John Leverett
Painting: by unknown 18th century artist

Governor Massachusetts Bay Colony: 1672-1679

John Leverett arrived in Boston as a teenager with his parents in 1633. He attended Boston Latin School in Massachusetts and is believed to have attended the public grammar school it was modeled after in Boston, England before emigrating. He returned to join Parliamentary forces opposed to the King in England's Civil War of 1644.

After his return to Massachusetts in 1648, Leverett held a variety of government posts and became Major General in the Colony's military. He was elected Deputy Governor in 1671, and succeeded Richard Bellingham as Governor in 1672, after his death in office.

Leverett was elected in his own right in the Spring of 1673, and reelected until his death in office in 1679. The seminal event of his administration was the eruption of King Philip's War along the boarders of Plymouth Colony. The brutal conflict decimated the Nipmuc, Wampanoag, and Narragansett tribes and effectively ended the mutual support of colonial and indigenous peoples idealized in the popular remembrance of the First Thanksgiving. In the conflict, over a dozen Massachusetts towns were effectively reduced to ashes, and for a time it appeared the settlers would be driven back into a handful of fortified towns. Ultimately colonial forces prevailed, but not without heavy losses on both sides and the displacement of native cultures which had developed in Massachusetts for a millennium.