Henry Winthrop1

M, b. 10 January 1608, d. 2 July 1630
FatherJohn Winthrop b. 12 Jan 1588, d. 26 Mar 1649
MotherMary Forthe b. 1 Jan 1583, d. Jun 1615
     Henry was born on Thursday, 10 January 1608 in Groton Manor, County Suffolk, England. On 19 January 1608, he was christened in Groton, County Suffolk, England, at the Groton Church in the parish of Groton. His God fathers were Henry Sands, preacher at Boxford & John Snelling.2,3 He inherited substantial estates from his grandfather, John Forth, at the young age of 6, and consequently grew up with little responsiblilty and spent much of his time having fun with questionable and “riotous friends”. He was free with money finding many ways to spend it, even if he had none of his own to spend. As a teenager, he became aware of the acquisition of the island of Barbados by England, and saw it as a chance for adventure and investment. His plan was to go to Barbados, become a tobacco planter and reap the profits. Upon arriving in Barbados, reality was different then he expected. There were few people living on the island as it had been in English hands barely two years. Henry still optimistic, wrote to his father asking for help in recruiting young men to come to the island and to send him more money in order to continue his operations. Finding young men to make the commitment to go to Barbados, proved difficult and as for the money, his father. John, was in a difficult position already, due to paying off Henry's debts. In a very stern letter, John told Henry that he would not send him anymore money, as the investment was a losing proposition. In the letter he spoke frankly of the poor quality of the tobacco he had already sent back to England; that there was no market for it, not even with his near relatives. The letter and Henry passed each other, as he decided to return to England, for what reason, has never been discovered. Upon arriving, instead of going to his home at Groton, he decided to stay with his uncle, Thomas Fones, who lived in London. His decision was likely because there were more ways to entertain himself there in the city. Whatever the reason, he soon turned the Fones home into the center of his own entertainment, inviting all sorts of friends and associates to stay. At the same time he and his cousin Elizabeth Fones, Thomas' daughter, found themselves attracted to each other, both seeming to have the same temperament, and announced that they intended to be married. Thomas was highly against such a marriage and emphatically stated such. The couple then let it be known that they had gone too far for them not to be married. This was of course a shock and may have been the cause of the death of Thomas. Henry married Elizabeth Ffownes, daughter of Thomas Ffownes II and Anne Winthrop, on 25 April 1629 in London, County Middlesex, England, at St. Sepulchre Church at Newgate.4,5 Henry, hearing of the plans for the Massachusetts Bay Colony, made plans to be a part of it. He was to leave on the ship, Arbella, with his father, but leaving the ship to purchase more supplies, he was detained and missed the embarkation of the ship. He left a few days later on the ship "Talbot". He arrived in New England on 1 July 1630, close to the mouth of the Salem River. One the following day, 2 July 1630, he and his friends spotted an Indian canoe on the opposite shore of the small bay. Henry was the only one of the group of friends that could swim, so he stripped and attempted to swim across the bay to retrieve the canoe. Unfortunately, he cramped up with no one there who could help. The group could do nothing but watch Henry go down and not resurface.


