Gov. John Endicott

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John Endicott (Endecott)

Birthplace: Dorchester, Dorset, England
Death: March 15, 1665 (72-81)
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
Place of Burial: Boston, MA, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Endicott and unknown wife of Thomas Endicott
Husband of Anna Endicott and Elizabeth (Cogan) Gibson Endicott
Father of John Endicott, Jr.; Samuel Endicott and Dr. Zerubbabel Endicott
Brother of Margaret (Endicott) Ludlow
Half brother of Gregory Endicott

Occupation: Gov. General of Mass. Bay Colony
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Gov. John Endicott

Married first Ann Gower (Gover) and second Elizabeth Cogan, widow of a Mr. Gibson.

From Ted Sanford:

She was born Elizabeth Cogan, one of the daughters of Philobert Cogan (1563-1641) and Ann Marshal (1576) of Chard, Somerset. She arrived on the ship "Mary and John" which was part of the Winthrop Fleet. She had been named Elizabeth Gibson when she married a man by that name in England. He died. Ann Gover (many different spellings) was the first wife of Governor John Endecott and accompanied him to the Massachusetts Bay in 1628. She died during the winter of 1629 when she was "---- among those unable to survive wilderness conditions." On 18 August 1630, Elizabeth Cogan married Governor John Endecott and officiating were Governor John Winthrop and the Reverend Mr. Wilson. ==Wikipedia Biographical Summary:==

"...John Endecott (before 1601 – 15 March 1664/5,[1] also spelled Endicott) was an English colonial magistrate, soldier and the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. During all of his years in the colony but one, he held some form of civil, judicial, or military high office. He served a total of 16 years as governor, including most of the last 15 years of his life; this period of service was the longest of any colonial governor. He also held important posts representing the colony as part of the New England Confederation, and was a leading force in expanding the settlement of Salem, Massachusetts and other parts of Essex County..."


Role in establishing Salem

In March 1627/8, Endecott was one of seven signatories to a land grant given to "The New England Company for a Plantation in Massachusetts" (or the New England Company) by the Earl of Warwick on behalf of the Plymouth Council for New England... Endecott was chosen to lead the first expedition, and sailed for the New World aboard the Abigail with fifty or so "planters and servants" on 20 June 1628. The settlement they organized was first called Naumkeag, after the local Indian tribe, but was eventually renamed Salem in 1629.

Uncertainties about his wife and ancestry

Ted Sanford writes (May 2015): "Much has happened since 2013 and I have been in the process of updating all of my works. First, Governor John Endecott was born at Middlecott Manor in 1588, We do not know what her name was but she died bearing John. Her husband, Thomas Endecott, was able to raise his son with the assistance of his uncle, William endecott (1543-1630) and his new bride, Anne Ellis, who, effectively was John's "mother" throughout his youth. She also soon had two children of her own, Jane (1590_ and Henry (1591). The three children were brought up like brothers and sister. This new finding comes from detailed research of the Church Wardens' Accounts of St. Michaels Church, Chagford, for the years 1480-1600. It shows that Thomas Endecott bought a funeral shrould for his wife in 1588."

Before he came to the colonies in 1628, Endecott was married to his first wife, Anne Gower, who was a cousin of Governor Matthew Craddock. After her death in New England, he was married in 1630 to a woman whose last name was Gibson, and by 1640 he was married to Elizabeth, the daughter of Philobert Cogan of Somersetshire. It is uncertain whether these represent two different wives, or a single wife whose name was Elizabeth (Cogan) Gibson. Because of the uncertainty concerning his wives, it is not known who the mother of his two sons was. There is only firm evidence that he was already married to Elizabeth in 1640, and the records that survive for the 1630s, when his sons were born, do not otherwise identify his wife by name. Endecott's last wife, Elizabeth, was a sister-in-law of the colonial financier and magistrate Roger Ludlow. Endecott's two known children were John Endecott and Dr. Zerubabbel Endecott, neither of whom, seemingly to his disappointment, followed him into public service. There is also evidence that Endecott fathered another child in his early years in England; in about 1635 he arranged funds and instructions for the care of a minor also named John Endecott.

Controversy about Endecott's town of origin: Dorchester or Chagford?

"Most of what is known about John Endecott's origins is at best circumstantial. Biographers of the 19th century believed he was from the Dorset town of Dorchester because of his significant later association with people from that place.[2] In the early 20th century, historian Roper Lethbridge proposed that Endecott was born circa 1588 in or near Chagford in Devon.[3] (Based on this evidence, Chagford now has a house from the period named in Endecott's honour.)[4] However, more recent research by the New England Historic Genealogical Society has identified problems with Lethbridge's claims, which they dispute.[3] According to their research, Endecott may have been born in or near Chagford, but there is no firm evidence for this, nor is there evidence that identifies his parents."

