Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Africans in Maryland - Slave & Free - Men & Women (1675)

Soon after the settlement of Maryland in the 17C, British ships with Africans for sale as slaves began to appear in the Chesapeake. The Atlantic Ocean route between Africa and the Americas was called the Middle Passage. Planters looking for a cheap labor force were interested in using Africans as forced laborers on their tobacco plantations. For example, Governor Leonard Calvert negotiated with a ship captain as early as 1642 for the purchase of 13 Africans to work on his St. Mary's property. Africans were in rising demand by the colonists and British merchants continued to bring them in large numbers. Between 1675 and 1695, about 3,000 Africans entered the Chesapeake region to be put to work mostly on the tobacco plantations of Maryland and Virginia.

These Africans came from various West African ethnic groups from the region of the Gambia River around the coast of present day Nigeria. Men and women, whose complexions ranged from brown to black, brought with them numerous languages and customs, including their own African religious beliefs. Occasionally Muslims were among them, and sometimes Africans came from regions as far away as Madagascar. The Africans wore little clothing, sometimes only strings of beads. Many had filed teeth. Some had hair plaited in elaborate styles, while others had shaven heads. Slave owners often commented on the scarification—slave owners called them "country markings"—the Africans had on their bodies. These markings might be on their faces, arms, or torso and had a variety of distinctive designs, sometimes for ethnic identity and also for body ornamentation. African music, drums, and singing frightened whites who soon outlawed many African practices—especially drumming. After a time an Africanized English became the language that the Africans and their owners all understood. The Africans received new names and learned their work and the stringent boundaries within which slave life was confined. Owners wanted to break the Africans' rebellious spirits and restrict their movements.

Early accounts of Maryland history provide glimpses of the lives of some of the Africans. Ayubva Suleiman Dially was a well-educated Muslim merchant who was born about 1700 in an area located in an area that is now in Mali. He was captured and sold after he had traded two other Africans to a British merchant. He was taken to Annapolis where he was sold. He worked on a tobacco plantation for two years before he was rescued, taken to England and then finally allowed to return to his home.

Charles Ball, a slave sold into the cotton kingdom from the state of Maryland, wrote that after the sale of his mother, his master also decided to sell his father to a southern slave dealer. Ball said that his grandfather, an African, secretly went to his son's cabin, gave him some cider and parched corn, prayed "to the god of his native country" to protect his son, and told him to run away. Ball never saw his father again. His grandfather was originally enslaved in Charles County, Maryland, in about 1730.

By the 18C, Maryland was beginning to get a new generation of Africans, born in America, who did not know their parents' African homeland first hand. In Tobacco and Slaves (1998) Allan Kulikoff uses records of several Maryland plantations to show the gradual changes in the fertility of the enslaved population. On the Edmond Jennings plantation in 1712 almost all the workers were Africans. By 1730, nine out of ten black men and almost all of the black women working on the Robert Carter estates were born in Africa, but beginning in the 1730s the enslaved population began to grow naturally and was composed of both Africans and African Americans. In a few generations Africa became simply a distant misunderstood land to most African Americans.  By Debra Newman Ham 

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Back in Mother England - British Women Petition against All-Male Coffee Houses (1674)

This famous Restoration Satirical petition was put forth in 1674, as a protest against the perceived ills of the all-male coffee house culture of England.
Jan Troost Detail of Scene in a Coffee Shop at The Hermitage Museum with the only woman being a server

1674 Petition against all male coffee houses

Representing to Publick Consideration the Grand Inconveniencies accruing to their Sex from the Excessive Use of that drying, Enfeebling Liquor...By a Well-willer, London, Printed 1674.

To the Right Honorable the Keepers of the Liberties of Venus; The Worshipful Court of Female Assistants, &c.

The Humble Petitions and Address of Several Thousands of Buxome Good-Women, Languishing in Extremity of Want.

Sheweth, That since 'tis Reckon'd amongst the Glories of our Native Country, To be a Paradise for Women: The fame in our Apprehensions can consist in nothing more than the brisk Activity of our men, who in former Ages were justly esteemed the Ablest Performers in Christendome; But to our unspeakable Grief, we find of late a very sensible Decay of that true Old English Vigor; our Gallants being every way so Frenchified, that they are become meer Cock-sparrows, fluttering things that come on Sa sa, with a world of Fury, but are not able to stand to it, and in the very first Charge fall down flat before us.

Never did Men wear greater breeches, or carry less in them of any Mettle whatsoever. There was a glorious Dispensation ('twas surely in the Golden Age) when Lusty Ladds of Seven or eigh hundred years old, Got Sons and Daughters; ande we have read, how a Prince of Spain was forced to make a Law, that Men should not Repeat the Grand Kindness to their Wives, above NINE times a night; but Alas! Alas! Those forwards Days are gone, The dull Lubbers want a Spur now, rather than a Bridle: being so far from dowing any works of Supererregation that we find them not capable of performing those Devoirs which their Duty, and our Expectations Exact.

The Occasion of which Insufferable Disaster, after a furious Enquiry, and Discussion of the Point by the Learned of the Faculty, we can Attribute to nothing more than the Excessive use of that Newfangled, Abominable, Heathenish Liquor called COFFEE, which Riffling Nature of her Choicest Treasures, and Drying up the Radical Moisture, has so Eunucht our Husbands, and Cripple our more kind Gallants, that they are become as Impotent as Age, and as unfruitful as those Desarts whence that unhappy Berry is said to be brought.

For the continual flipping of this pitiful drink is enough to bewitch Men of two and twenty, and tie up the Codpiece-points without a Charm. It renders them that us it as Lean as Famine, as Rivvel'd as Envy, or an old meager Hagg over-ridden by an Incubus. They come from it with nothing moist but their snotty Noses, nothing stiffe but their Joints, nor standing but their Ears: They pretend 'twill keep them Waking, but we find by scurvy Experience, they sleep quietly enough after it. A Betrothed Queen might trust her self a bed with one of them, without the nice Caution of a sword between them: nor can call all the Art we use revive them from this Lethargy, so unfit they are for Action, that like young Train-band-men when called upon Duty, their Ammunition is wanting; peradventure they Present, but cannot give Fire, or at least do but flash in the Pan, instead of doing executions.

Nor let any Doating, Superstitious Catos shake their Goatish Beards, and task us of Immodesty for this Declaration, since 'tis a publick Grievance, and cries aloud for Reformation. Weight and Measure, 'tis well known, should go throughout the world, and there is no torment like Famishment. Experience witnesses our Damage, and Necessity (which easily supersedes all the Laws of Decency) justifies our complaints: For can any Woman of Sense or Spirit endure with Patience, that when priviledg'd by Legal Ceremonies, she approaches the Nuptial Bed, expecting a Man that with Sprightly Embraces, should Answer the Vigour of her Flames, she on the contrary should only meat A Bedful of Bones, and hug a meager useless Corpse rendred as sapless as a Kixe, and dryer than a Pumice-Stone, by the perpetual Fumes of Tobacco, and bewitching effects of this most pernitious COFFEE, where by Nature is Enfeebled, the Off-spring of our Mighty Ancestors Dwindled into a Succession of Apes and Pigmies: and ---The Age of Man Now Cramp't into an Inch, that was a Span.

Nor is this (though more than enough!) All the ground of our Complaint: For besides, we have reason to apprehend and grow Jealous, That Men by frequenting these Stygian Tap-houses will usurp on our Prerogative of tattling, and soon learn to exceed us in Talkativeness: a Quality wherein our Sex has ever Claimed preheminence: For here like so many Frogs in a puddle, they sup muddy water, and murmur insignificant notes till half a dozen of them out-babble an equal number of us at a Gossipping, talking all at once in Confusion, and running f rom point to point as insensibly, and swiftly, as ever the Ingenous Pole-wheel could run divisions on the Base-viol; yet in all their prattle every one abounds in his own sense, as stiffly as a Quaker at the late Barbican Dispute, and submits to the Reasons of no othre mortal: so that there being neither Moderator nor Rules observ'd, you mas as soon fill a Quart pot with Syllogismes, as profit by their Discourses.

