Samuel Gorton, 5th President Providence and Warwick

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Samuel Gorton

Nicknames: "Forgotten founder of liberty"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Gorton, Manchester, Lancashire, England, (Present UK)
Death: Died in Warwick, (Present Kent County), Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, (Present USA)
Place of Burial: Family Cemetery, Warwick Cove, Warwick, Kent County, Rhode Island, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Gorton, III and Anne Ann Gorton
Husband of Mary Mayplet
Father of Samuel Gorton, Jr.; John Gorton; Elizabeth Crandall; Sarah Mace; Elnathan Gorton and 6 others
Brother of Nicholas Gorton; NN Gorton; William Gorton; Thomas Gorton, IV; Francis Gorton and 4 others

Occupation: Clothier, sectary, assistant, fifth president of Providence and Warwick, commissioner, and deputy
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Samuel Gorton

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Gorton

  • 5th President of Providence and Warwick
  • In office: 1651–1652
  • Preceded by: Nicholas Easton (as President of all four towns of Rhode Island Colony)
  • Succeeded by: John Smith
  • Personal details
    • Born: baptized 12 Feb 1592/3[a] in Manchester, Lancashire, England
    • Died: by 10 December 1677 in Warwick, Rhode Island
    • Resting place: Samuel Gorton Cemetery, Warwick, Rhode Island
    • Spouse(s): Mary Mayplett
    • Children: Samuel, John, Benjamin, Maher, Mary, Sarah, Ann, Elizabeth, Susanna
    • Occupation: Clothier, assistant, president, commissioner, deputy
    • Religion: Self proclaimed "professor of the mysteries of Christ"

Well known religious disserter, sectary and founder of the American sect of Gortonites.

  • Apparently argued with everybody over religion including Roger Williams (founder of Providence).
  • He believed in a more democratic form of religion than the Puritans and even perhaps Williams, rejecting baptism, communition, and formal religious training.
  • His career entailed the pursuit of the right to free speech and freedom of religion.
  • He was considered extremely radical for the age and was persecuted severely for many years.
  • He was, however, extremely tolerant of other religions such as Quakerism, like Roger Williams.
  • Some believe he should be accorded an equal prominence as Roger Williams in Rhode Island history.
  • Born 12 February 1592/3.
  • 1628, May 20 - Married to Mary Mayplet
    • Daughter of John Mayplet, haberdasher, and
    • granddaughter of Reverend John Mayplet, Rector of Great Leighs Parish in Essex, Vicar of Northolt in Middlesex, and writer on the topics of natural history & astrology
  • 1635, June 18- He was referred to as Samuell Gorton of London, clothier in a civil suit.
  • 1637, March- He arrived at Boston, MA from London, England with wife, eldest son Samuel, Jr. and other children.
  • 1637- Plymouth, MA. He hired part of a house of Ralph Smith with whom he he soon had a difference on religious topics.
  • 1637- He volunteered to serve in the Pequot War.
  • 1638, December 4- He was summoned to court to answer complaint of Ralph Smith (Elder of the church at Plymouth, MA).
    • He conducted himself "so mutinously and seditiosly and for his turbulent carriages toward both magistrates and ministers that he was sentenced to find sureties for his good behavior during the time he should stay in the jurisdiction", which was only 14 more days.
  • 1639, April 30 - He signed the Portsmouth, RI Compact with 28 others to form a town government.
  • 1640 - His maid servant assaulted a woman whose cow had trespassed on his land, and the servant was ordered to court. Samuel Gorton appeared on her behalf refusing to allow her to appear.
    • He was indicted on 14 charges including the statement "that the government was such as not to be subjected unto", calling the magistrates "Just Asses", calling a freeman in open court "saucy boy and Jack-an-Apes."
    • When the Governor stated, "all that own the King take away Gorton and carry him to prison," he replied, "all you that own the King take away Coddington and carry him to prison."
    • Having already suffered imprisonment, he was now sentenced to be whipped, and went soon to Providence, RI.
  • 1640, March 8 - Providence, RI. His democratic ideas for church and state soon led to division of sentiment here.
    • Roger Williams wrote to Governor Winthrope of Massachusetts under this date as follows: "Master Gorton having abused high and low at Aquidneck (Portsmouth, RI), is now bewitching and bemadding poor Providence, both with unclean and foul centures of all the ministers of this country..."
  • 1641, November 17 - He took up residence with the Pawtucxet settlers before this time, and here too there was a division into parties, the majority adhering to his views.
    • A letter was sent this date signed by 13 persons, who complained of the "insolent and riotous carriage of Samuel Gorton and his company" and therefore petitioned Massachusetts to "lend us a neighborlike helping hand."
  • 1643, January 13 - He and 10 others purchased from American Native Sachem Miantonomi a tract of land called Shawomet (Warwick, RI) for 144 fathoms of wampum.
  • He is considered the founder of Warwick, RI.
  • 1643, September 12 - He and others were notified by the General Court of Boston, MA to hear complaint of two Indian Sachems, Pomham and Soccononocco, as to "some unjust and injurious dealing toward them by yourselves."
    • He and the others of Warwick, RI responded that were legal subjects of the King of England and beyond the limits of Massachusetts territory, to whom they acknowledged no subjection.
    • Massachusetts sent soldiers and besieged the settlers in a fortified house. In a parley it was now said "that they held blasphemous errors which they must repent of" - or go to Boston, MA for trial, and they were soon carried thence.
  • 1643, October 17 - He and others were brought before the Court and he was charged with the following: "Upon much examination and serious consideration of your writing, with your answers about them, we do charge you to be an enemy of the true religion of our Lord Jesus Christ and his holy Ordinances, and also of civil authority among the people of God and particularly in this jurisdiction".
  • 1643, November 3 - He was sentenced to prision in heavy bolts or irons and ordered expelled from MA and Warwick, RI upon release. Also, ordered to cease "any blasphemies or abominable heresies, etc"...... upon pain of death.
  • 1644, March - He was released from prison (but banished from both Massachusetts and Warwick, RI).
    • This year he went to England with Randall Holden and John Greene, to obtain redress for their wrongs.
    • They were obliged to take ship at New York.
  • 1646 - This year he published while abroad a book entitled "Simplicity's Defense against Seven Headed Policy."
    • in which he details the wrongs put upon the settlers of Warwick, RI.
  • This same year an order was issued from the Commissioners of Plantations (Rhode Island) to Massachusetts to suffer the petitioners, etc, "to freely and quietly to live and plant upon Shawomet (Warwick) and all other the lands included in the patent lately granted to them, without extending your jurisdiction to any part thereof or otherwise disquieting their consciences or civil peace," etc. In other words, leave us Rhode Islanders alone.
  • 1647 - He published the "Incorruptible Key, composed of the 110th Psalm."
  • 1648, May 10 - He landed in Boston, MA on his return, and his arrest was ordered, but he had a letter of protection from the Earl of Warwick, securing his safety.
  • 1649 - General Assistant to the Governor.
  • 1651, 56-60, 62-63 - Commissioner.
  • 1651-52 - Elected first President of Providence and Warwick, RI, called the Providence Plantations.
  • 1655- Freeman.
  • 1655 - He published "Saltmarsh returned from the Dead."
  • 1656 - He published "Antidote against the Common Plague of the World" and another work entitled "Antidote against Pharisaical Teachers."
  • 1656, March 17 - He and 3 others were appointed to treat with Native American Sachem Pomham, upon complaint of the town of Warwick, of oppressions by the indians.
  • 1656 - He welcomed the Quakers and provided unconditional sanctuary.
  • 1657 - He authored the first protest against slavey in America.
  • 1664-66, 70- Deputy Governor.
  • 1666, January 3 - He and 4 others on behalf of themselves and the rest of the purchasers of Warwick, delivered to Sachem Pomham 10 pounds, in peage at 8 a penny. This was a guatuity conditioned on Pomham and the rest of his company departing from Warwick, RI. They were to report to Mr. Gorton when ready to remove.
  • Besides the works already mentioned he left a manuscript of several hundred pages, entitled "Exposition upon the Lord's Prayer."
  • 1677, November 27 - He, "professor of the mysteries of Christ," deeded to son Samuell, Jr., for goodwill and by reason of his being instrumentally a great support unto me to help bring up my family when my children were young and I was absent from my family, etc., all interest in house, house lot, etc., and all goods, movables and chattels "as also my library, together with all my deeds and writings." Further, to son Samuel, he "commits the care of my beloved wife during widowhood" including provision being made for her "recreation in case she desires to visit her friends." He also deeded land to other family members including daughter Ann Warner and son-in-law John Warner.
  • He died before 10 December of this year-1677.
 ***************************

From: http://www.famousamericans.net/samuelgorton/

The "cantankerous", "contumacious" and "obnoxious" Samuel Gorton has been subject to misrepresentation by the historians of four centuries. He is most commonly described as "bewitching and bemadding" not only Providence but the whole of southern New England. Edward Winslow's contemporaneous Hypocrisie Unmasked is the usual starting point for those seeking an introduction to Samuel Gorton, appearing as it does to consist of testimony from several sources, including John Winthrop, of Gorton's "mutinous ...seditious ...uncivil ....riotous" and "licentious" behaviour. But Hypocrisie Unmasked was composed at the specific request of the government of Massachusetts with the expressed purpose of discrediting Gorton before the English government. Gorton's own testimony in Simplicities Defence and elsewhere tells a different story, which whilst not was never contradicted in his lifetime, or since, has not been thoroughly researched in its own right. Far from being the "dangerous" and "crazed thinker" of tradition Samuel Gorton was in fact a "strenuous beneficent force", whose importance to the independence of the colony of Rhode Island, and his courage in securing it, was matched only by Roger Williams.


Samuel was born and raised in the village of Gorton, south-east Lancashire. His baptism is recorded in the registers of the parish church in Manchester, 12 February 1593. His parents were Thomas and Ann Gorton and contrary to several reports Thomas was not a London merchant but a Gorton husbandman (a small-scale tennant farmer ), recorded only in the Manchester area. However, like many of his peers and contemporaries in the region, Thomas was clearly prosperous in other fields as this was a man able to provide for the apprenticeship premiums of at least two of his four sons, Samuel and Edward (a carpenter), and the informal education, probably by private tutor, of at least one - Samuel. His later career would demonstrate his knowledge of rhetoric, logic and English common law. Such provision was beyond the abilities of a simple husbandman. (At least one of his daughters married into the local yeomanry.) Samuel was most likely apprenticed to a Manchester clothier (cloth merchant) at around the age of nineteen and as such contracts often resulted from existing commercial relationships it would not be unusual if Thomas was opperating as a carrier of goods by pack train for a merchant (or merchants), albeit with a low profile for tax purposes.


