GENEALOGICAL and PERSONAL MEMOIRS
Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts
Prepared under the editorial supervision of William Richard CUTTER, A. M.
Historian of the New England Historic Genealogical Society; Librarian of Woburn Public Library; Author of “The Cutter Family,” “History of Arlington,” “Bibliography of Woburn,” etc., etc.
Volume I.; Illustrated
New York; Lewis Historical Publishing Company; 1908
The name of Winthrop, - that of the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company at their emigration to New England, - may be traced back in various spellings for at least six centuries and a half. The family can be traced to various places in the mother country, and latterly there to Groton in Suffolk, "where they lived many years." In a volume by the late Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, entitled "Life and Letters of John Winthrop," the line of descent is there corrected, and begins with a man called the second Adam Winthrop, born October 9, 1498, died November 9, 1562, (eldest son of Adam and Joane (or Jane) Burton, married November 16, 1527, Alice Henry, or Henny. Children: 1. Thomas, born November 8, 1528, died April, 1529. 2. William, born November 12, 1529, died March 1, 1581, at London; had wife Elizabeth, died June 2, 1578, and six children: Jonathan, Adam, William, Joshua, Elizabeth, and Sarah. 3. Bridget, born January 1, 1530, died January, 1536. 4. Christopher, born January 4, 1531, died aged nine months. 5. Thomas (2d), born June, 1533, died 1537. Adam Winthrop was married (second) in 1534 to Agnes Sharpe, daughter of Robert Sharpe, of Islington, she eighteen, and he thirty-six. Children: 6. Alice, born November 15, 1539, died November 8, 1607, married Sir Thomas Mildmay, and had six sons. 7. Bridget, born May 3, 1543, died November 4, 1614, married Roger Alabaster, and had four sons and one daughter; one of the sons was a celebrated poet. 8. Mary, born March 1, 1544, married Abraham Veysie. 9 and 10. John and Adam, twins, born January 20, 1546; Adam died in six months and John died in Ireland, July 26, 1613, having married Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Risby, of Thorpe Morieux, Suffolk county. 11. Adam (2) born August 10, 1548; see beyond. 12. Catharine, born May 17, 1550, married and had children. (This last item is challenged by Robert C. Winthrop.) 13. Susanna, born December 10, 1552, died August 9, 1604, married D. Cottie (Dr. John Cotta?) and had children. The widow of the father Adam Winthrop married William Mildmay. She died May 13, 1565.
( II ) Adam Winthrop (3d) son of Adam (2d), born in London, August 10, 1548, died March 29, 1623; married first, December 16, 1574, Alice Still, daughter of William of Grantham, Lincolnshire; she and her first born child died December 24, 1577, and he married (second) February 20, 1579, Anne, daughter of Henry Browne, of Edwardston; her mother's name was Agnes. Adam Winthrop (3d) was a man of good education and high social standing, lord and patron of the manor of Groton. Children by second wife: 1. Anne, born January 5, 1580-1, died January 20, 1580-1. 2. Anne, born January 16, 1585-6, died May 16, 1618; married February 25, 1604-5, Thomas Fones. 3. John, born January 12, 1587, the governor of Massachusetts; see forward. 4. Jane, baptized June 17, 1592; married January 5, 1612, Thomas Gostling. 5. Lucy, born January 9, 1600-1, married April 10, 1622, Emanuel Downing.
(III) John Winthrop, governor of Massachusetts, son of Adam (2), born in Edwardston, a little village in Suffolk county, England, immediately adjoining Groton, January 12, 1587, died in Boston, New England, March 26, 1649, nineteen years after his embarkation on March 22, 1629-30, in that harbor. For details regarding his early life the reader is referred to the admirable work on that subject by his descendant, Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, already named, and to the various standard histories of Massachusetts and New England for the latter part. He married first, April 16, 1605, Mary, born January 1, 1583, died June 26, 1615, daughter and sole heir of John Forth, Esq., of Great Stambridge, in the county of Essex, and Thomasine, only child of ------ Hilles, in the county of Essex. Her own immediate family was a wealthy one. Sixteen children: 1. John, the eldest, born in Groton, England, February 12, 1606, died in Boston, April 5, 1676, known to history as John Winthrop, the governor of Connecticut. 