Certainly our Countrymens pallates are become as Fantastical as their Brains; how ellse is't possible they should Apostatize from the good old primitve way of Ale-drinking, to run a whoring after such variety of distructive Foreign Liquors, to trifle away their time, scald their Chops, and spend their Money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking, nauseous Puddle-water: Yet (as all Witches have their Charms) so this ugly Turskish Enchantress by certain Invisible VVyres attracts both Rich and Poor; so that those that have scarece Twopence to buy their Children Bread, must spend a penny each evening in this Insipid Stuff: Nor can we send one of our Husbands to Call a Midwife, or borrow a Glister-pipe, but he must stay an hour by the way drinking his two Dishes, & two Pipes.

At these Houses (as at the Springs in Afric) meet all sorts of Animals, whence follows the production of a thousand Monster Opinions and Absurdities; yet for being dangerous to Government, we dare to be their Compurgators, as well knowing them to be too tame and too talkative to make any desperate Politicians: For though they may now and then destroy a Fleet, or kill ten thousand of the French, more than all the Confederates can do, yet this is still in their politick Capacities, for by their personal valour they are scarce fit to be of the Life-guard to a Cherry-tree: and therefore, though they frequently have hot Contests about most Important Subjects; as what colour the Red Sea is of; whether the Great Turk be a Lutheran or a Calvinist; who Cain's Father in Law was, &c., yet they never fight about them with any other save our Weapon, the Tongue.

Some of our Sots pretend tippling of this boiled Soot cures them of being Drunk; but we have reason rather to conclude it makes them so, because we find them not able to stand after it: 'Tis at best but a kind of Earthing a Fox to hunt him more eagerly afterward: A rare method of good-husbandry, to enable a man to be drunk three times a day! Just such a Remedy for Drunkenness, as the Popes allowing of Stews, is a means to prevent Fornication:

The Coffee-house being in truth, only a Pimp to the Tavern, a relishing fop prearative to a fresh debauch: For when people have swill'd themselves with a morning draught of more Ale than a Brewer's horse can carry, hither they come for a pennyworth of Settle-brain, where they are sure to meet enow lazy pragmatical Companions, that resort here to prattle of News, that they neither understand, nor are concerned in; and after an hours impertinent Chat, begin to consider a Bottle of Claret would do excellent well before Dinner; whereupon to the Bush they all march together, till every one of them is as Drunk as a Drum, and then back again to the Coffee-house to drink themselves sober; where three or four dishes a piece, and smoaking, makes their throats as dry as Mount Aetna enflam'd with Brimflame; for that they must away to the next Red Lattice to quenc them with a dozen or two of Ale, which at last growing nauseous, one of them begins to extol the blood of the Grape, what rare Langoon, and Racy Canary may be had at the Miter:

Saist thou so? cries another, Let's then go and replenish there, with our Earthen Vessels: So once more they troop to the Sack-shop till they are drunker than before; and then by a retrograde motion, stagger back to Soberize themselves with Coffee: thus like Tennis Balls between two Rackets, the Fopps our Husbands are bandied to and fro all day between the Coffee-house and Tavern, whilst we poor souls sit mopeing all alone till Twelve at night, and when at last they come to bed finoakt like a Westphalia Hogs-head we have no more comfort of them, than from a shotten Herring or a dried Bulrush; which forces us to take up this Lamentation and sing,

Tom Farthing, Tom Farthing, where has thou been, Tom Farthing?
Twelve a Clock e're you come in, Two a clock ere you begin, And
then at last can do nothing: Would make a Woman weary, weary,
weary, would make a Woman weary, &c.

Wherefore the Premises considered, and to the end that our Just Rights may be restored, and all the Ancient Priviledges of our Sex preserved inviolable; That our Husbands may give us some other Testimonial of their being Men, besides their Beards and wearing of empty Pantaloons: That they no more run the hazard of being Cuckol'd by Dildo's: But returning to the good old strengthening Liquors of our Forefathers; that Natures Exchequer may once again be replenisht, and a Race of Lusty Here's begot, able by their Atchievements, to equal the Glories of our Ancesters.

We Humbly Pray, That you our Trusty Patrons would improve your Interest, that henceforth the Drinking COFFEE may on severe penalties be forbidden to all Persons under the Age of Threescore; and that instead thereof, Lusty nappy Beer, Cock-Ale, Cordial Canaries, Restoring Malago's, and Back-recruiting Chochole be Recommended to General Use, throughout the Utopian Territories.

In hopes of which Glorious Reformation, your Petitioners shall readily Prostrate themselves, and ever Pray, &c. FINIS.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

17C American Women & Children (1671)

c. 1671 Unidentified Artist, Freake Gibbes? Elizabeth Clarke Freake (Mrs. John Freake) and Baby Mary

1679 Attributed to Thomas Smith fl c 1650-1691 Patteshall Mrs. Richard (Martha Woody) and Child.  Because there were many Thomas Smiths in Boston at this time, it Has Been difficult to identify this painter, who left at the end of self-portrait. Recently Data-Portrait of Thomas Smith Has Been discovered by Harvard PhD candidate Jason LaFountain. The Following quote is from the diary of Thomas Smith's great-grandson, Samuel Dexter, Whose mother, Catherina Mears Dexter, was known to have owned the painting. "My mother has the arms of an ancestor of hers, of the name of Smith. She Has His portrait too, daubed by himself, with some lines in verse at the bottom, of His own composing, in the style of the day. He was an officer in Cromwell's army, and had anche the command of a fort, or garrison . From her family arms the field of mine was taken. The crest and the motto were pleased as Mr. Artist, and the vellum was, in other respects, and bedecked bedizened according to Functional His fancy. " from Samuel Dexter, "Dexter Samuel Commonplace -book, "1763-1809, Massachusetts Historical Society, Ms. SBd-219 / P-201 Microfilm, 276-277.

Attributed to Thomas Smith. A Portrait of the Artist's Darughter, Mary Catherine Smith, about 1690-93

Attributed to Gerrit Duyckinck fl c1660-1710 Unknown Woman New York. Gerardus Duyckinck is the best known of several limners & amp; stained-glass glaziers in this New York City family, Which included His grandfather Evert (1621-c 1703), His father, Gerrit (1660-c 1710), His cousin Evert III (1677-c 1725), and his son Gerardus Jr . (1723-1797). Garrit was probably trained by His Father Evert, and his son Gerardus was probably trained by His Father Garrit & amp; His older cousin Evert III.

1690-1700 Unknown Artist Rebecca Bonum Eskridge of Virginia.

Friday, July 26, 2019

William Penn's 2nd Wife, Quaker Hannah Callowhill Penn 1671-1726

Hannah Callowhill Penn by John Hesselius

Hannah Callowhill Penn (1671-1726) second wife & executrix of William Penn (1644-1718), founder of Pennsylvania, was born in Bristol, England. She was the daughter of Thomas Callowhill, a prosperous Quaker button manufacturer, linen draper, & merchant, & his wife, Anna (Hannah) Hollister. Although she had 8 siblings, by the time Hannah was 15, she was her parents’ only surviving child. They taught her to keep accounts & to understand the various aspects of family commercial ventures, which later proved useful.

When she finally consented to be Penn’s wife after almost a year‘s persistent courtship, he was fifty-two, a widower with teen-age children. Their marriage took place on Mar. 5, 1696, at the old Broadhead Meeting in Bristol; in the next twelve years she bore Penn eight children (not seven as commonly stated). Of these, the first did not live long enough to be named. The succeeding children were John, call “the American” because he was born in Philadelphia (1700); Thomas (1702), later chief proprietor of Pennsylvania; Hannah Margarita (1703); Margaret (1704); Richard (1706); Dennis (1707); & Hannah (1708). Both Hannahs died in early childhood.