Like many English people Samuel did migrate to London, probably on completing his apprenticeship, being first recorded there with his marriage to Mary Maplett, daughter of John Maplett, a prosperous haberdasher. By this time Samuel had established himself in the clothing trade. The couple were married at the church of St Mary Magdalen, Old Fish Street, 20 May 1628. Mary was remarkable not least in the posession of both reading and writing skills, unusual for a woman of the age. (She would bear Samuel nine surviving children, most of those births being under the most difficult frontier conditions.) In 1637 Samuel, his brother (Thomas junior) and their families joined the "Great Migration" of English Puritans (1630-1642), although he may have originally intended to sail in the same party as William Dyer and his wife Mary (the Quaker martyr) c.1634. William Dyer had lived and worked in the cloth trade in the same part of London.


Having arrived in Boston at the height of the Ann Hutchinson affair (the "Antinomian Crisis") the Gortons rejected that oppressive society and moved on to Plymouth where it is reported that Samuel "began drawing away part of the congregation to a separate meeting"; but there is no evidence of this. His household obediently attended the compulsory Sabbath church services whilst Samuel was also holding his own twice-daily meetings. Religious instruction in the home was expected of the godly householder but Samuel attracted outsiders, including those not granted a voice in the formal church - women and young people. It is also commonly reported that his religious opinions were "obnoxious" to the people of Plymouth. Recent research suggests he was in fact close to the original beliefs of the Pilgrim Fathers, but that by 1638 Plymouth Colony was moving away from the principles shared by the Mayflower Pilgrims and religiously closer to their less tolerant and economically dominant Massachusetts neighbours, who had recently expelled Ann Hutchinson and her supporters. Regular attenders at the Gorton religious gatherings were a maid in the household of the serving minister John Reynor, and the wife of the previous incumbent, Ralph Smith, who was also the Gortons' landlord. Mary Smith told Samuel "how glad she was that she could come into a family where her spirit was refreshed in the ordinances of God as in former days". Mary and her first husband, Richard Masterson, had been members of John Robinson's congregation in Dutch exile, from which the Pilgrim Fathers had emerged, suggesting Gorton's beliefs were not so outrageous to others as has been claimed. As the Hutchinson crisis began in similar private meetings (conventicles) in Boston, the Plymouth authorities grew suspicious.


Probably at the instigation of those authorities Ralph Smith, to whom Smith was beholding for allowing him to retain his large house when replaced in the ministry, now attempted to withdraw the Gorton lease. When Samuel resorted to mutually agreed arbitration private papers were confiscated by Governor Thomas Prence. Then, a maid in the Gorton household was threatened with deportation for "smiling in congregation" and Samuel appeared on her behalf, only to find himself defending his lease. He challenged the court for abusing procedure and appealed to the people to "stand for your liberty". For this he was accused of "sedition" and "mutiny", fined £20 and banished. But the deputies of the court protested against both the sentence and the conduct of the magistrates, particularly in their refusal to allow them the vote on the question of Gorton's guilt. Nine refused to attend the next sitting of the court and seven were fined 3 shillings as many as three times for continuing their protest. The Gortons were turned out of their home at the height of the worst blizzard so far experienced by the New England settlers. John Winthrop recorded at the time: "Five men and youths perished between Mattapan and Dorchester, and a man and a woman between Boston and Roxbury". The women and children were taken in by friends but Samuel, Thomas and John Wickes were forced out into the wilderness, through knee-deep snow with several rivers to cross.


They eventually made their way to Aquidneck Island (Newport) where Anne Hutchinson and her supporters had settled. Here they found that William Coddington was abusing his power as Governor and "Judge" of the community to establish his own "feudal fiefdom". After new elections in which the franchise was broadened Coddington was deposed and a new government formed under William Hutchinson, husband of Anne, and Samuel Gorton. They changed the name of their town from Pocasett to Portsmouth and continued what has been described as the first "experiment in civil democracy" in America. But Coddington had taken the town records and land-title with him in removing south to found the town of Newport, which meant the "Gorton government" could not legally apportion land to newcomers. Coddington eventually returned to power and set about removing those who had opposed him. Having committed no offence Samuel Gorton was tricked into court by a repeat of the Plymouth tactic of prosecuting one of his employees. The "snare" was successful and when he accused the court of manipulating witnesses, and the law itself, a brawl broke out in the court room when Gorton was ordered to be seized and taken away. Samuel Gorton took no part but William Coddington did. Anticipating popular support for Gorton Coddington had stationed armed men nearby and Gorton and his supporters were arrested. He was again banished but this time after a public whipping. After receiving his "stripes", still half naked and bleeding from the lash, he dragged his chains behind him to pursue Governor Coddington as he rode away, promising to repay him in kind. After the death of William Hutchinson Coddington harried Ann from the island, threatening to return her to Massachusetts for further punishment. She and her extended family removed to Long Island, where they were massacred by Indians in 1643. Opposition to his rule continued and Coddington returned to England in 1651. Dishonestly claiming to have discovered and purchased the island himself, he fradulently acquired a patent for Aquidneck in his sole name. He was in fact only one of twelve original joint purchasers.


Samuel Gorton was attracting followers who appreciated both his own less extreme religious opinions and radical political views. In terms of religion, he denied the necessity of a professional ministry - insisting that each man and woman was his or her own priest- and rejected literal interpretations of Old Testament stories in favour of interpretation for the age, and greater emphasis on the actual teachings of Christ - The Word. Gorton preached that Christ was already risen, was here and now, and heaven was attainable on earth. His controversial political beliefs were that, all men being equal under Christ, the courts of men were not fit places to question religious opinions. Church and state should be kept apart: "any erection of authority of the State within the Church, or the Church within the State, is superfluous and as a branch to be cut off". Like Roger Williams, he was a champion of "Soul Liberty". Several of his supporters were banished from Aquidneck with him for sharing these beliefs and this growing party next settled in Providence with Williams. Here it soon became apparent that a faction among the original proprietors, led by William Arnold, were exploiting newcomers in the Pawtuxet area by selling them land then denying room to expand and rights to common grazing. This faction also controlled the town government. newly erected buildings were torn down and straying cattle impounded "until satisfaction were made". In some instances, Gorton claimed, ropes restraining the cattle had been deliberately cut. There is evidence that "Gorton's followers" at this time "outnumbered those of Roger Williams" and that he became spokesman for the majority of settlers, many of whom were not represented on the town council. The exploited began to resist the exploiters and when cattle belonging to Francis Weston were seized a melee ensued and injuries suffered by both sides. With their position of privilage and power under threat the Arnolds appealed to be taken under Massachusetts jurisdiction. In a letter to the Boston government they accused Gorton and his associates of all kinds of "uncivil" and "riotous" conduct; but while claiming to represent the majority themselves they were tellingly obliged to add "or very nearly". As many of the Providence settlers were already expelled from Massachusetts for their religious beliefs, subjection to Massachusetts authority would have meant they would again be banished from their own lands, convenient for the Arnold coterie and for Massachusetts, who had designs on Narragansett Bay. Roger Williams returned to London to lobby for a patent for what would eventually become Rhode Island, an independent colony in its own right.


Hearing that Massachusetts was now making threats against his life because of his religious teachings and political popularity, Gorton and a party of twelve families removed to Shawomet, thirty miles beyond the Massachusetts border, where "both the Massachusetts and Plymouth confessed us to be outside of the confines of their Patents". But Shawomet was in the region where the Arnolds, Indian traders on behalf of Massachusetts and now "official representatives of the Bay", had their strongest links with local Narragansett tribes. The Gorton party had purchased their lands from the chief sachem, Miantonomo, who had also aided Roger Williams and the Hutchinson party - all outlawed by Massachusetts. Miantonomo was called to Boston where he was humiliated before the court. Within weeks of selling the land to Gorton he was dead, murdered by his Mohegan rival, Uncas, with the direct complicity of Massachusetts and Connecticut in what has been termed "a clear case of judicial murder". When two minor sachems, Pumham of Shawomet and Socononocco of Pawtuxet, trading partners of the Arnolds, also requested to be taken under Massachusetts jurisdiction they were accepted as "praying Indians" even though "Massachusetts had hitherto shown no interest in Christianising the Indians". Under the Arnolds' orchestration and Boston's sanction they proceeded to mount a campaign of harassment and intimidation against newly founded Shawomet. Houses were broken into and ransacked while the occupiers were working in the fields, stones were thrown at women and children when the men were absent and other acts of robbery were common. The settlers' precious cattle were a prime target. They had not been settled long enough to establish a cycle of crops and English traders were forbidden to trade with them. And all the while Massachusetts was demanding they travel the sixty-plus miles to Boston to defend their ownership of Shawomet in a court that had no jurisdiction over the territory, the same court that had humiliated Miantonomo in telling him he had no right to sell his own land to heretics.


Before leaving Providence Gorton had written a lengthy and highly critical letter to Massachusetts, attacking their government and intolerant religious practices, and refusing to obey summonses to the Boston court. Until Roger Williams returned with the patent, Gorton told them, the only colonial government recognised in Shawomet was that agreed amongst its own inhabitants. The following year, after months of suffering at Shawomet, having recently learned of the fate of their friends the Hutchinsons on Long Island, and on the day another cow returned with arrows piercing its sides, a second letter was sent to Boston. Containing the often quoted lines "If you present a gun, make haste to give first fire: for we are come to put fire on the earth, and it is our desire to have it speedily kindled", this letter provided the image of Samuel Gorton as the "dangerous firebrand" he is often represented to be. But, although containing another attack on Massachusetts's integrity, the letter was an understandable response to the frustration, deprivation and stark terror being endured in Shawomet, and was in fact written by Randal Holden. It is often cited in mitigation of Massachusetts's actions in sending a band of forty musketeers "and many Indians" to sieze the "dangerous incendiary" Samuel Gorton dead or alive. However, Massachusetts had not received the letter when despatching its forces.


Panic broke out when the Massachusetts troops attacked and two women died from exposure as a result of fleeing into the woods when unable to reach the boats intended to take the women and children to safety in Providence. The men occupied a blockhouse and barricaded themselves in, from where they non-violently resisted attempts to burn them out. On the final morning of the seige alone over four hundred rounds were fired at the blockhouse by the soldiers, "according to the emptying of their bandoliers". During the entire siege the Gorton party fired only two shots in return, "at random and in the night, to keep them from working their trenches near unto us"; Gorton's preferredweapon was hunour, calling out to the ofiicer commanding - Captain George Cooke - that the wheels were coming off his chariot of war. After failing to dislodge the defenders Cooke tricked his way into the house. Having agreed, in the interest of avoiding bloodshed, to Gorton's suggestion that he and his party would go to Boston, but as free men, Cooke ordered the Gortonists to be seized. Nicholas Power and Richard Waterman escaped in the confusion, John Greene having already slipped away in the night in search of his wife Alice, one of the two women later found dead. The rest of the Gortonists, their homes ransacked and cattle taken as reparation, were dragged to Boston in chains.


