Joshua Winthrop: Birth: 12 DEC 1648. Death: 11 JAN 1659
Author: Davida Symonds
Publication: Name: Great Granddaughter of William Gaston Cooke;
Page: Winthrop Family Papers. General Collection of Books and Manuscripts. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Title: "The Winthrop Family In America"
Author: Lawrence Shaw Mayo
Publication: Name: Boston, Suffolk County, MA, 1958;
Title: "The Puritan Dilemma:The Story of John Winthrop (1958)" Edmund S. Morgan; Darrett B. Rutman, Winthrop's Boston: Portrait of a Puritan Town, 1630-1649
Title: "The Puritan Experiment (1976)" by Francis Bremer
Title: "Life and Letters of John Winthrop"
Page: p. 396
Author: Robert C. Winthrop
Publication: Name: Ticknor and Fields, Boston, 1867;
Title: "The Winthrops of Groton"
Page: p. 8
Author: Martin Wood
Publication: Name: Parochial Church Council, Groton Suffolk CO10 5HE England;
Note: Winthrop is the family name of three American colonial leaders, father, son and grandson. John was one of nine children and the only boy. The Winthrop family name in various spellings may be traced back more than seven centuries. It was during the reign of Queen Elizabeth that John Winthrop was born on Jan 12, 1588.
His father, Adam Winthrop, was Lord of Groton Manor in Suffolk, England as had been his father before him. This estate was to descend to John long before his decision to found a new home in America. Little is known of John's boyhood except that he grew up amid the quiet beauty of Suffolk. His writings testify that he was well educated although there are no records of any schooling except the final stage when he entered Trinity College Cambridge at age fourteen, and remained there less than two years.
He wrote at age fourteen, "About fourteen years of age, being in Cambridge, I fell into a lingering fever, which took away the comfort of my life. For being there neglected and dispised, I went up and down, mourning with myself, and being deprived of my youthful joys, I betook myself to God, whom I did believe to be very good and merciful and would welcome any that would come to Him, especially such a young soul, and so well qualified as I took myself to be; so as I took pleasure in drawing near to Him." He was admitted at Gray,'s Inn (1613) and practiced law in London, being admitted to the inner Temple in 1628.
His college days soon came to an end with his marriage to Mary Forth, of a distinguished family in Essex. For 24 years from 1605, the time of his early marriage until 1629 when the MA Baby Company was founded, John lived quietly in Groton practicing law and frequently traveling back and forth to London. His first marriage Brought 6 children, four of whom lived to grow up. John, Jr. the oldest was to become colonial governor of CT and was elected to that office 18 times. After the death of John's first wife, he married a 2nd time to Thomasine Clopton. However she only lived for one year before she died. John married a 3rd time to Margaret Tyndall a brave spirited woman who was willing to give up the luxuries and comforts of her happy home in England for hardships of the New England settlement. Eight children were born to Margaret Winthrop, but only 4 lived to come to America. After her death in 1647, Gov. Winthrop married a 4th time to Martha Coytmore.
During these years in England, John Winthrop lived a quiet meditative life. A journal kept by him at this time and called "Experiencia" is a revelation of his devout piety and earnest faith. Underneath a stern and rather rigid exterior, Winthrop possessed a delicate sensibility abounding in love and tenderness. In a letter to his wife from the ship which was to bear him away to the wilderness across the sea, he wrote, "An now my sweet soul, I must again take my last farewell of Thee in Old England. It goeth very near to my heart to leave Thee."
The election of John Winthrop as Governor came on Oct. 20, 1629. He was now 42 years old. A man of deliberate judgement and keen insight, he realized from the first the great responsibility that was his. Henceforth the welfare of the Bay Colony was the one motive of his life. Five busy months of preparation before departure lay ahead. There was infinite thought to be given to the essential needs of founding new homes and industries in a strange wilderness. Only 3 times did he travel up from London to see his family in Groton. It was decided that 3 of his sons, Henry, Stephen and Adam would accompany him to America. His wife and oldest son John were to come later with the other children.
