William Coddington1,2,3

M, b. circa 1601, d. 1 November 1678
William Coddington courtesy of Wikipedea
     William was born circa 1601 in Boston, Lincolnshire, England.4 William married Mary (?) circa 1626 in Boston, Lincolnshire, England. William was chosen as an Assistant Governor in 1630, before he embarked with Winthrop to the New World. After losing his wife, he returned to England leaving on 1 April 1631. He returned to Boston in May of 1633. He was treasurer of the colony in 1634, 35, 36. He became one of the heretics who left the the colony to join Roger Williams the next year. William was the first Governor of Rhode Island. William's wife, Mary, died circa 1630 in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, leaving him a widower. At the end of March 1631, he returned to England on the ship :"Lion". While there, he courted Elizabeth Fones, widow of Henry Winthrop for a short while. Soon after, he began courting Mary Moseley.5 William married 2nd Mary Moseley, daughter of Richard Moseley, on 2 September 1631 in Terling, County Essex, England.6 William & Mary sailed for New England on the "Mary & Jane", arriving at Boston in May of 1633. William's wife, Mary, died before 30 September 1647 in Newport, Newport County, Rhode Island, leaving him a widower. In the latter part of October1648, he again returned to England, foud his third wife & again returned to Newport in 1651. He left in July & arrived in November carrying with him a new charter.7 William married 3rd Anne Brinley, daughter of Thomas Brinley and Anne Wase, circa 1650 in Boston, Lincolnshire, England, at St. Mary's Church.8 In August of 1651, William & Anne returned to Rhode Island. He was Governor again late in his days and died in that office. William departed this life on Tuesday, 1 November 1678 in Newport, Newport County, Rhode Island. He was buried in Newport, Newport County, Rhode Island.