Ted Sanford's Research

Ted Sanford writes:

"In my work, Out of the Mist of Times Past, I came to the conclusion of where John Endecott (1588-1665) was born based on the following. His great grandfather, Henry Endecott (1515-1585) was the oldest of five children born to John Endecott (1490-1560). John was the second son of Henry Yendecote (circa 1446-1500) of South Tawton. John was a younger son and thus did not inherit the South Tawton and other properties of his father. He continued to live at South Tawton, was married there, and had his children there. Finally, in 1528, he was able to purchase Middlecott Manor (Myddell Park) in 1628 and moved the family there. Two years later, in 1530, he bought Drewsten just outside of Chagford and gave it to his eldest son, Henry (1515-1585). Henry lived and raised his family there including his eldest son, John Endecott (1541-1635). When old John (1490-1560) died, Henry inherited Middlecott and between 1560-1565 moved his family from Drewsten to Middlecott. Then he gave Drewsten to his son John (1541-1635) upon his marriage to Johanna in 1564. In turn, all of his children were born in Drewsten including his oldest, Thomas Endecott (1566-1621). Thomas was probably living at one of the properties, Drewsten or Middlecott, when he married Alice Westlake in Chagford in 1587. The next year, 1588, his son John Endecott, the future governor was born followed in about 1590 by his sister Margaret. Sometime after these births, the family would relocate to Stoke-in-Teignhead where wife Alice owned considerable properties. The details of all this are contained in my work and I invite you to read it in the Feature Articles on the Endecott-Endicott Family Association website."


John Endecott (c. 1588–March 15, 1665), sometimes Endicott, was a colonial magistrate, soldier and governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

John Endecott was most likely born before 1600. His origins, as of yet, have not been discovered—although there is a building named after him in the English town of Chagford, locally claimed to be his birthplace. Almost nothing is known of him before his presence as one of the six original patentees of the Dorchester Company. This group of Puritan settlers bought land from the Plymouth Company, and settled it in 1628, two years before the arrival of John Winthrop's fleet. Endecott was chosen to lead the first expedition, and he settled with sixty other men in Naumkeag, which would soon become Salem, Massachusetts. The land had been previously settled by one Roger Conant, who had left Plymouth Colony two years before.

Nathaniel Hawthorne relates a story about these years, The Maypole of Merry Mount, where Endecott's strict Puritanism came into conflict with the previous settlers. Endecott was the local governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony from April 1629 to June 1630, when John Winthrop brought the charter to Salem and became governor of the colony as well as of the company. Though he was no longer at the head of the colony, Endecott continued to serve in several important positions, including a stint as the leader of a failed expedition against the Pequot in 1636. Though it seems slightly out of character, Endecott strongly defended the religious dissenter Roger Williams, and, around that time, he was alleged to have cut the Cross of St. George from an English flag in protest of the use of the symbols of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as deputy-governor from 1641 to 1644, and governor in 1644–1645. At times he was also the commander-in-chief of the militia and a commissioner and president of the United Colonies of New England.

After John Winthrop died in 1649, Endecott was elected governor, and by annual re-elections served continuously until his death, with the exception of two years (1650–1651 and 1654–1655), when he was deputy-governor.

According to the 1911 Encyclopµdia Britannica, "Under his authority the colony of Massachusetts Bay made rapid progress, and except in the matter of religious intolerance in which he showed great bigotry and harshness, particularly towards the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), his rule was just and praiseworthy. Of him Edward Eggleston says: A strange mixture of rashness, pious zeal, genial manners, hot temper, and harsh bigotry, his extravagances supply the condiment of humour to a very serious history; it is perhaps the principal debt posterity owes him. He died on 15 March 1665."

Biographical Information

Endecott married for the first time, probably before 1628, Anne Gower. After her death, he was married to the daughter of Philobert Cogan, of Somersetshire. Anne Gower was named by governor Matthew Craddock as a cousin of his, and Endecott's second wife was a sister-in-law of the colonial financier and magistrate Roger Ludlow. Endecott had two children with his second wife, neither of whom, seemingly to his disappointment, followed him into public service. Despite his high position, Endecott was never wealthy, and he died in poverty.

References Anderson, Robert Charles. The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620 – 1633, vols. 1–3. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995. Endicott, C. M., Memoirs of John Endecott (Salem, 1847), and a Memoir of John Endecott in Antiquarian Papers of the American Antiquarian Society (Worcester, Mass., 1879).


Endecott was born circa 1588 now believed to be in or near Chagford in Devon. Interestingly, in the 16th century the prominent Endecott family, together with the Whiddons, Knapmans and Lethbridges, owned most of the mines around the stannary town of Chagford, which might—if he is indeed from this family—explain the Governor's interest in developing copper mining. (Based on this evidence, Chagford now has a house from the period named in Endecott's honour.) However, more recent research by the New England Historic Genealogical Society has identified problems with Lethbridge's claims, which they dispute. Endecott has more recently been definitively determined to have been born in 1588 in Chagford, to Thomas Endecott and an unnamed mother, who died shortly after his birth.
Very little is known of Endecott's life before his association with colonisation efforts in the 1620s. He was known to Sir EDWARD COKE


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Gov. John Endicott's Timeline

Dorchester, Dorset, England
January 27, 1631
Salem, (Present Essex County), Massachusetts Bay Colony
January 27, 1631
February 14, 1635
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts
March 15, 1665
Age 77
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
March 15, 1665
Age 77
Granary Burying Ground, Park Street Church, 1 Park St, Boston, MA, United States

John Endecott
BIRTH 1588
DEATH 15 Mar 1665 (aged 76–77)
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Granary Burying Ground
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA

Colonial Governor. His grave marker was destroyed and exact place of the grave is unknown, only that he is buried in the Granary Burying Ground Cemetery in Boston, Suffolk Co., Ma. He was Gov. in 1629, 1644, 1649, 1651-1654, 1655-1665. In 1658 he was president of The United Colonies of New England.

Bio by: James

Family Members
Elizabeth Cogan Endecott
1607–1676 (m. 1630)

Anne Gower Endecott

William Quinn

Zerubbabel Endicott

Maintained by: Find A Grave
Added: 1 Jan 2001
Find A Grave Memorial 1491