2. Henry, born (baptized January 20) 1607; drowned at Salem, Massachusetts, July 2, 1630, aged twenty-two years, the next day after his landing in America. (See his father's journal) He was somewhat adventurous, had been in the Barbadoes, was married, April 25, 1629, to his cousin Elizabeth Fones; had daughter Martha, baptized at Groton, England, May 9, 1630. He was left behind in his father's first voyage, but arrived safely on a later one. He was drowned in a small creek. His widow came to New England afterwards and married Robert Feake. 3. Forth, born December 30, 1609, died (buried at Groton, England, November 23) 1630; was educated in the universities, and was betrothed to Ursula Sherman. 4 and 5. Daughters named Anne, baptized 1614-1615, who died in their earliest infancy. 6. Mary, eldest of the first three daughters, came to America, and married, about 1632, Rev. Samuel Dudley, son of Governor Thomas Dudley, and died April 12, 1643, having had four children, two of whom survived her. Governor Winthrop married second, December 6, 1615, Thomasine Clopton, died December 8, 1616, daughter of William Clopton, Esq. Child: 7. Daughter, born November, 1616, died 1616, two days old. Governor Winthrop married third, April 29, 1618, Margaret Tyndal, died in Boston, June 14, 1647, daughter of Sir John Tyndal, knight. Her mother was Anne Egerton, widow of William Deane, Esq. Children: 8. Stephen, born March 24, 1618, came with his father to America, was recorder of Boston, member of Parliament for Scotland under Cromwell, and colonel of a regiment in the civil wars of England; was married and left posterity. 9. Adam, born April 7, 1620; see forward. 10. Deane, baptized March 23, 1622, died at Pullen Point (now Winthrop), March 16, 1704; married first Sarah, daughter of Jose Glover; and left a widow, Martha, and children. 11. Nathaniel, baptized February 20, 1625, probably died young. 12. Samuel, baptized August 26, 1627, married in Holland, had estate in Antigua, where he held the office of deputy governor, and died there about 1677. 13. Anne, baptized April 29, 1630, died on her passage with her mother to New England, when aged about a year and a half. 14. William, born at Boston, August 14, 1632, probably died soon. 15. Sarah, baptized June 29, 1634, probably died soon. Governor Winthrop married fourth, December 4, 1647, Martha, daughter of Captain William Rainsborough, and widow of Captain Thomas Coytmore, of Charlestown, and sister of Increase Nowell. After the death of Winthrop she married, March 16, 1652, John Coggan. Child by Winthrop: 16. Joshua, born December 12, 1648, died January 11, 1651.
(IV) Adam Winthrop, son of John (3), born in Groton, England, April 7, 1620, died in Boston, suddenly it is inferred, August 24, 1652, thirty-two years and four months old; came to New England in 1631. Adam's Chair, a rock in Waltham, Massachusetts, was named for him (1631); married first, about 1642, Elizabeth, died September, 1648, daughter of Joss or Jose Glover; married second Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Hawkins. Children: 1. Adam, born October 15, 1647; see forward. He was his parents' only child in 1652, and the only one, unless there was a daughter Mary, who died near the same time with her mother, September, 1648. The widow of Adam (4), married May 3, 1654, John Richards; no children by either husband.
(V) Adam Winthrop, son of Adam (4), born in Boston, October 15, 1647, died August 3, 1700, aged fifty-two; will dated July 29, proved September 5, 1700. He was graduated at Harvard College, 1668 (Sibley's "Graduates," II. 247), was for some time a merchant at Bristol, England, and married there, Mary, daughter of Colonel Luttrell, and there his children were born, one of whom was Adam, see beyond. His daughter Mary married, March 9, 1703, John Ballentine. The father was an orphan, about five years old in 1652. He returned with his family to Boston in 1679. He was captain of a military company in Boston in 1689; representative 1689-1692; named as one of the governor's council, but left out in the first popular election, May, 1693. No time of marriage or births of his children or baptism of them is found here, as his marriage was in England, and there the children were born. Mary, his widow, married March 13, 1706, as the third wife of Joseph Lynde, of Charlestown. Her death occurred October 30, 1715.
(VI) Adam Winthrop, son of Adam (5), graduated Harvard College, 1694, and died October 2, 1743; married Anna -----. He was of the council of the province. Children: 1. Adam, born August 12, 1706, died December 12, 1744; Harvard College 1724; merchant of Boston, and lived in Brattle street. He was also clerk of the judicial courts. Married Mary, daughter of Hugh Hall, Esq., of Boston. 2. John, Harvard College, 1732; see beyond.