In this first period of her married life Hannah Penn made her only trip to Pennsylvania, with her husband & stepdaughter Letitia. They remained in the province just twenty-three months (1699-1701), but during that time she came to know Penn’s associates in the provincial government & gained their respect by her common sense, prudence, & dignity. Though she became aware of the economic problems & developing factionalism in the young province, she was concerned primarily with managing the farm at Pennsbury in Bucks County while her husband was engaged in the business of government. Penn had hoped to settle permanently in the province, but political & financial problems that arose in England required them to return.

In the years following Hannah saw her husband pressured by debts & imprisoned, & watched him grow disillusioned with his contentious Assembly & eventually realize that William, Jr., his eldest son by his first marriage, was unsuitable as the future heir to the proprietorship & province of Pennsylvania. She was in full accord with Penn, as a result, in 1703 initiated his first proposal to surrender the government of his province to the Crown for a cash settlement, while retaining title to the land, & when , in order to pay off his debts, he arranged to mortgage the land to English Quaker trustees.

Hannah Callowhill (Mrs. William) Penn, by Henry J. Wright, after Francis Place, 1874.

William Penn died in 1718. In his will, written in 1712 after his first stroke, he had demonstrated his confidence in Hannah by naming her sole executrix & leaving to her & her children the greater part pf his Pennsylvania land. But by vesting the government of the province to the hands of English trustees he had laid the foundation for a claim to both soil & government by his eldest son, William, Jr., the de jure heir. That claim, initiated immediately after Penn’s death, complicated the last period of Hannah’s life with tedious & expensive litigation over the will.

In 1721, now aged fifty, Hannah suffered what was called a “fit of the dead palsy” which, though it left her mind unimpaired, weakened her physically. From then until her death much of the proprietary business was left to the discretion of the devoted Simon Clement & of her eldest son, John, now of age. Never fully relinquished her right of stewardship, she continued to keep in tough with events in the province & in 1724 concluded a temporary agreement with Lord Baltimore over the long-vexed question of the Pennsylvania-Maryland boundary. By then the mortgage was nearly all paid, & she had come to view the surrender of government with less enthusiasm. She knew that the people of Pennsylvania thought it “inconsistent with the Proprietor’s first engagement” with them; moreover, if the will was confirmed in favor of her family, divorcing the soil from the proprietorship & its perquisites would deprive her sons of their full inheritance.

She lived just long enough to learn that she had won by default, & that Penn’s will would be upheld. A week later she died at the home of her son John in London, following another stroke. She was buried at Jordans Friends Meeting in Buckinghamshire; her coffin reputedly reposes on that of her husband. By her dedication to her husband’s policies & her ability through all her trials to act, as Isaac Norris wrote, “with a wonderful evenness, humility & freedom,” she had succeeded in keeping the Province of Pennsylvania intact & the people contented. Pennsylvania was held by her branch of the Penn family as a proprietary colony until the Revolution.

This posting based on information from Notable American Women edited by Edward T James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S Boyer, The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1971

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

17C Colonial American Children portrayed on Checkered Board Tile Floors (1670)

 1670 American Artist Portrait of Alice Mason, by an unknown artist, C. 1670.The round collar of the pinafore identifies her as female.

These are early portraits of children in Boston.  These paintings are remarkable; simply because they were was painted in 1670, just 50 years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock on the coast of Massachusetts.  Here the artist has chosen to depict these children from Boston in a safe interior space defined simply by a black-and-white or monochromatic checkerboard floor sometimes with just a hint of decorative drapery in one of the upper corners.
 1670 The Freake Limner (American Colonial Era Painter, active 1670-c 1680) Henry Gibbs of Boston holding a bird.

Checkered floors were popular in colonial America, but these were probably not the traditional European tiled floors  The checkerboad pattern might have been painted directly on the wooden floorboards or on a canvas floor cloth.  Such attention to floor patterns would have appreared primarily in the homes of the affluent.  As late as 1800, Lyman Beecher noted that his wife introduced the 1st painted floor cloth (which she made herself) to East Hampton, Long Island, where all the other houses "had sanded floors, some of them worn through."  Beecher was referring to the practice of spreading sand on floorboards which could be sweep & refreshed as needed.
 1670 The Freake Limner (American Colonial Era Painter, active 1670-c 1680) Margaret Gibbs of Boston holding a fan.

Like the paintings of children in 17C Europe, the artist depicts these children looking far older than their years, but their exact ages are inscribed next to their heads. Here the children are little adults, unusually proportioned with stiff, erect postures.  Worried that children might become wild or immoral if not disciplined by strict religious & cultural rules, the Puritans of early New England assigned as many household & garden duties as possible to children & filled the children's remaining time with religious & educational activities.
 1670 The Freake Limner (American Colonial Era Painter, active 1670-c 1680) Robert Gibbs here holding the manly symbol of gloves.

The clothing in these American portraits is simple. Early Massachusetts law stated that only the very wealthy could display extravagant clothing, which could only be worn by members of households whose income exceeded 200 pounds per year.  Yet even the well-to-do, influenced by New England's predominantly Puritan & Quaker ethics of the time, often frowned upon overly fancy clothes as vain & impious. It was common for wealthy people to wear simple clothes made of expensive fabric.

Monday, July 22, 2019

The Southern Colonies (1670)

Slaves Working in 17C Virginia Unknown artist c 1670 Wikipedia

In contrast to New England and the middle colonies, the Southern colonies were predominantly rural settlements.  By the late 17th century, Virginia's and Maryland's economic and social structure rested on the great planters and the yeoman farmers. The planters of the Tidewater region, supported by slave labor, held most of the political power and the best land. They built great houses, adopted an aristocratic way of life, and kept in touch as best they could with the world of culture overseas.

The yeoman farmers, who worked smaller tracts, sat in popular assemblies and found their way into political office. Their outspoken independence was a constant warning to the oligarchy of planters not to encroach too far upon the rights of free men.

The settlers of the Carolinas quickly learned to combine agriculture and commerce, and the marketplace became a major source of prosperity. Dense forests brought revenue: Lumber, tar, and resin from the longleaf pine provided some of the best shipbuilding materials in the world. Not bound to a single crop as was Virginia, North and South Carolina also produced and exported rice and indigo, a blue dye obtained from native plants that was used in coloring fabric. 

In the southernmost colonies, as everywhere else, population growth in the backcountry had special significance. German immigrants and Scots-Irish, unwilling to live in the original Tidewater settlements where English influence was strong, pushed inland. Those who could not secure fertile land along the coast, or who had exhausted the lands they held, found the hills farther west a bountiful refuge. Although their hardships were enormous, restless settlers kept coming.

From Outline of U.S. History, a publication of the U.S. Department of State copied from the website of the United States Information Agency, where it was published in November 2005.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Women in America Timeline 1670-1700

Timeline Of Events Directly Affecting Women 1670-1700

Copies of complete documents may be found by clicking on highlighted descriptions.

c. 1674 Elizabeth Clarke Freake (Mrs. John Freake) and Baby Mary, about 1671 and 1674

Grant of the Province of Maine; June 29

His Royal Highness's Grant to the Lords Proprietors, Sir George Carteret; July 29

New York declares that blacks who convert to Christianity after their enslavement will not be freed.

In Albany, Maria Van Cortlandt Van Rennselaer (1645-1688/9) manages her 24 mile square estate after the death of her husband in 1674. She does not remarry and clears title to the property when the English reclaim New York. (See more about Maria on this blog.)

