a digital library of Unitarian Universalist biographies, history, books, and media
the digital library of Unitarian Universalism
Home » Biographies » Otis, Harrison Gray (1765-1848)

Otis, Harrison Gray (1765-1848)

Otis Gray Harrison

Portrait by Gilbert Stuart, 1809. Courtesy of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.

This Unitarian businessman and lawyer was appointed by George Washington as a U.S. district attorney for Massachusetts and served as one of the original incorporators of the Boston Bank. A strong advocate for centralized government, Otis warned that Napoleon’s mounting victories might “roll toward our shores.”

His public service included terms in both the U.S. House of Representatives (1797-1801) and the Massachusetts state legislature (1802-1817). He was the primary actor in the controversial Hartford Convention of 1814, a gathering that favored states’ rights. From 1817 to 1822 Otis served as a U.S. senator, returning to Boston in 1829 to serve as its mayor.

The elegant Harrison Gray Otis House in Boston is now the home of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.



Notable in UU History
Witter Bynner

Bynner, Witter (1881-1968)

Biographical Introduction Bynner's mother's family extended to an early president of Harvard, Charles Chauncy. When Bynner ... Read More
Leverett Saltonstall

Saltonstall, Leverett (1892-1979)

Biographical Introduction A man to whom public office was a public trust, he served the common ... Read More
Pennington at West Newton

Pennington, Leslie T. (1899-1974)

Biographical Introduction At the celebration in 1866 of the 250th anniversary of the organization of the ... Read More

Chapin, Augusta Jane (1836-1905)

One of the earliest women to be ordained a Universalist minister, Chapin was also the first ... Read More