John Winthrop (1588 - 1649)

Image of Governor John Winthrop, a Native American and a Puritan
Image of Governor John Winthrop, a Native American and a Puritan
John Winthrop was born in England in January of 1588. He trained in the law profession. He became involved with the Massachusetts Bay Company in 1629. In April of the following year, Winthrop led a group of colonists to New England. They founded several communities on the shores of Massachusetts Bay. He remained in the Massachusetts Bay Colony for the rest of his life. He became a major political figure. He was elected Governor of the colony 12 times in addition to working for the counsel and the court. As a political leader, Winthrop often came into conflict with other early colonists such as Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson over their religious views.

Winthrop heard of Roger Williams' religious background and saw him as “a godly minister.” Winthrop offered Williams a job at the church in Boston. Williams declined this offer, because he disagreed with the church and how they chose to practice. This began a lifelong relationship between Williams and Winthrop. This relationship consisted of respect but not necessarily agreement. Winthrop opposed and could not tolerate Williams' criticism of the relationship between the church and state. It is also believed that Winthrop aided Williams when he fled the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1636. The two remained in contact for the rest of their years often writing and aiding each other when possible. Winthrop died in 1649 at the age of 61. He was well respected and beloved by his fellow colonist. He is best known as the 1st Governor of The Massachusetts Bay Colony and as a leading Puritan founder of New England.

 

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Last updated: October 4, 2020

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