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Thirteenth Generation


4234. Samuel GORTON was born on Feb 12, 1592 in manchester, , , eng. He was christened on Feb 12, 1592/93 in Cathedral Church, manchester, England. He died on Dec 10, 1677 in providence, providence, RI. He was buried in Family Cemetery, Warwick Cove, Warwick, Rhode Island. He is reference number 8Q4G-FC. FROM: Gorton, Adelos. The Life and Times of Samuel Gorton. Philadelphia: George S. Ferguson Co., 1907.

SAMUEL GORTON, clothier, of London, was born in 1592 in Gorton (now incorporated within the city of Manchester), "where the fathers of his body had lived for many generations, not unknown to the Heraldry of England."2 He was reared in the Established Church. In an address to King Charles the First he said that he sucked in the so-called peculiar tenets attributed to him from the breasts of his mother the Church of England. To the fundamental doctrines taught by the church he ever firmly held, although he was a Nonconformist. England was under the rule of the Conformist King James. Laud was conspicuous in the universities; and they had declared it to be unlawful to be opposed to the king upon religion or any other subject.3 Gorton was instructed by private tutors, and, being of studious habits, he secured a classical education, became well read in English law and more than ordinarily
skilled in the languages. "One of those noble spirits who esteemed liberty more than life, and counting no sacrifice too great for the maintenance of principal, could not dwell at ease in a land where the inalienable rights of humanity were not acknowledged." He left his native country, he says, "to enjoy liberty of conscience in respect to faith toward God and for no other end."4
He landed at Boston in March, 1636, with his wife Mary5 (daughter of John Maplet, gent, of St. Martin's le Grand, London, and Mary his wife), his son Samuel and one or two other children. At the time of his arrival the Massachusetts government was proceeding against Wheelright, the brother-in-law of Annie Hutchinson. He says he found the people of the colony at great variance in points of religion, prosecuting it very hotly in their courts unto fi??nes and banishments. Their laws prohibiting non-subscribing churchmen from living there, he took up his residence in Plymouth, which was then a more liberal colony. In June, 1637, he, while a resident of Plymouth, joined one of the military companies which was raised in response to Massachusetts' call for aid to defend themselves against the Pequot Indians.6 In 1638 he led the opposition to the illiberal changes, delegate representation, etc. thrust into the government by Prence, the then Governor of Plymouth, was snared into Prence's court and, for his contempt for it, banished.
In 1639, at Pocasset, Aquidneck Island, he was a freeman and a member of the second or civil compact of government; the first government upon the island of Aquidneck or Rhode which had as its official heads a Governor--Governor Hutchinson--a Deputy Governor and Assistants; the first to grant universal suffrage; the first that constituted regular Quarterly Courts, and the first with a jury for the trial of causes. They changed the name of the place to Portsmouth. In 1640 he, with many other members of the civil government, was driven from the island by the former deposed ruler, Judge Coddington, who had violently reassumed government. In 1640 he settled on land he purchased of Robert Cole at Papaquinapaug, near Massapaug Pond adjoining Providence. This land with the buildings he had erected thereon he abandoned on account of claims made by his opponents with fraudulent underlying titles. In 1642 he purchased of the first owners, the Narragansett Sachems, the lands of Shawomet and founded the town he named Warwick. In 1643 he was made a prisoner by soldiers sent by the Massachusetts Magistrates who coveted the land, tried for heresy and confined at Charleston. He was in 1644, at Portsmouth, immediately upon his release and return to the town, chosen a Magistrate by the people. In 1644 he secured from the Narragansett Indians their deed in dominion of all their lands, their submission to the English government, and their appointment of him as their Representative and "beloved Commissioner" to attach them to the colony, for which Roger Williams had departed to obtain a charter. In 1644, upon Williams' return with the charter, which included the Narragansett lands (the greater part of the present State), a government was at once organized with Williams as Governor and Gorton as one of the Assistants: "The Government of the Providence Plantations." In 1645, after nearly two years of ineffectual operation of the government owing to the obstructions of the Arnolds and Coddington and the war waged against it by the adjoining colonies, Gorton was chosen Commissioner to lay the grievances of the government before the English Parliament. As expressed in Williams'7 letter, "to preserve the lives and liberties of the people." In August, 1645, he took ship from Manhattan. In 1646 he secured from the Parliament Commissioners a mandate commanding the other colonies not to disturb the petitioners and inhabitants living within the bounds of their charter. Upon this, in 1647, a union of all the settlements with the chartered government was effected. In 1648, May 10th, he, upon his return, landed in Boston, where he was so detained by the Massachusetts Magistrates in collusion with the Arnold-Coddington faction, in violation of the Parliament order, that it was impossible for him, a promising candidate for the chief office in the colony, to reach his government to be present at their annual court and election; whereupon Coddington, the Arnold candidate for the Presidency, whose treasonable acts and papers had confronted Gorton while in England, and against whom Gorton's testimony was desired by the court before the election, Coddington, against whom various bills of indictment thus deferred were pending, was fraudulently declared elected! the majority of the court being against him, and they immediately suspending him from the government, and deputing and installing Jeremiah Clark President of the colony. In 1649 Gorton was chosen a member of the Assembly. In 1651, in the midst of the continued movement of all the other colonies in their attempted subversion of the colony to the governments of Plymouth and Massachusetts, and during the time that Williams was absent, while laying before the English Parliament the continued grievances of the colony, the most trying period of their history, Gorton was chosen the President of the colony; and, with his Assistants, proved, in the words of the historian of Warwick, the "crew of valiant men whose courage and wisdom were equal to the emergency." In 1652 he draughted and assisted to enact the first legal enactment abolishing slavery--involuntary life servitude in the colonies8 Hawes, in his history, says that Gorton and Williams drew up this Act, but Williams was then in England, had gone there the year before. This law, so early, could not be sustained. Not until about one hundred years after this was the like statute again enacted. He was one of the incorporators named in the 1663 new charter.

