 1795.[4] On October 16, 1798 he married Sally Williams, with whom he had two children.[1]

Return to Saugus[edit]

Cheever returned to Saugus in 1806 and would remain here for the rest of his life. Cheever was one of Saugus' largest land owners with over two-hundred acres. He was also one of Saugus' few slave holders. On his family's land he built an elegant home that became well known throughout the region.[1][5]

In 1815, Cheever was elected to Saugus' first Board of Selectmen, Assessors, and Overseers of the Poor.[6]

In 1821, 1829, 1830, and 1831, Cheever represented Saugus in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.[7] During his political career, Cheever frequently competed with his brother Joseph Cheever.[5]

Cheever died on April 21, 1843.[1][8]


1.^ Until 1857, a majority of votes at a town meeting was needed to elect a representative to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. If no person received a majority of votes, no representative was sent. No representative was selected in 1822, but Jonathan Makepeace was chosen the following year.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Lynn in the Revolution, Volume 2. W.B. Clarke Co. 1909. 
  2. ^ "Dr. Abijah Cheever". NOBLE Digital Heritage. Retrieved April 2, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Kelly, Howard Atwood (1920). American Medical Biographies. W.B. Saunders Company. 
  4. ^ Johnson, Dale T. (1990). American Portrait Miniatures in the Manney Collection. Metropolitan Museum of Art. 
  5. ^ a b Lynn Historical Society (Lynn, Mass.) (1913). The Register of the Lynn Historical Society, Volumes 16-18. 
  6. ^ Atherton, Horace H. (1916). History of Saugus, Massachusetts. Citizens Committee of the Saugus Board of Trade. p. 93. 
  7. ^ a b Duane Hamilton Hurd, ed. (1888). History of Essex County, Massachusetts: With Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men, Volume 1. J. W. Lewis & Company. Retrieved April 2, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Lynn in the Revolution Pensioners/Lists". Shaun Cook. Retrieved April 2, 2013.