John Wentworth (lieutenant governor, born 1671)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

John Wentworth
Lieutenant Governor of New Hampshire
In office
Preceded byGeorge Vaughan
Succeeded byDavid Dunbar
Personal details
Born(1671-01-16)January 16, 1671
Portsmouth, Province of New Hampshire
DiedDecember 12, 1730(1730-12-12) (aged 59)
Spouse(s)Sarah Hunking
ChildrenBenning, Hunking, Hannah, Sarah, John, William, Mary, Samuel, Mark Hunking, Elizabeth, Rebecca, Ebenezer, Daniel, George
ParentsSamuel Wentworth and Mary Benning
OccupationLt Governor of the Province of New Hampshire, seacaptain, merchant, counsellor, Justice of the Common Pleas

John Wentworth (January 16, 1671 – December 12, 1730)[1] served as Lieutenant Governor for the Province of New Hampshire from 1717 to 1730.[2]


He was a grandson of "Elder" William Wentworth (born at Alford, Lincolnshire, England, in 1615; died in Dover, New Hampshire, March 16, 1697),[2] an early settler in New England. William was a follower of the Rev. John Wheelwright. With him and 33 others, William signed, August 4, 1639, “A Combination for a Government at Exeter, N. H.” William moved to Wells, Maine, with Wheelwright; and when the latter went to England on the accession of Oliver Cromwell to power, William moved to Dover, where he was a ruling elder and often preached. On his death, he left a widow, nine sons, and one daughter.[3]

The Metropolitan Museum of Art purchased the Wentworth house in 1926, and moved portions of the interior to the museum. The house was unusually grand in scale, and the spiral-turned balusters are the earliest known in New England.

John Wentworth was raised to be a sea captain. In 1712 he was appointed by Queen Anne a councillor for New Hampshire; in 1713 he became a justice of the common pleas, and late in 1717 lieutenant governor.[3] Before New Hampshire received its own Royal Governor in 1741, its governors were also commissioned to govern the neighboring Province of Massachusetts Bay, where they spent most of their time. Consequently the lieutenant governors exercised significant power. As lieutenant governor, John Wentworth had little function in the government for several years. Then in January 1723, Governor Samuel Shute abruptly returned to England, so Wentworth took over in New Hampshire, governing until the arrival of Shute's replacement, William Burnet, in 1728. He continued as Lt. Governor until his death in 1730,[4] again governing between Burnet's death in 1729 and the arrival of Jonathan Belcher in 1730. During his administration he brought focus on the border dispute between New Hampshire and Massachusetts, cultivating power centers in London that eventually led to resolution of that dispute (albeit in 1740, long after his death), and establishing the dynasty that would dominate New Hampshire until independence.

Interior of the John Wentworth house, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.


On October 12, 1693 Wentworth married Sara Hunking. The couple had thirteen children, three of whom (Samuel, Benning, and Mark Hunking Wentworth) would become prominent themselves. Benning Wentworth was later the first directly appointed royal governor of New Hampshire. Mark's son in his turn would also become the last royal governor, John Wentworth.


  1. ^ "Publications - A Guide to Likenesses of New Hampshire Officials and Governors on Public Display at the Legislative Office Building and the State House Concord, New Hampshire, to 1998" accessed June 25, 2010.
  2. ^ a b John Norris McClintock, Colony, province, state, 1623-1888: History of New Hampshire, (1889), p. 174 at: Google Books accessed August 27, 2010
  3. ^ a b Wikisource Ripley, George; Dana, Charles A., eds. (1879). "Wentworth, William" . The American Cyclopædia.
  4. ^ John Wentworth, Wentworth Genealogy: English and American, 1878, vol. 1, pp.178-183 as found at Google books.