They were placed on trial, the charge being blasphemy, although Massachusetts Governor John Winthrop admitted in his famous Journal that the fertile lands and natural harbours of the Narragansett territory were "like to be of use to us". The prisoners were offered the chance to gain their freedom by denouncing Samuel Gorton's teachings, as contained in the two letters. All the prisoners stood by the opinions expressed there. After a trial in which Gorton confounded the charges of blasphemy they were nonetheless pronounced guilty by a nine to three majority of the magistrates, voting in favour of death by hanging. As in Plymouth, the colony deputies - representatives of all the towns in Massachusetts - refused to ratify the sentence. Winthrop grew concerned at growing levels of support for the prisoners in Boston, even some of the soldiers sent to arrest them were now sympathetic. In the absence of a unanimous verdict the final decision rested with him and he chose to sentence the prisoners to hard labour in chains at "the pleasure of the court" - indefinitely. Gorton and six others were dispersed to as many towns across Massachusetts. The clergy continued to preach against the Gortonists and some even urged the people to whom they were impressed to starve them to death. Francis Weston died in Dorchester as a result of the hard treatment he recieved. Elsewhere across the colony, however, the prisoners attracted sympathy. They were, after all, otherwise ordinary settlers whose land had been seized illegally, and they were by no means the first to criticise the Boston government. Winthrop began to hear disturbing reports of broader support for the prisoners, particularly in Salem, where Randal Holden was held, and closer to Boston in Roxbury and Charlestown, where Richard Carder and Samuel Gorton were serving their sentences. Although forbidden to speak to anyone not authorised by the General Court their case was nonetheless being circulated and well received.


The terms of their confinement had stated that any breach of the order forbidding them to speak would be punished by death, but the government now found itself powerless to proceed in the face of popular opinion. The prisoners were released and regrouped in Boston where, to the further embarrasment of the church and civil authorities, they were welcomed "joyfully" by many of the people. A warrant was issued ordering them to leave the town by noon and banishing them from Massachusetts. The party made their way to Aquidneck, where Coddington's government found they were similarly powerless to enforce the existing orders banishing them from the island. Samuel Gorton was even reinstated as magistrate in Portsmouth. Massachusetts stepped up its attempts to absorb the Narragansett region and those who would eventually become Rhode Islanders continued to resist. In one clash Gorton arrested the duplicitous Captain Cooke, who was then serving with the Massachusetts force harassing the Providence area. Although Williams had by now obtained the patent from the English Parliament Massachusetts and Plymouth were refusing to honour it, and it became clear that a further mission to London was required to have the patent ratified, and to have Shawomet - not established when Williams departed and so not named in the patent - formally included. Gorton, John Greene and Randal Holden departed for London, probably in the late summer of 1645. Forbidden to enter Boston on "pain of death" they were forced to travel to the Dutch territories in New York to gain a passage for Amsterdam, and from there to London.


In August 1646 Randal Holden returned to Rhode Island with ratification of the Williams patent, and a letter of safe conduct through Boston. The Shawomet people changed the name of their town to Warwick in honour of the Earl of Warwick, Parliamentary "Governor for Foreign plantations", who confirmed the validity of the patent. But Edward Winslow arrived in England to oppose it on behalf of Massachusetts and Plymouth, to challenge and discredit Samuel Gorton, and request that he be prevented from returning to New England. His Hypocrisie Unmasked had been composed at the request and with the assistance of John Winthrop from 'evidence' supplied by Coddington, the Arnolds, Winslow and Winthrop himself. As Plymouth was now claiming the Narragansett region for herself the testimony it contained was provided by all of those who stood to gain from Gorton's removal from New England. In all, Gorton appeared three times before the Warwick Commission for Foreign Plantations, defending attacks on both his and his settlement's integrity; on each occasion he was successful. He also appeared before another committee and was satisfactorily examined on his fitness to preach. Despite the efforts of Winslow, and the delaying tactics employed by Massachusetts's agents in having him arrested on board the ship that was to take him home, on the eve of departure (and on a false charge of unpaid debts), Samuel Gorton finally returned to Rhode Island in May 1648.


It is commonly reported even today that Samuel Gorton would accept no government or magistracy. Yet he served as a magistrate in Portsmouth and as a member of the General Court of the new colony of Providence Plantations and Rhode Island that in 1652 forced William Coddington to publicly confess his fraudulent actions in claiming Aquidneck for himself. The occasion must have given Gorton great personal satisfaction in witnessing his former persecutor's humiliation. He went on to serve the colony as President in 1651 and as a magistrate until he retired from public office, aged seventy-eight, in 1670. In 1657 he was the author of the first protest against slavery in America. His religion was first and foremost humane, and tolerant towards the opinions of others. As with the early Quakers to whom he offered unconditional sanctuary, he may have disagreed with them but they were welcomed as equals and neighbours. Indeed, more than any other figure in New England his enlightened approach resembles what we recognise today as modern Christianity.


The story of Samuel Gorton is central to the history of Rhode Island, and the story of Rhode Island central to the history of New England. In this case, history was not written by the victors; it was written by those who had the only printing press, who were also the founders of New England's first seat of learning at Harvard. Over the centuries the stories of those men and women - Roger Williams, Ann Hutchinson, Samuel Gorton, Mary Dyer - who opposed the excesses of the Puritan founders were ignored and then forgotten. Both Williams and Hutchinson have been subject to fitting historical revision and rescued from the margins they had been consigned to. The same cannot be said of Samuel Gorton, study of whose career in pursuit of the right to free speech and freedom of religion reveals nothing more sinister than the "middling sort" of Englishman evolving into the proto-American.

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Samuel was 44 years old when he landed in Boston with his wife Elizabeth, son Samuel and other children in 1637. He arrived the latter part of March of that year. He visited several parts of Rhode Island, and finally took up residence in what would soon become Warwick.

Samuel Gorton; Clothier of London, was born 1592 in Gorton (now incorporated in the city of Manchester) England, "Where the fathers of his body had lived for many generations, not unknown to the Heraldry of England." He was reared in the established church. In an address to King Charles the first, he said he sucked in the so-called particular tenets attributed to him from the breasts of his mother, the Church of England. To the fundamental doctrines taught by the church he ever so firmly held, although he was a non-conformist. England was under the rule of the Conformist, King James. Laud was conspicuous in the Universities; and they had declared it to be unlawful to be opposed to the King upon religion or any other subject.

Gorton was instructed by private tutors, and being of studious habits, he secured a classical education, became well read in English law and more than ordinarily skilled in the languages. "One of those noble spirits who esteemed liberty more than life, and counting no sacrifice too great for the maintenance of principal, could not dwell at ease in a land where the inalienable rights of humanity were not acknowledged." He left his native country, he says "to enjoy liberty of conscience in respect to faith toward God and for no other end."

He landed at Boston in March, 1636, with his wife, Mary (daughter of John Maplet, gent, of St. Martin's le Grand, London, and Mary, his wife), his son Samuel, and one or two other children. At the time of his arrival, the Massachusetts Government was proceeding against Wheelright, the brother in law of Annie Hutchinson. (From the book: The life and times of Samuel Gorton)

Samuel had private tutors who taught him the classics. His fluency in both Greek and Hebrew enabled him to study the Bible's original text.

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ID: I53678

Name: *Samuel Gorton 1 2 3

Sex: M

Title: Gov.

Birth: 12 FEB 1590 in Gorton, Lancashire, England 2 3

Death: 10 DEC 1677 in Warwick, Kent County,Rhode Island 2 3

Burial: Family Cemetery, Rocky Point Road, Warwick Cove, Warwick, Kent County, RI

Immigration: 1637 Massachusetts

Occupation: clothier of London, Middlesex (now London), England

Note:

1. Providence was founded in 1636 as a settlement by English clergyman Roger Williams, after he was banished by the Massachusetts Great and General Court. Williams selected the name in gratitude for "God's merciful providence" that the Narragansetts have granted him title to the site. Anne (Marbury)Hutchinson was exiled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1638 and brought more settlers who were attracted to the colony by the promise of religious freedom to establish Pocasset, now Portsmouth. William Coddington and others founded Newport in 1639.

SAMUEL GORTON, another refugee from Massachusetts, in 1638 came first to Portsmouth, and later to Providence, creating discord at both places by denying all power in the magistrates. Samuel founded Shawomet, Rhode Island's fourth settlement in 1642. Samuel purchased from the Indians a tract of land in 1643 and settled there. The town was named Warwick a few years later in honor of the Earl of Warwick.

Samuel was an Anglo-American religious leader. Seeking religious freedom, he immigrated to America (1637) but, because of his unorthodox religious teachings, was banished successively from Boston and Plymouth. At Portsmouth, he joined Anne (Marbury) Hutchinson in ousting William Coddington (1639) but on Coddington's return to power was himself turned out. Massachusetts authorities, with designs on the land Samuel had purchased from the Indians in Rhode Island, jailed him (1643) for holding erroneous religious opinions. The Earl of Warwick finally obtained for Gorton freedom from molestation on his land, which he renamed Warwick (1648) and on which he preached to colonists and Native Americans. His followers called themselves "Gortonites" for many decades after his death. His tenets included denial of the Trinity, denial of actual heaven and hell, and a belief that every man should be his own intercessor.

The four towns, Providence, Portsmouth, Newport, and Warwick, lying in a broken line about thirty miles in length, for many years constituted the municipal divisions of the colony. The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations also gave protection to Quakers in 1657 and to Jews from Holland in 1658.

2. Samuel problems with the Plymouth Colony is exemplified in the following:

"Hypocricie Unmasked" (1646), later republished under the title "The Danger of Tolerating Levellers in a Civil State" (1647),

was written by Mayflower passenger and occasional Plymouth Colony governor Edward Winslow. The first half of the book

is a rebuttal to Samuel Gorton's religious discourse "Simplicities Defence against Seven Headed Church-Government" (1646).

