When you think of politician Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814), what comes to mind?
Probably the political portmanteau gerrymander, which was mockingly coined by a newspaper cartoonist in 1812.
But Gerry was one of the founding fathers of the United States.
He signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. He refused to sign the Constitution, though, because it didn’t include a Bill of Rights. He promptly helped draft and pass a Bill of Rights (i.e., the first ten amendments) while serving as a member of the inaugural House of Representatives.
He went on to serve as the eighth governor of Massachusetts (1810-1812), and died while in office as the fifth vice president of the United States (1813-1814) under James Madison.
Hundreds of baby boys were named after Elbridge Gerry. Most were born in Gerry’s home state of Massachusetts. The rest came from nearby states, particularly Maine (which was part of Massachusetts from the 1650s to 1820). Some examples…
- Elbridge Gerry Daniels, b. 1788 in Massachusetts
- Elbridge Gerry Fuller, b. 1789 in Massachusetts
- Elbridge Gerry Potter, b. 1791 in Massachusetts
- Elbridge Gerry Sprague, b. 1793 in Maine
- Elbridge Gerry Putnam, b. 1794 in Massachusetts
- Elbridge Gerry Gage, b. 1798 in New Hampshire
- Elbridge Gerry Harris, b. 1799 in Vermont
- Elbridge Gerry Pease, b. 1800 in Massachusetts
- Elbridge Gerry Peirce, b. 1801 in Maine
- Elbridge Gerry Pomeroy, b. 1802 in Massachusetts
- Elbridge Gerry Ross, b. 1804 in Massachusetts
- Elbridge Gerry Champan, b. 1806 in New Hampshire
- Elbridge Gerry Thompson, b. 1807 in Maine
- Elbridge Gerry Fearing, b. 1808 in Massachusetts
- He was Alda Beronto Fearing‘s brother-in-law, coincidentally.
- Elbridge Gerry Spaulding, b. 1809 in New York
- Elbridge Gerry Atherton, b. 1810 in Massachusetts
- Elbridge Gerry Piper, b. 1811 in New Hampshire
- Elbridge Gerry Crowell, b. 1812 in Maine
- Elbridge Gerry Ayer, b. 1813 in Massachusetts
- Elbridge Gerry Lapham, b. 1814 in New York
- He also became a congressman.
- Elbridge Gerry Leach, b. 1814 in Massachusetts
- He named one of his daughters Elbridgena.
- Elbridge Gerry Colby, b. 1815 in Massachusetts
My favorite namesake, a Mainer named Elbridge Gerry Berry, wasn’t born until 1822.
P.S. Elbridge Gerry is to gerrymandering as Ambrose Burnside is to sideburns…