Richard Bellingham, colonial governor of Massachusetts, born in 1592, died Dec. 7, 1672. He was a lawyer, and one of the original patentees of the colony, to which he removed in 1634. In 1635 he was made deputy governor, and in 1641 was elected governor in opposition to Winthrop by a majority of six votes. He was reelected in 1654, and after the death of Endicott was chosen again in May, 1666, and continued in the executive chair till his death, having been deputy governor 13 and governor 10 years. He was chosen major general in 1664, in which year the king sent four commissioners to inquire into the state of the colony, when, according to Hutchinson, Bellingham and others obnoxious to James II. were required to go to England to account for their conduct, but refused, the king being appeased by the present of a shipload of masts. His wife having died, in 1641 he married a second time; an event of which a contemporary speaks thus: "A young gentleman was about to be contracted to a friend of his, when on a sudden the governor treated with her, and obtained her for himself." The banns were not properly published, and he performed the marriage ceremony himself.
He was prosecuted for a violation of the law, but at the trial he refused to leave the bench, and sat and tried himself, thus escaping punishment. In his last will he provided that after the decease of his wife and of his son by a former wife, and his granddaughter, the bulk of his estate should be spent for the yearly maintenance "of goodly ministers and preachers " of the true church, which he considered to be that of the Congre-gationalists. This will the general court set aside on the ground that it interfered with the rights of his family. One of his sisters, Anne Hibbens, was executed at Salem in June, 1692, during the witchcraft persecution.