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 25, 2009

Mr. Peter Thatcher, Esq.

Born in Malden on December 22, 1776, Peter Thacher graduated from Harvard in 1796 with thoughts of following his father (who was the pastor of the Brattle Street Church) into ministry. He taught at Phillips Academy the following year where he helped to instruct a young Daniel Webster.

Instead of ministry, however, Peter Thacher followed the example of his grandfather, Oxenbridge Thacher, and adopted not only his grandfather’s profession in Law, but in 1811 adopted his name as well, taking Oxenbridge as his middle name. Peter Thacher was admitted to the Suffolk bar in 1803.

In 1823 Peter Oxenbridge Thacher was appointed Judge of the Municipal Court of the City of Boston, a position he held until his death on Feb. 22, 1843. A federalist and classic conservative, Judge Thacher was known both as a very severe judge but also as the judge who expanded the legal use of recognizance by continually releasing juvenile offenders. He was targeted in 1832 by William Lloyd Garrison for implying to jurors that the rhetoric in an abolitionist newspaper might be an indictable offense as it could incite revolt or insurrection.

Judge Thacher was one of the founders and original Trustees of the Boston Athenaeum, as well as a founder of MBS.

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