Family 1

Mary (?) d. c 1630

Family 2

Mary Moseley d. b 30 Sep 1647

Family 3

Anne Brinley b. c 1628, d. 9 May 1708


  1. [S457] Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, COMMENTS: William Coddington was one of those who resisted the royal loan of 1626, the so-called Forced Loan, and is so recorded on a list of 7 March 1626/7.At the end of March 1631 William Coddington was one of those who sailed for England on the Lion. He remained in England for two years, during which time he courted Elizabeth (Fones) Winthrop, widow of HENRY WINTHROP. In the end, Coddington married Mary Moseley, and Elizabeth married ROBERT FEAKE, and then went on to her notorious career. While in England Coddington wrote on 4 June 1632 to John Cotton, then still at Boston, Lincolnshire, and a fragment of this letter survives: "I am, I thank God, in bodily health; yet not enjoying that freedom of spirit, being withheld from that place which my soul desireth, and my heart earnestly worketh after; neither, I think, shall I see it till towards the next spring". Coddington and his second wife sailed for New England on the Mary & Jane, arriving at Boston in May of 1633.
    William Coddington received the sachems' deed to "The Island of Acquedneck" 24 March 1636/. On 27 September 1677
    William Coddington, Esq., aged about seventy-six years, testifieth ... that when he was one of the magistrates of the Massachusetts Colony he was one of the persons that made a peace with Caunnonnicus and Mianantonomy in the Colony's behalf of all the Narragansett Indians ... a little before they made war with the Pequod Indians. Not long after this, deponent went from Boston to find a plantation to settle upon, and came to Acquidneck, now called Rhode Island, where was a sachem called Wonnumetonomey; and this deponent went to buy the Island of him, but his answer was that Caunonnicuss and Miantonomy were the chief sachems, and he could not sell the land; whereupon this deponent, with some others went from Aquidneck Island into the Narragansett to the said sachems, Caunonicus and Miantonmy, and bought the Island of them.In January 1637/8, John Winthrop wrote to William Coddington, John Coggeshall and William Colburn, telling them that he considered their "published writing" (presumably about Wheelwright) was a great mistake. William Coddington was one of those given a license to depart on 12 March 1637/8, along with three of his servants. He appointed Mr. Jer[emiah] Gould, 23 November 1640, again 26 April 1641, and 23 August 1641 his attorney to recover debts in Massachusetts Bay after his departure.
    In his letter from Newport 5 August 1644 to John Winthrop, William Coddington remarked that "the Lord hath begun to let me see by experience that a man's comfort doth not depend in the multitude of those things he doth possess, the Lord having this last winter taken from me a large corn barn ... my farm house, 12 oxen, 8 cows, 6 other beasts ... the fire breaking forth in the night, neither bedding nor household stuff, nor so much as my servants' wearing cloth, nothing but the shirts off their backs was saved, and lives".In 1648 charges were brought against President-elect Coddington and he failed to appear to clear himself, so Mr. Jeremy Clarke, the assistant of the town "wherein the President was chosen" was ordered to substitute for the President until the next election or until Coddington was cleared. Mr. William Dyer brought charges against Mr. William Coddington, but they were deferred, 25 May 1649. The litigants were hoping for John Winthrop Jr.'s intercession in June of 1653.The matter was still being side-stepped 25 October 1665. By 1667, the matter of Mr. Dyer killing a mare of Mr. Coddington's had been heard even by the King's commissioners, and Dyer's appeal was set aside.
    At the end of September 1648 William Coddington was making preparations to go to England, and on 14 October 1648 about to leave Newport for Boston, "whither I am now hasting to take passage for England with my daughter", but his actual departure was apparently delayed until late January 1648/. He remained in England for two years, during which period he married for a third time. By August 1651 he was back in Rhode Island, with a commission naming him governor of Aquidneck Island for life. In a letter to John Winthrop, Jr., about early August 1651, Roger Williams says "It hath pleased God to bring (Sir) your ancient acquaintance and mine Mr. Coddington in Mr. Carwithy his ship.... He is made Governor of this Colony for his life".
    On 18 May 1653, two men were sent to "demand of Mr. Coddington the statute book, and book of records." He was fined for failing to return all of them, but the fine was remitted in 1656. "Divers presentments" later, it was ordered that Mr. Coddington should not be prosecuted over any of them, "except by order from his Highness the Lord Protector". In spring of 1656, William Coddington freely submitted "to the authority of his Highness in this colony as it is now united, and that with all my heart". In that year he was appointed a commissioner, and instructions were asked for from England regarding whether this was appropriate or not.
    In 1656 it was suspected that the guns showing up in the hands of various Indians were much like "those Mr. Coddington brought over".
    William Coddington submitted a paper dated Newport, 9 March 1664/5, to the commissioners, and the return, dated 13 March 1664/5, was communicated to Mr. Coddington and those concerned "called Quackers".At his death, a committee was sent by the Assembly to "Mrs. Ann Coddington, widow to our late deceased Honored Governor" to demand the Charter and all "other writings that were in the late Governor's custody and belonging to this Colony" and Mrs. Coddington obliged them with not only the Charter, but its duplicate, 15 November 1678.Hope, the negro servant of Mr. William Coddington, was whipped for fornication with James Parr, May 1673.
  2. [S1078] William Coddington, Coddington was born in Boston, Lincolnshire, England. He migrated to the American colonies in 1630 with the original Massachusetts Bay Company. He served as its treasurer from 1634-1636. He was a leading merchant in Boston, Massachusetts.
    Coddington had married Mary Mosely in 1626. They had two children who both died shortly after birth. Mary died in 1630. In 1631 he married another woman named Mary.
    In 1637 Coddington left Boston with some others due to religious differences. He supported Anne Hutchinson who had been exiled by the Puritans. Coddington, Hutchinson, and John Clarke conferred with Roger Williams in Providence. Williams suggested that they buy land from the Native Americans on Aquidneck Island. This group founded the town of Pocasset, which is now called Portsmouth. Coddington's name leads the list of signatories of the Portsmouth Compact of 1638.
    In 1639 Coddington was deposed as leader of the settlement by Anne Hutchinson and Samuel Gorton. He set out with a small group of people, including John Clarke to found another town, Newport. Aquidneck was later named the Isle of Rhodes or Rhode Island.
    There were four main towns in what is now the state of Rhode Island. Providence and Warwick were in an area called Providence Plantations. Portsmouth and Newport were on Rhode Island.
    Coddington was the Judge of Portsmouth from 1638-1639. He was the Judge of Newport from 1639-40. He was the Governor of Rhode Island (united Portsmouth and Newport) from 1640-1647.
    From 1643-1651 the towns of Providence Plantations were united with the towns of Rhode Island. Coddington opposed this union. In 1651 the area was divided in two again.
    In 1647 Coddington's second wife died. In January 1649/1650 Coddington married Anne Brinley. Together they had eight children, two of whom died in infancy.
    From 1651-1653 William Coddington served as Governor and President of Portsmouth and Newport.
    The four towns were reunited in 1654. In 1663 they became a Royal Colony, called Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
    Sometime in the early 1660s Coddington became a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). He (and later his widow) often hosted Quaker meetings in his home in Newport. George Fox himself visited this house in 1672.
    From 1674-1676 Coddington was the Governor of the Royal Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. He was elected again in 1678.
    Coddington died in office on November 1, 1678. He is buried in a small graveyard on Farewell Street in Newport. His grave is marked not only with the original, almost illegible marker, but a taller monument erected some years after his death.
    The only known portrait of William Coddington hangs in the Rhode Island capitol building.
    One of Coddington's sons, William Coddington, Jr., was Governor from 1683-1685.
  3. [S115] Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, Showing Three Generations Of Those Who Came Before May, 1692, On The Basis Of Farmer's Registar, Volume I: pages 415-416 -.
  4. [S506] Note.
  5. [S457] Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633.
  6. [S457] Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, John Winthrop - under marriages of William Cottington - married Mary Mosely 2 September 1631 at Terling, County Essex.
  7. [S1068] Irving Berdine Richman, Rhode Island: Its Making and Its Meaning;, page 10 - He returned to England with his daughter.
  8. [S457] Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, John Coddington.