(17 July 1744 – 23 November 1814) Governor of Massachusetts, Congressman, and delegate to the Continental Congress.
After completing his studies, Gerry settled his family business trading fish to Spain and Portugal. He signed the Declaration of Independence and attended the Constitutional Convention. During his assignment as Governor of Massachusetts, he helped to enact an electoral law that came to be known as the “Gerrymander Bill.” Massachusetts was subdivided into new senatorial districts in such a way as to consolidate the Federalist vote into a few districts, thus giving Gerry’s Democratic-Republicans an undue advantage. The shape of one electoral district on the map resembled a salamander, and one wit promptly dubbed it a “Gerrymander.”
While serving as a U.S. Senator, he introduced the motion in Congress to name Washington D.C. the site of the nation’s capital.
[Source: ‘Gerry, Elbridge’, American National Biography available at https://doi.org/10.1093/anb/9780198606697.article.0200142]