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Col. James Otis, Esq.

Male 1702 - 1778  (76 years)


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  • Name James Otis 
    Prefix Col. 
    Suffix Esq. 
    Born 14 June 1702  Barnstable, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Died 9 November 1778  Barnstable, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Notes 
    • From William A. Otis’s Memoir of the Otis Family:
      Mr. Otis rose to be a man of great distinction and influence, of superior genius, but more indebted to the native energy of his mind than to a regular education, for the acquirements he possessed. The simplicity of the life and times is shouwn by the fact that accidental circumstances led him to engage in the legal profession. On one occasion when he was at Court in Barnstable, a neighbor, who had a case pending, was unprovided with counsel, and solicited his aid. He consented to act, and managed the case with such ability as to receive the strong encomiums of the court, and appreciative friends induced him to study for the profession of the law, in which he soon acquired a commanding position. His study of the principles of law, as connected with politicl institutions, had prepared him for a clear perception of the effects that would have resulted from the execution of the ministerial plans agains the colonies, and he ardently engaged in asserting their rights. He was elected a member of the provincial legislature in 1758, made Speaker of the House in 1760, and continued in that office for two years, when he was negatived by Gov. Bernard.
      He was, among his other positions, also Colonel of the militia. A document is given in ‘Barstable Families,’ Vol. II. pg. 42, ordering a troop of horse in the County of Barnstable, Aug. 14, 1757, to which his name is signed as ‘Coll’n of st. Regiment.’
      In 1763 he was appointed Judge of Probate for Barnstable county, and Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, Feb. 1764, and he continued at the head of that court until the Revolution. The same year he was again chosen Speaker of the House, and also one of his Majesty’s Council, but was negatived by the Governor, owing to his opposition to the measures of teh government. HE was elected into the Council every succeeding yer, and was negatived ass regularly as chosen, until 1770, when Lieut. Col. Hutchinson approbated the choiser. Mr. Otis sat at the Council board during the first years of the war; he was president and oldest member of that body. From the departure of Gage and the adoption of the state constitution, he exercised during that period the functions of chief executive magistrate of Mass.
      He served on many committees of the legislature during the period from 1760-1775, which reported some of the most remarkable of those sincere and masterly state papers which were produced during the period preceding the epoch of the American Revolution. His name has been frequently mentioned in terms of high esteem, as a compeer with Adams, Quincy and Hancock. [1]
    Person ID I1296  Schirado
    Last Modified 29 September 2011 

    Father Hon. John Otis,   b. 21 September 1657, Hingham, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 23 September 1727, Barnstable, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years) 
    Mother Mercy Bacon,   b. 8 January 1659, Barnstable, MA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married 18 July 1683  [1
    Family ID F17  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family/Spouse Mary Allyn,   b. 10 November 1702, Plymouth, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. before 21 April 1774  (Age < 71 years) 
    Married about 1722  Wethersfield, CT Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
    +1. Hon. James Otis,   b. 2 February 1724/5, Barnstable, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 23 May 1783, Andover, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 58 years)
    Family ID F918  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. [S4] William A. Otis, (Winnetka, Ill, 1924).


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