From 1664 to 1667 he was Deputy, a Judge in the high court and equivalent of present State Senator; was again chosen to this position in 1670, and, on account of his age only, he being seventy-nine years old, he declined the proffered continuation in office.

Although he is represented by some writers as a man given to anger, he appears mild when compared with many others of that period. It is observable that his friends and the people, nearly all of whom were of dissimilar religious views who lived in Warwick, did not fall out with him or complain of him. They had no difficulties among themselves but that were lovingly arbitrated, and he "never raised his hand in violence against any human being, not even against his own children." In the debates with the Friends, in which he with Roger Williams and others took part against them, he is the one almost alone that exhibited no anger, flung no epithets, and is not accused by his opponents, as most of the others are, of unkindness or incivility. Although doctrinally opposed to them, he sent letters of loving sympathy to those that were imprisoned, and he was about the only man of prominence of that time, we can find, who kindly respected, even advocated, the rights of others to opinions differing with his own. To the cause of human liberty there is in American history no greater example of a lifetime of unselfish, unflinching sacrificial devotion. Nearly all of the accounts we have of Samuel Gorton in our libraries are copies of the political fables that were used in the attempt to destroy the government and obtain the lands of the Providence Plantation people.9

We quote from the words of the Hon. Job Durfee, one of the most able of the Chief Justices of the Rhode Island Supreme Court. He writes: "Samuel Gorton was a person of the most distinctive originality of character. He was a man of deep, strong feelings, keenly alive to every injury, though inflicted on the humblest of God's creatures. He was a great lover of soul liberty and hater of all shams. He was a learned man, self-educated, studious, contemplative, a profound thinker, who in his spiritual meditations amid ancient Warwick's primeval groves wandered off into infinite and eternal realities, forgetful of earth and all earthly relations. He did indeed clothe his thoughts at times in clouds, but then it was because they were too large for any other garment. No one who shall rivet his attention upon
them shall fail to catch some glimpse of giant limb and joint, and have some dim conception of the colossal form that is enshrouded within the mystic envelopment. Yet in common life no one was more plain, simple and unaffected than Gorton. That he was courteous, affable and elegant, his very enemies admit, and even greviously complain of his seductive language. He was a man of courage, and when aroused no hero of the Iliad ever breathed language more impassioned or effective. Nothing is more probable than that such a man, in the presence of the Massachusetts Magistrates, felt his superiority and moved and spoke with somewhat more freedom than they deemed suited to their dignity. Far more sinned against than sinning, he bore adversity with heroic fortitude; and if he did not conquer, he yet finally baffled every effort of his enemies."

