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John Winthrop


John Winthrop
First Governor of Massachusetts
1588 - 1649

John Winthrop, a Puritan lawyer, was a founder of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and its first Governor. Winthrop, along with Thomas Dudley, founded the town of Boston.

Winthrop was elected Governor before the colony set out from England in 1629, and would continue to govern for fifteen of the colony's first twenty years.

His goal, to erect a pious Puritan state, is expressed in his "City on a Hill" speech. Puritan theocracy could be harsh and forbidding, such as when he exiled Anne Hutchinson and others for their unorthodox views. He ably defended the colony's charter in a letter to the Lords Commissioners of Plantations (1638) and was elected President of the Confederation for the United Colonies in 1643.

In 1629 Boston had one inhabitant, and he called the place Shawmut as its Algonquin natives did. The Rev. William Blackstone (aka Blaxton) was an Anglican minister who can come to the area with the failed Robert Georges colony in 1623.

In July of 1630,
Governor John Winthrop and the Massachusetts Bay Colony settlers arrived in Salem, then traveled down to Charlestown – then called Mishawum. Mishawum had no pure water, while Shawmut had beautiful springs. Rev. Blackstone invited the colonists to Shawmut, and on September 7th 1630 the Puritan's resolved that they would settle on the peninsula.

Blackstone soon tired of Puritan intolerance, and moved about 35 miles south of Boston, to a hill overlooking a wide bend in what the Indians then called the Pautucket River and what is today known as the
Blackstone River.

In 1636, when Sir Harry Vane was chosen Governor, Winthrop was deputy, and he led the opposition to Vane in the Anne Hutchinson controversy, on; which issue he was elected over Vane in 1637. He was an earnest opponent of the new Antinomian doctrines, and was active in the banishment of Mrs. Hutchinson and her followers.

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