Alfred Amos Abbott was born in Andover on 30 May 1820 and attended Phillips Andover Academy. After graduating, he attended Yale, then Union College. He continued on to the Dane Law School at Cambridge, finally finishing his law studies in the office of Joshua Holyoke Ward. He moved to and began practicing law in Peabody, where he remained until his death.
He held a variety of jobs in the legal field throughout his life. He represented Essex County in the senate in 1853, whereupon, having been appointed district attorney for the Eastern District he took that job and remained there until 1869. Following that position he was appointed the clerk of the courts, an office that he held until his death.
He was respected as a lawyer but was also known to be a man of culture and knowledge beyond law. William D. Northend, president of the Essex Bar Association in the Superior Court at Salem said this of Mr. Abbott, “He read the best books and was a thorough student of English literature.” Abbott died on 27 October 1884.