Benjamin Pierce (governor)

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Benjamin Pierce
NHGOV Benjamin Pierce.jpg
11th Governor of New Hampshire
In office
June 7, 1827 – June 5, 1828
Preceded byDavid L. Morril
Succeeded byJohn Bell
In office
June 4, 1829 – June 3, 1830
Preceded byJohn Bell
Succeeded byMatthew Harvey
Member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1757-12-25)December 25, 1757
Chelmsford, Province of Massachusetts Bay, British America
DiedApril 1, 1839(1839-04-01) (aged 81)
Hillsborough, New Hampshire, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic-Republican
Children9 (including Benjamin Kendrick Pierce and Franklin Pierce)

Benjamin Pierce (December 25, 1757 – April 1, 1839) was a colonial soldier in the American Revolutionary War and an American Democratic-Republican politician. He was the father of Franklin Pierce, the 14th president of the United States. He served as Governor of New Hampshire from 1827 to 1828 and from 1829 to 1830.


Pierce was born in Chelmsford in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, the son of Benjamin and Elizabeth Merrill Pierce, as well as a direct descendant of Thomas Pierce (1618–1683), the grandson of Sir Richard Carew, who was born in Norwich, Norfolk, England and settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Benjamin Pierce was a distinguished veteran of the Revolutionary War, serving in the 16th Continental Regiment, which was later renamed the 8th Massachusetts Regiment. He was present at the Battle of Bunker Hill.[1] He was promoted to Ensign in the 1st Massachusetts Regiment for bravery during the Saratoga campaign. He was an original member of the Society of the Cincinnati. Following the war, he moved to Hillsborough, New Hampshire, where he built the Pierce family home, and was assigned the task of forming the Hillsborough County militia. In 1805, he was promoted to brigadier general and assigned command of the New Hampshire state militia. Prior to becoming governor, he served in the New Hampshire House of Representatives from 1789 to 1802 and twice as Sheriff of Hillsborough County, from 1809 to 1812 and later from 1818 to 1827. He was a delegate to the state Constitutional Convention in September 1791 and a member of the Governor's Council from 1803 to 1809 and again in 1814.

Family life[edit]

Pierce's father died when he was six. He subsequently worked on his uncle's farm until enlisting in Ebenezer Bridge's Massachusetts regiment on April 26, 1775.

On May 24, 1787, he married Elizabeth Andrews. Their daughter, named Elizabeth Andrews Pierce, was born August 9, 1788, but the elder Elizabeth died of childbirth complications four days later on August 13. Elizabeth Andrews Pierce (1788–1855) was the wife of United States Army General John McNeil Jr.

He married Anna Kendrick (born October 30, 1769) on February 1, 1790 at Amherst, New Hampshire. Together they had eight children:

  • Benjamin Kendrick Pierce (August 29, 1790 – April 1, 1850), he became a lieutenant colonel and commandant of Fort Mackinac in Michigan. He married Josette Laframboise, daughter of prominent fur trader Magdelaine Laframboise.
  • Nancy M. Pierce (November 2, 1792 – 1837)
  • John Sullivan Pierce (November 5, 1796 – September 28, 1824), a first lieutenant in the Army who served at Fort Mackinac and other posts in Michigan, and died in Detroit.
  • Harriet B. Pierce (1800–1837)
  • Charles Grandison Pierce (1803–1828)
  • Franklin Pierce (November 23, 1804 – October 8, 1869), 14th president of the United States
  • Charlotte Pierce, d. in infancy.
  • Henry Dearborn Pierce (September 19, 1812 – 1880)

They remained married until her death on December 7, 1838. He died 4 months later in Hillsborough, and is buried in the town's Pine Hill Cemetery.

Benjamin Pierce was an original member of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati with membership inherited through primogeniture. His eldest son, Benjamin Kendrick Pierce, succeeded him as a member in the society in 1841. He was then succeeded by his younger brother, future president Franklin Pierce in 1852, and was later succeeded by Benjamin's youngest son, Henry Dearborn Pierce in 1873.



  • Bell, J. L. (2015). "Benjamin Pierce's Story of Bunker Hill". Boston 1775. Retrieved April 23, 2016. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  • New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources Biography
  • Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati Profiles[permanent dead link] online at the New England Historic Genealogical Society[dead link]

External links[edit]

Party political offices
First Democratic nominee for Governor of New Hampshire
1826, 1827, 1828, 1829
Succeeded by
Matthew Harvey
Political offices
Preceded by
David L. Morril
Governor of New Hampshire
Succeeded by
John Bell
Preceded by
John Bell
Governor of New Hampshire
Succeeded by
Matthew Harvey