Marcus Morton
Painting: by Robert Gordon Hardie, 1900

Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: Acting 1825, 1840-1841, 1843-1844

Marcus Morton traced his heritage to the Pilgrims, when George Morton of the Plymouth Colony married Ann Southworth, who had come over on the Mayflower. Marcus served in Congress and as a long-time Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court. His son, also Marcus Morton, went on to be Chief Justice of Massachusetts Supreme Judicial court, and his grandson, James Madison Morton would also be an Associate Justice of the High Court, 1890-1913.

After serving in Congress (1817-1821) and the Commonwealth's Executive Council (1823-1824), Morton became Lieutenant Governor in 1824. After the death of William Eustis he served between February and May in 1825.

Following his brief experience as acting Governor, Morton served on the Massachusetts Superior Court between 1825 and 1840. During this time he mounted twelve unsuccessful candidacies for Governor, finally gaining election in November of 1839. He secured a majority by a margin of a single vote to defeat Edward Everett in the popular election.

The Whig party's John Davis handily defeated him in 1840, who he challenged and lost to in 1841. Morton received a plurality of votes in 1842, which threw the election into the Senate, which elected him. The next year he lost to Whig candidate, George Briggs, who achieved a plurality and victory in the Senate. After leaving the Governor's office, Mr. Briggs served as Collector of Customs in Boston from 1845-1849 and served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1858, as a member of the Free Soil party.