Nathaniel Bacon leads southside Virginians against the Indians and in violation of Governor Berkeley's wishes. He openly rebels against Berkley and burns Jamestown to the ground before dying of dysentery on October 26. Slaves and indentured servants participate.King Philip's War begins when Metacomet (King Philip) leads an attack against Swansea in retaliation for the Plymouth colony's execution of three Wampanoag tribe members. The bloody war rages up & down the Connecticut River valley in Massachusetts & in the Plymouth & Rhode Island colonies, eventually killing 600 English colonials & 3,000 Native Americans, including women & children on both sides. Metacomet is shot on 12 August 1676. In New Hampshire & Maine, the Saco Indians continue to raid settlements for another year and a half. Sir Edmond Andros finally makes peace in Maine on 12 April 1678.The Royal Africa Company is given a monopoly in the English slave trade bringing male & female slaves to the British American colonies.  When Bacon is marching back to Jamestown & things are looking bleak, his men are still supporting him. When one of the men, a Scotsman named Drummond, was warned that this was rebellion, he replied recklessly, "I am in over shoes, I will be in over boots."
His wife was even more bold. "This is dangerous work," said some one, "and England will have something to say to it." Then Sarah Drummond picked up a twig, and snapping it in two, threw it down again. "I fear the power of England no more than that broken straw," she cried.

The Charter or Fundamental Laws, of West New Jersey, Agreed Upon

Quintipartite Deed of Revision, Between E. and W Jersey: July 1

Sarah Symmes Fiske (1627-1692) writes her only known literary work A CONFESSION OF FAITH: OR, A SUMMARY OF DIVINITY. DRAWN UP BY A YOUNG GENTLE-WOMAN, IN THE TWENTY-FIFTH YEAR OF HER AGE, which would not be published until 1704. The work is a spiritual biography emphasizing Puritan theology and argument. (See this blog for more on Sarah Symmes Fiske.)

Anne Bradstreet’s SEVERAL POEMS COMPILED WITH GREAT VARIETY OF WIT AND LEARNING…BY A GENTLEWOMAN OF NEW ENGLAND is published posthumously and includes revisions of her earlier work and a dozen new works found among her papers after her death and includes "On the Burning of Her Home," a short spiritual autobiography in prose; "Religious Experience;" and "Contemplation," regarded by many as her greatest poetic achievement. (See this blog for more on Anne Bradstreet.)
1679 Mrs. Richard Patteshall (Martha Woody) and Child. Attributed to: Thomas Smith, American, c 1650–1691

The State of Virginia forbids blacks and slaves from bearing arms, prohibits blacks from congregating in large numbers, and mandates harsh punishment for slaves who assault Christians or attempt escape.

Duke of York's Second Grant to William Penn, Gawn Lawry, Nicholas Lucas, John Eldridge, Edmund Warner, and Edward Byllynge, for the Soil and Government of West New Jersey; August 6

Commission of John Cutt of New Hampshire; September 18

Concessions to the Province of Pennsylvania - July 11Charter for the Province of Pennsylvania; February 28

Province of West New-Jersey, in America; November 25

William Penn (1644–1718), a wealthy Quaker, receives a large land grant west of the Delaware River, Pennsylvania. Penn received the colony as payment in lieu of debt that the Crown owed his father, naval hero Sir William Penn. Establishment of the colony also solved the problem of the growing Society of Friends or "Quaker" movement in England, which was causing much embarrassment to the Church of England. While still in England, Penn outlined certain rights to its citizens. The three counties of the Delaware Colony, captured from the Dutch, were deeded to William Penn in 1682, but regained a separate existence in 1704.

Sarah Whipple Goodhue (1641-1681) writes "VALEDICTORY AND MONITORY-WRITING." Goodhue's letter to provide spiritual guidance to her family would be read for inspiration through the 19th century. The Ipswich, Massachusetts, native had written the work anticipating that she might die in childbirth. It offers advice to her husband & children and remains interesting for the light it sheds on colonial family life. (See this blog for the entire text of Sarah Goodhue's letter to her family.)

Maria, a slave is burned at the stake for trying, with 2 men, to burn down her master's house in Massachusetts. The court condemns her most severely, claiming she lacks "the feare of God before her eyes."


Mary White Rowlandson (c. 1635-c. 1678) writes THE SOVEREIGNTY & THE GOODNESS OF GOD... BEING A NARRATIVE OF THE CAPTIVITY AND RESTAURATION OF MRS. MARY ROWLANDSON. One of the most famous and popular examples of colonial American prose chronicles Rowlandson's spiritual & physical travails after her 11 week captivity among Indians in 1676. It is the first widely popular book written by a woman. (See this blog for more on Mary Rowlandson plus the entire text of her book.)

Virginia declares all imported African American servants to be slaves for life.

Virginia, 1682: A law establishing the racial distinction between servants and slaves was enacted.
Mary Avery may have been the colonies' first woman publisher. She published The Rule of the New-Creature (a children's book) at Boston in 1682.

Duke of York's Confirmation to the 24 Proprietors; March 14

Penn's Charter of Libertie; April 25

Frame of Government of Pennsylvania; May 5

A group of German Mennonites & Quakers founded the settlement of Germantown. They were led by Francis Daniel Pastorius who soon wrote a promotional piece to encourage more Germans to emigrate to Pennsylvania.

Quakers establish the first school in Pennsylvania. They are among the first to teach both girls & boys to read and write. Training in classical languages, history, & literature is available at a public school in Philadelphia beginning in 1689.

Mennonite and other German families begin to settle in Penn's colony.

William Penn & Native Americans negotiate a peace treaty at Shackamaxon under the Treaty Elm

Frame of Government of Pennsylvania: February 2

The Fundamental Constitutions for the Province of East New Jersey in America

The King's Letter Recognizing the Proprietors' Right to the Soil and Government ; November 23

Charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony is revoked ending the requirement of church membership for voting.

New York makes it illegal for slaves to sell goods.

The Duke of York ascends the British throne as King James II. He creates The Dominion of New England with the consolidation of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, East Jersey, & West Jersey into a single larger colony in 1685. The experiment ended with the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89, and the nine colonies re-established their separate identities in 1689.

Protestants in France lose their guarantee of religious freedom as King Louis XIV revokes the Edict of Nantes, spurring many families to leave for America.

New England Royal Governor Sir Edmund Andros begins issuing a series of unpopular orders aimed at the consolidation of colonies into one large settlement. He dissolves the assemblies of New York & Connecticut; limits the number of town meetings in New England to one per year; places the militia under his direct control & forces Puritans & Anglicans to worship together.

Governor Andros, orders Boston's Old South Meeting House to be converted into an Anglican Church. In August, the Massachusetts towns of Ipswich & Topsfield resist assessments imposed by Andros in protest of taxation without representation.

Catholic King James II of England flees to France after being deposed by influential English leaders.

Resolutions of The Germantown Mennonites; February 18

Commission of Sir Edmund Andros for the Dominion of New England; April 7

Quakers in Pennsylvania issue a formal resolution against slavery of men & women in America.

1689Governor Andros is jailed by rebellious colonists in Boston. In July, the English government orders Andros to be returned to England to stand trial. Cotton Mather supports the rebellion.

The New England colonies reestablish their previous systems of government.

William III of Orange (the Netherlands) is crowned king of England with wife Mary, daughter of James II. They reign together until 1694, when Mary dies; William rules alone until 1702.

The French and Indian War begins with King William's War. Schenectady, N. Y. and other areas are burned by French and Native Americans; Massachusetts colonists capture Port Royal, Nova Scotia; and Canadian forces destroy Casco, Maine.
Unknown Woman New York, 1690–1700 Attributed to Gerret Duyckinck from New York, (New Amsterdam) 1660–1710)

The Province of Massachusetts Bay was organized October 7, 1691 by William & Mary. The charter was enacted May 14, 1692 and included Massachusetts Bay Colony, Plymouth Colony, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, the Province of Maine & what is now Nova Scotia. The New Hampshire gained its independence

South Carolina passes the first comprehensive slave codes

Virginia passes the first anti-miscegenation law, forbidding marriages between whites and blacks or whites and Native Americans. And Virginia prohibits the manumission of slaves within its borders. Manumitted slaves are forced to leave the colony.  A 1691 Virginia law declared that any white man or woman who married a "Negro, mulatto, or Indian" would be banished from the colony forever.

