Endicott Peabody

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Endicott Peabody
Endicott Peabody Gov.jpg
62nd Governor of Massachusetts
In office
January 3, 1963 – January 7, 1965
LieutenantFrancis Bellotti
Preceded byJohn Volpe
Succeeded byJohn Volpe
Member of the
Massachusetts Governor's Council
for the 3rd district
In office
Preceded byDavid B. Williams
Succeeded byChristian A. Herter, Jr.
Personal details
Born( 1920 -02-15)February 15, 1920
Lawrence, Massachusetts
DiedDecember 2, 1997(1997-12-02) (aged 77)
Hollis, New Hampshire
Political partyDemocratic
Barbara Welch Gibbons (m. 1944)
Alma materHarvard University
AwardsSilver Star
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Battles/warsWorld War II
*U.S. submarine campaign against the Japanese Empire

Endicott "Chub" Peabody (February 15, 1920 – December 2, 1997) was an American politician from Massachusetts. A Democrat, he served a single two-year term as the 62nd Governor of Massachusetts, from 1963 to 1965. He is probably best known for his opposition to the death penalty, his many electoral failures, and for signing into law the legislation establishing the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts to a family with deep colonial roots, Peabody played college football at Harvard University, where he earned honors as an All-American lineman. He served in the United States Navy in World War II before embarking on a political career noted more for its failures than its successes. He made multiple unsuccessful attempts to win the position of Massachusetts Attorney General, and for the United States Senate representing both Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and ran for United States Vice President in 1972.

Early life[edit]

Endicott Peabody, nicknamed "Chub", was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the son of Mary Elizabeth (née Parkman) and the Rev. Malcolm E. Peabody, a former Episcopal Bishop of Central New York.[1] He was a grandson of the founder of Groton School and Brooks School, also named Endicott Peabody, and was a descendant of colonial governor John Endecott.[2] He first attended the William Penn Charter School, and graduated in 1938 from the Groton School.[1] He earned his A.B. from Harvard College in 1942, majoring in history. Peabody played on the Harvard Crimson football team as well as ice hockey and tennis.[3] He stood out in football, playing three seasons on the varsity squad, and was the only unanimous choice for the 1941 College Football All-America Team.[4] He was awarded the Knute Rockne Memorial Trophy for best collegiate lineman in 1941,[3] and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1973.[4]

Peabody served in the United States Navy during World War II, primarily as a Lieutenant aboard the USS Tirante in the Pacific Ocean theater.[5][6] He led several boarding parties involving hand-to-hand combat, for which he was awarded several commendations including the Silver Star.[7]

Early forays into politics[edit]

While serving in the war, Peabody decided to embark on a career in politics. After the war ended, he attended Harvard Law School, receiving his J.D. degree and attaining admission to the Massachusetts bar in 1948. His first political work was on the 1948 presidential campaign of Harry S. Truman. Truman appointed him an Assistant Regional Counsel for the Office of Price Stabilization in 1950 and Regional Counsel for the Small Defense Plants Administration in 1952.[3][8] In 1954 he won election to the Massachusetts Governor's Council, serving one two-year term. In 1958, Peabody ran for Attorney General of Massachusetts, but lost in the Democratic primary to Edward McCormack, Jr. by nine percentage points.[9] In 1960, he ran for Governor of Massachusetts, but came in second (out of seven candidates) in the Democratic primary with 25.5% of the vote.[10] In that year's presidential election, he coordinated John F. Kennedy's campaigns in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire.


In the 1962 gubernatorial election, Peabody was victorious in the race for governor, upsetting the Republican incumbent John Volpe by only 4,431 votes out of over two million cast. Peabody was aided in the victory by endorsements from President Kennedy, and the landslide victory of Kennedy's brother Edward in the race for a United States Senate seat.

During his administration, voters approved a state constitutional amendment extending the terms of office of all state constitutional officers from two years to four years, starting from the next election. Peabody advocated laws to prevent discrimination in housing and to establish 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."[11] This position was not without some controversy, because several police officers were killed in the line of duty in the state during his tenure.[12] Peabody recommended the commutation of every death sentence that he reviewed while governor.[13] On June 18, 1964, Peabody signed into law the bill establishing the University of Massachusetts Boston.[14]

On April 1, 1964, the governor's 72-year-old mother, Mary Parkman Peabody, made headlines when she 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. The action made her a hero to the civil rights movement and brought civil rights efforts in St. Augustine, the nation's oldest city, to national and international attention.[15]

In 1964, Lt. Gov. Francis X. Bellotti mounted a primary campaign against Peabody for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Although Peabody was supported by Senator Kennedy and the party convention, Bellotti was victorious in the primary. Peabody's loss was variously attributed to his controversial opposition to the death penalty, his stiff demeanor in television appearances, and a bruising defeat he suffered early in his term in opposing the winning candidate for Speaker of the Massachusetts General Court.[12] Bellotti subsequently lost the general election to John Volpe.


