William Shirley (1694-1771) was the British governor of Massachusetts from 1741 to 1759. He was to son of William and Elizabeth Godman Shirley, and was born on December 2, 1694 at Preston Manor in Sussex, England. He was educated at Cambridge then studied law in London before moving to Boston in 1731.
His early government jobs included that of surveyor and King's Advocate for New England. He was apponted the royal Governor in 1741. Following his failure in a military expedition against Fort Niagara, he was recalled to England in June of 1756. He was later exonerated, and served as Governor of the Bahamas from 1761-1769.
He retired to live with his daughter and her husband (Eliakin Hutchinson) at the Roxbury house. He died there on March 24, 1771.
The Shirley House
He built a family home in Roxbury between 1744 and 1750. It still stands, at 33 Beverly Street, has been largely restored and is open to the public.