In New York, the newly appointed Governor of New England, Henry Sloughter, arrives from England & institutes royally sanctioned representative government.

The Charter of Massachusetts Bay; October 7

The Salem witch trials accuse 150 of which 20 are condemned to die including 14 women; most of the accused & the accusers are women.

William & Mary College, named for the British rulers, is chartered in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Thomas Smith, attributed, Maria Catherina Smith, about 1690-93


Rice cultivation is introduced into Carolina. Slave importation increases dramatically.

First known Jew settles in Charleston, South Carolina.

Dinah Nuthead inherits her husband's printing press in St. Mary's City, Maryland. She moves it to Annapolis when the government relocates there, and continues to run the printing business.

The Royal African Trade Company loses its slave trade monopoly, spurring colonists in New England to engage in trading male & female slaves for profit.

Frame of Government of Pennsylvania

The English pass the Navigation Act of 1696 requiring colonial trade to be done exclusively via English built ships. The Act also expands the powers of colonial custom commissioners, including rights of forcible entry, and requires the posting of bonds on certain goods.

Massachusetts general court expresses official repentance for the witchcraft trials; Samuel Sewall confesses guilt from his Boston church pew.

King William's War ends as the French & English sign the Treaty of Ryswick.
1690-1700 Rebecca Bonum Eskridge. Unknown Artist.

Cockacoeske, Queen of the Pamunkey Indians, signs a peace treaty with Virginia.

Peace treaty at Casco Bay, Maine, brings hostilities between the Abenaki Indians & the Massachusetts colony to an end.

English Parliament passes the Wool Act, protecting its own wool industry by limiting wool production in Ireland & forbidding the export of wool by Americans.

Yale Law School, The Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History, and Diplomacy. New Haven, CT.


HISTORY MATTERS. American Social History Project / Center for Media and Learning (Graduate Center, CUNY) and the Center for History and New Media (George Mason University). Internet.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

New England Mothers & Children in 17C British American Colonies (1670s)

The Freake Limner (American Colonial Era Painter, active 1670-c 1680) The Mason Children - David, Joanna, and Abigail c 1670
The Freake Limner (American Colonial Era Painter, active 1670-c 1680) Margaret Gibbs of Boston c 1670
The Freake Limner (American Colonial Era Painter, active 1670-c 1680) Henry Gibbs of Boston c 1670
The Freake Limner (American Colonial Era Painter, active 1670-c 1680) Robert Gibbs c 1670
Portrait of Alice Mason, by an unknown artist, C. 1670.
Portrait of Mary Mason, by unknown artist, C. 1670.
The Freake Limner (American Colonial Era Painter, active 1670-c 1680) Mrs Elizabeth Freake and Baby Mary 1674. The Freake Limner (active 1670–1674) is known by 10 similar portraits in oil on canvas that were painted of merchants, public officials, ministers, & children in Boston between 1670 and 1674. 
1679 Mrs. Richard Patteshall (Martha Woody) and Child. Attributed to Thomas Smith, American, c 1650–1691 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. While most attribute this painting to Thomas Smith, some suggest that the painter could be Augustine Clement (c 1600–1674) who trained in the Elizabethan style in England before sailing to New England.  However, there were about 14 artists working in Boston in the 17C, so attribution to Clement is speculative.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Independent New York Businesswoman Margarieta Hardenbrook De Vries Philipse 1631-c1689

Unknown Dutch Lady by Pieter Soutman (c 1590s-1657) was a Dutch Golden Age painter

Margarieta Hardenbrook De Vries Philipse (1631-1686-90), was not a typical Atlantic colonial women. While she does not appear to be the warm, friendly type of person one might grow close to or admire, she was financially independent & very successful as a merchant & shipowner. She sailed back & forth across the often harsh Atlantic to manage her financial affairs. There was nothing soft about Margarieta.

Much of her independence stemmed from the fact that she was part of the Dutch society that settled early New York. It was a culture which did not fear giving some independence to women & did not completely strip them of their capital & resources, when they married.

She was born in Elberfeld in the Rhine Valley of Westphalia in Germany, the daughter of Adolph Hardenbroook (Hardenbroeck) & his 2nd wife Maria Katernberg. She was living in the Dutch colony of New Netherland by 1659, when her brother Abel Hardenbrook signed an indenture to serve the Ten Eyck family in New Amsterdam.

Her parents & the remainder of her family followed, immigrating in 1660 on the ship De Trouw. Records of the German Reformed Church in Elberfeld show that by 1641, Margarieta’s mother had lost 4 children in infancy, but 3 of Margarieta’s brothers survived to reach New Amsterdam.

When Margarieta was 28, on Oct. 10, 1659, marriage banns were posted at the Reformed Dutch Church in New Amsterdam between Margarieta & Pieter Rudolphus De Vries (1603-1661), a wealthy, widowed merchant-trader. De Vries was 28 years older than his new bride & had actually married his 1st wife the year Margarieta was born. Within the year, the newlyweds had a daughter, Maria, who was baptized Oct. 3, 1660. During the same year, Pieter De Vries also died, leaving a considerable estate.

But even before De Vries died, as of 1660, Margarieta was already carrying on mercantile activities using her maiden name; as she did throughout her career. She apparently was a business agent for Wouter Valck, Daniel des Messieres, & other Dutch merchants trading with New Netherland.

When her husband died in May or June of 1661, she immediately took over his businees as a shipper, merchant, & trader. She shipped furs to Holland in exchange for ready-made Dutch merchandise, which she sold to settlers in New Amsterdam.

Over the next 2 years, Margarieta became embroiled in many legal actions arising from her late husband’s business & his estate. While her deceased husband was an astute businessman, he apparently did not enjoy record-keeping.

Not one to let any grass grown under her feet, she also found time to court & accept a proposal of marriage from Frederick Philipse, a rising power in the economic, social, & political life of New Amsterdam. And Frederick Philipse was only 5 years older than Margarieta.

On October 28, 1662, new banns of marriage were posted at the Reform Dutch Church just as the Court of Orphan Masters requested her to present an inventory of her child’s paternal inheritance. The wedding could not take place until she gave the Orphan Masters, who protected the inheritance rights of children who had lost a parent, a complete & accurate accounting of the financial affairs of her late husband Pieter Rudolphus de Vries. Records report that his interests were far flung & in "considerable disarray;" and Margarieta could not produce acceptable accounting.

The legal process dragged on. Margarieta was pregnant, & children born out of wedlock in the Dutch Reform church were baptised with a note in the church register announcing the indiscretion in a very blunt manner. Frederick Philipse, desperate to get the marriage performed, eventually signed a pre-nuptual legal document on December 18th, saying that he would make the child Maria De Vries an heir equal with any children he would have by Margaret Hardenbroek. They were finally allowed to marry, & their 1st child Phillip was baptised three months later, on March 18th.

In her 2006 book The Women of the House, Jean Zimmerman reports that Margaret chose to establish the partnership with her 2nd husband according to usus, crafting the age-old prenuptial contract that explicitly denied a husband unlimited power over his wife. As a she-merchant, who already ran an independent trading concern, Margaret needed the control of her finances. Entering into her marriage under usus ensured that the property she brought to the marriage, the house lots in Manhattan and Bergen; ships that now included the "New Netherland Indian", "Beaver", "Pearl" and "Morning Star"; and her furniture, plate and linens - would remain hers. She would continue as a 'free merchant of New Amsterdam', as court transcripts described her.

By his marriage Frederick Philipse became entitled to a community of property with his wife; but she did not relinquish the sole management of her estate, for which she seemed well-fitted by nature. On the contrary she personally supervised the business of her late husband, frequently sailing to Holland in her own ships acting as her own supercargo. As the owner of both the ship & its cargo, she exercised the superior authority over vessel, passengers, crew, & cargo. It was a power she clearly relished.

