Jeremiah Gridley

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Jeremiah Gridley
Jeremiah Gridley by John Smibert Harvard (1731).jpg
Portrait of Jeremiah Gridley by John Smibert, 1731 (Harvard University)
Massachusetts Attorney General
Member of the General Court of the Province of Massachusetts Bay
In office
Personal details
Born (1702-03-10)March 10, 1702
Boston, Massachusetts
Died September 10, 1767(1767-09-10) (aged 65)
Massachusetts, U.S.
Resting place Granary Burying Ground
Alma mater Harvard College (class of 1725)

Jeremiah Gridley or Jeremy Gridley (1702–1767) was a lawyer, editor, colonial legislator, and attorney general in Boston, Massachusetts, in the 18th century. He served as "Grand Master of the Masons in North America" around the 1760s,[1][2] and was associated with the founding of the Boston Bar Association.[3]


Born in 1702 in Boston[4] to Richard Gridley (born 1684) and Rebecca Gridley, Jeremiah attended Harvard College (class of 1725); classmates included Mather Byles.[5] Gridley married Abigail Lewis around 1730. In the 1730s he edited The Weekly Rehearsal, a literary magazine.[6][7][8][9]

Gridley house (built 1740) in Brookline, Massachusetts, as it appeared in the 19th century

He practiced law in Boston. As a lawyer he trained John Adams, William Cushing, James Otis, Benjamin Pratt, and Oxenbridge Thacher.[10] In 1761 "he defended the 'writs of assistance,' for which the custom house officers had applied to the superior court, and which authorized them to enter houses under suspicion of obtaining smuggled goods, at their own discretion. Gridley had for an antagonist in this case the celebrated patriot, James Otis."[11]

"He was moderator of the town of Brookline 1759, 1760, and 1761, ... representative to the General Court for 1755, 1756, and 1757, and Attorney General in 1767."[12][13][14] He also belonged to the Boston Marine Society.[15]

Gridley died in 1767, and was buried in the Granary Burying Ground.[16]


Weekly Rehearsal, edited by Gridley, published in Boston, 1731
  1. ^ History of Saint John's Lodge, of Boston, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as shown in the records of the First Lodge, the Second Lodge, the Third Lodge, the Rising Sun Lodge, the Masters' Lodge, Saint John's Lodge, the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge. Boston, Privately printed, 1917; p.19-20. Google books.
  2. ^ Boston Post Boy.; Date: 06-24-1765
  3. ^ Candage. 1903
  4. ^ The Granite Monthly: A New Hampshire Magazine. 39. Granite Monthly Co. 1907. Retrieved 2015-03-08. 
  5. ^ Quinquennial catalogue of the officers and graduates of Harvard University, 1636–1915. 1915
  6. ^ The Rehearsal was published by John Draper (1731) and Thomas Fleet (c. 1733).
  7. ^ Isaiah Thomas, Benjamin Franklin Thomas. The history of printing in America: with a biography of printers, and an account of newspapers, Volume 1. J. Munsell, printer, 1874
  8. ^ Albert Matthews. Check-list of Boston newspapers, 1704-1780. Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 1907.
  9. ^ Charles E. Clark. Boston and the Nurturing of Newspapers: Dimensions of the Cradle, 1690–1741. New England Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 2 (Jun., 1991), pp. 243-271
  10. ^ Charles Warren. A History of the American Bar. Little, Brown, and Co., 1911; p.81
  11. ^ National cyclopedia of American biography. 1896
  12. ^ History of Saint John's Lodge, of Boston. 1917; p.19
  13. ^ Boston Gazette, or Weekly Journal; Date: 06-02-1755
  14. ^ Boston Weekly News-Letter; Date: 06-10-1756
  15. ^ Nathaniel Spooner. Gleanings from the records of the Boston Marine Society: through its first century, 1742 to 1842. The Society, 1879
  16. ^ Bibliographical notes in Boston newspapers, 1704-1780. 1907. Retrieved 2015-03-08. 

Further reading[edit]

Works by Gridley[edit]

Works about Gridley[edit]

  • Encyclopædia Americana: A popular dictionary of arts, sciences, literature, history, politics and biography, a new edition. 1845.
  • R.G.F. Candage. Jeremy Gridley. Publications of the Brookline Historical Society. 1903.
  • Lyon N. Richardson. A History of Early American Magazines, 1741–1789 (New York, 1931. Google books.
  • John K. Reeves. Jeremy Gridley, Editor. New England Quarterly, Vol. 17, No. 2 (Jun., 1944), pp. 265–281.
  • Albert Ten Eyck Gardner. A Majestick Shape: 1745. Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Oct., 1949), pp. 74–80.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Edmund Trowbridge
Attorney General of Maryland
Succeeded by