Babies named for Elbridge Gerry

American politician Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814)
Elbridge Gerry

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…

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…

Sources: Elbridge Gerry – Wikipedia,, Find a Grave
Image: Elbridge Gerry (1861) by James Bogle

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