Using his wife’s inheritance from her late husband, Frederick Philipse was able to expand his mercantile endeavors, until he soon was one of the wealthiest men in New Amsterdam. Philipse had arrived in New Amsterdam in the early 1650s, as carpenter for Governor Peter Stuyvesant. Through trade, land acquisition, & his strategic marriage, Philipse amassed a fortune. In 1672, Philipse purchased the Yonkers' Nepperhan mill site. This was the beginning of what would become a 52,500-acre estate established by a royal patent in 1693, as the "Lordship or Mannour of Philipsborough."

Throughout her lifetime Margarieta independently continued her own extensive overseas trading activities, frequently traveling across the Atlantic to oversee the business on both ends. A Dutch deposition of 1660, described a financial contract between merchant Wouter Valeck & Margarieta Hardenbroeck, “living in the Manhattans in New Netherland who is at present married to Pieter Adolphus (Rudolphus De Vries), merchant there.”

Other records place her back in Amsterdam in January of 1664 & in the winter of 1668/69, when she was petitioning the King of England to permit the more frequent sailing of the ship King Charles between Amsterdam and the now English colony of New York.

A decade later Labadist missionary, Jaspar Danckaerts & a fellow missionary traveled across the Atlantic on one of Margarieta’s ships, the King Charles. On this voyage, Margarieta was actually serving as supercargo on board her own vessel.

Danckaerts took the measure of the formidible woman. In a rather unforgiving tone for a Christian missionary, he declared that Margarieta was full of “unblushing avarice” & “excessive covetousness.” He told of her ordering her beleagured crew & the passengers to search the rolling seas for a lost mop, which had accidentally slipped overboard. “We, with all the rest, must work fruitlessly for an hour or an hour & a half, & all that merely to satisfy & please the miserable covetousness of Margarieta.”

Accompanying Margarieta on this less-than-restful voyage was her daughter Annatje (Anna), who eventually married English merchant Philip French. Margarieta & Frederick Philipse also had 4 other children: Philip, Eva (who may or may not have been Maria De Vries), Adolphus, & Rombout, who died in infancy. Adolphus, who never married, followed in his father’s business assuming control of his overseas trading operations.

Their son Philip was also involved in cross-Atlantic shipping & trading. Philip was sent to Babadoes in the West Indies by his father, because of his "delicate constitution." In Barbadoes, Philip married the daughter of the governor of the island. His wife died shortly after the birth of their only child, a son. Frail Philip died the following year. Their young son Frederick was sent back to New York, to be raised by his relatives; where he would eventually receive the Philipse estate, when his batchelor uncle Adolphus died in 1719. Eva married Jacobus Van Cortlandt.

Perhaps exhausted by her voyage in the company of the gossipy Danckaerts & his cleric companion, Margarieta Hardenbrook De Vries Philipse seems to have retired from business after her memorable & controversial crossing on the King Charles. Margarieta was dead by 1690.

See Notable American Women edited by Edward T James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S Boyer, The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1971.
Waldrup, Carole Chandler (1999). Colonial Women: 23 Europeans Who Helped Build a Nation. McFarland. pp. 89–94.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography: Being the History of the United States as Illustrated in the Lives of the Founders, Builders, and Defenders of the Republic, and of the Men and Women who are Doing the Work and Moulding the Thought of the Present Time. J. T. White Company. 1910.
"Philipse, Margaret Hardenbrook (d. 1690) - Dictionary definition of Philipse, Margaret Hardenbrook (d. 1690)".
Mays, Dorothy A. (2004). Women in Early America: Struggle, Survival, and Freedom in a New World. ABC-CLIO.
Catterall, Douglas (2012). Women in Port: Gendering Communities, Economies, and Social Networks in Atlantic Port Cities, 1500-1800. 
"Margaret Hardenbroek De Vries Philipse" The National Society of Colonial Dames in The State of New York.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Coffee Houses in 17C Colonial British America (1668)

The institution of London's popular coffee houses quickly crossed the Atlantic to the British American colonies.  A French traveler to London in 1668 named Henri Misson gave this description of the early coffee house, "very numerous in London,  are extremely convenient. You have all manner of news there; you have a good Fire, which you may sit by as long as you please; you have a Dish of Coffee; you meet your Friends for the transaction of Business, and all for a penny, if you don’t care to spend more”
1674 London Coffee House

It seems that the first to bring a knowledge of coffee to the settlers of colonial British North America was Captain John Smith, who founded the Colony of Virginia at Jamestown in 1607. Captain Smith became familiar with coffee in his travels in Turkey.

New York's First Coffee House

Although the Dutch also had early knowledge of coffee, there is no written evidence that the Dutch West India Company brought any of it to the first permanent settlement on Manhattan Island (1624). Nor is there any record of coffee in the cargo records of the Mayflower (1620), although it included a wooden mortar & pestle, later used to make "coffee powder."  The earliest known reference to coffee in America is 1668, at which time a beverage made from the roasted beans, & flavored with sugar or honey, & cinnamon, was being drunk in New York.  Coffee first appears in the official records of the New England colony in 1670. In 1683, the year following William Penn's settlement on the Delaware, he is buying supplies of coffee in the New York market & paying for them at the rate of 18 shillings & 9 pence per pound.
A racy view of the coffee house. The Rake’s Rendezvous; Or The Midnight Revels.  The various Humours of Tom Kings Coffee House in Covent Garden. William Hogarth (British painter & printmaker, 1697-1764) Four Seasons

Some researchers of New York's early days feel that the first coffee house in America was opened in New York; but the earliest authenticated record they have presented is that on November 1, 1696, John Hutchins bought a lot on Broadway, between Trinity churchyard & what is now Cedar Street.  There Hutchins built a house he used as a coffee house, eventually called King's Arms. Later dubbed the King's Arms house was built of wood, & had a front of yellow brick, said to have been brought from Holland. The building was 2 stories high, & on the roof was an "observatory," arranged with seats, commanding a fine view of the bay, the river, & the city. Here the coffee-house visitors frequently sat in the afternoons.  It stood for many years on Broadway, opposite Bowling Green, becoming known in 1763 as the King's Arms, & later the Atlantic Garden House.
Garden facade of King's Arms near Trinity Church, on Broadway in NYC.

The sides of the main room on the lower floor at the King's Arms were lined with booths, which, for the sake of greater privacy, were screened with green curtains. There a patron could sip his coffee, or a more stimulating drink, meet with others to discuss news, or just relax & read his mail.  The rooms on the 2nd floor were used for special meetings of merchants, colonial magistrates & overseers, or similar public & private business.  These meeting rooms seem to have been one of the chief features distinguishing a coffee house from a tavern. Although both types of houses had rooms for guests, & served meals, the coffee house was used more often for business purposes by permanent customers, while the tavern was patronized more by revellers & transients. Men met at the coffee house daily to carry on business, & went to the tavern for convivial purposes or lodgings. Before the front door hung the sign of "the lion & the unicorn fighting for the crown."  For many years the King's Arms seems to have been the only coffee house in New York City; or at least no other seems of sufficient importance to have been mentioned as a coffee house in colonial records. For this reason it was more frequently designated as "the" coffee house than the King's Arms.

 Coffee Houses in Early Boston

Many women owned coffee houses, which traditionally had been frequented by men.  Dorothy Jones had been issued a license to sell coffee in Boston in 1670. “Mrs. Dorothy Jones, the wife of Mr. Morgan Jones, is approved of to keepe a house of publique Entertainment for the selling of Coffee & Chochaletto.” The last renewal of Mrs. Jones's license was in April 1674, at which time she was accorded the additional privilege of selling "cider & wine." Her husband Morgan Jones was a minister & schoolmaster who moved from colony to colony frequently, leaving Dorothy Jones to make her own way financially for herself & their family.

