Authorised form of nameWinthrop; John (1606 - 1676); colonial governor and physician
Dates1606 - 1676
Dates and placesBirth:
Groton Manor, Suffolk, England, Europe (12 February 1606)
Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony, North America (5 April 1676)
ActivityResearch field:
King Edward VI grammar school at Bury St Edmunds; Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1622); Inner Temple (admitted 1625)
Joined the Duke of Buckingham's expedition to the Isle de Rhe, La Rochelle (1627); travelled in Italy and Turkey within the Levant company; joined his father in New England (1631); Assistant to the Governor of Massachusetts (1634, 1635, 1640, 1641, 1644-1649); returned to England (1641); travelled to gain support for a plantation scheme for a New London (1642); moved to Pequot (1650); Magistrate of Connecticut (1651-), Deputy Governor (1659) and Governor (1660-1676); established a travelling medical clinic; came to England to obtain a charter for Connecticut (1662)
Royal Society activityMembership:
Original Fellow
Election Date:
Admitted 1 January 1662
William Brereton (18 December 1661)
Committee appointments include:
Mechanical Committee (1664)
Committee for the Histories of Trades (1664).
Other RSActivity:
Involved in producing an 'Account of Refining of Gold' for the Society (1662).
Produced a report on the production of pitch and tar in New England (1662).
Correspondent to the Society from the colonies in North America (1660s) and invited to report back to the Society on natural history in New England (1664).
RelationshipsParents: John Winthrop, governor of Massachusetts, and Mary Forth
Married: 1) Martha Fones (first cousin); 2) Elizabeth Reade
Children: eight overall, incl. Fitz John Winthrop
General contextWinthrop developed close relationships with fellow natural philosophers and alchemists of his time, such as Abraham Kuffler. Winthrop used his research interests and knowledge for agricultural improvements and medical supply in his Puritan colony. He was put in charge of establishing a colony, as commissioned by the proprietors of the Warwick patent. The plan was briefly halted during the Pequot War, a brutal conflict between the Pequot people against English settlers in Massachusetts Bay, the Saybrook colonies and their Native American allies. Winthrop's plans for ironworks projects saw him as a negotiator and ally with Native American people to establish passage into lands relevant to mining silver-bearing lead. Generally, Winthrop is regarded as defending parochial interests against centralisation and stalling the installation of a larger imperial authority in Connecticut until his death.
Bulloch's Roll; DAB; ODNB
G H Turnbull, 'Samuel Hartlib's Influence on the Early History of the Royal Society' in NR 1953 vol 10 pp 101-130
E N da C Andrade, 'The Birth and Early Days of the Philosophical Transactions' in NR 1965 vol 20 pp 9-27
Bernard Bailyn, '1776: The British Dimension' in NR 1976-7 vol 31 pp 179-199
R W Home, 'The Royal Society and the Empire: the colonial and Commonwealth Fellowship. Part 1. 1731-1847' in NR 2002 vol 56 pp 307-332
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA7404
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
EL/W3/24Letter from John Winthrop, dated at Boston, New England11 October 1670
EL/W3/25John Winthrop, dated at Boston, New England, to Henry Oldenburg11 October 1670
EL/W3/27John Winthrop, dated at Salem in Massachusetts colony, to Henry Oldenburg25 September 1673
RBO/2i/19Observations of how maize is cultivated in New England by John Winthrop31 December 1662
EL/W3/23John Winthrop, dated at Boston, New England, to Henry Oldenburg26 August 1670
RBO/2ii/18Observations of how maize is cultivated in New England by Mr Winthrop31 December 1662
RBO/1/41'The manner of making Tarr and Pitch in New England' by John Winthropnd
CLP/3i/23Paper, 'A description of the making of tarr and pitch in New England and the material of which it is made' by John Winthrop1662
CLP/10i/3Paper, 'Of maiz [maize]' by Mr Winthorp [John Winthrop][1662]
LBO/3/136Copy letter from Henry Oldenburg, London, to John Winthrop in New England26 March 1670
MC/1Volume 1 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1800-1831
LBO/2/106Copy extract of a letter from John Winthrop, Hartford in New England, to Robert Moray18 August 1668
NLB/67/605Copy letter from Francis Alexander Towle, Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society; to [John Farquhar] Fulton Esq.; Bradmore Road, Oxford26 January 1925
EL/W3/22aItems sent from New England by John Winthropnd
EL/O1/8Henry Oldenburg, dated at London, to John Winthrop of New EnglandMarch 1664
DM/5/101A list of benefactors to the Museum, to the value of £5 or upwards at one time c.1737
EL/W3/26John Winthrop, dated at Boston, New England, to Henry Oldenburg26 October 1670
CLP/10iii/21Copy of paper, 'Queries touching the preserving of timber now growing, and planting more in his Majesty's dominions of England and Wales' by unknown author[1670s]
MC/1/145Letter from Thomas Lindall Winthrop, Boston, to Sir John Frederick William Herschel, Secretary of the Royal Society12 September 1826
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