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Edward Winslow (1595 – 1655) was an American Pilgrim leader on the Mayflower. He served as the governor of Plymouth Colony in 1633, 1636, and finally in 1644. His testimony in Mourt's Relation is one of only two primary sources of the "first thanksgiving" in existence.

He was born in Droitwichmarker, Worcestershire, Englandmarker, on October 18, 1595 and attended The King's School, Worcestermarker. Winslow then apprenticed as a printer in London. In 1617 he removed to Leidenmarker, united with John Robinson's church there, and in 1620 was one of the "pilgrims" who emigrated to New Englandmarker on the Mayflower and founded the Plymouth colony.

His first wife was Elizabeth (Barker) Winslow, whom he married in May 1618 at Leiden. She accompanied him on the Mayflower, and died soon after their arrival in Plymouth. Also accompanying Winslow were his children, George Soule, a teacher for the children, and Elias Story, a servant. Winslow remarried in May 1621 to Mrs Susannah (---) White, the mother of Peregrine White (1620-1704). This was the first marriage in the New Englandmarker colonies. Winslow later founded what would become Marshfieldmarker in the Plymouth Colony where he lived on an estate he called Careswell.

Winslow was delegated by his associates to treat with the Native Americans in the vicinity and succeeded in winning the friendship of their chief, Massasoit (c. 1580-1661). He was one of the assistants from 1624 to 1647, except in 1633-1634, 1636-1637 and 1644-1645, when he was governor of the colony. He was also, in 1643, one of the commissioners of the United Colonies of New England. On several occasions he was sent to Englandmarker to look after the interests of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay Colony, and defend these colonies from the attacks of such men as John Lyford, Thomas Morton and Samuel Gorton. He left on his last mission as the agent of Massachusetts Bay, in October 1646, and spent nine years in England, where he held a minor office under Cromwell, and in 1654, was made a member of the commission appointed to determine the value of certain English ships destroyed by Denmarkmarker.

In 1655 he was the chief of the three English commissioners whom Cromwell sent on his expedition against the West Indiesmarker to advise with its leaders Admiral Venables and Admiral William Penn, but died near Jamaicamarker on 8 May 1655, and was buried at sea. Winslow's portrait, the only likeness of any of the "Mayflower pilgrims" done from life, is in the gallery of the Pilgrim Societymarker at Plymouth, Massachusettsmarker.

His son Josiah Winslow later served as governor of Plymouth colony.

His writings, though fragmentary, are of the greatest value to the historian of the Plymouth colony. They include:
  • Good Newes from New England, or a True Relation of Things very Remarkable at the Plantation of Plimouth in New England (1624);
  • Hypocrisie Unmasked; by a True Relation of the Governor and Company of Massachusetts against Samuel Gorton, a Notorious Disturber of the Peace (1646), to which was added a chapter entitled "A Brief Narration of the True Grounds or Cause of the First Plantation of New England";
  • New England's Salamander (1647); and
  • The Glorious Progress of the Gospel amongst the Indians in New England (1649).

With William Bradford he also is supposed to have prepared a Journal of the Beginning and Proceeding of the English Plantation settled at Plymouth in New England (1622), which is generally known as Mourt's Relation, owing to its preface having been signed by "G. Mourt."

Some of his writings may be found reprinted in Alexander Young's Chronicles of the Pilgrims (Boston, 1841).

Further reading

  • Dempsey, Jack, editor, 'Good News from New England and Other Writings on the Killings at Weymouth Colony' (Scituate MA: Digital Scanning 2001)
  • Dempsey, Jack, 'Thomas Morton: The Life and Renaissance of an Early American Poet' (Scituate MA: Digital Scanning 2000)
  • 'The Coming of The Pilgrims' and '1621-1630' illustrated pages of historical website
  • J. D. Bangs's 'Pilgrim Edward Winslow: New England's First International Diplomat (Boston, 2004);
  • J. B. Moore's Memoirs of American Governors (New York, 1846);
  • David P. and Frances K. Holton's Winslow Memorial (New York, 1877);
  • J. G. Palfrey's History of New England (3 vols., Boston, 1858-1864).
  • Plymouth Archaeological Rediscovery Project "Archaeology of the Edward Winslow Site"
Also see a paper by W. C. Winslow, Governor Edward Winslow, his Place and Part in Plymouth Colony, in the Annual Report of the American Historical Association for 1895 (Washington, 1896)
  • See Egerton Ryerson's The Loyalists of America and Their Times for evidence of the differences between the Pilgrim Fathers (Plymouth Rock) and the Puritan Fathers (Massachusetts Bay) with respect to loyalty to the Crown, tolerance of other religions, and treatment of the Native Peoples, and how this schism continued right up to and during the American Revolution.


External links

  • [73317]Winslow Homestead in Marshfield, Massachusetts

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