(VII) John Winthrop, son of Adam (6), born in Boston, December 19, 1714, died in Cambridge, May 3, 1779; married first, Rebecca -----, died August 22, 1753, aged twenty-nine, daughter of James Townsend, of Boston; married second, published March 25, 1756, Hannah, died May 6, 1790, widow of ----- Tolman of Boston, and daughter of Thomas and Sarah Fayerweather. Children: 1. John, born September 17, 1747, graduated Harvard College, 1765, lived in Boston, a merchant; married Sarah Phillips, and died in 1800, leaving posterity - John, Harvard College, 1796, and Adam, Harvard College, 1800. 2. Adam, born November 27, 1748, died February 11, 1774, aged twenty-five, graduated Harvard College, 1767; left home contrary to the desire of his father, became a shipmaster in Governor Hancock's employment, and in the Downs was knocked overboard and lost. He "was unfortunately knocked overboard by the boom of his vessel on his passage from hence to London, and was drowned," February 11, 1774 (Boston News Letter). 3. Samuel, born July 20, 1750, died July 28, 1751. 4. James, "a man of much curious erudition," born March 28, 1752, graduated Harvard College 1769, LL. D. Allegheny College 1817; postmaster 1775 (i. e. with headquarters at Cambridge, Boston being invested by the American troops), register of probate from September 6, 1775, until 1817; for several years judge of court of common pleas; librarian of Harvard College, 1772-1787; one of the founders of the Massachusetts Historical Society; resided in Cambridge, and died unmarried September 26, 1821. A characteristic letter written him in 1775 is published by Paige, "History Cambridge," p. 700, note. 5. William, "the last survivor," born April 19, 1753, graduate Harvard College 1770; town clerk 1782-1788; selectman ten years between 1786 and 1802; senator in 1799; a gentleman farmer, residing in Cambridge, and died unmarried, February 5, 1825. The father of this intelligent family was a man of great distinction in his day. He was graduated at Harvard College in 1738, appointed Hollis professor of mathematics and natural philosophy in 1738. He was in 1771, as already stated elsewhere in this work, the preceptor of Count Rumford and Colonel Loammi Baldwin of Woburn. He was elected Hollis professor of mathematics and natural and experimental philosophy August 30, 1738. He was then a resident of Boston, and his inauguration with appropriate ceremonies occurred January 2, 1738-9. He declined the office of president of the college in 1769. His age and "bodily infirmities" were urged as objections against him. It was a time when the office went begging. The choice was made of Samuel Locke, a clergyman of a small parish about twenty miles from Cambridge, against whom was made the still greater objection of "a want of knowledge of the world, having lived in retirement, and perhaps not a general acquaintance with books." In 1774, after the resignation of Locke, Winthrop was again chosen president and declined. President Quincy ("History of Harvard University," II. 217.) says of him, "The literary and scientific attainments of John Winthrop acquired celebrity in his own country and in Europe, and entitled him to be regarded as one of the brightest ornaments of Harvard College. . . The zeal, activity and talent with which he applied himself to the advancements of the sciences justified the expectations which his early promise raised." As a lecturer he was skilful and attractive, and during forty years he fulfilled the duties of the professor's chair to universal acceptance." His labors were both practical and scientific. He transmitted in December, 1740, to the Royal Society of London, "observations of the transit of Mercury over the Sun." These observations were published both in London and honorably noticed in Paris. He gave a lecture on the earthquake of November 18, 1755, in which he deliberately set out to calm the apprehensions which the superstitions of the age had excited, with actual fear, throughout the territory of New England, where the quake had been experienced. He explained his theory of the phenomenon of earthquakes with originality, research, and intellectual power, and advanced the consolatory fact that though earthquakes had occasionally occurred in New England from its first settlement by the English, not a single life had ever been lost nor any great damage been done by them. He supported the theories of Benjamin Franklin concerning lightning and protection from it by the use of "iron points." Even in this he met with opposition, even from the ignorance of natural laws on the part of clergymen and the superstitions of that age. One thought, and published the fact, that the "iron points" on buildings in New England drew the lightning from the clouds and caused the earthquake of 1755. Professor Winthrop, in reply, proceeded to show that earthquakes could not be accounted for in that way. As late as 1770 there were religious people who were opposed to lightning rods (in intelligent New England!) on the ground that "thunder and lightning" were tokens of Divine displeasure, and that it was impious to prevent them from doing their "full execution." Professor Winthrop again appeared in their defense with a publication which showed that "Divine Providence" governed the world by "stated general laws," and showed in conclusion that it was as much "our duty to secure ourselves against the effects of lightning, as from those of rain, snow, or wind, by the means God has put into our hands." On the appearance of a remarkable comet in 1759, he again came to the front with lectures in which he explained the true nature and motions of comets, according to the latest discoveries of the times.
He transmitted to the Royal Society accounts of whirlwinds and other natural phenomena which he observed in this section. And so it was in many other scientific observations, transits of Venus and others, of which the record, however creditable to him is too long to mention in the present work. It is said that his active, vigorous and comprehensive mind embraced within its sphere various and extensive knowledge, and that he was better entitled to the character of a universal scholar, than any individual of his time, in this country. He was well versed in ancient and modern languages, and President Quincy concludes that he was one of the greatest mathematicians and philosophers America had then produced.
He was chosen a member of the council of the province in 1773, but negatived by a royal mandate. In 1774 he was a delegate to the provincial congress. In 1775 he was restored to the seat in the council, and also appointed judge of probate. The latter office he held until his death, May 3, 1779, at the age of sixty-five.