Log In

John Winthrop

colonial governor

John Winthrop, British colonial governor.


Winthrop, John was born on January 23, 1588 in Edwardstone, Suffolk, England. Son of Adam and Anne (Browne) Winthrop.


Attended Trinity College, Cambridge (England), U., 1602-1604.


Admitted to practice Gray’s Inn, London, England., 1613. Appointed an attorney for court of wards and liveries, 1626. Admitted to Inner Temple, 1628.

Became associated with Puritans who received merc. charter (conferring complete governing powers on governor and General Court) and land grant for settlement in American from Charles I. 1629. Chosen governor Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1629, reelected, 1631, 32, 33, 37-40, 42-44, 46-49. Deferred to wishes of clergy respecting matters of discipline, accepted violations of original charter to create more democratic government.

Presided at trial of Anne Hutchinson during Antinomian controversy, 1637, ordered her banished. Declined to run for reelection in 1640 to avoid establishing tradition of life tenure in governorship. Sided with magistrates (who represented the wealthy) in their claim to sit separately from deputies (who represented more democratic elements), 1644.

Severely criticized for giving arms and ships to French from Acadia without consulting General Court, 1643. Head Massachusetts delegation to form New England Confederation, 1st president of Confederation, 1645. Unjustly accused of improper action in regard to militia officer’s appointment in 1645.


Married Mary Forth, April.; married second, Thomassine Clopton, December 1615.

Adam Winthrop

Anne (Browne) Winthrop

Mary Forth

Thomassine Clopton