John B. Alley

Last updated
John Bassett Alley
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts
In office
March 4, 1859 March 3, 1867
Preceded by Timothy Davis (6th)
Samuel Hooper (5th)
Succeeded by Daniel W. Gooch (6th)
Benjamin Butler (5th)
Constituency 6th district (1859–63)
5th district (1863–67)
Member of the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention of 1853
In office
Member of the Massachusetts Executive Council
In office
Member of the Massachusetts State Senate
Essex District
In office
Member of the Lynn, Massachusetts
Board of Aldermen
In office
Preceded byNone, New office
Personal details
BornJanuary 7, 1817
Lynn, Massachusetts, USA
DiedJanuary 19, 1896(1896-01-19) (aged 79)
West Newton, Massachusetts
Resting place Pine Grove Cemetery
Political party Liberty Party
Free Soil Party
Spouse(s)Hannah Maria Rhodes
ChildrenJohn Stewart Alley, Emma Rhodes Alley
ProfessionShoe Manufacture

John Bassett Alley (January 7, 1817 – January 19, 1896) was a businessman and politician who served as a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts.


Early life

Born in Lynn, Massachusetts, Alley attended the common schools and Phillips Academy Andover. At the age of fourteen was apprenticed to work for a shoemaker. Alley was released at nineteen. In the meantime, his parents, John B. Alley Sr. and Mercy Buffum Alley, and his younger sister, Sarah Buffum Alley, joined the Church of Christ (Latter Day Saints) in 1832, later renamed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, [1] [2] and moved to Nauvoo, Illinois where Sarah was one of the first women to marry polygamously, and became the first woman in Mormon history to bear a child as a polygamist. [3] He moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1836. Freighted merchandise up and down the Mississippi River. He returned to Lynn, Massachusetts in 1838 and entered the shoe manufacturing business. He established a hide and leather house in Boston in 1847. He served as member of the first Board of Aldermen of Lynn, Massachusetts in 1850.

Political career

He served as member of the Governor's council 1847–1851. He served in the State senate in 1852. He served as member of the constitutional convention of 1853.

Alley was a Free Soil Candidate for Congress in 1852. [4] Alley was elected as a Republican to the Thirty-sixth and to the three succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1859 – March 3, 1867). He served as chairman of the Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads (Thirty-eighth and Thirty-ninth Congresses). He was not a candidate for renomination in 1866. He became connected with the Union Pacific Railroad.

During the 1880s and 1890s Alley was involved in a protracted lawsuit known as the Snow-Alley case which damaged his health and cost him a large part of his fortune. [5] Alley abandoned active business pursuits in 1886 and lived in retirement until his death in West Newton, Massachusetts, January 19, 1896. He was interred in Pine Grove Cemetery, Lynn, Massachusetts.

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  1. "Minutes of a Conference", Evening and Morning Star , vol. 2, no. 20, p. 160.
  2. H. Michael Marquardt and Wesley P. Walters (1994). Inventing Mormonism: Tradition and the Historical Record (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books) p. 160.
  3. Bergera, Gary James. "Identifying the Earliest Mormon Polygamists, 1841–44" (PDF). Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
  4. Barstow, Benjamin (22 September 1853), Speech of Benjamin Barstow, of Salem: on the abolition propensities of Caleb Cushing. Delivered at the Massachusetts National Democratic Convention, held at Boston, Sept. 22, 1853. to Franklin Pierce:., Boston, Massachusetts: Office of the National Democrat, p. 6
  5. "Ex-Congressman Alley Seriously Ill", The New York Times , p. 2, August 31, 1893


U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Timothy Davis
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 6th congressional district

March 4, 1859 – March 3, 1863
Succeeded by
Daniel W. Gooch
Preceded by
Samuel Hooper
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 5th congressional district

March 4, 1863 – March 3, 1867
Succeeded by
Benjamin Franklin Butler

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates  public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website .