The second half of the book is a narration meant to describe the "true grounds and cause of the first Planting of New England".

was born on Feb 12 1592 in manchester, , , eng. He was christened on Feb 12 1592/93 in Cathedral Church, manchester, England. He died on Dec 10 1677 in providence, providence, RI. He was buried in Family Cemetery, Warwick Cove, Warwick, Rhode Island. He has reference number 8Q4G-FC. FROM: Gorton, Adelos. The Life and Times of Samuel Gorton. Philadelphia: George S. Ferguson Co., 1907.

SAMUEL GORTON, clothier, of London, was born in 1592 in Gorton (now incorporated within the city of Manchester), "where the fathers of his body had lived for many generations, not unknown to the Heraldry of England."2 He was reared in the Established Church. In an address to King Charles the First he said that he sucked in the so-called peculiar tenets attributed to him from the breasts of his mother the Church of England. To the fundamental doctrines taught by the church he ever firmly held, although he was a Nonconformist. England was under the rule of the Conformist King James. Laud was conspicuous in the universities; and they had declared it to be unlawful to be opposed to the king upon religion or any other subject.3 Gorton was instructed by private tutors, and, being of studious habits, he secured a classical education, became well read in English law and more than ordinarily

skilled in the languages. "One of those noble spirits who esteemed liberty more than life, and counting no sacrifice too great for the maintenance of principal, could not dwell at ease in a land where the inalienable rights of humanity were not acknowledged." He left his native country, he says, "to enjoy liberty of conscience in respect to faith toward God and for no other end."4

He landed at Boston in March, 1636, with his wife Mary5 (daughter of John Maplet, gent, of St. Martin's le Grand, London, and Mary his wife), his son Samuel and one or two other children. At the time of his arrival the Massachusetts government was proceeding against Wheelright, the brother-in-law of Annie Hutchinson. He says he found the people of the colony at great variance in points of religion, prosecuting it very hotly in their courts unto fi??nes and banishments. Their laws prohibiting non-subscribing churchmen from living there, he took up his residence in Plymouth, which was then a more liberal colony. In June, 1637, he, while a resident of Plymouth, joined one of the military companies which was raised in response to Massachusetts' call for aid to defend themselves against the Pequot Indians.6 In 1638 he led the opposition to the illiberal changes, delegate representation, etc. thrust into the government by Prence, the then Governor of Plymouth, was snared into Prence's court and, for his contempt for it, banished. In 1639, at Pocasset, Aquidneck Island, he was a freeman and a member of the second or civil compact of government; the first government upon the island of Aquidneck or Rhode which had as its official heads a Governor--Governor Hutchinson--a Deputy Governor and Assistants; the first to grant universal suffrage; the first that constituted regular Quarterly Courts, and the first with a jury for the trial of causes. They changed the name of the place to Portsmouth. In 1640 he, with many other members of the civil government, was driven from the island by the former deposed ruler, Judge Coddington, who had violently reassumed government. In 1640 he settled on land he purchased of Robert Cole at Papaquinapaug, near Massapaug Pond adjoining Providence. This land with the buildings he had erected thereon he abandoned on account of claims made by his opponents with fraudulent underlying titles. In 1642 he purchased of the first owners, the Narragansett Sachems, the lands of Shawomet and founded the town he named Warwick. In 1643 he was made a prisoner by soldiers sent by the Massachusetts Magistrates who coveted the land, tried for heresy and confined at Charleston. He was in 1644, at Portsmouth, immediately upon his release and return to the town, chosen a Magistrate by the people. In 1644 he secured from the Narragansett Indians their deed in dominion of all their lands, their submission to the English government, and their appointment of him as their Representative and "beloved Commissioner" to attach them to the colony, for which Roger Williams had departed to obtain a charter. In 1644, upon Williams' return with the charter, which included the Narragansett lands (the greater part of the present State), a government was at once organized with Williams as Governor and Gorton as one of the Assistants: "The Government of the Providence Plantations." In 1645, after nearly two years of ineffectual operation of the government owing to the obstructions of the Arnolds and Coddington and the war waged against it by the adjoining colonies, Gorton was chosen Commissioner to lay the grievances of the government before the English Parliament. As expressed in Williams'7 letter, "to preserve the lives and liberties of the people." In August, 1645, he took ship from Manhattan. In 1646 he secured from the Parliament Commissioners a mandate commanding the other colonies not to disturb the petitioners and inhabitants living within the bounds of their charter. Upon this, in 1647, a union of all the settlements with the chartered government was effected. In 1648, May 10th, he, upon his return, landed in Boston, where he was so detained by the Massachusetts Magistrates in collusion with the Arnold-Coddington faction, in violation of the Parliament order, that it was impossible for him, a promising candidate for the chief office in the colony, to reach his government to be present at their annual court and election; whereupon Coddington, the Arnold candidate for the Presidency, whose treasonable acts and papers had confronted Gorton while in England, and against whom Gorton's testimony was desired by the court before the election, Coddington, against whom various bills of indictment thus deferred were pending, was fraudulently declared elected! the majority of the court being against him, and they immediately suspending him from the government, and deputing and installing Jeremiah Clark President of the colony. In 1649 Gorton was chosen a member of the Assembly. In 1651, in the midst of the continued movement of all the other colonies in their attempted subversion of the colony to the governments of Plymouth and Massachusetts, and during the time that Williams was absent, while laying before the English Parliament the continued grievances of the colony, the most trying period of their history, Gorton was chosen the President of the colony; and, with his Assistants, proved, in the words of the historian of Warwick, the "crew of valiant men whose courage and wisdom were equal to the emergency." In 1652 he draughted and assisted to enact the first legal enactment abolishing slavery--involuntary life servitude in the colonies8 Hawes, in his history, says that Gorton and Williams drew up this Act, but Williams was then in England, had gone there the year before. This law, so early, could not be sustained. Not until about one hundred years after this was the like statute again enacted. He was one of the incorporators named in the 1663 new charter.

From 1664 to 1667 he was Deputy, a Judge in the high court and equivalent of present State Senator; was again chosen to this position in 1670, and, on account of his age only, he being seventy-nine years old, he declined the proffered continuation in office.

Although he is represented by some writers as a man given to anger, he appears mild when compared with many others of that period. It is observable that his friends and the people, nearly all of whom were of dissimilar religious views who lived in Warwick, did not fall out with him or complain of him. They had no difficulties among themselves but that were lovingly arbitrated, and he "never raised his hand in violence against any human being, not even against his own children." In the debates with the Friends, in which he with Roger Williams and others took part against them, he is the one almost alone that exhibited no anger, flung no epithets, and is not accused by his opponents, as most of the others are, of unkindness or incivility. Although doctrinally opposed to them, he sent letters of loving sympathy to those that were imprisoned, and he was about the only man of prominence of that time, we can find, who kindly respected, even advocated, the rights of others to opinions differing with his own. To the cause of human liberty there is in American history no greater example of a lifetime of unselfish, unflinching sacrificial devotion. Nearly all of the accounts we have of Samuel Gorton in our libraries are copies of the political fables that were used in the attempt to destroy the government and obtain the lands of the Providence Plantation people.9

We quote from the words of the Hon. Job Durfee, one of the most able of the Chief Justices of the Rhode Island Supreme Court. He writes: "Samuel Gorton was a person of the most distinctive originality of character. He was a man of deep, strong feelings, keenly alive to every injury, though inflicted on the humblest of God's creatures. He was a great lover of soul liberty and hater of all shams. He was a learned man, self-educated, studious, contemplative, a profound thinker, who in his spiritual meditations amid ancient Warwick's primeval groves wandered off into infinite and eternal realities, forgetful of earth and all earthly relations. He did indeed clothe his thoughts at times in clouds, but then it was because they were too large for any other garment. No one who shall rivet his attention upon

them shall fail to catch some glimpse of giant limb and joint, and have some dim conception of the colossal form that is enshrouded within the mystic envelopment. Yet in common life no one was more plain, simple and unaffected than Gorton. That he was courteous, affable and elegant, his very enemies admit, and even greviously complain of his seductive language. He was a man of courage, and when aroused no hero of the Iliad ever breathed language more impassioned or effective. Nothing is more probable than that such a man, in the presence of the Massachusetts Magistrates, felt his superiority and moved and spoke with somewhat more freedom than they deemed suited to their dignity. Far more sinned against than sinning, he bore adversity with heroic fortitude; and if he did not conquer, he yet finally baffled every effort of his enemies."

On November 27, 1677, he deeded to his son Samuel the homestead at Warwick, to his son John all lands west of Warwick, other lands to Benjamin; and further deeded for love, etc., to sons-in-laws and daughters lands in Narragansett, viz.: To Daniel Cole and wife Maher, John Sanford and Mary, William Mace and Sarah, John Warner and Ann, John Crandall and Elizabeth, and Benjamin Barton and Susanna. To son Samuel he commits "the care of my beloved wife during widowhood, if she live to be a widow, and she to be maintained with convenient housing and necessaries;" provision is also made for her "recreation in case she desires to visit her friends."

Samuel died in the year 1677 in December, probably the 10th day of the month, aged within a few days of eighty-six years. The time of Mary's death is unknown. His body rests in the Gorton burial ground at Warwick, and her body also probably rests there. No monument of marble or stone has ever marked their graves.

1Gorton's letter to Gov. John Winthrop, Jr., 4th Ser. Mass. Hist. Collections, vii, 604. Baptism, Feb. 12, 1592, Collegiate Church, Records N. E. Hist. and Gen. Dict., LI, 199. Dr. Howard's Miscellanae Genealogea et Heraldica, New Series of 1877, Vol. i, pp. 321-325, 378, 379.

2Letter to Nathaniel Morton, Force's Tracts, Vol. iv.

3Price's Nonconformists in England, Vol. i, p. 454, Vol. ii, p. 99.

4Mackey's Life of Samuel Gorton, Sparks' American Biographies.

5Will and Bequests of Mary Maplet to her daughter, Mary, wife of Samuel Gorton, dated Dec. 12, 1645, and of Dr. John Maplet to his sister, Mary, wife of Samuel Gorton, dated Apr. 13, 1670, N. E. Hist and Gen. Register, Vols. xliv and xlvi. Deed of Samuel Gorton and wife, Mary, of lands bought of Robert Cole, laying upon Massapaug stream, close to the town of Providence, Book 2, brass clasp, p. 613.

6Plymouth Records, Vol. i,

7Letter from the chief officers of the Assembly of Providence Plantations at Newport, Aug. 9, 1645, in Proc. Mass. Hist. Society, 1862. Remarks of Narragansett Patent, Sidney S. Rider, Publisher, Providence. Williams' letter, 4th Mass. Collections, vii, 627.

