• 6th President of the Confederation Congress
  • Congressional Delegate from Massachusetts
  • Delegate and Signer of the US Constitution
  • Member Massachusetts General Court


Nathaniel Gorham was born 27 May 1738 in Charlestown, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States to Nathaniel Gorham (1709-1761) and Mary Soley (1717-1800) and died 11 June 1796 Charlestown, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States of unspecified causes. He married Rebecca Call (1744-1812) 6 September 1763 in Charlestown, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States.

Despite his lack of education, he was a wealthy merchant and excellent debater. He served in the state legislature, national Congress and judge of the Middlesex Court of Common Pleas. He was a delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress, and for six months served as the presiding officer of that body. He played an important procedural role in the Convention, first as chairman of the Committee of the Whole and as a member of the five-member Committee of Detail.

Sometimes also spelled as Nathanial, but his signature on official documents is rendered as Nathaniel.


In the summer of 1787, he was one of two delegates representing Massachusetts at the Constitutional Convention.

He played a key role at the US Consitution Convention in 1787, where he was a delegate from Massachusetts. And while George Washington (1732-1799) was the president of the convention, most business was referred to "The committee of the whole" where Nathaniel assumed the chair and from his experience directed debate. He made little statements for or against, but was well regarded as a staunch nationalist.

Marriage and Family

He married Rebecca Call who was a widow with 9 children on September 6, 1763 in Charlestown, Massachusetts. She was born on May 14, 1744 in Charlestown, Massachusetts and died on November 18, 1812 in Charlestown, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Caleb Call and Rebecca Stimson. Nathaniel and Rebecca were the parents of nine children.


Offspring of Nathaniel Gorham and Rebecca Call (1744-1812)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Nathaniel Gorham (1763-1826)
Rebecca Gorham (1765-1834)
Mary Gorham (1767-1832)
Elizabeth Gorham (1769-)
Anna Gorham (1771-1830) 21 February 1771 Medford, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States 21 February 1830 Medford, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States Peter Chardon Brooks (1767-1849)
John Gorham (c1772-)
Benjamin Gorham (1775-1855) 13 February 1775 Charlestown, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States 27 September 1855 Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States Susan Cabot Lowell (1776-1816)
Stephen Gorham (c1776-1849)
Lydia Gorham (1778-1856) 1778 Charlestown, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States 3 June 1856 John Phillips (1776-1820)



Gorham died in Charlestown, Massachusetts, in 1796. A eulogy was delivered in his memory by Dr. Thomas Welch of Charlestown. He is buried in the Phipps Street Cemetery in Charlestown, Massachusetts.

Gorham Street in Madison, Wisconsin, is named in his honor. The Town of Gorham, New York is also named in his Honor.


Gorham was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and was the son of Captain Nathaniel Gorham and his father's wife Mary Soley.[1] He was a descendant of John Howland (1592-1672) who was one of the Pilgrims who traveled from England to North America on the Mayflower, signed the Mayflower Compact, and helped found the Plymouth Colony.

His sister, Elizabeth Gorham, who married John Leighton, was the ancestor of Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt the second wife of Theodore Roosevelt who served as First Lady of the United States during his presidency from 1901 to 1909.

Famous Descendants

Nathaniel Gorham's descendants number in the thousands today. Some of his notable descendants include: (See complete List: Nathaniel Gorham (1738-1796)/immigrant ancestors)

  • Bishop Phillips Brooks was an American clergyman and author, who briefly served as Bishop of Massachusetts in the Episcopal Church during the early 1890s. He is best known for authoring the Christmas carol "O Little Town of Bethlehem".
  • Charles Francis Adams Jr. (1835-1915) -was a member of the prominent Adams family, and son of Charles Francis Adams, Sr.. He served as a colonel in the Union Army during the American Civil War and was a railroad executive following the war.
  • John Quincy Adams II - was an American lawyer and politician, the son of Charles Francis Adams and the grandson and namesake of president John Quincy Adams.
  • Charles Francis Adams III (1866-1954) - was the United States Secretary of the Navy under President Herbert Hoover and a well-known yachtsman, participating in the famous America's Cup Race.
  • Charles Francis Adams IV was a U.S. electronics industrialist. He served as the first president of the Raytheon Company.
  • Nathaniel's son Benjamin Gorham was a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts.
  • Brooks Adams was an American historian and a critic of capitalism.
  • Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918) - was an American journalist, historian, academic and novelist. He is best known for his autobiographical book, The Education of Henry Adams.
  • William Everett was the son of Charlotte Gray Brooks and orator Edward Everett who spoke at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
  • Octavius Brooks Frothingham was an American clergyman and author.
  • Catherine Lovering Adams married Henry Stugis Morgan, who was an American banker. He was the son of John Pierpont ("Jack") Morgan Jr. and the grandson of renowned banker John Pierpont Morgan, Sr., founder of J.P. Morgan & Co..
  • Catherine Bartlett was the wife of James Walker, who was the President of Harvard College from 1853 to 1860. Walker was also a Unitarian minister and religious philosopher.
  • Charlotte Gray Brooks was the wife of Edward Everett, an American politician and educator from Massachusetts. He served as president of Harvard College.
  • Peter Bulkeley Greenough was an American journalist and editor. He was the husband of opera singer Beverly Sills.
  • Gorham Parks was a U.S. Representative from Maine, and a Democratic Party candidate for Maine Governor.


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Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General