After the Welsh gentlewoman Jones opened her 1670 Boston coffee & chocolate establishment, the next colonial coffee house may have been in Maryland. In St. Mary's City, Maryland, the 1698 will of Garrett Van Sweringen, bequeaths to his son, Joseph, "ye Council Rooms and Coffee House and land thereto belonging," which Van Sweringen had opened in 1677.
Ned Ward, The Coffee House Mob, frontispiece to Part IV of Vulgus Britannicus, or the British Hudibras (London, 1710)

Soon coffee houses, patterned after English & Continental prototypes, were established in the colonies, quickly becoming centers of social, political & business interactions. Among the earlist were London Coffee House in Boston, in 1689; the King's Arms in New York in 1696; and Coffee House in Philadelphia in 1700.
1664 wood cut of English coffee house

The name coffee house did not come into use in New England, until late in the 17th century. The London Coffee House & the Gutteridge Coffee House were among the 1st opened in Boston. The latter stood on the north side of State Street, between Exchange & Washington Streets.  Robert Gutteridge took out an innkeeper's license in 1691. Twenty-seven years later, his widow, Mary Gutteridge, petitioned the town for a renewal of her late husband's permit to keep a public coffee house.

Boston's British Coffee House, whose named changed during the boiling pre-Revolutionary period, also appeared about the time Gutteridge took out his license. It stood on the site that is now 66 State Street, and became one of the most widely known coffee houses in colonial New England.

In the last quarter of the 17th century, quite a number of taverns and inns sprang up in Boston. Among the most notable were the King's Head (1691), at the corner of Fleet & North Streets; the Indian Queen (1673), on a passageway leading from Washington Street to Hawley Street; the Sun (1690-1902), in Faneuil Hall Square; & the Green Dragon, which became one of the most celebrated coffee house & taverns, serving ale, beer, coffee, tea, and more ardent spirits. In the colonies, there was not always a clear distinction between a coffee house & a tavern.

Boston's Green Dragon

The Green Dragon stood on Union Street, in the heart of the town's business center, for 135 years, from 1697 to 1832, figuring in most important local & national events during its long career. In the words of Daniel Webster (1782-1852), this famous coffee-house tavern was dubbed the "headquarters of the Revolution." John Adams, James Otis, & Paul Revere met there to discuss securing freedom for the American colonies. The old tavern was a two-storied brick structure with a sharply pitched roof. Over its entrance hung a sign bearing the figure of a green dragon.

See William Harrison Ukers (1873-1945) All About Coffee published by The Tea and Coffee Trade Journal Company, 1922

Saturday, July 13, 2019

The love of his life! Margaret Winthrop c 1591-1647 Wife of Massachusetts Governor John Winthrop

Margaret Winthrop (c. 1591-1647), the 3rd wife of John Winthrop, first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, was the 4th child and 2nd daughter of Sir John and Lady Anne (Egerton) Tyndal of Great Maplestead, Esses, England. Her father was one of the masters of chancery; her mother was the daughter of Thomas Egerton of Suffolk and the widow of William Deane of Deaneshall.

Nothing is known of Margaret Tyndal’s early life and education. She was married to John Winthrop on Apr. 29, 1618, and moved to his father’s home, Groton Manor in Suffolk. She was his third wife. At the time of her marriage she was 27 years old, 4 years younger than her husband.

Adam Winthrop, father of John, was still lord of the manor, and his unmarried daughter Lucy was still a member of the household. As the new wife and mistress of the manor, Margaret Winthrop was charged with the care of her husband’s 4 children by his 2 former marriages, ranging in age from 12 to 3. Within 3 years she had 2 children of her own, Stephen and Adam.
In addition to her childrearing responsibilities, her household duties were heavy. Visitors were numerous, markets remote, and roads suitable for horseback travel only; the manor had to be sufficient unto itself for all its varied needs. Overseeing the operation of such a household was the best preparation she could have for the difficult, pioneer life in New England.

During many months of the 12 years before 1630, when John Winthrop sailed for the Massachusetts Bay Colony, his position as attorney at the Court of Wards and Liveries kept him at his chambers in London. His visits to Groton Manor were brief and infrequent, especially after plans for emigration were under way.
It was during this long period of enforced separation that the letters between them were written. Both husband and wife put their love to God first, love of husband and wife second.  In Margaret Winthrop’s words “ I have many reasons to make me love thee, whereof I will name two, first because thou lovest God, and secondly because that thou lovest me.” Religious feeling exalted their mutual love and dignified it.

After her husband had left England, Margaret Winthrop remained at Groton for more than a year, until he could make suitable preparation for her coming. Only a few brief notes are preserved from this period.  She arrived in Boston Nov. 4, 1631, in the ship Lyon, which brought a cargo of much-needed supplies for the winter. Her baby daughter, Anne, had died on the voyage.

“The like joy and manifestations of love had never been seen in New England,” John Winthrop wrote in his Journal. One week later, on Nov. 11, “We kept a day of thanksgiving at Boston.”

Margaret Winthrop had 16 years of pioneer experience as the 1st lade of the colony during her husband’s long service as governor and assistant. She revealed some of her feelings in her letters from the new colony.  In a letter, dated “Sad Boston, 1637,” while the ANNE HUTCHINSON disturbance was at its height, she confessed to being “unfit for any thinge, wonderinge what the Lord meanes by all these troubles among us.” She found in herself a “fierce spirit, unwilling to submit to the will of God,” and yet in the next sentence could say, "God’s will be done." She did not know how to say otherwise.

She died after one day’s illness in midsummer 1647, apparently of influenza. In her husband’s words, she “left this world for better, being about fifty-six years of age: a woman of singular virtue, prudence, modesty and piety, and especially beloved and honoured of all the country.” There is no portrait of that “lovely countenance” that he had so “much delighted in and beheld with so great contente.” Four of her 8 children survived her, Stephen, Adam, Deane, and Samuel.

A love letter from John Winthrop to his 3rd wife Margaret in 1618
To my best beloved Mistress Margaret Tyndall at Great Maplested, Essex. 

Grace mercie & peace, &c: 
My onely beloved Spouse, my most sweet freind, & faithfull companion of my pilgrimage, the happye & hopefull supplie (next Christ Jesus) of my greatest losses, I wishe thee a most plentifull increase of all true comfort in the love of Christ, with a large & prosperous addition of whatsoever happynesse the sweet estate of holy wedlocke, in the kindest societye of a lovinge husbande, may afford thee. Beinge filled with the joye of thy love, & wantinge opportunitye of more familiar comunion with thee, wch my heart fervently desires, I am constrained to ease the burthen of my minde by this poore helpe of my scriblinge penne, beinge sufficiently assured that, although my presence is that which thou desirest, yet in the want thereof, these lines shall not be unfruitfull of comfort unto thee. And now, my sweet Love, lett me a whyle solace my selfe in the remembrance of our love, of which this springe tyme of or acquaintance can putt forthe as yet no more but the leaves & blossomes, whilest the fruit lyes wrapped up in the tender budde of hope; a little more patience will disclose this good fruit, & bringe it to some maturitye: let it be our care & labour to preserve these hopefull budds from the beasts of the fielde, & from frosts & other injuryes of the ayre, least our fruit fall off ere it be ripe, or lose aught in the beautye & pleasantnesse of it: Lett us pluck up suche nettles & thornes as would defraud of plants of their due nourishment; let us pruine off superfluous branches; let us not sticke at some labour in wateringe & manuringe them : — the plentye & goodnesse of fruit shall recompense us abundantly: Our trees are planted in a fruitfull soyle; the grounde, & patterne of our love, is no other but that betweene Christe & his deare spouse, of whom she speakes as she finds him, My welbeloved is mine & I am his: Love was their banquetting house, love was their wine, love was their ensigne; love was his invitinges, love was her fayntinges; love was his apples, love was her comforts; love was his embracinges, love was her refreshinge: love made him see her, love made her seeke him: love made him wedde her, love made her followe him: love made him her saviour, love makes her his servant. Love bredd or fellowshippe, let love continue it, & love shall increase it untill deathe dissolve it. The prime fruit of the Spirit is love; truethe of Spirit true love: abounde with the spirit, & abounde with love: continue in the spirit & continue in love: Christ in his love so fill our hearts with holy hunger & true appetite, to eate & drinke with him & of him in this his sweet Love feast [referring to the sacrament of the Holy Communion, which it was then the custom to administer to the bride and bridegroom at their marriage], which we are now preparinge unto, that when our love feast shall come, Christ Jesus himselfe may come in unto us, & suppe with us, & we with him: so shall we be merrye indeed. (O my sweet Spouse) can we esteeme eache others love, as worthy the recompence of our best mutuall affections, & can we not discerne so muche of Christs exceedinge & undeserved love, as may cheerfully allure us to love him above all? He loved us & gave himselfe for us; & to helpe the weaknesse of the eyes & hande & mouthe of or faithe, which must seeke him in heaven where he is, he offers himselfe to the eyes, hands & mouthe of our bodye, heere on earthe where he once was. The Lord increase our faithe.

