Samuel Atkins Eliot was born 5 March 1798 in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts to Samuel Eliot (1739-1820) and Catherine Atkins (1758-1829) and died 29 January 1862 Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts of unspecified causes. He married Mary Lyman (1800-) 1810 in Sharon, Norfolk County, Massachusetts.


Noteworthy Massachusetts Politician and patriarch of the famous Eliot Family of Boston.

  • State Representative - Member of the Massachusetts State House of Representatives in 1834,
  • Mayor of Boston - Massachusetts, from 1837 to 1839,
  • State Senator - Member of the Massachusetts State Senate in 1843.
  • US Congressman - Elected to represent Massachusetts' 1st District in the United States House of Representatives, serving from 1850 to 1851.

Early Years

Eliot was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1798, and was the son of banker Samuel Eliot. He attended the Boston Latin School; graduated from Harvard University in 1817 and from Harvard Divinity School in 1820. About 1826, he married Mary Lyman and had four daughters and two sons, including Charles William Eliot, a future President of Harvard University.

He was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives 1834–1837.

Mayor of Boston

From 1837 to 1839, he was mayor of Boston. During his administration a riot took place, caused by a collision between a volunteer fire company and an Irish funeral procession. The disturbance was suppressed by the promptness of Mayor Eliot, who was on the ground at the first alarm, and immediately took measures for calling out the militia. The result of this affair was the establishment of a paid fire department and a day police.

State Senator

He served in the Massachusetts Senate in 1843–1844. He was elected as a Whig to the Thirty-first Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Robert C. Winthrop and served from August 22, 1850 to March 3, 1851; he declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1850.

He was treasurer of Harvard University from 1842 to 1853. He published a Sketch of the History of Harvard College and of its Present State (Boston, 1848), and edited selections from the sermons of Dr. Francis W. P. Greenwood, with a memoir (2 vols., Boston, 1844). He died in Cambridge, Massachusetts on January 29, 1862 and his body was interred in Mount Auburn Cemetery.

Marriage & Family

  1. Mary Lyman Eliot (1828-)
  2. Frances Eliot (1829-1832)
  3. Elizabeth Lyman Eliot (1831-)
  4. Catharine A Eliot (1835-1882)
  5. Charles William Eliot (1834-1926) - longest serving president of Harvard University, many noteworthy descendants
  6. Frances Ann Eliot (1838-1896) - She married Henry Wilder Foote, minister of King's Chapel in Boston, July 9, 1863.


Offspring of Samuel Atkins Eliot and Mary Lyman (1800-)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Mary Lyman Eliot (1828-)
Frances Eliot (1829-1832)
Elizabeth Lyman Eliot (1831-)
Catharine A Eliot (1835-1882)
Charles William Eliot (1834-1926) 20 March 1834 Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States 22 August 1926 Massachusetts, United States Ellen Derby Peabody (1836-1869) Ellen Derby Peabody (1836-1869) Grace Mellen Hopkinson (1846-)
Frances Ann Eliot (1838-1896)


Research Notes

Why does FamilySearch show Samuel being married at age 12 to Mary Anderson Calder (1794-1877)?



Footnotes (including sources)