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Samuel Holten
Oil-on-ivory miniature, circa 1790. Danvers Archival Center, Peabody Institute Library
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1793 – March 3, 1795
Preceded byFisher Ames
Succeeded byTheodore Sedgwick
Personal details
Born(1738-06-09)June 9, 1738
Salem Village, Province of Massachusetts Bay, British America
DiedJanuary 2, 1816(1816-01-02) (aged 77)
Danvers, Massachusetts, U.S.
Resting placeHolton Cemetery, Danvers
Political partyAnti-Administration
SpouseMary Warner
ChildrenLydia, Mary, Sarah

Samuel Holten (June 9, 1738 – January 2, 1816) was an American Founding Father, physician, jurist, and politician from Danvers, Massachusetts. Holten represented the Massachusetts Bay Colony as a delegate to the Continental Congress, where he signed the Articles of Confederation. After numerous roles at the state and national levels in the 1780s, Holten was elected to a term in U.S. House of Representatives, serving from 1793 to 1794. He then was appointed judge in the local courts, a position he held for nearly two decades.

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Holten was born in Salem Village (now Danvers) in the Province of Massachusetts Bay on June 9, 1738. After studying medicine under a local physician, he established a practice in nearby Gloucester. He soon returned to Danvers, where he continued practicing as a physician.

Silhouette of Samuel Holten taken in life, and passed on to his descendants.
Silhouette of Samuel Holten taken in life, and passed on to his descendants.

During the American Revolution, Holten actively supported the Patriot cause, serving in the militia as a major in the First Essex County Regiment. He was a member of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress from 1774 to 1775, at which point he was named to the Massachusetts Committee of Safety. Holten was appointed to the Continental Congress in 1778, when he signed the Articles of Confederation. He left the Congress in 1780 and then served in the Massachusetts Senate for two years. From 1780 to 1782, Holten was also a member of the Massachusetts Governor's Council, a role he repeated in eight of the next 14 years.

In 1783, Holten was appointed to the Congress of the Confederation, which under the Articles was the new nation's only branch of government. Near the end of his two years in the Congress, Holten served briefly as its chairman:

″His Excellency the president, being, by indisposition, prevented from attending the House, Congress proceeded to the election of a Chairman, and, the ballots being taken, the (honorable) Samuel Holten was elected.″[1]

Samuel Holten lived in this house in Danvers, Massachusetts.

Holten returned to the state Senate in 1784, completing additional terms in 1786, 1789, and 1790. In between, in 1787, he served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and also returned to the Congress of the Confederation for another year. In 1792, Holten was elected as an Anti-Administration candidate to the Third U.S. Congress, serving from March 4, 1793 to March 3, 1795. After leaving the Congress, Holten was appointed judge of the Essex County Probate Court. He sat on the bench from 1796 until his resignation in 1815.


Holten died in Danvers on January 2, 1816. He was buried at Holten Cemetery in Danvers.[2]


  1. ^ Journals of the United States in Congress Assembled, August 17, 1785
  2. ^ "Holten, Samuel". U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved September 22, 2022.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 1st congressional district

March 4, 1793 – March 3, 1795
Succeeded by

This page was last edited on 21 March 2023, at 10:03
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