Benjamin Edes

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Benjamin Edes
1786 tax newspapers MassGazette Boston July24.png
A 1786 Newspaper clip with Benjamin Edes name on it.
Born (1732-10-14)October 14, 1732
Charlestown, Province of Massachusetts
Died December 11, 1803(1803-12-11) (aged 71)
Boston, Massachusetts
Resting place Copp's Hill Burying Ground, Boston
Occupation editor; agitator
Known for Boston Gazette newspaper
Spouse(s) Martha Starr (1729-)

Benjamin Edes (October 14, 1732 – December 11, 1803) was a journalist and political agitator. He is best known, along with John Gill, as the publisher of the Boston Gazette, a newspaper which sparked and financed the Boston Tea Party and was influential during the American Revolutionary War.[1]


Early life[edit]

He was born on October 14, 1732 in Charlestown, Province of Massachusetts. He was one of seven children of Peter Edes and Esther Hall.[2] His great-grandfather was John Edes. He was born in England, March 31. 1651, son of Rev. John Edes, rector of Lanford, Essex and a graduate of St. Johns College, Cambridge, England. He relocated to Charlestown circa 1674. John was a ship carpenter and lived in Charlestown; by wife Mary Tufts, the daughter of Peter Tufts, a prominent early citizen of Medford, he had the following children: John, Edward, Mary, Peter, Jonathan and Sarah Edes.[3]

Benjamin received a modest education before moving to Boston, Massachusetts in 1754.


He married about 1754, at Boston, Massachusetts, Martha Starr, who was christened on June 22, 1729 at the Brattle Street Church[4] in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Joseph Starr and Margaret Bulman. She was the great great granddaughter of Dr. Comfort Starr of Boston, a founder of Harvard College and a surgeon who emigrated from Ashford, Kent, England.[5] He is buried on Tremont Street in Boston, Massachusetts at King's Chapel Burying Ground, the oldest cemetery in the city, established in 1630.[6][7][8] Benjamin and Martha were the parents of ten children.[2]


Edes and Gill became the proprietors of The Boston Gazette and Country Journal on April 7, 1755. The Gazette was established on December 21, 1719 by William Brooker. Edes made the paper a leading voice favouring American independence.[9] Edes was part of The Sons of Liberty, a secret society of American patriots in Revolutionary America.[10] Andrew Oliver said, "The temper of the people may be surely learned from that infamous paper". Governor Bernard advised the arrest of both Edes and Gill as publishers of sedition. Edes fought British policy through written attacks on the Stamp Act, the tea tax, the Townshend Acts, and other oppressive measures.[11] During the Siege of Boston, Edes escaped to Watertown, Massachusetts where he continued to publish the Gazette until 1798, 43 years after he started.[12]

The two editions of the poems of Martha Wadsworth Brewster were printed by Edes and Gill in 1757 and 1758. She was a poet and writer, and one of the earliest American female literary figures as well as the first American-born woman to publish under her own name.[13] Susannah Carter, the author of book The Frugal Housewife, or, Complete woman cook was first published in 1765 in Dublin, and was first reprinted in North America in 1772 by Edes and Gill illustrated with prints made by Paul Revere.

Death and memorials[edit]

He died on December 11, 1803 in Boston, Massachusetts. He is buried at Copp's Hill Burying Ground located on Copp's Hill in Boston.

The Printing Office of Edes & Gill is a living history museum that attempts to replicate the original print shop of Benjamin Edes and John Gill. The office opened in 2011 and is located on the Freedom Trail, next to the Old North Church.[14]


  1. ^ BENJAMIN EDES "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-08. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
  2. ^ a b NEHGS, p.16
  3. ^ Cutter, p.975
  4. ^ Church in Brattle Square, p.145
  5. ^ Harvard Charter of 1650, Harvard University Archives,
  6. ^ The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. LXIV, The New England Historic Genealogical Society, Henry Fitz-Gilbert Waters, Published by the Society, Boston, 1910
  7. ^ Dr. Starr's daughter Hannah was the wife of John Cutt, the first President of the Province of New Hampshire.
  8. ^ His grandson, Benjamin Starr, married Elizabeth Allerton, the daughter of Eliazabeth (----) and Isaac Allerton Jr.. He was the son of Mayflower Pilgrim Isaac Allerton and his second wife Fear Brewster, the daughter of Elder William Brewster, the Pilgrim colonist leader and spiritual elder of the Plymouth Colony.
  9. ^ Benjamin Edes [1] Encyclopædia Britannica
  10. ^ Benjamin Edes (1732-1803) [2]
  11. ^ Benjamin Edes biography [3]
  12. ^ Benjamin Edes
  13. ^ Schmidt, p.9
  14. ^ "The Printing Office of Edes & Gill". Boston Gazette. 


  • Church in Brattle Square. The Manifesto church: Records of the church in Brattle square, Boston, with lists of communicants, baptisms, marriages and funerals, 1699-1872. Publisher: The Benevolent fraternity of churches, 1902.
  • Cutter, W.R. Genealogical and personal memoirs relating to the families of the state of Massachusetts. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1910.
  • NEHGS. New England historical and genealogical register, Volume 16. Author New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1862.
  • Schmidt, Gary D. A passionate usefulness: the life and literary labors of Hannah Adams. University of Virginia Press, 2004 ISBN 0-8139-2272-0