Massachusetts Senate: A Family Affair


The longest serving senator from Massachusetts, Democrat Ted Kennedy, shown campagning in 1962.

Former Senator John Forbes Kerry is one of at least 11 senators born into Boston’s traditional upper-class Yankee families, the so-called Brahmins. Kerry’s toughest re-election fight was against another Brahmin (and distant cousin), William F. Weld. Kerry is a direct descendent of John Winthrop, first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  Though his name sounds Irish, he isn’t.

Some senators married into Brahmin families either on the way to the Senate or once there. Frederick Gillett, who served from 1925 to 1931, married Christine Rice Hoar, the widow of Rockwood Hoar, son of another U.S. senator from Massachusetts, George Frisbie Hoar.

Leverett Saltonstall’s great-grandfather was a Massachusetts U.S. congressman of the same name – and a grandnephew of Sen. Timothy Pickering. Sen. Saltonstall was the 10th direct descendant of his family in a row to attend Harvard.

Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., was the direct descendant of three U.S. senators from Massachusetts. He was the grandson of Henry Cabot Lodge, the great-great-great-grandson of George Cabot and the great-great-great-grandson of Sen. Elijah Mills. He married the great-great-great-granddaughter of another senator, John Mason.

John Fitzgerald and Edward M. Kennedy had another brother in the New York Senate, Robert Francis. And Dwight Foster, who served in the Senate from 1793 to 1800, had a brother Theodore who served as a Rhode Island senator from 1790 to 1803.

Marcus Allen Coolidge was distantly related to Calvin Coolidge.

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