8Act. R. I. Recds., Vol. i,

9The Lands of Rhode Island, by Sidney S. Rider, Providence.]

He was married to Mary MAPLET before 1630 in England.

1592: Samuel Gorton was born.

"New England Marriages Prior to 1700" compiled by Clarence Almon Torrey; p. 314; The Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc.; Baltimore, Maryland; 1985 (974.0 NEa/Marriage SCGS)

1592: Samuel Gorton, born in the parish of Manchester, Lancashire, England, the English home having been for many generations at a village of the parish called "Gorton".

"History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" by Thomas William Bickwell; pp. 253-4; The American Historical Society, Inc.; New York, New York; 1920 (974.5 B583 LAPL)

1637, March: Samuel Gorton arrived in Boston, Massachusetts and removed first to Plymouth Massachusetts, then to Portsmouth, Providence, Cranston, and Warwick, Rhode Island. [Research of NancyAnn Norman]

"Samuel Gorton of Rhode Island and his descendants" by Thomas Arthur Gorton; p. 57; Gateway Press; Baltimore, Maryland; 1985 (929.2 G652GT ACPL)

1637, March: Samuel Gorton landed in Boston. . . .at age of fourty-four years with his wife, eldest son, Samuel, then six years of age and one or more other children.

"Life and Times of Samuel Gorton" by Adelos Gorton; George S. Ferguson Company, p. 13; Printers and Electrotypers; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 1907 (929.2 G6886G ACPL)

1637, March: Samuel Gorton landed in Boston, Massachusetts at the age of forty-four years, with his wife, his eldest son Samuel, then six years of age, and one or more other children. It would seem that Rhode Island might not have survived the challenges of Massachusetts Colony had not this man been so dedicated and persist ant.

"Life and Times of Samuel Gorton" by Adelos Gorton; George S. Ferguson Company, Printers and Electrotypers; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 1907 (929.2 G6886G ACPL)

1637, June: He, while a resident of Plymouth, joined one of the military companies that were raised in response to Massachusetts' call for aid to defend themselves against the Pequot Indians.

1638: He led the opposition to the illiberal changes, delegate representation, etc. thrust into the government by Prence, the then Governor of Plymouth, was snared into Prence's court and, for his contempt for it, banished.

1639: At Pocasset, Aquidneck Island, he was a freeman and a member of the second or civil compact of government; the first government upon the island of Aquidneck or Rhode which had as its official heads a Governor--Governor Hutchinson--a Deputy Governor and Assistants; the first to grant universal suffrage; the first that constituted regular Quarterly Courts, and the first with a jury for the trial of causes. They changed the name of the place to Portsmouth. In 1640 he, with many other members of the civil government, was driven from the island by the former deposed ruler, Judge Coddington, who had violently reassumed government.

"Life and Times of Samuel Gorton" by Adelos Gorton; George S. Ferguson Company, Printers and Electrotypers; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 1907 (929.2 G6886G ACPL

1640: He settled on land he purchased of Robert Cole at Papaquinapaug, near Massapaug Pond adjoining Providence. This land with the buildings he had erected thereon he abandoned on account of claims made by his opponents with fraudulent underlying titles.

1642: He purchased of the first owners, the Narragansett Sachems, the lands of Shawomet and founded the town he named Warwick. Although he is represented by some writers as a man given to anger, he appears mild when compared with many others of that period. It is observable that his friends and the people, nearly all of whom were of dissimilar religious views who lived in Warwick, did not fall out with him or complain of him. They had no difficulties among themselves but that were lovingly arbitrated, and he "never raised his hand in violence against any human being, not even against his own children." In the debates with the Friends, in which he with Roger Williams and others took part against them, he is the one almost alone that exhibited no anger, flung no epithets, and is not accused by his opponents, as most of the others are, of unkindness or incivility. Although doctrinally opposed to them, he sent letters of loving sympathy to those that were imprisoned, and he was about the only man of prominence of that time, we can find, who kindly respected, even advocated, the rights of others to opinions differing with his own. To the cause of human liberty there is in American history no greater example of a lifetime of unselfish, unflinching sacrificial devotion. Nearly all of the accounts we have of Samuel Gorton in our libraries are copies of the political fables that were used in the attempt to destroy the government and obtain the lands of the Providence Plantation people.

"Life and Times of Samuel Gorton" by Adelos Gorton; George S. Ferguson Company, Printers and Electrotypers; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 1907 (929.2 G6886G ACPL)

1641: He settled in what is now Rhode Island.

1643: With others, he bought the tract Shawomet, later Warwick. He was assistant commissioner, president of Providence and Warwick, and several times deputy, but he will live longest for his prominence in religious work, many of his writings yet being preserved, and the sect he founded, popularly known as "Nothingarians", survived him about one hundred years. He was a religious enthusiast and advocated a religion so at variance with the established faith that he was continually engaged in conflict with the authorities, civil and ecclesiastical. His settlement at Warwick came after he had been driven from Boston and from Rhode Island towns. He went at once to England to plead his own cause before the King, and was so befriended by the Earl of Warwick that upon his return he renamed Shawomet, Warwick, in honor of his friend.

"History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" by Thomas William Bickwell; pp. 253-4; The American Historical Society, Inc.; New York, New York; 1920 (974.5 B583 LAPL)

1651: He was a President of the Providence Plantations and founder of the town of Warwick. In the

forefront of political reforms, he fought valiantly for the separation of church and state, played an important role in the movement to ban slavery, and stood for the rights of Indians, paying them for his lands when many other colonists merely appropriated their real estate. A lay minister, he was the author of numerous historical and religious volumes. On the mission back to England he was instrumental in obtaining a royal charter for Rhode Island and in defending its political independence from the threat of dominance by Massachusetts. [Research of NancyAnn Norman]

"Samuel Gorton of Rhode Island and his descendants" by Thomas Arthur Gorton; p. 57; Gateway Press; Baltimore, Maryland; 1985 (929.2 G652GT ACPL)

1664 to 1667: He was a Deputy, a Judge in the high court and equivalent of present State Senator.

"Life and Times of Samuel Gorton" by Adelos Gorton; George S. Ferguson Company, p. 161; Printers and Electrotypers; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 1907 (929.2 G6886G ACPL)

1668, May 18, Warwick: Samuell Gorton and John Gorton

" . . . Samuel Gorton senr. Professor the Misterys of Christ. and purchasser of Shaomett Inhabitant of . . . Warwick . . . unto my . . .sonn John Gorton . . . doe . . . give . . . one third part of my . . . Lands . . . beyond the . . . Towne of Warwick Westwad the other two thirds being betwixt my sonn Samll. Gorton junr. and my sonn Benjamin Gorton . . . to be devided as the Major part of my three sonns . . . shall agree . . . unto my sonn John Gorton . . . my share of Meddow at Taskeunck . . . Twenty seventh of

November 1677 . . . <signed> Samuel Gorton Senr

<witness> John Greene, Asistant and Randall Howldon" [Research and transcription of Claire Gilbert Dietz, RIGENWEB]

"Rhode Island Land Evidences, 1648-1696" compiled by Dorothy Worthington; I:118; The Baltimore Genealogical Publishing Company; Baltimore, Maryland; 1970 (974.5 R343L ACPL)

1670: He was again, appointed to the office of Deputy

"Life and Times of Samuel Gorton" by Adelos Gorton; George S. Ferguson Company, p. 161; Printers and Electrotypers; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 1907 (929.2 G6886G ACPL)

1677, November 27: Samuell Gorton to Daniell Coles. etc

"Samuel Gorton senr. proffessor of the Mistries of Chriost . . . of the Towne of Warwicke . . . doe . . . give . . . my Right in that Neck of Land which was given unto mr Randall Howland and my selfe lying Southward from mr Richard Smiths place where his house stood, and bounded Southerly by a Brook Running downe betwixt the said Neck and a place where Captain Hudsons house stood at Narraagansett, the bounds thereof, being more largly Expressed in the deed bearing date May 27th, 1659 . . . unto my Sonn Daniell Coles and his wife Mahor Coles one sixth part of . . . the said Neck . . . unto my sonn John Sanford and my Daughter, Mary Sanford one Sixth part . . . unto my sonn William Maze and my Daughter Sarah Maze, one sixth part..unto my sonn John Warner, and my Daughter Anna Warner one sixth part..unto my sonn John Crandall and my Daughter Elizabeth Crandell one sixth part . . . unto my sonn Benjamin Barton and to my daughter Susanah Barton one sixth part, proided that each of them shall . . . help defend the title against the intrusions of Richard Smith . . . in case all doe Refuse . . . I . . . give it to my Sonn Sanuell Gorton to performe the same . . . 27th of November 1677 in Warwicke <signed> Samuell Gorton, Senr.

<witness> John Green, Assistant and Randall Howldon." [Researched and transcribed by Claire Gilbert Dietz, RIGENWEB]

"Rhode Island Land Evidences, 1648 -1696" compiled by Dorothy Worthington; I:190; Rhode Island Historical Society; Providence, Rhode Island; 1921 (974.5 RI/Land Abstract SCGS) (974.5 R343L ACPL)

1677, December 10: Samuel died within a few days of eighty-six years. Samuel and his wife's bodies rests in the Gorton burial ground at Warwick, Rhode Island. No monument of marble or stone has ever marked their graves. [Research of Sandra Flippen, WorldConnect]

"Life and Times of Samuel Gorton" by Adelos Gorton; George S. Ferguson Company, p. 161; Printers and Electrotypers; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 1907 (929.2 G6886G ACPL)

Marriage 1 Mary Maplet b: 12 MAR 1608/09 in Manchester (Lancashire) England

Married: 11 JAN 1629/30 in Manchester, Manchester (Lancashire) England

1630, January 11: Samuel Gorton married Mary Maplet.

"New England Marriages Prior to 1700" compiled by Clarence Almon Torrey; p. 313; The Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc.; Baltimore, Maryland; 1985 (974.0 NEa/Marriage SCGS)

Marriage Note: The children of Samuel and Mary (Marpet) Gorton were: 1) Samuel, born 1630 and married Susanna Burton; 2) Mary, married (1st) Peter Greene and (2nd) John Sanford; 3) Maher married Daniel Cole; 4) John married Margaret Weeden; 5) Benjamin married Sarah Carder; 6) Sarah married William Mace; 7) Ann married John Warner; 8) Elizabeth married John Crandall and 9) Susanna married Benjamin Boston.

