The first Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
This honor has been claimed for three persons,—Matthew Cradock
, Roger Conant
, and John Endicott
Perhaps none of them were entitled to the distinction.
was the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company, formed in London
in 1628 and 1629, the precursor of the Massachusetts Bay
Colony in New England
, for so the company became in 1630; but Cradock
was not its governor.
, by virtue of his having been the follower in London
, as second governor of the company, became the governor of the colony, its successor.
came over seven years before Winthrop
, and in 1627 was at Salem
as governor, agent
or superintendent of the Dorchester projected settlement of perhaps fifty persons, and he was nothing more.
came over in 1628, and was at Salem
, or superintendent of London's Plantation of about thirty persons, superseding, also, Conant
, and he was nothing more at that time.
‘Honor enough there is for Endicott
, the earliest patentee who came over under the indenture from the Plymouth Colony
,’ says Savage
, ‘without challenging for him any that does not belong to him. . . . Endicott
is entitled to no more office than the Plymouth company gave by their deed of indenture.’
says that at Salem
had cheefe comand,’ and gives him no further title.
In 1629 Endicott
sent Ralph Sprague
and a small company overland to Charlestown
, where they formed a settlement, but they were no more the Massachusetts Bay
Colony, or any part of it, at that time than was Thomas Walford
, the only white man whom they found in that peninsula.
was called a blacksmith, but what he could find to do at his calling among Indians it would not be easy to tell, unless it was the delightful occupation of Taking tomahawks and scalping knives for the savages.
, as governor, came over in 1630, with a company of about fifteen hundred persons, to Charlestown
; and the Massachusetts Bay
Colony commenced its existence in that part of the town which is now in Somerville
remained at home, but had possessions here, and the Cradock house
was purchased some years ago by General Samuel C. Lawrence
, for the laudable purpose of saving it from demolition, or perhaps from what might have been a worse fate.
The annual Manual of the General Court of Massachusetts
for many years has contained, and still contains, a list of public officials, colonial and state, from the earliest time.
The compilation from 1860 to 1870 was by Dr. Shurtleff
, and Cradock
is named as first governor in 1629, followed by Winthrop
in the same year.
In placing the governorship as above stated, Shurtleff
, in part, followed Savage
The compilation for the thirty-two years from 1871 to 1902 was by David Pulsifer
For the first seven years, he says Endicott
were governors in 1629, and Winthrop
For the remaining twenty-five
years he omits Cradock
, and names Endicott
as governor in 1629, and Winthrop
first; but Pulsifer
was a Salem man. The compilation from 1903 to the present time places Cradock, Endicott, and Winthrop as governors in 1629.
is called the ‘chief’ governor, and Endicott
the ‘local’ governor; but it will not probably be claimed that these adjective prefixes were legal titles, or were even used or known at the time.
None of the compilers, or Savage
, make any recognition of Conant
was not a governor of the colony as a fact, but only so by a lively imagination and misapplication of a title.
was not a governor of the colony as a fact, but only so by family invention and easy credulity, and John Endicott
was not the first governor of the colony as a fact, but only so by local pride and pleasant fiction.
, and not Salem
, gave birth to the Massachusetts Bay