Nowe my deare heart let me parlye a little with thee about trifles, for when I am present with thee my speeche is prejudiced by thy presence, which drawes my minde from it selfe: I suppose nowe, upon thy unkle's cominge, there wilbe advisinge & counsellinge of all hands; & amongst many I knowe there wilbe some, that wilbe provokinge thee, in these indifferent things, as matter of apparell, fashions & other circumstances, rather to give contente to their vaine minds savouringe too muche of the fleshe &c, than to be guided by the rule of Gods worde, which must be the light & the Rule; for allthoughe I doe easyly grant that the Kingdome of heaven is not meat & drinke, apparell &c, but Righteousnesse, peace &c: it beinge forbidden to fashion ourselves like unto this world, & to avoyde not only evill but all appearance of it must be avoyded, & allso whatsoever may breed offence to the weake (for which I praye thee reade for thy direction the [epistle] to the Rom:) & for that Christians are rather to seeke to edifie than to please, I hold it a rule of Christian wisdome in all these things to followe the soberest examples: I confesse that there be some ornaments which for Virgins & Knights daughters, &c, may be comly & tollerable, which yet in so great a change as thine is, may well admitt a change also: I will medle with no particulars, neither doe I thinke it shalbe needfull; thine owne wisdome & godlinesse shall teache thee sufficiently what to doe in suche things: & the good assurance which I have of thy unfained love towards me, makes me perswaded that thou wilt have care of my contentment, seeing it must be a cheife staye to thy comfort: & withall the great & sincere desire which I have that there might be no discouragement to daunt the edge of my affections, whyle they are truly labouring to settle & repose themselves in thee, makes me thus watchfull & jealous of the least occasion that Satan might stirre up to or discomfort. He that is faithfull in the least wilbe faithfull in the greatest, but I am too fearfull I doe thee wronge, I knowe thou wilt not grieve me for trifles. 

Let me intreat thee (my sweet Love) to take all in good parte, for it is all of my love to thee, & in my love I shall requite thee: I acknowledge, indeed, thou maist justly say to me as Christ to the Pharisies, Hypocrite, first cast out the beame that is in thine owne eye &c, for whatsoever I may be in thy opinion, yet mine owne guiltie heart tells me of farre greater things to be reformed in my selfe, & yet I feare there is muche more than in mine owne partiall judgment I can discerne; iust cause I have to complaine of my pride, unbeleefe, hardnesse of heart & impenitencie, vanitye of minde, unrulinesse of my affections, stubbornesse of my will, ingratitude, & unfaithfullnesse in the Covenant of my God, &c. therefore (by Gods assistance) I will endeavour that in myselfe, which I will allso desire in thee. Let us search & trye or hearts & turne to the Lord: for this is our safetye, not our owne innocencye, but his mercie: If when we were enemies he loved us to reconciliation; much more, beinge reconciled will he save us from destruction.

Lastly for my farewell (for thou seest my lothenesse to parte with thee makes me to be teadious) take courage unto thee, & cheare up thy heart in the Lorde, for thou knowest that Christ thy best husbande can never faile thee: he never dies, so as there can be no greife at partinge; he never changes, so as once beloved & ever the same: his abilitye is ever infinite, so as the dowrye & inheritance of his sonnes & daughters can never be diminished. As for me a poore worme, dust & ashes, a man full of infirmityes, subiect to all sinnes, changes & chances, wch befall the sonnes of men, how should I promise thee any thinge of my selfe, or if I should, what credence couldst thou give thereto, seeinge God only is true & every man a lyar. Yet so farre as a man may presume upon some experience, I may tell thee, that my hope is, that suche comfort as thou hast allreadye conceived of my love towards thee, shall (throughe Gods blessinge) be happily continued; his grace shalbe sufficient for me, & his power shalbe made perfect in my greatest weaknesse: onely let thy godly, kinde, & sweet carriage towards me, be as fuell to the fire, to minister a constant supplie of meet matter to the confirminge & quickninge of my dull affections: This is one ende why I write so muche unto thee, that if there should be any decaye in kindnesse &c, throughe my default & slacknesse heerafter, thou mightest have some patternes of or first love by thee, to helpe the recoverye of suche diseases: yet let or trust be wholly in God, & let fis constantlye followe him by or prayers, complaininge & moaninge unto him or owne povertye, imperfections & unworthynesse, untill his fatherly affection breake forthe upon us, & he speake kindly to the hearts of his poore servant & handmayd, for the full assurance of Grace & peace through Christ Jesus, to whom I nowe leave thee (my sweet Spouse & onely beloved). 

God send us a safe & comfortable meetinge on Mondaye morninge. Farewell. Remember my love & dutye to my Ladye thy good mother, with all kinde & due salutations to thy unkle E: & all thy brothers & sisters. Thy husband by promise,

Groton where I wish thee. Aprill 4. 1618.
My father & mother salute thee heartyly with my Lady & the rest.
If I had thought my lettre would have runne to halfe this lengthe I would have mayde choyce of a larger paper. 

A love letter From John Winthrop to his 3rd wife Margaret in 1620

July 12. 1620.
To my veryc lovinge wife Mrs. Winthrop at Groton in Suffolk.
I salute thee heartylye, giving thankes to God who bestowed thee upon me, and hath continued thee unto me, the chiefest of all comforts under the hope of Salvation, which hope cannot be valued: I pray God that these earthly blessings of mariage, healthe, friendship, etc, may increase our estimation of our better and onely ever duringe happinesse in heaven, and may quicken up our appetite thereunto accordinge to the worth thereof: O my sweet wife, let us rather hearken to the advise of our lovinge Lord who calles upon us first to seeke the kingdom of God, and tells us that one thinge is needfull, and so as without it the gaine of the whole world is nothinge: rather then to looke at the frothye wisdome of this worlde and the foolishnesse of such examples as propounde outwarde prosperitye for true felicitye.— God keepe us that we never swallowe this baite of Satan: but let us looke unto the worde of God and cleave fast unto it, and so shall we be safe.

I know you have heard before this of my coming to London: I thank God we had a prosperous journye and found all well where we came: I doubt not but thy desire wilbe now to heare of my returne, which (to deale truely with thee) I fear will not be untill the middest of next weeke: for the Parl' is putt off for a week; and I have many friends to visit in a short tyme: but my heart is allready with thee and thy little lambes, so as I will hasten home with what convenient speed I may: In the meane tyme, I will not be unmindfull of you all: but commend you dayly to the blessinge and protection of our heavenly Father.

Remember my dutye to my father and mother, my love to Mr. Sands and all the rest of my true freinds that shall ask of me, and my blessing to our Children; and so giving thee commission to conceive more of my Love then I can write, I rest

Thy faythfull husbande
John Winthrop.

This posting based on information from Notable American Women edited by Edward T James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S Boyer, The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1971
Also see Some old Puritan love-letters: John and Margaret Winthrop, 1618-1638. Edited by Joseph Hopkins Twichell. Dodd, Mead and company, 1894.