John, governor of the colony of Massachusetts, born in Groton, county of Suffolk, England, Jan. 11,1588, died in Boston, Mass., March 20, 1649. He was bred to the law. When in 1629 a charter was obtained creating a corporation under the name of the " Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England," Winthrop was elected governor, and sailed from Yarmouth, April 7, 1630, with about 900 persons. On the voyage he composed "A Modell of Christian Charity" (published in the collections of the Massachusetts historical society, 3d series, vol. vii.). On June 12 he arrived at Salem, and the government was transferred to him by Endicott. He was reelected every year till 1634. In 1636, when Sir Henry Vane was elected governor, Winthrop was chosen deputy governor, and during this and the following year occurred the celebrated controversy in regard to Mrs. Hutchinson and her doctrines. Vane and Winthrop were on opposite sides, and in the election of 1637 the latter was chosen governor. He was reelected every year till 1640, and again in 1642 and 1643. He was deputy governor in 1644 and 1645, and again governor from 1646 till his death. Winthrop was opposed to an unlimited democracy, but conscientiously attached to civil liberty.
He kept a journal of the transactions in the colony down to 1649. The first two books were first published in 1790, and the manuscript of the third was found in 1816 in the New England library kept in the tower of the Old South church. The three were published in a revised edition, with notes by James Savage (2 vols. 8vo, Boston, 1825-'6; corrected ed., 1853). His "Life and Letters " were edited by R. C. Winthrop (8vo, Boston, 1864; new ed., 1867).
John, governor of Connecticut, son of the preceding, horn in Groton, England, Feb. 12, 1606, died in Boston, Mass., April 5, 1676. He was educated at Trinity college, Dublin, was in the expedition of 1627 for the relief of the Huguenots of La Rochelle, was attached to the embassy to Turkey in 1628, followed his father to America in 1631, and was chosen a magistrate of Massachusetts, but soon returned to England. In 1635 he came back with a commission from the company formed under the Warwick grant or old patent of Connecticut, and built a fort at the mouth of the Connecticut river, of which plantation he was constituted governor. In 1645 he founded what is now the city of New London. He was elected a magistrate of Connecticut in 1651, governor of the colony in 1657, deputy governor in 1658, and governor again from 1659 till his death. In 1661 he procured from Charles II. a charter which united Connecticut and New Haven into one colony. In 1676 he represented Connecticut in a congress of the united colonies at Boston, and was there seized with his last illness.
John, an American scholar, a descendant of Governor Winthrop of Massachusetts, born in Boston, Dec. 19, 1714, died in Cambridge, May 3, 1779. He graduated at Harvard college in 1732, and from 1738 till his death was Hollis professor of mathematics and natural philosophy in that institution. In 1740 he observed the transit of Mercury, of which he furnished very accurate notes, and in 1761 went to Newfoundland to observe the transit of Venus. He published a lecture on earthquakes (1755), two lectures on comets (1759), and other tracts on astronomical subjects. The degree of LL. D. was conferred upon him by the university of Edinburgh in 1771.
Robert Charles, an American statesman, a descendant in the sixth generation of the first Governor Winthrop, born in Boston, May 12, 1809. He graduated at Harvard college in 1828, studied law in the office of Daniel Webster, and was admitted to the bar in 1831, but soon withdrew from practice. From 1835 to 1840 he was a member of the legislature, and in 1838-40 was speaker. In 1840-42 and in 1843-50 he was a member of congress, and was speaker in 1847-'8. In 1850 he was appointed United States senator for the remainder of Mr. Webster's term, and he was an unsuccessful candidate for that office before the legislature in 1851. In the same year he was the whig candidate for governor, and received the largest number of votes, but not the majority then required to elect. He is president of the Massachusetts historical society and of other literary and charitable associations. Besides editing the " Life and Letters of John Winthrop," he has published a " Memoir of Nathan Appleton " (Boston, 1861); his own more important addresses, lectures, orations, and speeches in congress (2 vols. 8vo, 1853-67); and "Washington, Bowdoin, and Franklin, with a few brief Pieces on kindred Topics" (1876).