Founders of the Massachusetts Bible Society - 1809

The Massachusetts Bible Society began on July 6, 1809 and is an ecumenical, Christian organization dedicated to promoting Biblical literacy, understanding, and dialogue. This blog lists brief biographies of our founders who gathered in the Massachusetts State House Senate Chamber on that historic day to sign the Charter founding MBS. Please visit our website:

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Honorable Samuel Dana

The son of a minister in Groton, Samuel Dana was born on June 26, 1767 in that town. He was educated by his father, himself a Harvard graduate, and became the postmaster in Groton from 1800-1804. In the year 1800 the quarterly receipts of his office amounted to $3.00.

Across his 68 years, Samuel Dana turned to politics and law, serving a number of years as a state representative, then a state senator, then as a Representative in Congress and as a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1820. Despite never having a formal education, he became the Chief Justice of the Circuit Court of Common Pleas from 1816 onward. An active Mason, Mr. Dana also had an acute interest in horses, but for some reason would never allow an image of himself to be created. It is reported that “he was six feet and one inch in height, and a gentleman in the most liberal interpretation of the character.”

Samuel Dana’s son, General James Dana, sponsored the Masonic funeral rite for President George Washington in 1799. Samuel Dana’s minister father, however, was dismissed from his pulpit when he refused to support the American Revolution and after a few more years in Groton removed himself to Amherst, NH.

Although Samuel Dana spent a good part of his career in Charlestown with a mansion overlooking Bunker Hill, he returned to Groton where he died on Nov. 20, 1835.

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