Person:Samuel Gorton (1)

Samuel Gorton
  1. Nicholas Gorton1575 -
  2. Elizabeth Gorton1577 -
  3. Thomas Gorton1581/82 -
  4. Katherine Gorton1583 -
  5. Infant GortonABT 1586 -
  6. Francis Gorton1590 -
  7. Samuel Gorton1592/3 - 1677
  8. Mary GortonABT 1595 -
  9. Edward GortonABT 1597 -
  • HSamuel Gorton1592/3 - 1677
  • WMary Maplet1608/09 -
m. BEF. 11 Jan 1629/30
  1. Samuel Gorton1629/30 - 1724
  2. Maher Gorton1638 -
  3. John Gorton1640 - 1713/14
  4. Mary Gorton1643 - 1687-1688
  5. Sarah Gorton1644 -
  6. Ann Gorton1645 - 1750
  7. Elizabeth Gorton1647-1648 - AFT 1704
  8. Susannah Gorton1649-1650 - 1734
  9. Benjamin Gorton1650 - 1699
Facts and Events
Name[4] Samuel Gorton
Gender Male
Christening[1][4] 12 Feb 1592/3 Manchester, Lancashire, England
Marriage BEF. 11 Jan 1629/30 to Mary Maplet
Living[2] 1642 Warwick, Kent, Rhode Island, United States
Reference Number? Q7411513?
Death[1] 10 Dec 1677 Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Burial[1] Warwick, Kent, Rhode Island, United States

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Samuel Gorton (1593 – 1677) was an early settler and civic leader of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and President of the towns of Providence and Warwick. He had strong religious beliefs which differed from Puritan theology and was very outspoken, and he became the leader of a small sect of converts known as Gortonists or Gortonites. As a result, he was frequently in trouble with the civil and church authorities in the New England colonies.

Gorton was baptized in 1593 in Manchester, Lancashire, England and received an education in languages and English law from tutors. In 1637, he emigrated from England, settling first in Plymouth Colony, where he was soon ousted for his religious opinions and his demeanor towards the magistrates and ministers. He settled next in Portsmouth where he met with a similar fate, being whipped for his insubordination towards the magistrates. He next went to Providence Plantation where he once again encountered adverse circumstances, until he and a group of others purchased land from the Narragansett people. They settled south of the Pawtuxet River in an area which they called Shawomet.

Gorton refused to answer a summons following the complaints of two Indian sachems about being unfairly treated in a land transaction. He and several of his followers were forcefully taken away to Massachusetts, where he was tried for his beliefs and writings rather than for the alleged land transaction. He was sentenced to prison in Charlestown, though all but three of the presiding magistrates voted to give him the death sentence.

After being released, Gorton and two of his associates sailed to England where they obtained an official order of protection for his colony from the Earl of Warwick. During his stay in England, he was also very active in the Puritan underground, preaching in churches and conventicles known for their extreme religious positions. Once back in New England, he changed the name of Shawomet to Warwick in gratitude to his patron in England. He became part of the very civil authority which he had previously rejected, serving as an assistant, commissioner, deputy, and president of the two towns of Providence and Warwick.

He wrote a number of books, two of them while in England and several others following his return. He was a man of great learning and great intellectual breadth, and he believed passionately in God, the King, and the individual man, and he was harshly critical of the magistrates and ministers who filled positions that he considered meaningless. His beliefs and demeanor brought him admiration from his followers but condemnation from those in positions of authority, and he was reviled for more than a century after his death. In more recent times, some historians and writers have looked upon him more favorably, and some now consider him to be one of the great colonial leaders of Rhode Island.

Samuel Gorton was a controversial figure at the beginning of a european America, having been described by his contemporaries as "arch-heretic," "proud and pestilent seducer," a "most prodigous minter of exorbitant novelties," and by Edward Rawson, a secretary to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, - "a man whose spirit was stark drunk with blasphemies and insolences, a corrupter of truth, a disturber of the peace wherever he comes." Another contemporary, Nathan Morton, with whom Gorton had numerous correspondence, says of Gorton "was deeply leavened with blasphemous and familistical opinions."S5

Despite the opinions of his detractors, and having been banished from 4 New England Colonies within 5 years of arrival, Samuel Gorton would serve his town (Warwick RI) and later a united Rhode Island Colony in every major post, including that of President of Rhode Island. It was under his hand that the government of Warwick was specifically declared to be under the rule of English Law, unlike other New England colonies which were a mixture of English and biblical law. He firmly asserted that Englishmen in the Colonies were subject to and enjoyed the protection of the Laws, Rights, and Liberties of Englishmen (an argument which his detractors would later use when their charters were revoked under James II). It would be under his hand that slavery would be abolished in Rhode Island, (Roger William being in England at the time). He identified with many of the ideas of the Quaker, including lay clergy and women in the pulpit.
Samuel's conflicts with colonial authorities did not occur in isolation, colonial leader had to contend with major governmental shifts in England; the emergence of religious Protestant dissenters/reformers; conflicts with native americans; and the need to provide stable government to close knit communities. These elements placed great pressures upon authorities as they sought to achieve a uniform society; and thus dissenters were vilified and dealt with harshly.

Samuel lived under the rule of four monarchs, a commonwealth, which was brought about by two ivil wars, and a Lord Protector. He would remember Queen Bess (1503-1603), lived his youth under James I of England, VI of Scotland (1566-1625). His adult life began with Charles I (1600-1649).

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Samuel Gorton, in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.
  2. Bullock, J Russell. Westcott History, pg 149.

    Was one of the original purchaser's of Warwick, 1642.

  3.   Genelogical Dictionary of Rhode Island, Amer. Gen., 20:186-187.

    He was a clothier while in London. A volunteer for the Pequot War from Plymouth.

  4. 4.0 4.1 Moriarty, Jr., G. Andrews, "Genealogical Research in England", in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society), 82:185 , 1928, Secondary quality.

    In his (Samuel Gorton's) letter to Nathaniel Morton.. he states he was born at Gorton, a chapelry within the parish of Manchester (co. Lancaster, England).

    In a letter John Winthrop, Jr., dated 11 Aug. 1674, Samuel Gorton gives his age as "four score and two years." and there can, therefore, be little doubt that the Samuel Gorton, son of Thomas, who was baptized at Manchester 12 Feb. 1592/3...

  5.   Janes, Lewis G. Samuell Gorton: a forgotten founder of our liberties : first settler of Warwick, R.I. (Providence, RI: Preston and Rounds, 1896), p 82, 83, Secondary quality.
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