Graduated from Harvard College (1718). Studied law at Marblehead. Admitted to the Suffolk County bar. Practiced at Marblehead and Charlestown before establishing himself at Boston, where he subsequently attained a prominent position at the Boston bar. Retained as counsel for the city in much of its litigation. Beginning in 1763, he took on a leading role in the town meetings at the Old South Church and at Faneuil Hall. As an original member of the Sons of Liberty, he instigated measures that helped to defeat the enforcement of the Stamp Act (1765). Served on a committee that investigated the circumstances surrounding the Boston Massacre (1770).
Born at Cambridge. Married in 1737 to Lydia Trowbridge. Father of Francis Dana.