"Life and Times of Samuel Gorton" by Adelos Gorton; George S. Ferguson Company, p. 162; Printers and Electrotypers; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 1907 (929.2 G6886G ACPL)

Samuell Gorton founded the city of Warwick in Rhode Island He came over from Lancashire England in 1636/37; first to Pllymouth, MA, then to Portsmith, Providence, Cranston and then to Warwick. He and nine other bought Warwick,(which they called Shawmut then), from the Indians. He fought valiantly for the movement to ban slavery, and stood for the rights of Indians. Paying them for their lands instead of just taking it as many of the colonists did. A lay minister he was the author of numerous historical and religious volumes. On a mission back to Englandl, he was instrumental in obtaining a royal charter for Rhode Island and in defending it's political independence from the threat of dominance by Massachusetts. Note: Gorton's oun words-"I was born in the town of Gorton, old England; not only I, but the fathers of my body for many generations. Thanks Sam!

Ancestry Hints for *Samuel Gorton

   1 possible matches found on Ancestry.com	

Father: *Thomas Gorton b: 1546 in Gorton, Manchester, Lancashire, England

Mother: *Anne Johnson b: BEF 2 MAR 1571 in Penrith, Cumberland, England c: 2 MAR 1571 in Penrith, Cumberland, England

Marriage 1 *Mary Elizabeth Maplett b: 12 MAR 1608 in St. Lawrence Jewry,London City, Middlesex (now London), England

Married: BEF 11 JAN 1630 in St Mary Magdalene Milk, London City, Middlesex (now London), England 2 3

Note:

1630, January 11: Samuel Gorton married Mary Maplet.

"New England Marriages Prior to 1700" compiled by Clarence Almon Torrey; p. 313; The Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc.; Baltimore, Maryland; 1985 (974.0 NEa/Marriage SCGS)

Marriage Note: The children of Samuel and Mary (Marpet) Gorton were: 1) Samuel, born 1630 and married Susanna Burton; 2) Mary, married (1st) Peter Greene and (2nd) John Sanford; 3) Maher married Daniel Cole; 4) John married Margaret Weeden; 5) Benjamin married Sarah Carder; 6) Sarah married William Mace; 7) Ann married John Warner; 8) Elizabeth married John Crandall and 9) Susanna married Benjamin Boston.

"Life and Times of Samuel Gorton" by Adelos Gorton; George S. Ferguson Company, p. 162; Printers and Electrotypers; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 1907 (929.2 G6886G ACPL

Children

Samuel Gorton b: 11 JAN 1630 in Gorton, Lancaster, England
Mary Gorton b: BET 1631 AND 1632
Sarah Gorton b: BET 1638 AND 1639
*John Gorton b: 1640 in Gorton, Manchester (Lancashire) England
Elizabeth Gorton b: 28 NOV 1641 in Warwick, Kent, Rhode Island
Mahershallal Hashbaz Gorton b: 1642
Ann Gorton b: 5 JUN 1644
Susanna Gorton b: ABT 1649 in Warwick, Kent County, Rhode Island
Benjamin Gorton b: 1648

Sources:

Title: World Family Tree Vol. 8, Ed. 1

Author: Brøderbund Software, Inc.

Publication: Release date: January 12, 1997

Note: Customer pedigree.

Repository:

Media: Family Archive CD

Page: Tree #1376

Text: Date of Import: Feb 4, 2000

Title: Book: "Samuel Gorton Of Rhode Island And His Descendants" by Thomas Gorton

Page: page 57

Title: cgknight1963.ged

Repository:

Media: Other

Text: Date of Import: Sep 26, 2003

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FAMILY HISTORY AND STORY OF SAMUEL GORTON

First governor of PROVIDENCE PLANTATIONS of Rhode Island,

and founder of Warwick, Rhode Island.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Samuel Gorton is my immigrant ancestor. He was baptized on February 12, 1592 in the Cathedral Church, Lancashire, Manchester, England. He was probably born there in the Parish known as Gorton. His father was Thomas Gorton and his mother was Thomas' second wife, Anne. Samuel's parents were influential and well to do, "not entirely unknown to the heraldry of England," wrote Judge George A. Brayton, Justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island. Samuel had private tutors who taught him the classics. His fluency in both Greek and Hebrew enabled him to study the Bible's original text.

All around Samuel, the world was torn by religious wars. Samuel was caught in the unrest. He befriended a Separatist elder who later moved to Holland. The Separatists were the people who chose to separate themselves from the Church of England; some were eventually known as Pilgrims, others were known as Puritans. Samuel Gorton was neither a Pilgrim nor a Puritan. He was a nonconformist. He was a man of deep, strong feeling, keenly aware of every injustice inflicted on the humblest of God's creatures. An excellent preacher, he was also a profound thinker who, in his spiritual meditations, wandered off into infinity often forgetting his earthly surroundings. The Honorable Job Durfee, Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, thought that Samuel, "did indeed clothe his thought at times, in clouds, but then it was because they were too large for any other garment."

Yet, in ordinary life, no one was more plain, simple, and unaffected than Samuel. He was courteous, friendly, and elegant. He is said to have looked like a Saxon, tall and thin, with blue eyes and light brown hair. Early records say he was a clothier in London. This is where he might have met his wife, Mary Maplett. Incidentally, her brother was to become a famous personal physician for King Charles I. An articulate and passionate man, he was able to preach for hours at a time. A convincing speaker, Gorton spoke openly whenever he could get people to listen to him. His enemies complained about his charismatic language. Searching for religious freedom, Samuel, his wife Mary, the first three of their eventual nine children, and Samuel's brother Thomas sailed to America aboard the Speedwell, landing in Boston in 1636.

Samuel found the world of the Boston Puritans no better than the one he had left behind in England. He soon became involved in many disputes with the Puritan government in Massachusetts, so much so that they tried to imprison him. His every thought and word was an issue with the Puritan rules. His maid was put in jail because she smiled in church. Samuel went to jail for his maid and was later thrown out of Boston. It is believed that he went on to Portsmouth, Rhode Island with his family and spoke out against the magistrates there, call them all "asses."

William Arnold (Benedict Arnold's father) was against Gorton and his followers settling near what is now Portsmouth. Samuel didn't sense this animosity and he unwisely built homes. The Arnolds' appealed to Massachusetts to help rid themselves of the Gortonists, as Samuel and his followers had become known. Massachusetts enlisted two Indian chiefs, Ponham and Soconoco, to get Gorton out. They raided Samuel's home and burned it down. The Gortonists retreated to a block house. Then Governor Winthrop, a friend of Gorton, had Mr. Chad Brown try to mediate. He was unsuccessful. The Massachusetts soldiers came and entrenched themselves. They started firing and Samuel hung out the English flag, which was promptly shot to shreds. The Gortonists surrendered and were put in jail. Governor Winthrop had to abide by this although he did not want to. They were brought to trial and escaped death by one vote. After repeated persecution and prosecution, the court banished Gorton and his followers to other towns. They had to wear leg irons. Since Samuel had always been a friend of Governor Winthrop, he appealed. By March, 1644, the Massachusetts Bay authorities found that Gorton and his company did harm in the towns where they were confined and not knowing what to do with them, set them free and gave them fourteen days to make themselves scarce. This miraculous escape enabled Gorton to obtain the submission of the Narragansett Sachems Indians, an achievement which contributed in no small measure to the Independence of Rhode Island. He and about 100 other Gortonists braved a blowing snowstorm to walk and ride horses about 90 miles to the area now known as Providence.

Moving on was no new experience for the Gortonists. Each of them had been cast out of Massachusetts and most of them from other Rhode Island settlements. Gorton himself had been cast out of Boston, Plymouth, Aquidneck, and Newport before seeking refuge in Providence. By 1642, an English historian commented, "Gorton might almost be said to have graduated as a disturber of peace in every colony in New England." All of the settlers of Providence were outcasts from Massachusetts. Of all those who were banished because they dared to express opinions in conflict with the ruling hierarchy, Roger Williams is the most famous and Samuel Gorton is the most notorious. Samuel Gorton had the power to inspire fear, loathing, and wrath among his enemies.

Samuel and his followers purchased land from the Great Chief Miantonomo. This tract of land was to become known as the Shawomet Purchase. Other names on the deed, dated January 12, 1642, were: William Hutchinson, John Wickes, Sampson Shotten, and Robert Potter. In April, 1642, Samuel was elected Deputy Governor of the Land. They became friends with the Indians and Gorton and his older brother, Thomas, became adept in the Indian tongues. Even after the group became the owners of the land, there were problems. The Massachusetts Magistrates kept sending Gorton letters stating that the land was still under the rule of Boston. The magistrates even charged Samuel with blasphemy and burned the family home. They arrested and jailed him. His wife and children went to stay with friends and several Indian families. Samuel eventually cleared his name and was released from jail. However, he was told to leave Shawomet. He left, all right!

Samuel decided to rid himself of the yolk of the Massachusetts Magistrates once and for all. He headed to England, but had to detour through the New York area, since he was still a wanted man in Massachusetts. He left his family for three years and sailed to England and presented his written manuscript, "Simplicities Defense Against a Seven Headed Policy," London, 1649 (a copy of this is in the U.S. Library of Congress).

With the help of his friend, the Earl of Warwick, Gorton obtained hearings from Parliament since King Charles I had left power. Finally, Samuel was granted a royal charter with the help of the Earl of Warwick. Once he had the charter, he also got an order of safe passage and conduct given to him from the Earl. Upon sailing back into the Boston Harbor, he showed the magistrates the grant and they were very angry because they had to give Samuel safe passage back to Rhode Island. The charter also said that the Massachusetts government had to help Samuel set up his government. Never were they allowed to again interfere with Samuel Gorton.

Once charter government was established in Warwick, Gorton was satisfied and we hear no more of him making trouble. He was continuously honored by fellow citizens. Also, the town of Warwick was formed, and named after the Earl of Warwick. Records show that in March 1664, Samuel was still active and appointed Administrator of John Smith's will. Happily, he lived to see religious freedom secured to the colony in its Constitution.

In 1649, Samuel Gorton was elected general assistant to the Governor, and in 1651, was elected the first President over the two towns Warwick and Providence, called the Providence Plantations. Mr. Gorton was from this date the first citizen of Warwick, and his name stands at the head of the Warwick Commissioners for several succeeding years. He was elected a Deputy Governor in 1664, 1665, 1666, and 1670.

The Massachusetts Magistrates had often denounced Gorton as an anarchist, a blasphemer and rogue. This was not the real Gorton. Gorton's moral character was of the highest caliber and though he differed from the Orthodox Puritans he was never a blasphemer. He was an independent thinker and a true champion of liberty. He was a graduate of Pembroke College and Cambridge and was a minister of the Gospel. Throughout his life he was a close friend and devoted admirer of Governor John Winthrop.

