Nielsen Hayden genealogy

John Winthrop, Governor of Connecticut

Male 1606 - 1675  (69 years)


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  • Name John Winthrop  [1
    Suffix Governor of Connecticut 
    Born 12 Feb 1606  Groton Manor, Edwardstone, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3
    Gender Male 
    Baptised 23 Feb 1606  Groton Manor, Edwardstone, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3
    Died 5 Apr 1675  Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Siblings 3 siblings 
    Person ID I3895  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others
    Last Modified 5 Apr 2020 

    Father John Winthrop, Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony,   b. 12 Jan 1588, Edwardstone, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Mar 1649, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 61 years) 
    Mother Mary Forth,   b. Abt 1584,   d. Bef 26 Jun 1615, Groton, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 31 years) 
    Married 16 Apr 1605  Great Stambridge, Essex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 4, 5, 6, 7
    Notes 
    • Married by Ezekiel Culverwell, minister at Great Stambridge.
    Family ID F3820  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Martha Fones,   d. Aft 20 Jul 1634, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married 8 Feb 1631  Groton, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 8
    Last Modified 5 Apr 2020 
    Family ID F6597  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Elizabeth Reade,   b. Bef 27 Nov 1614,   d. 24 Nov 1672, Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 57 years) 
    Married 6 Jul 1635  St. Matthew, Friday Street, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3, 9, 10
    Last Modified 5 Apr 2020 
    Family ID F3182  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Among his many correspondents was Jonathan Brewster, son of the Plymouth Colony elder William Brewster, with whom Winthrop Jr. shared an interest in alchemy. A recent book-length study of the alchemical interests of Winthrop and his extensive network of correspondents is Prospero's America: John Winthrop, Jr., Alchemy, and the Creation of New England Culture, 1606-1676 by Walter W. Woodward (University of North Carolina Press, 2013).

      From the Early New England Families Study Project by Alicia Crane Williams:

      Described by a biographer as "a cosmopolitan intellectual and world traveler who journeyed through Europe and to the Middle East searching for knowledge of scientific mysteries...affable and entrepreneurial personality, intercultural sensitivity, political savvy, and scientific knowledge." He was a "Christian alchemist," scientists of their day who believed God both influenced their quest for knowledge and intended their discoveries to be used to render Christian service to society (as opposed to simply turning lead into gold for profit). He was the first colonial member elected to the Royal Society in August 1662. His medical journal contains nearly a thousand pages of records of treatments he prescribed using his studies of alchemy.

      Among his entrepreneurial ideas (not often profitable) were grist mills, salt works, lead mines, and iron works. Early in 1644 he presented a proposal based on his research into the best place to start an ironworks and received a grant of land in Braintree. In March 1647/8 he pitched the Massachusetts Bay men with his idea of "making of salt out of nicer salt watr for the use of the country" and they agreed to pay him in bushels of wheat upon delivery of "so many bushels of good white salt at Boston, Charles Towne, Salem, Ipswich, & Salsberry." In May 1651, he was given permission to search for mines of metals such as lead, copper, tin, antimony, vitriol, black lead, allum, stone salt, salt springs, etc., and if he found anything he would receive title to everything within three miles of the mine, provided it wasn't already on someone else's property. In May 1656, Winthrop having discovered how "to make salt for the colonie after a new way, never before devised or practiced, & desireth that none other may make salt within this jurisdiction for the space of 21 years after his manner..." and the Court gave him the monopoly on this process. In New London in 1651, he was given the monopoly of mill privileges having built the first grist mill there. Tantiusques (Tantousq), granted in 1644, was a black lead (graphite) mine in the vicinity of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, that never made a profit. He also lost money on shipping that was captured by the Dutch.

      After his final return from England in 1663, his health was an issue and contributed to the death of his wife in 1672, "who had over-fatigued herself in taking care of him during a severe illness." King Philip's War broke out in 1675, and in September John went to Boston to attend a session of the Commissioners of the United Colonies. In March, preparing for his return to Connecticut, he took cold, became feeble and died at the age of 70. He was buried beside his father in Boston.

      Governor John Winthrop the Younger was the son of a Governor and the father of another Governor (his son Fitz-John Winthrop also became the Governor of Connecticut). He was one of the most important men in the history of New England settlement but is overshadowed by his father.

      From Thomas Franklin Waters, A Sketch of the Life of John Winthrop the Younger (Publications of the Ipswich Historical Society, VII: 1899):

      Governor John Winthrop the younger will not go down in history as cast in the heroic mould of his father. Probably, but for his father's sake, he would not have remained in New England many years, so strong was his bent towards science. There can, however, be no question that, by those who find time to study his remarkable career, he will always be regarded as an exceptionally many-sided man, conscientious and self-sacrificing, who entered heart and soul into whatever he undertook, and who, whether as a scholar, a soldier, a pioneer, a statesman, or a man of business, was greatly valued by his contemporaries, and considered all-important to many enterprises.

  • Sources 
    1. [S3826] The Ancestry of Bethia Harris, 1748-1833: Wife of Dudley Wildes of Topsfield, Massachusetts by Walter Goodwin Davis. Portland, Maine: Southworth Press, 1934.

    2. [S2306] The Winthrop Fleet: Massachusetts Bay Company Immigrants to New England 1629-1630 by Robert Charles Anderson. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2012.

    3. [S756] Early New England Families Study Project: Accounts of New England Families from 1641 to 1700 by Alicia Crane Williams. Online database, New England Historic Genealogical Society.

    4. [S101] The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, Volumes 1-3 and The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England,1634-1635, Volumes 1-7, by Robert Charles Anderson. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1996-2011.

    5. [S172] The Winthrop Family in America by Lawrence Shaw Mayo. Boston: The Massachusetts Historical Society, 1948., month, year, and place only.

    6. [S2906] Puritans and Pedigrees: The Deep Roots of the Great Migration to New England by Robert Charles Anderson. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2018.

    7. [S3823] Evidences of the Winthrops of Groton, Co. Suffolk, England by Joseph James Muskett and Robert C. Winthrop. 1894., date only.

    8. [S3823] Evidences of the Winthrops of Groton, Co. Suffolk, England by Joseph James Muskett and Robert C. Winthrop. 1894., says 8 Feb 1630.

    9. [S3823] Evidences of the Winthrops of Groton, Co. Suffolk, England by Joseph James Muskett and Robert C. Winthrop. 1894., year only.

    10. [S3826] The Ancestry of Bethia Harris, 1748-1833: Wife of Dudley Wildes of Topsfield, Massachusetts by Walter Goodwin Davis. Portland, Maine: Southworth Press, 1934., year only.