James Adams Weston
James Adams Weston.png
33rd Governor of New Hampshire
In office
June 3, 1874 – June 10, 1875
Preceded byEzekiel A. Straw
Succeeded byPerson C. Cheney
In office
June 14, 1871 – June 6, 1872
Preceded byOnslow Stearns
Succeeded byEzekiel A. Straw
18th Mayor of Manchester, New Hampshire
In office
Preceded byIsaac W. Smith
Succeeded byPerson C. Cheney
16th Mayor of Manchester, New Hampshire
In office
Preceded byJoseph B. Clark
Succeeded byIsaac W. Smith
Personal details
BornAugust 27, 1827
Manchester, New Hampshire
DiedMay 8, 1895 (aged 67)
Manchester, New Hampshire
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Anna S. Gilmore Weston
Alma materDartmouth College (honorary MA)
Professioncivil engineer

James Adams Weston (August 27, 1827 – May 8, 1895) was a civil engineer, banker, and an American politician from Manchester, New Hampshire who served as mayor of Manchester for several terms and was the 33rd governor of New Hampshire.

Early life

Weston was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, and grew up helping on the family farm. He was educated in the district school, the Manchester Academy and the Piscataquog Academy. Determined to become a civil engineer, he taught school during the winters, and at the age of nineteen, was appointed assistant civil engineer of the Concord Railroad in 1846.[1]


Promoted to the position of Chief Engineer in 1849, Weston was also performed the duties of road master and master of transportation of the Concord and the Manchester & Lawrence railroads. He surveyed and superintended the construction of the Concord water-works.[1]

Though Manchester was predominately a Republican city, Weston was elected mayor of Manchester in 1861, 1867, 1869 to 1870 and in 1874.[2][3]

Having secured the 1871 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, Weston was named by the legislature as the official governor after a close election.[4] During that same year, Dartmouth College bestowed an honorary Master of Arts degree upon him.[5] He served from June 14, 1871 - June 6, 1872. Failing in 1872 and 1873, he was successful in winning reelection in 1874 and served from June 3, 1874 - June 10, 1875. During his two terms, Democratic judges were appointed and an important railroad merger was authorized.[6]

1875 State Senate controversy

In 1875, in the final days of his term as governor, Weston ignited controversy by invalidating ballots to engineer a Democratic majority in the State Senate. In Districts 2 and 4, Democrats James Priest and John Proctor narrowly placed first over their Republican opponents, Nathaniel Head and George Todd. However, neither Priest nor Proctor won majorities, which was required for election to the State Senate under the state constitution. If no candidate won a majority, the election would have been decided by the General Court, which, owing to the narrow Republican majority in the State House, would likely have elected Head and Todd.[7]

Accordingly, Weston exercised his constitutional power to "examine election results and issue summonses to the winners" and declared the Democratic candidates the rightful winners.[7] In District 2, Weston and the state executive council invalidated the 3,771 votes cast for "Natt Head" on the grounds that they "did not contain the full Christian name of the candidate voted for" and 3 votes cast for other candidates who did not live in the district. And in District 4, they excluded 2 votes cast for "G. E. Todd" because they did not "contain the full Christian name of the candidate voted for" and 59 votes cast for non-resident candidates. Weston issued summonses to Priest and Proctor, who were seated in the State Senate. The 7-5 majority in the State Senate then voted on party lines to reject a challenge to Priest's and Proctor's qualification. The Republican minority in the State Senate then requested an advisory opinion from the New Hampshire Supreme Court, which ultimately concluded that "the action of the senate is final."[8]


Weston died in Manchester on May 8, 1895 (age 67 years, 254 days). He is interred at Pine Grove Cemetery, Manchester, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, USA.

Family life

Son of Amos and Elizabeth Betsey Wilson Weston, he married Anna S. Gilmore on February 23, 1834, and they had five children: Grace W., James Henry Weston, Edwin Bell, Anna Mabel, and Herman.[9]


  1. ^ a b Sobel, Robert; Raimo, John, eds. (1978). Biographical directory of the governors of the United States, 1789-1978. Vol. 3. Westport, Conn.: Meckler Books. p. 968.
  2. ^ Clarke, Maurice (1875). Manchester: A Brief Record of Its Past and a Picture of Its Present, Including an Account of Its Settlement and of Its Growth as a Town and City; a History of Its Schools, Churches, Societies, Banks. J.B. Clarke. pp. 62–63.
  3. ^ Weston, James (1888). History of New Hampshire. John Norris McClintock B. B. Russell, 1888 - New Hampshire. p. 657.
  4. ^ The Granite Monthly: A New Hampshire Magazine. Vol. 18. Granite Monthly Company. 1895. pp. 417–418.
  5. ^ Weston, James (1882). Sketches of Successful New Hampshire Men. J.B. Clarke, 1882 - New Hampshire. pp. 85–88.
  6. ^ Bastedo, Russell. "James A. Weston, A Guide to Likenesses of New Hampshire Officials and Governors on Public Display at the Legislative Office Building and the State House Concord, New Hampshire, to 1998". New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources. Archived from the original on May 28, 2010. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
  7. ^ a b Yeargain, Tyler (2021). "New England State Senates: Case Studies for Revisiting the Indirect Election of Legislators". University of New Hampshire Law Review. 19 (2): 377–78. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  8. ^ Opinion of the Justices, 56 N.H. 570, 573 (N.H. 1875).
  9. ^ Weston, James (1908). Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire: A ..., Volume 3. Lewis Publishing Company. pp. 1280–1282.

Party political offices Preceded byJohn Bedell Democratic nominee for Governor of New Hampshire 1871, 1872, 1873, 1874 Succeeded byHiram R. Roberts Political offices Preceded byJoseph B. Clark Mayor of Manchester, New Hampshire 1868–1868 Succeeded byIsaac W. Smith Preceded byIsaac W. Smith Mayor of Manchester, New Hampshire 1870–1871 Succeeded byPerson C. Cheney Preceded byOnslow Stearns Governor of New Hampshire 1871–1872 Succeeded byEzekiel A. Straw Preceded byEzekiel A. Straw Governor of New Hampshire 1874–1875 Succeeded byPerson C. Cheney