John Q. A. Brackett

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John Quincy Adams Brackett
36th Governor of Massachusetts
In office
January 7, 1890 – January 8, 1891
Lieutenant William H. Haile
Preceded by Oliver Ames
Succeeded by William E. Russell
34th Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
In office
January 8, 1887 – January 4, 1890
Governor Oliver Ames
Preceded by Oliver Ames
Succeeded by William H. Haile
City of Boston Common Council
(Ward 10, 1874-1875; Ward 17, 1876)
In office
January 4, 1873 – January 1, 1877[1]
City of Boston,
President of the Common Council[2]
In office
January 3, 1876 – January 1, 1877
Preceded by Halsey Joseph Boardmen
Succeeded by Benjamin Pope[1]
Massachusetts House of Representatives[2]
17th Suffolk District[3]
In office
Massachusetts House of Representatives
17th Suffolk District[4]
In office
Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives[2]
In office
January 7, 1885 – 1886
Preceded by George Augustus Marden
Succeeded by Charles J. Noyes
Delegate to the 1917 Massachusetts Constitutional Convention[5]
In office
June 6, 1917 – April 6, 1918
Personal details
Born (1842-06-08)June 8, 1842
Bradford, New Hampshire
Died April 6, 1918(1918-04-06) (aged 75)
Arlington, Massachusetts
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Angie Moore Peck (June 20, 1878)[2][6]
Children John G. Brackett, Beatrice Brackett[7]
Alma mater Harvard College A.B., 1865; Harvard Law School L.L.B., 1868
Profession Attorney
Religion Unitarian

John Quincy Adams Brackett (June 8, 1842 – April 6, 1918) was an American lawyer and politician from Massachusetts. A Republican and temperance advocate, he served one term as the 36th Governor of Massachusetts, from 1890 to 1891.

Early years[edit]

John Quincy Adams Brackett was born on June 8, 1842, in Bradford, New Hampshire to Ambrose S. Brackett, a shoemaker and farmer, and Nancy (Brown) Brackett. He attended Colby Academy in nearby New London before entering Harvard College. He received a bachelor's from Harvard in 1865, where he was class orator, and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1868. He then opened a law practice in Boston,[8] first as a sole practititioner, and then in partnership with Levi C. Wade.[9] He held the post of Judge Advocate of the Massachusetts Militia's First Brigade at one point during his career. He married Angie Moore Peck of Arlington, Massachusetts on June 20, 1878;[6] they had four children.[10]

Early political career[edit]

Brackett was one of a number of progressive young Republicans who infused the party with new life in the 1880s, sometimes taking on a defeating older party members.[11] His entry into politics began on the Boston Common (City) Council, on which he served 1873-77. He next served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1877 to 1882 representing Boston from the 17th Suffolk District[3] and again from 1884 to 1887.[4] From 1885 to 1887 Brackett was Speaker of the House. His major accomplishment as a legislator was the establishment of cooperative banks, which were designed to encourage thrift among the working class.

Lieutenant Governor and Governor[edit]

From 1887 to 1890 he served as the 34th Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts under Governor Oliver Ames. In 1889, when Ames retired, Brackett was elected to succeed him as Governor, holding office from 1890 to 1891. During his year in office, he effectively advanced an agenda of tax reform and advocated improvements in Massachusetts prisons.

Brackett was a strong advocate of temperance, and sought strict enforcement of the state's alcohol laws. A popular referendum for the enshrinement of prohibition in the Massachusetts State Constitution had failed in 1889, upsetting advocates of prohibition, and Brackett took up the cause. He ordered stepped-up enforcement of the existing law, which closed bars that did not serve food. There was a popular backlash, which combined with the negative effects of the McKinley Tariff on the Massachusetts economy to cost Brackett reelection.[12] He was defeated in the 1890 election by Democrat William E. Russell[13] in one of the most successful elections for Democrats in the state since the American Civil War.[14]

Later years[edit]

Brackett then returned to his Boston law practice, remaining active in his party: in 1892 he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention and he served as a presidential elector in 1896 and 1900.[15] In 1917 he took an active role in the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention of 1917–1918.[5]

In 1887 Brackett built a Queen Anne style home at 87 Pleasant Street, Arlington, Massachusetts where he lived until his death in 1918. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Arlington Center Historic District, and is also part of the local Pleasant Street Historic District. The Brackett School at 66 Eastern Avenue in Arlington, built in 1931, was named after him.


  1. ^ a b 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, pp. 262–265
  2. ^ a b c d Hurd, pp. lvi-lviii
  3. ^ a b Gifford, p. 345
  4. ^ a b Journal of the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, p. 911
  5. ^ a b Journal of the Constitutional Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, pp. 7–8
  6. ^ a b Brownell, p. 6
  7. ^ Rotch, pp. 13–16
  8. ^ Reno, p. 39
  9. ^ Bacon, p. 24
  10. ^ Bacon, p. 25
  11. ^ Hennessy, p. 3
  12. ^ Hennessy, pp. 3-5
  13. ^ Petrin, pp. 198-199
  14. ^ Hennessy, p. 2
  15. ^ Reno, p. 40


Massachusetts House of Representatives
Preceded by
George Augustus Marden
Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
January 7, 1885 — 1886
Succeeded by
Charles J. Noyes
Political offices
Preceded by
Oliver Ames
Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
Succeeded by
William H. Haile
Preceded by
Oliver Ames
Governor of Massachusetts
Succeeded by
William Russell