Elizabeth Ffownes b. 21 Jul 1609, d. 1 Feb 1673


  1. [S1057] Lawrence Shaw Mayo, Winthrop Family in America, pages 59-61 - The Second Generation     59
    HENRY2 WINTHROP (John') was born on January 10, 1608, and was christened at Groton ten days later. He may have been named forHenry Sands, preacher at Boxford, who was one of his godfathers. At the age of six he fell heir to the "free messuages, lands, etc." of his grandfather John Forth in the parishes of Rocheford, Little Stambridge, Hurwell, and Assingdon, in the County of Essex; he was to come into this property when he was twenty. One of our first glimpses of Henry occurs when he was a youngster of thirteen and is, perhaps, symbolic of his brief, exciting life. While he and his father were riding through Boxford "with Mr. Gurdon in his coach," the coachman was thrown off and the horses "ran through the town over logs and high stumps until they came upon the causeway right against the church." According to Henry's father, the coach was "broken in pieces, —top, bottom, and sides"; but apparently no one was seriously injured.
    Henry grew up at Groton and in London, and at nineteen he crossed the Atlantic to Barbados, in the West Indies, where he hoped to create a fortune for himself as a tobacco planter. Barbados was then a brand-new British colony, having been acquired only two years earlier. Even after Henry Winthrop and those who came out with him arrived, there were only about sixty English inhabitants plus forty negro and Indian slaves. Nevertheless, Henry liked the place and pronounced it "the pleasantest island in all the West Indies." The company of London merchants who were interested in developing Barbados paid him £ 100 a year, and there were remunerative opportunities on the side. He became a tobacco planter and was elected one of the Assistants in the local government. The future looked rosy, as it always did to Henry Winthrop. If his father would only advance him some money and send out some sturdy young fellows to work in the fields, everything would be lovely. John Winthrop could not take quite that view of the situation. He found it difficult to persuade young men to go out to Barbados; he had already advanced Henry so much money that he himself was distinctly short of funds; and he knew that Henry was a financial visionary and a spendthrift. Towards the end of January, I 629, he wrote his son a pretty stiff letter, in which he told him that he was tired of paying his debts; and as for the tobacco Henry had sent over to England, it was such poor stuff that no one would buy it, — not even the near relatives. Unless he showed better judgment, he would surely come to grief.
    While this letter was on its way to Barbados, Henry was on his way to England. What moved him to come back, we do not know; but we do know what happened after he reached London. Instead of staying with the family at Groton, he made himself very much at home at the house of an uncle, Thomas Fones, in London, who took him in for his father's sake and to keep him out of riotous company. As it turned out, however, the house was soon overrun by Henry's boisterous friends, including a Papist, and his uncle
    complained that he felt as if he were living at an inn. Henry bought himself a scarlet suit and cloak, borrowed money right and left, and capped it all by announcing that he was going to marry one of the young ladies of the household, his own cousin, Elizabeth Fones; when his uncle remonstrated with them, the young people gave him to understand that they had already gone so far that it would not do to call off their engagement. This was more than his Uncle Fones could bear; he died with a broken heart—if not of it — shortly after he heard the news. Ten days later, Henry and Elizabeth were married and betook themselves to Groton Manor for a long visit with the groom's family.
    While Henry was at Groton, his father had to be in London for a few weeks on business. But even when he was in the metropolis John Winthrop had this gay son on his mind. In a letter to Mrs. Winthrop (Henry's step
    mother) he asked her to keep him at home as much as she could and to try to prevent him from going to Hadleigh, the nearest large village. During the summer Henry became interested in the proposed migration of the Massachusetts Bay Company to New England. At first he talked of a hasty round-trip to Barbados to wind up his affairs there before going to Massachusetts Bay. But his father and his brother John dissuaded him from that unnecessary outlay of time and money.
    Toward the end of March, 1630, Henry was on the Arhella which was about to sail for New England; but going ashore to get some additional livestock, he missed the boat and had to follow on another vesse1. He reached Salem several days after his father. On July 2, 163o, which is said to have been his second day on land, he and some companions did a little exploring and chanced to spy an Indian canoe on the opposite bank of a river. Quite naturally they wanted to examine the strange craft; but to reach it by land was a long way round, and the weather was hot. As Henry was the only one in the party who could swim, he volunteered to cross the river and save them
    all a tedious trip on foot. Stripping off his clothes, he plunged in and swam out into the middle of the stream. There he was seized with cramps and went down. Those standing on the shore had no means of going to his assistance. So died Henry Winthrop, in his twenty-third year.
    Wayward, irresponsible, and inconsiderate though he may have been, one cannot help feeling that Henry was, nevertheless, a rather attractive young man. Governor Winthrop had no illusions about him; yet when he sent word home about his tragic end, he was not far from tears. "My son Henry, my son Henry," he wrote, "ah, poor child."10
    Henry's widow came to New England before long, bringing with her their infant daughter, Martha Johanna. They arrived in Boston in November, 1631, and at some time prior to January 27, 1632, the widow married Robert Feake, a prominent citizen of Watertown and later a joint owner of Greenwich, Connecticut. About 1640 she moved to Greenwich; Mr. Feake lost his mind, and a few years later she and William Hallett of that town announced their marriage."
  2. [S506] Note: John Snelling was marrried to Ann Browne, a sister of John Winthrop's mother, AnneBrown. For unknnown reasons, there were two daughters named Anne.
  3. [S457] Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, John Winthrop - under comments: Winthrop Genealogy gives his baptism as 20 January but the Groton Parish Register says 19 January.
  4. [S1054] Winthrop Papers, page 7 - To her Loving Neiphe Mr. John Wintrhop att Flushing this ddd. Holland. Leave this at the house of Mre. Henrie Kerker in Flushinge, to be sent as aboved.