The Gortonists beliefs have been described as a type of Christian Transcendentalism. The group believed Jesus Christ was divine, but they did not believe in the Trinity. They didn't think preachers should be paid, felt women were equal to men, were totally against slavery, and thought each individual had a right to read and study the scriptures for himself. Gorton staunchly believed that people should pay the Indians for their lands. Gorton's political creed may be stated briefly: true liberty can be found only within the framework of the law, which protects the civil right of the individual and the minority from the passing whim of the majority. He believed that government should be limited to civil affairs.

By about 1670, Gorton was in his advanced years and had retired from official cares. He died on December 10, 1677 at the age of 85. Samuel's grave is in Warwick behind a home off Warwick Neck Road. There are several Gorton cemeteries there. To this day, several lines of Gortons live in the area. Much has been written about Samuel and his chair is in the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum in Washington, D.C. Samuel can be called a forgotten founder of liberty.

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References and Books to read about Samuel Gorton

1907 The Life and Times of Samuel Gorton by Adelos Gorton, a very rare book. 1980 Samuel Gorton of Rhode Island and His Descendants, Thomas Gorton.

May 1942 Bulletin of the Newport, Rhode Island Historical Society titled: "Samuel Gorton" by William Wager Weeden.

Samuel Gorton's letter to Lord Hyde - Providence: Society of Colonial War 1930, page 5 (Also called GORTON TO HYDE)

Massachusetts War with Samuel Gorton, Providence: RHODE ISLAND PENDULUM, 142.

"The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge," Samuel Macauley Jackson New York Funk and Wagnalls, dated 1909, page 25-26

"Simplicities Defence Against Seven-Headed Policy," by Samuel Gorton London, 1646.

"The Founding of New England," Boton: The Atlantic Monthly 1921, page 142

"An Abstract of The Laws of New England," John Cotton, London 1641, page 10.

"The Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England, The Story how Samuel Gorton fought in the Pequot War," by Nathaniel B. Shurleff, Boston 1855, page 104, 1856, page 70.

"History of Rhode Island." John S. Taylor, NY 1853, page 40.

"The Complete Book of Emigrants," by Peter Wilson Coldham 1607-1660, page 227. Year 1644, entry April 19. The Copy of Act of Submission by Pessicus Sachema and the Narragansett Indians to the government of England. Samuel, Gorton, John Wickes, Randal Holden and John Warner are appointed to execute the Deed witnessed by Christopher Helme, Robert Potter and Richard Carder.

Also in "The Complete Book of Emigrants," entry dated April 1647. PROBATE THE WILL of Mery Maplet of St. Giles Cripplegate, London, whose daughter Mary was married to Samuel Gorton of New England.

"The American Genealogist," 1989, by Donald Lines Jacobus, Vol 18-20, page 186, Samuel Gorton.

Samuel Gortons writing chair is in the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum in Washington, D.C.

--------------------

 SAMUEL GORTON AND THE GORTONISTS

                  
                                                         I


Residing in the British Museum is a manuscript called The Saxon Chronicles. This is a work done by monks in the 10th century A.D. One of the oldest family names emerging throughout the chronicles is that of Gorton. The first record of the name was in Lancashire, England well before the Norman Conquest of 1066 A.D.


         The Gorton Family is descended from the Saxon race, a fair skinned people who settled in England about 400 A.D.  The Gorton’s were nobility in the County of Lancashire where they were “recorded as a family of great antiquity”[1].  By the 13th century the Gorton’s were considered one of the most distinguished families of County Lancashire.

         During the next three centuries the Gorton’s contributed to the culture of Britain.  In the period from the 16th to the 18th centuries England was overwhelmed by religious conflicts.  Many families lost titles and estates as religious groups gained and lost power.  The turmoil led many people to migrate to such places and Ireland and the Colonies of North America.  One of the first migrants to settle in the colonies was Samuel Gorton.  Samuel was accompanied by his wife, Mary (Maplett) Gorton, their daughter Mary and son John and Samuels’s brother Thomas.  They sailed from England on a ship called “The Speedwell” and arrived at Boston in 1637.

         
                                                         II

         Samuel Gorton was born on February 12, 1592 in Gorton, Lancashire, England.  He was baptized in the Cathedral Church in Manchester, England.  Samuel was the son of Thomas Gorton and Thomas’ second wife Anne.  His parents were well to do and quite connected with the English Heraldry.  Samuel received a classical education through his private tutors.  He was fluent in both the Greek and Hebrew languages which allowed him to study the Bible’s original text.  This ability led him to form his own ideas and opinions as to the Bible’s interpretation.

         Upon landing in Massachusetts Samuel found that the area controlled by the Boston Puritans was no better than what he’d left behind.  His radical religious and political ideals and his outspokenness soon put him at odds with the Government of Massachusetts.  A courteous and friendly man, Samuel was open-minded and did not hesitate to express his opinion.  He had very strong ideas when it came to religion and politics.  Samuel believed and fought for the separation of church and state, the right of all people to religious freedom whatever their religion was.  He believed that the Native Americans should be paid for their lands.  Samuel was against slavery and fought to ban it.  He was America’s earliest advocate for equal rights for women.  Not only did he think that women deserved the right to speak their minds, he also believed that they should be listened to!  

         Samuel’s outspoken beliefs, along with the fact that he was gathering a following irked Massachusetts’ Puritanical government.  Boston wanted to be rid of Gorton and his Gortonists, to the extent that he was once imprisoned because his maid smiled in church!  It is unknown exactly how long he was jailed as a result of this “crime”.

         After regaining his freedom Samuel and his followers were thrown out of Boston.  They settled an area of Rhode Island now known as Portsmouth.  One of Portsmouth’s most prominent citizens at that time was William Arnold, Benedict Arnold’s father.  William Arnold was well connected with the Massachusetts government.  He was also opposed to the Gortonist’s settling in Portsmouth and he appealed to Boston to “rid him of the Gortonists”. 

         The puritan government enlisted two Indian chiefs, Ponham and Soconoco to do their dirty work.  The Indians raided Samuel’s home and burned it.  The Gorton family and his following retreated to a blockhouse to take refuge.  The soldiers arrived from Massachusetts; they surround the house and fired upon it until the Gortonists surrendered.  

         Samuel and his assemblage (now numbering about 100) were put on trial charged with being “blasphemous enemies of the true religion and likewise of all civil government.”  They escaped death by one vote and were sentenced to “wear chains and leg irons at the pleasure of the court.”  The governor of Massachusetts at that time, John Winthrop, was a quiet friend of Gorton’s.  He appealed to the court and had the sentences reduced to banishment from Portsmouth.  Banishment was nothing new to Samuel Gorton.  Prior to this incident he had been thrown out of Boston, Plymouth, Aquidneck and Newport.  By 1642 an English historian said, “Gorton might almost be said to have graduated as a disturber of the peace in every colony in New England!”


                                                         III

         Samuel, his family and his band of believers left Portsmouth in a blizzard.  They walked about 90 miles to the area that is now known as Providence.  They purchased land from the great chief Miantonomo.  This purchase came to be known as “The Shawomet Purchase”.  The Gortonist’s became friends with the Indians and became fluent in their language.  In 1642 Samuel was elected as Deputy Governor of this new land.

         Though the Gortonist’s were many miles away from Massachusetts, the government there was still not happy with his existence or with his religious and political ideas and with his befriending of the Indians.  Gorton was noted in history as a man who “had the power to inspire fear, loathing and wrath among his enemies”.  The puritanical government of Boston, it seemed, did fear and loathe him even though he was far from Boston.  The magistrates of Massachusetts harassed Samuel with correspondences stating that the land he had purchased was under Boston rule.  Samuel ignored the letters.  Once again the government charged him with blasphemy and once again soldiers from Massachusetts arrived and burned his home.  Gorton was again imprisoned for a time and released on the condition that he leave the land that the Gortonist’s had purchased.

Samuel did indeed leave. He made arrangements for his family to live with Indians families nearby, then he disappeared. While Boston was celebrating what they saw as a victory, Samuel was on a ship to London. There he met with his old friend, Robert Rich, the Earl of Warwick. Samuel presented a manuscript to Parliament entitled

Simplicities Defense against a Seven Headed Policy.[2] With the help of the Earl of Warwick Samuel was granted a Royal Charter and received an order of “safe passage and conduct”. Needless to say the Massachusetts government was not happy upon Samuels return to Boston and even less happy with the Royal Charter. The militia now had to escort Samuel safely back to Rhode Island and the government was ordered to never interfere with Samuel Gorton or the Gortonist’s again.



IV



         Samuel returned, safely, to the land he and his followers had purchased.  He named the land Warwick after his friend the Earl.  In 1649 Samuel was elected General Assistant to the Governor and in 1651 he was elected first President of the towns of Providence and Warwick.  For many years he held offices of Commissioner and Deputy Governor.

         In 1670 Samuel retired from official office.  He died on December 10, 1677 at the age of 85.  Samuel is buried in Warwick behind a home off Warwick Neck Road.  Samuel Gorton has been noted as a “forgotten founder of liberty”.

         The Gortonists sect survived for about 100 years after Samuel’s death.

