Sir John Leverett
Colonial Massachusetts Governor
"John Leverett (1616-1679) was a colonial soldier and Governor of Massachusetts.
Leverett was born July 7, 1616. He came with his parents, Reverend John Cotton, and others, in the Griffin. He joined the First Church July 14, 1639. He was the son of Thomas Leverett, the ruling elder of the First Church, who had been Alderman of Boston, England. He sailed from London, and arrived at Boston, September 4, 1633.
He joined the Artillery Company 1639; clerk of the company, 1641; junior sergeant, 1642; senior sergeant, 1643; lieutenant, 1648; commander, 1652, 1663, and 1670. He was appointed captain under Sergeant-Major Gibbons, August 12, 1645, to take the field against the Narragansett Indians; captain of a troop of horse in 1652; and, same year, captain of South Company. In 1654, he held a command under General Sedgwick in expelling the French from Penobscot. He was captain of a troop of horse in Cromwell's service in 1656. In 1663, he was chosen Major-General of the Colony, and held the office ten years.
In 1662, [Leverett was] granted one thousand acres of land in consideration of his services to the colony and five hundred more in 1671. On May 23, 1666, he was voted 'thanks' by the General Court, and one hundred pounds gratuity for his care and pains in completing the batteries of Boston, and mounting the great artillery.
Deputy for Boston 1651, 1652, 1653, 1663, 1664, 1665.
Speaker of the House, 1651, 1663, 1664.
In 1665, chosen from the House of Deputies to be an assistant and continued in that office until 1670.
Deputy Governor, 1671, 1672.
Governor, May 7, 1673 to 1678, and died March 16, 1679, while holding that office.
In August, 1676, King Charles II conferred the Order of Knight-hood upon him, but he concealed the fact during his lifetime.
Governor Leverett died March 16, 1679, and was buried with great pomp, March 25, in King's Chapel Ground. The Leverett tomb is numbered 30, and the Governor and the members of his immediate family, Secretary Isaac Addington and many other noted personages were buried in this tomb.
The following epitaph, written a short time after Governor Leverett's decease, is probably the eleven-line inscription engraved on the horizontal slab over his tomb in King's Chapel Burying Ground, but the face of the stone is so much worn the epitaph cannot be deciphered. The copy of [the] epitaph [below] is taken from the genealogy of the Leverett family:
'To ye Sacred Memory of N.E's Heroe, Mars his Generall, & Vertues standard-bearer, & Learning's glory, y't faithfully pious, & piously faithful subject to ye Great Majesty of Heaven & Earth, ye Experienced souldier in ye Church Militant, lately Listed in ye Invincible Triuphant Army of ye Lord of Hosts, ye deservedly Worshipful Jn Leverett Esq'r ye Just Prudent, & Impartiall Governo'r of ye Massachusetts Colony, In N - E who surrendered to ye all Conquering Command of Death, March, 16, Anno Dom, 1678 et AEtatis su AE 63.'