Henry Alexander Scammell Dearborn

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Henry Alexander Scammell Dearborn
Portrait of Major-General Henry Alexander Scammell Dearborn.tif
portrait by Gilbert Stuart
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 10th district
In office
March 4, 1831 – March 3, 1833
Preceded byJohn Bailey
Succeeded byWilliam Baylies
2nd Mayor of Roxbury, Massachusetts
In office
1847 – July 29, 1851[1]
Preceded byJohn Jones Clarke
Succeeded bySamuel Walker
9th Adjutant General of Massachusetts
In office
February 5, 1835 – March 6, 1843
Preceded byWilliam H. Sumner
Succeeded byJoseph E. Boyd
Member of the Massachusetts Senate
In office
Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1783-03-03)March 3, 1783
Exeter, New Hampshire
DiedJune 29, 1851(1851-06-29) (aged 68)
Portland, Maine
Political partyNational Republican
SpouseHannah Swett Lee
RelationsA nephew was Civil War US General William Raymond Lee 1807-1891
ChildrenJulia Maragretta Dearborn, William Dearborn, Henry George Raleigh
Alma materThe College of William and Mary

Henry Alexander Scammell Dearborn (March 3, 1783 – July 29, 1851) was an American soldier, lawyer, author, and statesman. Dearborn was the first President of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, a member of the Society of the Cincinnati, and the author of many books.


Early life[edit]

Dearborn was the son of Secretary of War and Major General Henry Dearborn by his second wife and named for his father's friend, Alexander Scammell.

Dearborn was married to Hannah Swett Lee, daughter of Colonel William Raymond Lee (1745–1824) of Massachusetts.

Dearborn attended the common schools; attended Williams College for two years; and graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1803.

Early career[edit]

Dearborn studied law, was admitted to the bar, and practiced in Salem, Massachusetts and Portland (then part of Massachusetts's District of Maine).

In 1808 he oversaw the construction of Fort Preble and Fort Scammel in the harbor defenses of Portland. During the War of 1812 he commanded volunteers manning the defenses of Boston harbor. He replaced his father as the Collector of the Port of Boston and served from 1813 to 1829. He was promoted to brigadier general in the Massachusetts Militia in 1814.

After the war, he was elected captain of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts in 1816. Dearborn was also elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1815,[2] and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1823.[3]

Political career[edit]

Dearborn was a delegate to the Massachusetts state constitutional convention in 1820. He was a member of the Massachusetts state house of representatives in 1829 and a member of the Massachusetts Senate in 1830. He was elected as an Anti-Jacksonian Representative from Massachusetts 10th District to the Twenty-second Congress (1831–1833). He was defeated running for reelection in 1832.

He served as adjutant general of the Massachusetts Militia with the rank of major general from 1834 to 1843.

He was elected Mayor of Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1846 and served from 1847 to 1851. In 1848, while he was Mayor of Roxbury, Dearborn designed and founded the Forest Hills Cemetery. He also designed Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the first rural cemetery in the nation.

Society of the Cincinnati[edit]

In 1832, following the decease of his father, he was admitted to the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati. In 1848, following the death of President General William Popham in September 1847, he was elected as President General of the Society. He was the first President General to be a hereditary member rather than a veteran of the Revolution.

As President General he proposed changes in the Society's membership rules to allow for descendants of other than original members to join. This provision is known as the Rule of 1854.

He died in office in 1851, having served a single three-year term.

Attempted Vice Presidential Nomination[edit]

The Native American Party, a precursor to the Know Nothings, which had split from the Whig Party in 1845, met in September 1847 in Philadelphia, where they nominated Zachary Taylor for president while Dearborn was selected as his running mate. However, when the Whig Party nominated Taylor for the presidency with Millard Fillmore as his running mate the following year, this rendered his previous nomination moot and the Native American Party failed to make an alternate nomination.

Death and interment[edit]

Dearborn died on July 29, 1851 at the age of 68 in Portland, Maine and is interred in Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.


The dearborn, a light four-wheeled carriage with curtained sides, was named after him (he maintained such a carriage).[4]

Dearborn's nephew was William R. Lee (1807–1891), who was colonel of the 20th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment during the Civil War and was breveted to brigadier general after the war.

Three successive grade schools in Roxbury have been named after General Dearborn: The first was built in 1852; the second, still standing at 25 Ambrose Street, was built in 1905; and after that closed, the old Roxbury High School was renamed the Dearborn Middle School in 1981. A fourth school, the Dearborn STEM School, is now in the planning stages.



  1. ^ A Catalogue of the City Councils of Boston, 1822-1908, Roxbury, 1846-1867, Charlestown 1847-1873 and of The Selectmen of Boston, 1634-1822 also of Various Other Town and Municipal officers, Boston, MA: City of Boston Printing Department, 1909, p. 327
  2. ^ American Antiquarian Society Members Directory
  3. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  4. ^ MetaGlossary.com: Dearborn Archived July 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 10th congressional district

March 4, 1831–March 3, 1833
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of Roxbury, Massachusetts
1847 - 1851
Succeeded by
Military offices
Preceded by
Adjutant General of Massachusetts
1834 - 1843
Succeeded by