Increase Sumner
Painting: by John Johnston, 1792

Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: 1797-1799

Born in Roxbury, Increase Sumner practiced law and represented Roxbury in the House of Representatives. He would later win a Senate seat, serve as Associate Justice in Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and participate in the Massachusetts Convention, which approved the U.S. Constitution.

As Governor, Sumner focused on increasing the Commonwealth's defensive capabilities. Under his leadership, Massachusetts increased its stock of munitions, established new arsenals, and fortified its costs to better repel attacks.

Sumner died at the start of his third term. Lieutenant Governor Moses Gill assumed the governorship, dying himself in office May 20, 1800. This left the Governor's Council, chaired by Thomas Dawes, to administer the Commonwealth's business until Caleb Strong's inauguration on May 30.