John D. Long


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John Davis Long was born to Zadoc and Julia Long in Buckfield, Maine on October 27, 1838.  As a child he loved to write poetry, which he continued throughout his life.  He attended Hebron Academy and then studied at Harvard University.  Although he experienced a great deal of homesickness, in 1857 he still managed to graduate second in his class.  He then spent several years working as a teacher, and later as the principal, of Westford Academy in Massachusetts.  After some deliberation he decided to change his profession, studying law at Harvard Law School in 1860 and 1861.  He passed the bar examination and briefly moved back to Maine before opening a law practice in Boston. 

Long moved from Boston to Hingham in 1869 and married Mary Woodward Glover in 1870.  It was around this time that he became involved in politics, supporting Democratic and liberal Republican candidates before running for the state legislature as an independent.  He then became a member of the Republican Party and was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1874 to 1878, becoming Speaker of the House in 1876. 

Holding a moderate stance in politics, Long supported temperance, prison reform, and women's rights.  He was elected to the office of Lieutenant Governor in 1878 after failing to win the Republican Party nomination for Governor, and in 1879 was successfully elected to the office of Governor.  He held this position for three years, during which he maintained a fairly neutral stance on several divisive issues, including labor protests.

In 1882, Mary Long, Governor Long's wife, died, leaving behind two children. That same year, her husband was elected to the United States House of Representatives.  He held that position until 1889, and ran unsuccessfully in both 1883 and 1887 for the office of United States Senator. He married Agnes Peirce in 1886, with whom he had one child.  After leaving office in 1889, Long remained out of politics for eight years, spending time with his family in Hingham and practicing law in Boston. 

This period away from the political arena ended when President William McKinley appointed him to the office of Secretary of the Navy in 1897 (see the image below for more information).  Long had met McKinley while the two were members of Congress in the 1880s.

After leaving office in 1902, Long wrote a number of historical articles, partially based on his life, which were published as The New American Navy.  He spent most of his time in Hingham and served on several boards, including the Harvard Board of Overseers and the Massachusetts Historical Society.  He also wrote poetry and supported both pacifism and the elimination of capital puishment.  Long died on August 28, 1915 at his home on Cottage Street, and his funeral was attended by a large number of mourners.