From "The Lion and the Hare", John had planned to take his family on the Arbella, but his son missed the boat, and followed in the Talbot. Mrs. Winthrop could not go as she was expecting. Only two sons accompanied him, Stephen age 11 and Adam, age 10. They slept with their father under a rug, as there were no sheets. John Winthrop sailed aboard the ship Arabella, and on June 12, 1630 the Arabella entered Salem Harbor. The journey took 83 days from the time it left Southampton, England. Sailed from Southampton, 1630, aboard the Arbella. Chosen as Governor of the Mass. Bay Co. 1629 and signed the Cambridge Agreement, allowing the transfer of the charter and Co. to New England.
There were about 700 passengers aboard, 200 cattle (70 died in a storm), many sheep, swine, goats, but few horses. After a delay by head winds, the Arbella departed from Cowes, Isle of Wight, April 8, 1630 and landed a t Cape Anne, MA on June 12th of the same year. All of the shipps arrived safely during the following two weeks. The immigrants gathered a "store of fine strawberries" upon landing. A house was waiting for Gov. Winthrop at Charles town, but he had it moved to a place he named Boston.
From Winthrop's journal which he diligently kept until the day he died, he wrote just an Ingling of what that day was like..."We had now fair sunshine weather and so pleasant a sweet air as did much refresh us and there came a smell off the shore like the smell of a garden." On June 17th Winthrop wrote in his journal, "We went to MA to find a place for our sitting down. We went up the Mystic River about six miles." Because of the scarcity of food it seemed wiser to break up into small parties, and settlements were made at Lynn, Medford, Charlestown, Watertown, Roxbury, Dorchester and Cambridge (Newtown), and soon little groups of grass-thatched log huts, tents and rude shelters foretold the beginning of colonial villages which were to grow into towns and cities. Before Christmas, all the of the ships had landed safely, bringing nearly 1,000 passengers.
He took over the government from John Endicott and settled Boston. John kept extensive journals that were published nearly 200 years later as History of New England from 1630 to 1649 (1825-1826). He helped establish a Congregational Church, and lead the colony through their first hard winter. About 260 Bostonians left to find new homes in MA. This group included John Cotton, Thomas Dydley, Simon Bradstreet, Richard Bellingham, Edward Quincey. John Winthrop was Govenor of Boston almost continuously until his death. John served as governor 1629-34, 1637-40, 1642-44, 1646-49, and was deputy governor for ten years. He advocated a New England Confederation, and was first president when it was formed in 1643. After 19 years of devoted and untiring service on behalf of the MA Bay Colony, twelve of which he had been Governor, John Winthrop died on March 26, 1649 in his 62 year. He lies buried in what is now the King's Chapel Burying Ground in Boston. A statue in the Nation's Capitol at Washington and also one in Boston represent Governor Winthrop stepping ashore from the Arabella.
Winthrop's principles were high, and he was aristocratic. A statue of him represents MA in the U.S. capitol.
1588-1649, founding governor of MA Bay Colony. Winthrop's contribution to the Puritan adventure in British North America would appear self-evident. He was governor of the Bay Colony almost continuously from 1630 to 1649, and in the interim years he also exerted a powerful influence over colonial affairs as a member of the Council of Assistants. Dedicating his personal funds as well as his administrative talents, Winthrop conscientiously advanced the Puritan standard of "nursing father" to the emergent wilderness theocracy.
He symbolizes the ambiguity of the Puritan mystique at the root of American national identity. Consider the importance ascribed to Winthrop's famous sermon, "The Modell of Christian Charity," which he wrote and possibly delivered on board the flagship Arbella when the Puritans were en route to America. More than the formulaic admonition that was customarily preached to shipmates at the launching of transatlantic voyages, it was the moral code for a godly society that Winthrop hoped would serve as a model for a reformed England. In later generations his prediction that "wee shall bee as a Citty upon a hill, the eyes of all people ... upon us" evoked a self-conscious ideal against which the themes of each day were measured. Still later, the image would become a republican symbol of American exceptionalism and world mission, and ultimately an ideological touchstone for imperial diplomacy in the twentieth century.
Winthrop was a third-generation son of English landed gentry, whose religious aspirations were focused on the advancement of the Protestant Reformation in England and continental Europe. His migration to MA Bay was in response to "corruptions" he perceived in English society at a time when the Puritans were threatened with persecution as well as an unpromising economic future. His life and writings reveal a man caught in the broad overlap of the late medieval and early modern eras. His Journal is both an excellent source for early MA history and the chronicle of his personal efforts to secure the commonwealth as a gentry-dominated oligarchy.