Senate campaign[edit]

In 1966, Peabody ran for the U.S. Senate, for which there was an open seat that year as a result of the retirement of Leverett Saltonstall; he won the Democratic nomination but was defeated by a landslide in the general election by the Republican nominee, the liberal state Attorney General Edward Brooke.

1972 vice presidential election[edit]

Peabody undertook a quixotic campaign for Vice President of the United States on the Democratic ticket in 1972;[16] 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[edit]

In 1983, he moved to Hollis, New Hampshire, where he ran unsuccessfully for local and statewide political office several times, including running for U.S. Senate in 1986 against the Republican incumbent, Warren Rudman.

In 1992, Peabody ran again for Vice President by competing in the New Hampshire vice-presidential primary, where he won with 59.7% of the vote. However, the primary is non-binding, and, at the prerogative of the presidential nominee, Bill Clinton of Arkansas, the vice-presidential nomination eventually went to Al Gore of Tennessee. Clinton and Gore subsequently won the general election.[17]

Also in 1992, Peabody ran for a seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, but he came in third place with 20.7% of the vote.[18]

Peabody died from leukemia in Hollis in 1997, aged 77. His remains were interred in Groton, Massachusetts.


On June 24, 1944, Peabody married Barbara Welch "Toni" Gibbons (1922–2012), a native of Bermuda, the elder daughter of Morris Gibbons, a member of the Parliament of Bermuda, and his wife, the former Maude Madge Welch. Peabody and his wife had a daughter, Barbara, and two sons, Robert and Endicott Jr.[19]

Peabody's sister, Marietta Peabody Tree, represented the United States on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.[20]

Navy awards[edit]

Electoral history[edit]


  1. ^ a b Porter, p. 498
  2. ^ "Endicott Peabody, The Man With the Thickest Skin in New England". New England Historical Society. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Porter, p. 499
  4. ^ a b "Endicott Peabody". National Football Foundation. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  5. ^ "CDR George L. Street III (1945)". Naval Submarine League. Archived from the original on March 18, 2012. Endicott Peabody, a future governor of Massachusetts, was a lieutenant on the Tirante.
  6. ^ "Massachusetts Governor Endicott Peabody". Archived from the original on January 4, 2010. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  7. ^ Baltzell, p. 307
  8. ^ Herman, p. 219
  9. ^ a b Our Campaigns – MA Attorney General- D Primary
  10. ^ Our Campaigns – MA Governor – D Primary Race – Sep 13, 1960
  11. ^ Gottschalk, Marie (March 16, 2011) Is Death Different?, The New Republic
  12. ^ a b "PEABODY'S UPSET STIRS BAY STATE; Bellotti Is Victorious Despite Kennedy Backing of Foe". New York Times. September 12, 1964.
  13. ^ Peabody's commutation of capital punishment sentences
  14. ^ Feldberg, Michael (2015), UMass Boston at 50: A Fiftieth-Anniversary History of the University of Massachusetts Boston, Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press, p. 10, ISBN 978-1-62534-169-3
  15. ^ "Lincolnville Historic District". National Park Service. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  16. ^ Molotsky, Irvin (December 4, 1997). "Endicott Peabody, 77, Dies; Governor of Massachusetts in 1960s". The New York Times.
  17. ^ Our Campaigns – US Vice President – D Primary Race – Feb 18, 1992
  18. ^ a b NH State House – Hillsborough 22
  19. ^ Marquard, Bryan (June 10, 2012). "Toni Peabody, 89; outspoken wife of governor's governor wife aided disabled; at 89". The Boston Globe.
  20. ^ Palumbo, Mary Jo (August 17, 1991). "Marietta Tree, at 74, longtime public servant". Boston Herald. Retrieved December 2, 2011.
  21. ^ Our Campaigns – MA Governor – D Primary Race – Sep 13, 1960
  22. ^ Our Campaigns – MA Governor – D Primary
  23. ^ Our Campaigns – MA Governor Race – Nov 06, 1962
  24. ^ Our Campaigns – MA Governor – D Primary
  25. ^ Our Campaigns – MA US Senate – D Primary
  26. ^ Our Campaigns – MA US Senate Race – Nov 08, 1966
  27. ^ Our Campaigns – NH US Senate- D Primary Race – Sep 09, 1986
  28. ^ Our Campaigns – NH US Senate Race – Nov 04, 1986
  29. ^ Our Campaigns – US Vice President – D Primary Race – Feb 18, 1992


Political offices
Preceded by
John A. Volpe
Governor of Massachusetts
January 3, 1963 – January 7, 1965
Succeeded by
John A. Volpe
Party political offices
Preceded by
Joseph D. Ward
Democratic nominee for
Governor of Massachusetts

Succeeded by
Francis Bellotti
Preceded by
Thomas J. O'Connor
Democratic nominee for
U.S. Senator from Massachusetts (Class 2)

Succeeded by
John Droney
Preceded by
John A. Durkin
Democratic nominee for
U.S. Senator from New Hampshire (Class 3)

Succeeded by
John Rauh