On November 27, 1677, he deeded to his son Samuel the homestead at Warwick, to his son John all lands west of Warwick, other lands to Benjamin; and further deeded for love, etc., to sons-in-laws and daughters lands in Narragansett, viz.: To Daniel Cole and wife Maher, John Sanford and Mary, William Mace and Sarah, John Warner and Ann, John Crandall and Elizabeth, and Benjamin Barton and Susanna. To son Samuel he commits "the care of my beloved wife during widowhood, if she live to be a widow, and she to be maintained with convenient housing and necessaries;" provision is also made for her "recreation in case she desires to visit her friends."

Samuel died in the year 1677 in December, probably the 10th day of the month, aged within a few days of eighty-six years. The time of Mary's death is unknown. His body rests in the Gorton burial ground at Warwick, and her body also probably rests there. No monument of marble or stone has ever marked their graves.

CHILDREN:
SAMUEL GORTON, born 1630, married Susanna Burton.
MARY GORTON, born (???), married (1) Peter Greene, married (2) John
Sanford.
MAHER GORTON, born (???), married Daniel Cole.
JOHN GORTON, born (???), married Margaret Weeden.
BENJAMIN GORTON, born (???), married Sarah Carder.
SARAH GORTON, born (???), married William Mace.
ANN GORTON, born (???), married John Warner.
ELIZABETH GORTON, born (???), married John Crandall.
SUSANNA GORTON, born (???), married Benjamin Barton.



1Gorton's letter to Gov. John Winthrop, Jr., 4th Ser. Mass. Hist. Collections, vii, 604. Baptism, Feb. 12, 1592, Collegiate Church, Records N. E. Hist. and Gen. Dict., LI, 199. Dr. Howard's Miscellanae Genealogea et Heraldica, New Series of 1877, Vol. i, pp. 321-325, 378, 379.

2Letter to Nathaniel Morton, Force's Tracts, Vol. iv.

3Price's Nonconformists in England, Vol. i, p. 454, Vol. ii, p. 99.

4Mackey's Life of Samuel Gorton, Sparks' American Biographies.

5Will and Bequests of Mary Maplet to her daughter, Mary, wife of Samuel Gorton, dated Dec. 12, 1645, and of Dr. John Maplet to his sister, Mary, wife of Samuel Gorton, dated Apr. 13, 1670, N. E. Hist and Gen. Register, Vols. xliv and xlvi. Deed of Samuel Gorton and wife, Mary, of lands bought of Robert Cole, laying upon Massapaug stream, close to the town of Providence, Book 2, brass clasp, p. 613.

6Plymouth Records, Vol. i,

7Letter from the chief officers of the Assembly of Providence Plantations at Newport, Aug. 9, 1645, in Proc. Mass. Hist. Society, 1862. Remarks of Narragansett Patent, Sidney S. Rider, Publisher, Providence. Williams' letter, 4th Mass. Collections, vii, 627.

8Act. R. I. Recds., Vol. i,

9The Lands of Rhode Island, by Sidney S. Rider, Providence.]

Samuel GORTON and Mary MAPLET were married before 1630 in England.

4235. Mary MAPLET was christened on Mar 12, 1608/9 in St Lawrnce Jewry, London, England. She was born in 1608/9 in England. She is reference number 8Q4G-PQ. Children were:

i.

Mary GORTON9 was born about 1632 in Gorton, Lancaster, Eng.. She died in 1688. She is reference number 9WCH-TN.
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ii.

Mahershallalhash Baz Hasbaz GORTON9 was born in 1638 in Plymouth, Plymouth, MA. She is reference number 8Q4G-S8.
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iii.

Sarah GORTON9 was born in 1642 in Aquidneck Island, Newport, RI. She is reference number 9WCH-ZC.
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iv.

Ann GORTON9 was born in 1644 in Warwick, Kent, RI. She is reference number 9WCJ-0H.
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2117

v.

Elizabeth GORTON.

vi.

Elnathan GORTON9 was born on Jul 4, 1643 in Warwick, Kent, RI. He is reference number P268-H5.
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