Winthrop regarded the governorship as his lifetime position. But several defeats in colonial elections revealed a significant opposition to his arbitrary methods. His political ideal presupposed an interdependent community wherein all members had a prescribed place and function in the social hierarchy. Despite his legal training at the Inns of Court, he opposed the movement to curtail magistrates' authority by enacting a code of laws. Instead, he consistently defended discretionary rule and the magisterial veto over the resistance of the town deputies. In a famous speech to the General Court in 1645 he distinguished civil from natural liberty as that which "is maintained and exercised in a way of subjection to authority."
Winthrop's imperious treatment of dissenters may also be seen in the context of premodern social ideals that defined the religious mission of MA Bay Colony. To achieve a Puritan utopia, Winthrop and his colleagues committed themselves to a policy of intolerance. He played a leading role in prosecuting Anne Hutchinson and her supporters during the antinomian controversy (1636-1638); in ordering the capture of Rhode Island radical Samuel Gorton and his company at Shawomet to be tried and sentenced at Boston (1643); and in subduing the "Presbyterians" William Vassal, Robert Child, and Samuel Maverick for their "Remonstrance and Humble Petition" (1646), which called for a more liberal church membership policy. In each case, the possibility of English interference threatened the goals of Winthrop's godly society.
England accepted a limited toleration in the 1640s, but MA continued to punish dissenters, thus isolating itself from the mainstream of political culture abroad. Then, too, Boston's development into a seaport town was a process that made Winthrop's medieval standard of social relations anachronistic by the final decade of his life. Ironically, it was this transformation that refurbished Winthrop's "Citty upon a hill" imagery as an American emblem, one that related the themes of progress and declension in popular rhetoric.
Edmund S. Morgan, The Puritan Dilemma: The Story of John Winthrop (1958); Darrett B. Rutman, Winthrop's Boston: Portrait of a Puritan Town, 1630-1649 (1965).
Their opponents ridiculed them as "Puritans," but these radical reformers, the English followers of John Calvin, came to embrace that name as an emblem of honor. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, England faced a gathering storm in religious life - the Puritan movement. Before the storm abated, the Puritans had founded the first permanent European settlements in a region that came to be known as New England.
The Puritans believed that God had commanded the reform of both church and society. They condemned drunkenness, gambling, theatergoing, and Sabbath-breaking and denounced popular practices rooted in pagan custom, like the celebration of Christmas. They deplored the "corruptions" of Roman Catholicism that still pervaded the Church of England - churches and ceremonies they thought too elaborate, clergymen who were poorly educated.
The refusal of English monarchs to attack these "besetting evils" turned the Puritans into outspoken critics of the government. This King James I would not endure: he decided to rid England of these malcontents. With some of the Puritans, known as the Separatists, he seemed to have succeeded.
The Separatists, a tiny minority within the Puritan movement, were pious people from humble backgrounds who concluded that the Church of England was too corrupt to be reformed from within. In 1608 one Separatist congregation at Scrooby decided to flee to Holland. That move afforded them religious freedom, but they found only low-paying jobs and were distressed by desertions from within their ranks to other religions.
Some decided to move again, this time to North America. In December of 1620, eighty-eight Separatist "Pilgrims" disembarked from the Mayflower at a place they called Plymouth on the coast of present-day southeastern MA. But misfortune followed the Separatists to the New World. The hardships of the crossing and inadequate provisions left many vulnerable to a "starving time" during the winter. The Plymouth colony would have failed entirelyif the Pilgrims had not received assistance from local Indian tribes.
The Pilgrims had received permission from England to settle farther south in the New World, but they had sailed off course and lacked any legal sanction for their land claims or their government in Plymouth. English authorities, however, distracted by more pressing problems, left the tiny colony alone. Among these distractions were other Puritans who were still striving to reform church and society in England. By the 1620s, Charles I, James's son and successor, had undertaken even more stringent measures for suppressing dissent. Compounding the religious crisis were mounting political tensions between the king and Parliament and continuing economic problems of recession and unemployment.
