The Otis family is a Boston Brahmin family from Massachusetts best known for its involvement in early American politics.


The family was originally landowning farmers of Glastonbury , Somerset , the Otises went to New England during the Puritan migration of the 1630s settling first in Hingham before finally moving to Barnstable . It was there that John Otis built a homestead that served many members of the family for generations. Although not much is known about John Otis, his son, John Otis (generally referred to as "Judge Otis") was the first of the family to rise to provincial eminence. Judge Otis held a variety of judicial and military appointments and represented Barnstable County for 20 successive years in the general court of Massachusetts Bay . In 1708, he was chosen a member of Her Majesty's Council (at the time, the highest position a native could achieve) and was annually reelected until his death in 1727. He left six children, of whom the following are descendants:


Affiliated U.S. cities and institutions

  • Otis, Massachusetts , Officially incorporated in 1810, the town was created when the unincorporated town of Loudon annexed the adjacent District of Bethlehem in 1809. It was named after Harrison Gray Otis , an influential lawyer, financier, and politician in revolutionary Massachusetts.
  • East Otis, Massachusetts , part of the town of Otis, Massachusetts. Otis Reservoir is located primarily within its limits.
  • Harrison, Maine , Incorporated March 8, 1805, it was named after principal landowner, Harrison Gray Otis of Boston, the heir of James Otis .
  • Otisfield, Maine , Granted by the Massachusetts General Court on June 15, 1771 to James Otis, Nathaniel Gorham and other descendants of Captain John Gorham and certain members of his company who had fought in the 1690 Battle of Quebec.
  • Otis, Maine , a town in Hancock County, Maine, United States. The population was 543 at the 2000 census.
  • Otis Reservoir , a 1,085 acre reservoir located primarily in Otis, Massachusetts.
  • Los Angeles Times , a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California and distributed throughout the Western United States. It is the second-largest metropolitan newspaper in the United States and the fourth-most widely distributed newspaper in the United States. Army General Harrison Gray Otis bought the paper in 1884 to form the Times-Mirror Company which eventually merged with the Tribune Company in 2000.
  • Otis Elevator Company , is the world's largest manufacturer of vertical transportation systems today, principally elevators and escalators. Founded in Yonkers, New York, USA in 1853 by Elisha Otis , the company pioneered the development of the safety elevator, invented by Otis, which used a special mechanism to lock the elevator car in place should the hoisting ropes fail.
  • Otis Air National Guard Base , is an Air National Guard installation located within the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR), a military training facility, located on the upper western portion of Cape Cod, bordering the towns of Bourne, Falmouth and Sandwich, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, United States.
  • Otis College of Art and Design , has been long considered one of the major art institutions in California. Otis began in 1918, when Los Angeles Times founder Harrison Gray Otis bequeathed his MacArthur Park property to start the first public, independent professional school of art in Southern California.
  • Harrison Gray Otis House , There are three houses named the Harrison Gray Otis House that were designed by Charles Bulfinch for politician Harrison Gray Otis .

See also