George S. Boutwell – Chronology

  • 1818:  George is born on the family farm on January 18 on what is now the golf course of The Country Club of Brookline, Massachusetts, a few miles from the birthplace of John F. Kennedy in 1917.

  • 1820s:  His father Sewall moves the family to Lunenburg, Massachusetts, where George attends the local "common school" while working on the family farm.

  • 1830s:  At age 17, George moves to Groton, Massachusetts, in 1835 to work in a dry goods store and study with local lawyers; he's elected to the Groton school committee in 1839 and comes to know Margaret Fuller. In 1839 on his first trip to Washington, D.C.,  George sees the slave "pens" located near the current Smithsonian Institution.

  • 1840s:  George is elected in 1841 as a Democrat to the first of seven terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives; marries wife Sarah on July 8, 1841 and they have two children, a daughter Georgianna in 1843 and son Francis Marion in 1847.

  • 1850s:  In 1851, George is elected to the first of two terms as Governor of Massachusetts and builds the family home in Groton where he’ll live until his death in 1905. In 1854 he helps establish the Republican Party in Massachusetts, is appointed Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education, and is supported for office by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

  • 1862:  Appointed Commissioner of Internal Revenue by President Abraham Lincoln, George oversees the introduction of the country's first income tax to help raise needed funds for the Union war effort.

  • 1863:  He serves in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1863-1869 where he helps frame the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments to the Constitution, serves on the Joint Committee on Reconstruction, and manage the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson.

  • 1869:  George is appointed Secretary of the Treasury by President Ulysses Grant in March, helps block the Jay Gould and Jim Fisk gold market corner on Black Friday in September, and helps lay the foundation for the modern American economy.

  • 1877:  George is appointed by President Rutherford B. Hayes to oversee the updating of the U.S. legal code and publication of the revised Statutes of the United States.

  • 1880s:  He serves on international claims commissions involving France, Haiti, and Chile and represents Hawaii as Counsel. George is one of 12 pallbearers at the funeral of Ulysses S. Grant in New York City in 1885.

  • 1898:  Selected as President of the Anti-Imperialist League, George works with Andrew Carnegie, Mark Twain, William James, and others to oppose America’s annexation of the Philippines.

  • 1905:  George dies at his home in Groton on February 27 at the age of 87.