Authorised form of nameWinthrop; John (1606 - 1676); colonial governor and physician
Dates1606 - 1676
Place of birthGroton Manor, Suffolk, England, Europe
Date of birth12 February 1606
Place of deathBoston, Massachusetts Bay Colony, North America
Date of death5 April 1676
Research fieldChemistry
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)
Membership categoryOriginal Fellow
Date of election20/05/1663
ProposerWilliam Brereton
Royal Society activityCommittee and panels:
Mechanical Committee (1664); Committee for the Histories of Trades (1664)
Other Royal Society activityInvolved 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
The election date is Winthrop's re-election date into the Society after the grant of the second charter in April 1663. All Fellows admitted in a two-month window after this charter, until 22 June 1663, are considered Original Fellows. He was previously admitted into the Society on 1 January 1662.
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA7404
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
RBO/1/41'The manner of making Tarr and Pitch in New England' by John Winthropnd
LBO/3/136Copy letter from Henry Oldenburg, London, to John Winthrop in New England26 March 1670
LBO/2/106Copy extract of a letter from John Winthrop, Hartford in New England, to Robert Moray18 August 1668
EL/W3/22aList of items sent from New England by John Winthropnd
NLB/67/605Copy letter from Francis Alexander Towle, Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society; to [John Farquhar] Fulton Esq.; Bradmore Road, Oxford26 January 1925
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]
DM/5/101A list of benefactors to the Museum, to the value of £5 or upwards at one time c.1737
EL/W3/20Letter, from John Winthrop to Robert Moray, dated at Hartford, New England18 August 1668 - 26 August 1668
MC/1/145Letter from Thomas Lindall Winthrop, Boston, to Sir John Frederick William Herschel, Secretary of the Royal Society12 September 1826
RBO/2i/19Observations of how maize is cultivated in New England by John Winthrop31 December 1662
MC/1Volume 1 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1800-1831
RBO/1/47'Concerning the building of ships in New England by Mr Winthrop'24 September 1662
EL/W3/24Letter, from John Winthrop [to the Royal Society], dated at Boston11 October 1670
EL/O2/49Letter, from Henry Oldenburg to Mr [John] Winthrop11 April 1671
MC/6/96Letter from Robt [Robert] Winthrop, Albermarle Hotel, to Sir Henry Holland, [Vice-President of the Royal Society]18 June 1860
EL/W3/26Letter, from John Winthrop to Henry Oldenburg, dated at Boston26 October 1670
MC/6Volume 6 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1859-1863
EL/W3/25Letter, from John Winthrop to Henry Oldenburg, dated at Boston11 October 1670
EL/W3/27Letter, from John Winthrop to Henry Oldenburg, dated at Salem in Massachusetts colony25 September 1673
CLP/3i/23Paper, 'A description of the artifice and making of tarr and pitch in New England, and the materialls of which it is made' by [John] Winthrop[1662]
EL/W3/21Letter, from John Winthrop to Henry Oldenburg, dated at Hartford, New England12 November 1668
RBO/2ii/18Observations of how maize is cultivated in New England by Mr Winthrop31 December 1662
EL/O1/8Letter, from Henry Oldenburg to John Winthrop of New England, dated at LondonMarch 1664
EL/O2/26Letter, from Henry Oldenburg to Mr [John] Winthrop in New England, dated at London26 March 1670
EL/W3/22Letter, from John Winthrop to Henry Oldenburg, dated at Boston4 October 1669
EL/W3/23Letter, from John Winthrop to Henry Oldenburg, dated at Boston26 August 1670
CLP/10i/3Paper, 'Of maiz [maize]' by Mr Winthorp [John Winthrop][1662]
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