Richard Bellingham

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Richard Bellingham (1592 - December 7, 1672) was a colonial magistrate, laywer, and several-time governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Richard Bellingham was probably born in Boston, England, the son of William Bellingham and Frances Amcotts. He became a lawyer, and represented his town as Member of Parliament in 1628 and 1629, while also serving as city recorder. He immigrated to the Puritan colonies in 1634, and settled in Boston. Only a year after his arrival, he was elected deputy governor, and he would serve in this capacity thirteen years altogether. In 1641, he defeated John Winthrop to become governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and he would hold this office intermittently for ten more years.

In 1641, Bellingham was involved in a small scandal for officiating at his own second marriage ceremony, and in 1665, he ignored a summons by Charles II to return to England. Bellingham pacified the angered sovereign by sending over a ship full of masts as a gift. He died in Boston in 1672 during a term as governor.

Though known as a hard, obdurate, and sometimes eccentric man, he was apparently well-respected in the colony. He was immortalized as a character in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, as was his sister, Anne Hibbins, who would be executed as a witch in 1656.

Richard Bellingham married in England, as his first wife, Elizabeth Backhouse. After her death, he married Penelope Pelham, the granddaughter of the 2nd Lord de la Warre.



Preceded by:
Thomas Dudley
Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony Succeeded by:
John Winthrop
Preceded by:
John Endicott
Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony Succeeded by:
John Endicott
Preceded by:
John Endicott
Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony Succeeded by:
John Leverett
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