Many Puritans concluded that England was slipping toward the Apocalypse. Some, from the ranks of the Congregationalists, became interested in colonization, and in 1629, a group of merchants, landed gentlemen, and lawyers organized the MA Bay Company. Unlike the Separatists, these Puritans were imbued with a strong sense of mission; they claimed that they were neither separating from the church nor abandoning the cause of reform but, rather, regrouping for another assault on corruption on the other side of the Atlantic.
The MA Bay Company procured a royal charter confirming its title to most of present-day MA and New Hampshire and securing its rights to govern the region. Then the stockholders voted to transfer the company itself to MA Bay and elected as their first governor John Winthrop, a pious, tough-minded Puritan lawyer and landed gentleman. Winthrop sailed from England in 1630, declaring to his fellow passengers that "we shall be as a city on a hill." Once settled, Winthrop and the other stockholders transformed their royal charter for a trading company into the framework of government for a colony, which enabled them to shape state, society, and church to their liking.
The character of the initial migration itself gave New England settlers a unique opportunity to fashion an orderly society. Most of the immigrants, some twenty-one thousand, came in a cluster between 1630 and 1642, a movement of families from the middling ranks of English society known as the "Great Migration." The settlement of New England within the short span of twelve years meant that the colonies there escaped the strain of having to absorb a steady stream of newcomers throughout the seventeenth century. Rapid settlement also made for solidarity, because immigrants were unified by their persecution and their sense of religious mission. After the English Civil War and until the American Revolution, immigrants from throughout the British Isles trickled into New England at the rate of only a few hundred each year. The region was peopled largely by the descendants of members of the Great Migration.
Not only their like-mindedness but also their long lives fostered a sense of continuity for New England immigrants and their progeny. Probably because of their healthful climate, seventeenth-century New Englanders lived on average nearly twice as long as Virginians and about ten years longer than men and women in England itself. That longevity, combined with relatively low rates of infant mortality and roughly equal numbers of men and women, resulted in rapid population growth. While the people of Europe and the Chesapeake colonies barely reproduced themselves, the number of New Englanders doubled about every twenty-seven years; a typical family raised seven or eight children to maturity.
As the immigrants arrived in the colony after 1630, they quickly planted a ring of small villages around MA Bay. Others settled in Connecticut and Rhode Island, which received separate charters from Charles II in the 1660s. In the 1640s, MA successfully asserted its claim to New Hampshire, which did not become a separate colony until 1679. In 1658 the handful of families who had settled along the coast of present-day Maine also accepted rule by the MA Bay colony.
The settlement of New England towns proceeded in a pattern that laid the groundwork for a coherent organization of local life. Townspeople gradually parceled out among themselves the land granted by the colony. The distribution of land was remarkably even, allotting an average family about 150 acres. The first farmers left much of their acreage uncultivated, and it became a legacy for future generations. But as succeeding generations subdivided family lands, the legacies became smaller, and a growing number of young families moved on to found new communities on the frontiers of western MA, Maine, and New Hampshire.
Early New Englanders established other institutions that contributed to the coherence of social life. First and foremost was the family, headed by fathers who exacted strict obedience from their children, even after they had reached maturity. Wives were also subordinated to their husbands' authority: by law, married women surrendered to their husbands any property they possessed before marriage, and divorce was almost impossible to obtain until the late eighteenth century. Only widows and the few single women had the same legal rights as men, and even they could not vote in colony elections.
To ensure the hierarchy that was regarded as essential to a stable society, each town also developed a group of village leaders. The heads of certain families - usually men with university degrees or craftsmen with some practical skill - received a little more than the average land allotment. These "town fathers" took the lead in directing local affairs, and their sons and grandsons often inherited their power and influence. But though only a handful of families monopolized local offices, the decisions of the town meeting, the basis of local self-government, required the unanimous agreement of the entire body of townsmen.
Equally important in maintaining order was the church. Ministers accompanied the immigrants to the colonies, and they formed churches as quickly as they founded towns. Although ministers exerted much informal influence over public and private life, they did not serve as officers in the civil government, and in the churches, the laity claimed ultimate power. Each village church conducted its own affairs, answerable to no higher authority. Church membership was voluntary, but in every colony except Rhode Island inhabitants were bound by law to attend Sabbath worship and to contribute to the support of the Congregationalist clergy. Membership was not available to anyone merely for the asking. Candidates had to give evidence that they had experienced "conversion" - a turning of the heart and soul toward God that was betokened by a disciplined life. After the middle of the seventeenth century, however, full church membership declined, especially among men.
