John Winthrop the Younger

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John Winthrop the Younger
Born (1606-02-12)12 February 1606
Groton, England
Died 6 April 1676(1676-04-06) (aged 70)
Boston, US
Appletons' Winthrop John - John signature.png
Grist mill built by Winthrop in New London in 1650 as it appeared in 1910
First page of a diary kept by Winthrop of his journey from Boston to Saybrook, Connecticut, in 1645

John Winthrop, the Younger (12 February 1606 – 6 April 1676), was governor of Connecticut.


He was born in Groton, England, the son of John Winthrop, founding governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He was educated at the Bury St. Edmunds grammar school, King Edward VI School and at Trinity College, Dublin and studied law for a short time after 1624 at the Inner Temple, London. He also accompanied the ill-fated expedition of the Duke of Buckingham for the relief of the Protestants of La Rochelle, and then travelled in Italy and the Levant, returning to England in 1629.[1]

In 1631 he followed his father to Massachusetts Bay and was one of the "assistants" of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635, 1640 and 1641, and from 1644 to 1649.[1] He was the chief founder of Agawam (now Ipswich, Massachusetts) in 1633, went to England in 1634, and in the following year returned as governor of the lands granted to the Lords Say and Sele and Brooke,[2] sending out the party which built the fort at Saybrook at the mouth of the Connecticut River. He then lived for a time in Massachusetts where he devoted himself to the study of science and attempted to interest the settlers in the development of the colony's mineral resources.[1]

He was again in England in 1641–1643, and on his return established iron works at Lynn and Braintree, Massachusetts. In 1645 he obtained a title to lands in southeastern Connecticut and founded there in 1646 what is now New London, whither he removed in 1650.[1] In 1650 Winthrop built a grist mill in the town and was granted a monopoly on the trade for as long as he or his heirs maintained the mill. This was one of the first monopolies granted in New England.[3]

He became one of the magistrates of the Connecticut Colony in 1651; in 1657–1658 was governor of the colony; and in 1659 again became governor, being annually re-elected until his death. During his tenure as Governor of Connecticut, he oversaw the acceptance of Quakers, who were banned from Massachusetts. In 1662 he obtained in England the charter by which the colonies of Connecticut and New Haven were united. Besides being Governor of Connecticut, he was also in 1675 one of the commissioners of the United Colonies of New England. While in England he was elected to a Fellow of the newly organized Royal Society, to whose Philosophical Transactions he contributed two papers. He died on 6 April 1676 in Boston, where he had gone to attend a meeting of the commissioners of the United Colonies of New England.[1][4]


As a Fellow of the Royal Society he contributed two papers, "Some Natural Curiosities from New England," and "Description, Culture and Use of Maize". to their Philosophical Transactions.[1] His correspondence with the Royal Society were published in series I, vol. xvi. of the Massachusetts Historical Society's Proceedings.[1]


Winthrop married (as his second wife) Elizabeth Reade (1615–1672). Source, Connecticut State Library: John Winthrop, Jr.: Their eldest son Fitz-John Winthrop (1638–1707) served as major-general in the army, an agent in London for Connecticut (1693–1687) and as governor of Connecticut from 1696 until his death in 1707.[1]

A grandson by their 2nd son Waitstill, John Winthrop, F.R.S., (1681–1747) married Ann Dudley, daughter of Joseph Dudley and granddaughter of Thomas Dudley, both governors of Massachusetts, one of a number of unions between the two families.[citation needed]

John and Ann's daughter, Katharine Winthrop, (1711–1781) married (1st) Samuel Browne of Salem and (2nd) Epes Sargent of Gloucester.[5] Her eldest child by Sargent was Paul Dudley Sargent, a colonel in the American War of Independence. Another daughter, Mary Winthrop (1712–1776), married Gurdon Saltonstall, Jr. (1708–1785), son of Governor of Connecticut Gurdon Saltonstall (1666–1724) of the Massachusetts Nathaniel Saltonstall family. Gurdon and Mary were the parents of Dudley Saltonstall (1738–1796), a Revolutionary War naval commander, most notable for his involvement in the ill-fated Penobscot Expedition.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Chisholm 1911, p. 736.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Technical World Magazine. Armour Institute of Technology. 1910. pp. 96–97. 
  4. ^ Waters 1899, p. 75.
  5. ^ Sargent 1923, p. [page needed].


External links[edit]

Political offices
New office Governor of the Saybrook Colony
Succeeded by
George Fenwick
Preceded by
John Webster
Governor of the Connecticut Colony
Succeeded by
Thomas Welles
Preceded by
Thomas Welles
Governor of the Connecticut Colony
Succeeded by
William Leete