The author of this paper, Cecile (Sissy) Ann Avery, is the eighth great-granddaughter of Samuel Gorton. Her line of ancestry is as follows:


Cecile Ann Avery, born 12 Nov. 1965, Ellenville, NY, her mother is:


Helen Mae Bennett, born 04 October, 1929, Ellenville, NY, her father is:


Walter Bennett, born 01 Sept. 1892, Ulster Heights, NY, his mother was:


Minnie Bunting, born 2 Jun. 1867, Ulster Heights, NY, her mother was:


Bathena Maria Wakeman, born 6 Dec. 1833, Ulster County, NY, her mother was:


Phebe Gorton, born 5 Aug. 1811, Town of Neversink, NY, her father was:


William Gorton III, born 19 Aug. 1771, New London, CT, his father was:


William Gorton Jr., born 21 Sept. 1748, Mashapaug, RI, his father was:


William Gorton, born 1705, Warwick, RI, his father was:


John Gorton, born, 1632, Gorton, Lancashire, England, his father was:


Samuel Gorton, born, 1592, Gorton, Lancashire, England

-------------------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Gorton -------------------- SAMUEL GORTON, clothier, of London, was born in 1592* in Gorton (now incorporated within the city of Manchester), "where the fathers of his body had lived for many generations, not unknown to the Heraldry of England."* He was reared in the Established Church. In an address to King Charles the First he said that he sucked in the so-called peculiar tenets attributed to him from the breasts of his mother the Church of England. To the fundamental doctrines taught by the church he ever firmly held, although he was a Nonconformist. England was under the rule of the Conformist King James. Laud was conspicuous in the universities ; and they had declared it to be unlawful to be opposed to the king upon religion or any other subject.* Gorton ,was instructed by private tutors, and, being of studious habits, he secured a classical education, became well read in English law and more than ordinarily skilled in the languages. " One of those noble spirits who esteemed liberty more than life, and counting no sacrifice too great for the maintenance of principal, could not dwell at ease in a land where the inalienable rights of humanity were not acknowledged." He left his native country, he says, " to enjoy liberty of conscience in respect to faith toward God and for no other end."*

He landed at Boston in March, 1636, with his wife Mary"* (daughter of John Maplet, gent, of St. Martin's le Grand, London, and Mary his wife), his son Samuel and one or two other children. At the time of his arrival the Massachusetts government was proceeding against Wheelright, the brother-in-law of Annie Hutchinson. He says he found

['Gorton's letter to Gov. John Winthrop, Jr., 4th Ser. Mass. Hist. Collections, vii, 604. Baptism, Feb. 12, 1592, Collegiate Church, Records N. E. Hist, and Gen. Diet., LI, 199. Dr. Howard's Miscellanae Genealogea et Heraldica, New Series of 1877, Vol. i, pp. 321-325, 378, 379. "Letter to Nathaniel Morton,

Force's Tracts, Vol. iv. 'Price's Nonconformists in England, Vol. i,

P- 454. Vol. ii, p. 99. *Mackey's Life of Samuel Gorton, Sparks' American

Biographies. "Will and Bequests of Mary Maplet to her daughter, Mary,

wife of Samuel Gorton, dated Dec. 12, 1645, and of Dr. John Maplet to his sister, Mary, wife of Samuel Gorton, dated Apr. 13, 1670, N. E. Hist and Gen. Register, Vols, xliv and xlvi. Deed of Samuel Gorton and wife, Mary, of lands bought of Robert Cole, laying upon Massapaug stream, close to the town of Providence, the people of the colony at great variance in points of religion, prose- cuting it very hotly in their courts unto fi.nes and banishments. Their laws prohibiting non-subscribing churchmen from living there, he took up his residence in Plymouth, which was then a more liberal colony. In June, 1637, he, while a resident of Plymouth, joined one of the military companies which was raised in response to Massachusetts' call for aid to defend themselves against the Pequot Indians.* In 1638 he led the opposition to the illiberal changes, delegate representation, etc.. thrust into the government by Prence, the then Governor of Plymouth, was snared into Prence's court and, for his contempt for it, banished. In 1639, at Pocasset, Aquidneck Island, he was a freeman and a member of the second or civil compact of government; the first government upon the island of Aquidneck or Rhode which had as its official heads a Governor — Governor Hutchinson — a Deputy Governor and Assist- ants ; the first to grant universal suffrage ; the first that constituted regular Quarterly Courts, and the first with a jury for the trial of causes. They changed the name of the place to Portsmouth. In 1640 he, with many other members of the civil government, was driven from the island by the former deposed ruler, Judge Coddington, who had violently reassumed government. In 1640 he settled on land he pur- chased of Robert Cole at Papaquinapaug, near Massapaug Pond adjoin- ing Providence. This land with the buildings he had erected thereon he abandoned on account of claims made by his opponents with fraudu- lent underlying titles. In 1642 he purchased of the first owners, the Narragansett Sachems, the lands of Shawomet and founded the town he named Warwick. In 1643 he was made a prisoner by soldiers sent by the Massachusetts Magistrates who coveted the land, tried for heresy and confined at Charleston. He was in 1644, at Portsmouth, immediately upon his release and return to the town, chosen a Magis- trate by the people. In 1644 he secured from the Narragansett Indians their deed in dominion of all their lands, their submission to the English government, and their appointment of him as their Represen- tative and " beloved Commissioner " to attach them to the colony, for which Roger Williams had departed to obtain a charter. In 1644, upon Williams' return with the charter, which included the Narragan- sett lands (the greater part of the present State), a government was at once organized with Williams as Governor and Gorton as one of the Assistants: "The Government of the Providence Plantations." In 1645, after nearly two years of ineffectual operation of the government owing to the obstructions of the Arnolds and Coddington and the war waged against it by the adjoining colonies, Gorton was chosen Com- missioner to lay the grievances of the government before the Englis'n Parliament. As expressed in Williams" letter, " to preserve the lives and liberties of the people." In August, 1645, he took ship from Man- hattan. In 1646 he secured from the Parliament Commissioners a mandate commanding the other colonies not to disturb the petitioners and inhabitants living within the bounds of their charter. Upon this, in 1647, a union of all the settlements with the chartered government was effected. In 1648, May loth, he, upon his return, landed in Boston, where he was so detained by the Massachusetts Magistrates in collu- sion with the Arnold-Coddington faction, in violation of the Parlia- ment order, that it was impossible for him, a promising candidate for the chief office in the colony, to reach his government to be present at their annual court and election; whereupon Coddington, the Arnold candidate for the Presidency, whose treasonable acts and papers had confronted Gorton while in England, and against whom Gorton's testi- mony was desired by the court before the election, Coddington, against whom various bills of indictment thus deferred were pending, was fraudulently declared elected! the majority of the court being against him, and they immediately suspending him from the government, and deputing and installing Jeremiah Clark President of the colony. In 1649 Gorton was chosen a member of the Assembly. In 165 1, in the midst of the continued movement of all the other colonies in their at- tempted subversion of the colony to the governments of Plymouth and Massachusetts, and during the time that Williams was absent, while laying before the English Parliament the continued grievances of the colony, the most trying period of their history, Gorton was chosen the President of the colony ; and, with his Assistants, proved, in the words of the historian of Warwick, the "crew of valiant men whose courage and wisdom were equal to the emergency." In 1652 he draughted and as- sisted to enact the first legal enactment abolishing slavery — involuntary life servitude in the colonies' Hawes, in his history, says that Gorton and Williams drew up this Act, but Williams was then in England, had gone there the year before. This law, so early, could not be sustained. Not until about one hundred years after this was the like statute again enacted. He was one of the incorporators named in the 1663 new charter.

From 1664 to 1667 he was Deputy, a Judge in the high court and equivalent of present State Senator; was again chosen to this position in 1670, and, on account of his age only, he being seventy-nine years old, he declined the proffered continuation in office.

Although he is represented by some writers as a man given to anger, he appears mild when compared with many others of that period. It is observable that his friends and the people, nearly all of whom were of dissimilar religious views who lived in Warwick, did not fall out with him or complain of him. They had no difficulties among themselves but that were lovingly arbitrated, and he " never raised his hand in violence against any human being, not even against his own children." In the debates with the Friends, in which he with Roger Williams and others took part against them, he is the one almost alone that exhibited no anger, flung no epithets, and is not accused by his opponents, as most of the others are, of unkindness or incivility. Although doctrinally opposed to them, he sent letters of loving sympathy to those that were imprisoned, and he was about the only man of prominence of that time, we can find, who kindly respected, even advocated, the rights of others to opinions differing with his own. To the cause of human liberty there is in American history no greater example of a lifetime of unselfish, unflinching sacrificial devotion Nearly all of the accounts we have of Samuel Gorton in our libraries are copies of the political fables that were used in the attempt to destroy the government and obtain the lands of the Providence Plantation people."

We quote from the words of the Hon. Job Durfee, one of the most able of the Chief Justices of the Rhode Island Supreme Court. He writes : " Samuel Gorton was a person of the most distinctive origi- nality of character. He was a man of deep, strong feelings, keenly alive to every injury, though inflicted on the humblest of God's creatures. He was a great lover of soul liberty and hater of all shams. He was a learned man, self-educated, studious, contemplative, a profound thinker, who in his spiritual meditations amid ancient Warwick's prime- val groves wandered off into infinite and eternal realities, forgetful of earth and all earthly relations. He did indeed clothe his thoughts at times in clouds, but then it was because they were too large for any other garment. No one who shall rivet his attention upon them shall fail to catch some glimpse of giant limb and joint, and have some dim conception of the colossal form that is enshrouded within the mystic envelopment. Yet in common life no one was more plain, simple and unaffected than Gorton. That he was courteous, affable and_ elegant, his very enemies admit, and even greviously complain of his seductive language. He was a man of courage, and when aroused no hero of the Iliad ever breathed language more impassioned or effective. Nothing is more probable than that such a man, in the presence of the Massa- chusetts Magistrates, felt his superiority and moved and spoke with somewhat more freedom than thev deemed suited to their dignity. Far more sinned against than sinning, he bore adversity with heroic fortitude; and if he did not conquer, he yet finally baffled every effort of his enemies."

On November 27, 1677, he deeded to his son Samuel the homestead at Warwick, to his son John all lands west of Warwick, other lands to Benjamin; and further deeded for love, etc.. to sons-in-laws and daughters lands in Narragansett, viz. : To Daniel Cole and wife Maher, John San ford and Mary,' William Mace and Sarah, John Warner and Ann, John Crandall and Elizabeth, and Benjamin Barton and Susanna. To son Samuel he commits " the care of my beloved wife during widow- hood, if she live to be a widow, and she to be maintained with con- venient housing and necessaries ; " provision is also made for her " recreation in case she desires to visit her friends."

Samuel died in the year 1677 in December, probably the loth day of the month, aged within a few days of eighty-six years. The time of Mary's death is unknov/n. His body rests in the Gorton burial ground at Warwick, and her body also probably rests there. No monu- ment of marble or stone has ever marked their graves.

view all 27

Samuel Gorton, 5th President Providence and Warwick's Timeline

1592
February 12, 1592
Cathedral Chr, Manchester, Lancashire, England
1593
February 12, 1593
Gorton, Manchester, Lancashire, England, (Present UK)
1628
May 20, 1628
Age 35
London, Middlesex, England, (Present UK)

Marriage 1 Samuel Gorton b: 12 FEB 1591/92 in Gorton, Manchester, England
Married: 20 MAY 1628 in St. Mary Magdalene, Old Fish St. London, England
Children

1630
January 11, 1630
Age 36
Gorton, Lancashire, England
1640
1640
Age 46
Manchester, Lancashire, England
1641
November 28, 1641
Age 48
Warwick, Providence Plantation
1642
1642
Age 48
Newport, Rhode Island, USA
1643
July 4, 1643
Age 50
Warwick, Kent, Rhode Island, USA
October 13, 1643
Age 50
Gorton, Lancaster, England
1644
June 5, 1644
Age 51
Warwick, (Present Kent County), Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations