Robert Treat Paine
Burial Location Visited DoI Signer Grave #
Boston, Massachusetts July 6, 2007 9th Visited


Robert Treat Paine, one of the                                                                  Paine's grave marker, mounted
five signers of the Declaration of                                                               on a brick wall at the cemetery.
Independence from Massachusetts,
is interred in the Granary Burying

                                       *** Interesting Facts ***

* One of five Massachusetts men to attach his name to the Declaration of Independence, Robert Treat Paine was born on March 11, 1731 in Boston. Paine was taught for several years at the Boston Latin School before he enrolled at Harvard College at the youthful age of fourteen. Four years later, in 1749, he graduated from that establishment and began teaching in Lunenburg shortly thereafter. Paine did not remain a teacher for a substantial amount of time, however, giving up his job and taking a voyage to Europe before long. Upon his return, he followed his father's footsteps and entered the ministry, then taking up law in 1756. The following year, Paine was admitted to the bar.

* Paine began practicing law in Portland, Maine (which was part of Massachusetts at the time) and later relocated to Taunton in 1761. Seven years later, Paine was sent to represent Taunton in a convention held in response to the dissolution of the general court by Governor Francis Bernard. He also participated in the trial of the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre, serving as one of the prosecuting attorneys. Though the accused troops were successfully defended by John Adams, Paine's fame and popularity throughout the colonies became more widespread.

* Representing Taunton, Paine served in the general court from 1773 to 1774, that body evidently having been re-established by this point in time. Subsequently, he spent time in both the Massachusetts Provincial Congress and the Continental Congress beginning in 1774. Though he left the Massachusetts Provincial Congress in 1775, he continued to represent Massachusetts in the Continental Congress until 1778. During his tenure there, he signed both the unsuccessful Olive Branch Petition and the Declaration of Independence.

* In 1777, Paine served as the Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and was elected the Massachusetts attorney general, becoming the first person to hold that post since independence was declared in 1776. Paine also helped Massachusetts draft its state constitution.

* Stepping down as attorney general in 1790, Governor John Hancock appointed Paine to the Massachusetts Supreme Court, where he served as an associate justice. After fourteen years on the bench, he retired in 1804, having decided that his poor hearing impaired his ability to conduct his job properly. Paine passed away in May of 1814 and became the third signatory of the Declaration of Independence to be laid to rest in the Granary Burying Ground on Boston's Tremont Street.

Spouse: Sarah Cobb Paine (1744-1816)

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