Although many aspects of life in early New England enhanced order, perfect harmony proved elusive. A few fishing villages and fur-trading centers on the periphery of settlement during the seventeenth century departed dramatically from Puritan norms. These "company towns" were financed and developed by merchants who recruited crews of free and indentured laborers from the ports of England, Ireland, and the Channel Islands. Extreme inequality among classes deprived such settlements of any stability until the beginning of the eighteenth century.
But such inequality was not a source of strain in most early New England communities, because the region offered few opportunities to amass great wealth. Farmers could coax enough from the land to feed their families, but outside of the fertile Connecticut River valley, the climate and soil did not yield a large surplus. Since their farms could not sustain a profitable commercial agriculture, most farmers had no incentive to import large numbers of servants and slaves. Trade, fishing, and shipbuilding brought greater returns for the minority of New Englanders - about one in ten - who lived in seaports like Boston, Salem, Newport, and Gloucester, and over time, as these commercial centers expanded, class divisions became more clearly etched.
Most conflicts, however, were occasioned by other tensions. When immigrants from several English villages settled in the same New England community, variations in English local customs produced disagreement among townspeople about the proper way to distribute land, regulate livestock, or plant crops. As the first generation passed from the scene, disagreements of this sort died with them, but other quarrels arose to take their place. As local populations expanded and the centers of towns became overcrowded, many families moved to outlying districts and then petitioned the town meeting to create schools and churches of their own or to split off as a separate town. Reluctant to lose taxpayers, the town meeting often resisted, and a running battle between the two factions would ensue.
While such local controversies were little more than petty quarrels among people who agreed on fundamentals, religion triggered far more serious conflicts. Most of the men and women who settled in New England called themselves Puritans, but the name did not imply a uniform code of belief and practice. For example, the Pilgrims of Plymouth believed that religious purity required renouncing the Church of England, whereas most other New England Puritans clung to the hope of reform while remaining within the Anglican communion. During the earliest years, religious diversity led to the spread of settlements beyond MA Bay. In 1636, Thomas Hooker's more liberal standards for church membership prompted him to establish the first English outpost in Connecticut. Rhode Island served as a haven for the most radical religious outcasts from MA Bay, among them its founder, Roger Williams, Anne Hutchinson and some of her antinomian followers, and many members of the Society of Friends, called Quakers.
Even the inhabitants of MA Bay differed among themselves about religion. Congregationalism fostered a growing diversity of opinion and practice, because each local church was free to go its own way. By the end of the seventeenth century, many churches had adopted more liberal standards for admission to membership or to the sacraments of baptism and communion. Divisions among New England's Congregationalists became even more pronounced after the 1730s because of the first Great Awakening, a major religious revival. Some welcomed it, but others disliked the emotionalism and disorder that attended the new religious enthusiasm. Competing denominations gained from the Congregationalists' disputes: disgruntled conservatives deserted to the Anglicans and Quakers, and the most radical advocates of revivalism formed "Separate" churches or joined the Baptists.
By the middle of the eighteenth century, New England had become a more mobile, commercialized, stratified, and diverse society. But for most of the region's inhabitants, earlier patterns of life persisted. The majority remained an insular, rural folk, their lives defined by the seasonal rhythms of agriculture, the bonds of family, church, and local community, and a fundamentally religious outlook.
"The Puritan Experiment (1976)" by Francis Bremer.
