Otis House

Harrison Gray Otis

Harrison Gray Otis (1765-1848) was born into a distinguished family of wealthy and successful individuals. He grew up in Bowdoin Square, then Boston’s most fashionable residential district. On May 31, 1790, after two years of courtship, Harrison married Sally Foster (1770-1836), the daughter of a wealthy Boston merchant. In 1795 Harrison began his career in real estate development that would eventually make him one of the wealthiest men in Boston when he, and the other Mt. Vernon Proprietors (including renowned architect Charles Bulfinch), purchased artist John Singleton Copley’s pasture on the south slope of Beacon Hill and began to lay out a system of streets. In 1797 Harrison Gray was elected to the United States Congress, serving until 1801 as a member of the Federalist Party and served in the Massachusetts legislature from 1802 to 1817. Between 1818 and 1822 he served as a United States Senator, and in 1829, a two year term as mayor of Boston.