Land of the Brave

John Winthrop

Colonial America - Land of the Brave

Short Biography about John Winthrop
John Winthrop (12 January 1588 - 26 March 1649) was famous for the founding, and as a leader of, the Massachusetts Bay Colony in New England. He was a strict Puritan and the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. John Winthrop and the Puritans believed that they would establish a pure church in New England  that would offer a model for the churches in the 'mother-land' and reform the Anglican Church. This article contains a short biography and fast facts and information about the early American colonist, John Winthrop. Who was John Winthrop and why was he famous?

John Winthrop & the 'City Upon a Hill'
Whilst aboard the Arbella, the ship that took Winthrop for England to the New World, he made a sermon which included the following quote:
 
"For we must consider that we shall be a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world."
 
John Winthrop Sermon aboard the Arbella, 1630
 
'City upon a hill' is a biblical phrase in Matthew 5:14 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden". John Winthrop preached that the new community of Puritans in the New World would be a "city upon a hill", watched by the world, an example of what could be achieved by the Puritans who had a strong work ethic and were motivated by their religion and desire to create a government and society that was tied to the church. John Winthrop believed that that once the world saw this great city it would follow example set by Puritans and create a Utopian society - the New England Way.
 
Facts about John Winthrop
The following facts about John Winthrop provide interesting facts and an overview and description of the life and times and his involvement in the early colonization of America and the Massachusetts Colony.
 
Fact 1: John Winthrop was famous as the leader and founder of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Fact 2: When was John Winthrop born? He was born in was born on 12 January 1588 to wealthy parents Adam and Anne Winthrop

Fact 3: Where was John Winthrop born? He was born in Edwardstone, Suffolk, England.

Fact 4: John Winthrop had an excellent education, tutored at home, attending a grammar school and was admitted to Trinity College in December 1602

Fact 5: Whilst attending Trinity he met two other Puritans who would feature in the history of the colonization of America and New England. The first was John Cotton, the grandfather of Cotton Mather who played a major role in the Salem Witchcraft Trials and the other was John Wheelwright, who was banished from Massachusetts along with Anne Hutchinson.

Fact 6: John Winthrop married Mary Forth on 16 April 1605 - they were to have 5 children but two died in infancy. His son, John, was one of the founders of the Connecticut Colony

Fact 7: In 1613 his father transferred the family holdings in Groton to Winthrop, who then became Lord of the Manor at Groton.

Fact 8: His first wife died in 1615 and he married his second wife Thomasine Clopton but she died on 8 December 1616 from complications of childbirth

Fact 9: John Winthrop then studied law and in 1617 met his third wife Margaret Tyndal, whom he married on 29 April 1618

Fact 10: Charles I became king in 1624 and the Puritans were under threat due to their religious beliefs. John Winthrop believed that safety lay in the New World.

Fact 11: John Winthrop was instrumental in developing the Cambridge Agreement allowing the immigration of Puritans, who would control the government and the charter of the Massachusetts Bay company and its trading potential. He secretly planned to develop a religion based government.

Fact 12: The Cambridge Agreement was signed 26 August 1629 and provided means for emigrating shareholders to buy out non-emigrating shareholders of the Massachusetts Bay Company

Fact 13: In the spring of 1630, Winthrop led a fleet of 11 vessels and 700 passengers to the Massachusetts Bay Colony

Fact 14: John Winthrop was one of 20,000 Puritans who journeyed to America between 1620 and 1640.

Fact 15: He travelled on the ship called the Arbella on which he made his famous 'City upon a hill' sermon

Fact 16: John Winthrop settled in Boston, which quickly became the capital and chief port of Massachusetts.

Fact 17: He served as governor of Massachusetts for 12 terms

Fact 18: In 1636 he clashed with Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson and was forced to banish them from the colony. In March, 1637, John Wheelwright, the brother-in-law of Anne Hutchinson, was convicted of sedition and contempt because his religious views departed from orthodox Puritanism

Fact 19: In 1645 Winthrop became the first president of the Confederation of New England.

Fact 20: His third wife, Margaret, died on 14 June 1647 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Fact 21: In 1648, he married his fourth wife, Martha Rainsborough.

Fact 22: John Winthrop died on March 26,1649 in Boston, MA. The cause of death: unspecified. He was buried at King's Chapel Burying Ground, Boston, Massachusetts

Fact 23: Winthrop's History of New England was published after his death in 1649

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