John Endecott Statue

Ralph Weld Gray (architect) and Carl Paul Jennewein (sculptor), 1937

Harleston Parker Medal, 1938

This monument is the gift of Endecott’s direct descendent, George Augustus Peabody, roughly marking the tricentennial of Endecott's service as an early governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Sculptor Carl Paul Jennewein removed about four tons of stone from a block of granite that originally weighed some 12 tons in creating this attractive art deco-influenced memorial.

As the first Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, John Endecott (1588-1665) established Salem as the Massachusetts Colony's first capital city, before his successor Governor John Winthrop moved it to Boston. An enthusiastic Puritan, Endecott's religious intolerance was noteworthy, as was his leadership in the Pequot War which practically destroyed that tribe as an entity. His later terms as the 10th, 13th, 15th, and 17th Governor included episodes of brutal repression, with Quakers and others banished and put to death for their beliefs. Nathaniel Hawthorne described Endecott as "a man of narrow mind and imperfect education, and his uncompromising bigotry was made hot and mischievous by violent and hasty passions; he exerted his influence indecorously and unjustifiably to compass the death of the enthusiasts [Quakers]; and his whole contact, in respect to them, was marked by brutal cruelty."

More than three centuries later, Endecott's descendant Endicott Peabody served as the 62nd Governor of Massachusetts in the 1960s. He advocated laws to prevent discrimination in housing, established drug addiction treatment programs, and fought for civil rights. As a strong opponent of capital punishment, he recommended the commutation of every death sentence that he reviewed while he served as governor. As handsome as this statue may be, for many, Endicott Peabody represents the only element of John Endecott's legacy worth commemorating.

Source: WikipediaImage: ©Deborah Noyes, courtesy Boston Art Commission