First Governor of Massachusetts
1588 - 1649
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
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 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
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.