Winthrop, John 1587 -- 1649 First governor of MA Bay; born in Edwardstone, England. A Puritan lawyer, he decided to emigrate. He signed the Cambridge agreement (1629) and was chosen as governor of the expedition while he was still in England. He arrived at Salem in 1630 and soon relocated the colony to Boston. He remained the preeminent leader of the colony, serving as governor during four periods (1629--34, 1637--40, 1642--44, 1646--49). He came into conflict with the "freemen" of the colony who resented his belief that governors and magistrates should rule as they best saw fit (he was a theocrat, not a democrat). He demonstrated the harsh and forbidding aspect of Puritan rule when he exiled Anne Hutchinson and her followers for their unorthodox views. He ably defended the colony's charter in a letter to the Lords Commissioners of Plantations (1638) and was elected as the president of the Confederation for the United Colonies in 1643. He became less popular in his last years as governor but he had piloted the MA Bay colony through its first years and had left a deep imprint upon its character. He wrote a journal that was published in part as A Journal of the Transactions and Occurrences in the Settlement of MA... 1630 to 1644. Throughout his career, his main intent was to erect a pious, godly, Puritan commonwealth.
John Winthrop as a Justice of the Peace
It has often been writen that John Winthrop (1588-1649) was a Justice of the Peace in England, that statement frequently being amplified by the "fact" that he presided over his first court at the age of eighteen. The latter claim actually is based on Winthrop presiding over a manorial court session, which he was empowered to do not by being a Justice of the Peace but by virtue of his status as lord of Groton manor.
"JPs" were members of the Commission of the Peace, appointed by the crown and no documentation of Winthrops being on the Commission has previously been provided. Employed by the Winthrop Papers Project, Ms Sue Sadler was able to search the appropriate runs of documents in the Public Record Office and as a result has been able to establish Winthrop's tenure on the Commission for Suffolk.
According to J. H. Baker, An Introduction to English Legal History, third edition (London, 1990), the system operated as follows: "At intervals a commission of the peace was drawn up for each county, listing the substantial knights and gentry of the area and taking care to include the sages et apris de la leye, charging them both to keep the peace and to enquire into, hear and determine' a long list of crimes, ranging from felonies to economic offences and sorcery. The first of these 'charges' imposed an individual police responsibility on each justice; justices could arrest suspects and commit them to gaol, and could require anyone to give surety for keeping the peace.... The second was in effect a general commission of oyer and terminer to any two or more of the justices (with a 'quorum' of lawyers*), and empowered the justices collectively to hold their sessions of the peace. Directed by statute to be held at four seasons (Michaelmas, Epiphany, Easter and the Translation of St Thomas), these were known as the general quarter sessions of the peace. The jurisdiction of quarter sessions was in theory virtually coterminous with the criminal side of the assizes, but in practice inferior." * Quorum meant "of whom"; inthye judicial part of the commission the list of justices was followed by a quorun clause.
John Winthrop was appointed to the Commission of the Peace for Suffolk in 1615 and seems to have served continuously till omitted at some point in the mid-1620s, probably the accession of Charles I. He was reinstated in June of 1626 and continued to be listed through 1631 -- despite his having left England for MA.
The Thirteen Colonies and the Dates of their First Permanent Settlements Virginia 1607 MA 1620 New Hampshire 1623 New York 1624 Connecticut 1633 Maryland 1634 Rhode Island 1636 Delaware 1638 PA 1643 NC c. 1653 New Jersey 1660 South Carolina 1670 Georgia 1733
----------------------- JOHN WINTHROP ORIGIN: Groton, Suffolk MIGRATION: 1630 on Arbella FIRST RESIDENCE: Boston OCCUPATION: Magistrate. CHURCH MEMBERSHIP: Admitted to Boston church as member #1 on 30 July 1630, the date the church was organized [BChR 13]. FREEMAN: 25 May 1636 [MBCR 1:372]. (This action was merely a formality, as it had been assumed that Winthrop and several of the other colony leaders were freemen based on their early participation in Massachusetts Bay Company affairs in London.) EDUCATION: Attended Trinity College, Cambridge, briefly, then studied law at Gray's Inn, and in the 1620s was an attorney at the Court of Wards in London. OFFICES: Governor of Massachusetts Bay, 1630-1633, 1637-1639, 1642-1643, 1646-1648 [MA Civil List 16]. Deputy Governor, 1636, 1644-1645 [MA Civil List 16]. Assistant, 1634-1635, 1640-1641 [MA Civil List 21]. ESTATE: There is no surviving entry for John Winthrop in the 1645 Boston Book of Possessions, but he owned two houses in Boston [BBOP 75-76, 100]. He also owned a large farm along the Mystic River, called Tenhil
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