    August 8, 1629

    My sweet nephew, -- I received your letter from Amsterdam, dated Juli 28: and am moste hartily and unexspresabvli glad to hear of your welfare, as I am sure the rest of your friends will be; but so it is, that your fater and uncle are bothe in Linkonshire and have bine this fortnight, and I am uncertaine of ther return; but in there absence I have taken the best care I can to get you a bill of exchange, wich I hope you shall receive with this:and nowe good nephew, you have bine such a stranger to us as I knowe not what is newes to you or what is not: sume ill newes I can impart to you, wich I am sory to be themessinger of; but the of our God must be effected: your grandmother an uncle Fones are in heaven. There deaths were bothe in one weeke, in the month of Aprill; and in the same monthe your brother Henrie wa maried to my neece Bes Fones. The manner of this would be too tedious to relate in this. I hope the Lord will send us a hapy meetinge, til when I refer all circumstances. Your father ernestlie desiers to see yoy: your brother Hary is yet att Groton, but they saye he intends the Barbathes this next monthe; and Forde for Newe Ingland in the springe: the rest of us I praise God for it, are in good health: and you have a cosen, Robert Downinge, and your godsonne, I hope, will be ready to goe to sea with you next year: so wishinge you hear, and much happiness wherever, I rest
    Your loving ant,
    Lucie Downinge.
  5. [S1067] Elizabeth Fones, Elizabeth Fones Winthrop Feake Hallett (21 January 1610 – 1 February 1673) was an early settler in the Massachusetts Bay Colony where her father-in-law (and uncle) John Winthrop served as Governor. Her subsequent behaviour would scandalize the Puritan colony. Elizabeth Fones was born at Groton Manor, Suffolk, England on 21 January 1610 to Thomas Fones, a London apothecary, and his wife, Anne Winthrop, sister of John Winthrop, a staunch puritan and the eventual Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
    As a young girl, Elizabeth worked at her father's shop in London. To the dismay of her family, she entered a whirlwind courtship with her first cousin Henry Winthrop, a son of Governor John Winthrop; they were married on 25 April 1629, at the Church of St. Sepulchre at New Gate, London. A year later, her husband sailed alone for the Massachusetts Bay Colony on the ship Talbot, leaving his young bride behind in England on account of her pregnancy. The baby, a daughter named Martha Johanna Winthrop, was born on 9 May 1630 at Groton Manor. Shortly after his arrival in Massachusetts, Henry was killed in a drowning accident on 2 July 1630 when he went swimming in the North River after visiting an Indian village near Salem.
    Elizabeth sailed to the Massachusetts Bay Colony with her infant daughter Martha aboard the Lyon, arriving on 2 November 1631. Her father-in-law, uncle and guardian, John Winthrop, served as Governor of the Colony. In 1632 Elizabeth married her second husband, a wealthy landowner named Lt. Robert Feake (born 1602) in Watertown, Middlesex County He owned land in both Massachusetts and Connecticut. The marriage was arranged by her uncle (and former father-in-law), Gov. John Winthrop. In 1640, Robert and Elizabeth acquired more land in what is now Greenwich, Connecticut. Indeed, she is considered one of the founders of Greenwich; what is now called 'Greenwich Point' was known for much of its early history as 'Elizabeth's Neck' in recognition of Elizabeth Fones and their 1640 purchase of the Point and much of what is today called Old Greenwich. The fact that she, as a woman, had property in her own name was viewed with dismay in the more rigid society of the day. They had five children: Elizabeth (b.1633), Hannah (b.1637), John (b.1639, Robert (b.1642) and Sarah (b. before 1647). In 1647, due to financial, domestic, and personal problems, Lt. Feake went insane and abandoned his wife and children. Following her husband's desertion, Elizabeth deeply scandalised the rigid Puritan society in which she lived by marrying her husband's business manager, William Hallett, without evidence that she and Lt. Feake were divorced. Elizabeth had two sons with Hallett: William (born c.1648) and Samuel (born c.1650). Their marriage took place in August 1649 and was officiated by her former brother-in-law John Winthrop, Jr. Only her close blood relationship to the Governor saved her from prosecution for adultery, for which she could have been hanged. Nevertheless, Elizabeth and her new husband and family were forced to leave Connecticut and Massachusetts for the more tolerant Dutch colony of New Netherlands / New York, where they were eventually recognized as husband and wife, possibly due to the friendship Elizabeth formed with Judith, wife of Director-General Peter Stuyvesant. Elizabeth and William settled in what is now known as Hallett's Cove, Long Island near Hell Gate. In September 1655, Elizabeth and her family survived an attack by the Hackensack tribe of Indians; however, the Indians set fire to their house and farm, burning both to the ground. She purchased land in Flushing and Newtown, Queens County on 1 October from Edward Griffin. The following year, William was made "schout" or chief-official of Flushing. In 1673, at the age of sixty-two, Elizabeth died in Newtown, Queens County, New York. Elizabeth has numerous descendants in the United States, including those descending from the marriage of her only Winthrop child, Martha Johanna, to Thomas Lyon of Byram Neck, Greenwich, CT, whose home, the Thomas Lyon House, is on the National Register of Historic Places.