First Founders: American Puritans and Puritanism in an Atlantic World (New England in the World)
Francis J. Bremer
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Francis J. Bremer has spent his entire career broadening our understanding of America’s colonial founders. Now, in this eminently readable collection of biographies, Bremer brings us a surprisingly varied and dynamic group of characters who continue to guide and influence America today. With its cast of magistrates, women, clergy, merchants, and Native Americans, First Founders underscores the breadth of early American experience and the profound transatlantic roots of our country’s forebears. Bremer succeeds in bringing little-known figures out of the shadows, while allowing us to appreciate better known figures in an entirely new light.
This is a truly fascinating look at the Puritans with keenly drawn portraits and the insight that only a lifetime of scholarship can achieve. It should become the standard introduction to the field. Written in the mold of Joseph Ellis’s Founding Brothers and Gordon Wood’s Revolutionary Characters, the book will appeal to general readers, students, and scholars alike.
Sassamon. One of my intentions in writing this collection was to illustrate the diversity of puritanism. Too often the story of New England is told as if the region were simply Massachusetts (or even Boston) writ large. The fact is that there are important stories to be told about the men and women who lived in all the region’s colonies. While most of these es- Introduction 3 says focus on men and women who are indeed primarily identified with Massachusetts, there are some chapters that
one student of the period has put it, “one of those characters in which virtue does not put on her gracious aspect.” There is no question that Thomas Shepard, Thomas Dudley and, to a lesser extent, John Endecott represent a spirit of intolerance in New England puritanism that frequently controlled the affairs of Massachusetts. But it would be wrong to overemphasize their differences with John Winthrop and those who argued for more openness to different voices in the community. Like virtually all
educated and prosperous in her own right when she married the successful London merchant Thomas Yale. Following the death of Yale she wed Theophilus Eaton, himself a widower, who was a prominent merchant engaged in the Baltic trade. In 1637 Theophilus decided to accompany his pastor and friend John Davenport to New England. Accompanying the couple were their own two children as well as Anne’s sons David and Thomas Yale, her daughter Anne Yale Hopkins, Theophilus’s two children from his first
Hodgkel in Rotterdam. Aside from the fact that John Winthrop referred to her as being Dutch, little is known about her background and how Samuel met her. He wrote to his New England kin telling them of the marriage and indicating plans for visiting them before again trying to establish himself in Barbados, where he believed he could “live better than in other places.” Samuel had received little material assistance from his father, and stated, “If I never do I am contented.” But this meant that
Dudley, son of Thomas Dudley — was a merchant who spent some time with Samuel, who considered leaving Dudley in charge of his affairs on an occasion when he thought he might be able to return at least for a time to New England. Samuel and Elizabeth had their own family — Henry, Joseph, Elizabeth, Sarah, John, Samuel, Thomas, Rebecca, and Stephen. In 1657 Samuel sent the two oldest boys, Henry and Joseph, to be educated in New England. As he explained to his brother John, “I do not find this