2. John Endecott was the “Father of New England”
John Endecott was born sometime before 1600. Often he is called the “Father of New England” for his colonization efforts in the present-day states of Massachusetts and Connecticut. He was a Puritan that believed in full separation from the Church of England, which put him at odds with other Puritans who advocated for reform. In the last decades of his life, Endecott served in numerous colonial governing roles and shaped the law and order of the Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1628-1664.
With his sick wife and 50 “planters and servants,” he set sail for New England on the Abigail in June 1628. Upon arrival he set about to establish a colony that would be habitable for future migrants from England in an area that would come to be called Salem, Massachusetts. During the winters of 1628 and 1629, which were much harsher than winters in England, many settlers died including his wife.
Driven by religious fervor, Endecott believed that his settlement must be pure, filled with only those people that believed as he did. He executed four people simply because they were Quakers, he had people banished because they refused to join the Salem Church and adhere to his brand of religion, he forced women to dress in a modest manner while fining men who followed the fashionable trend of keeping long hair. He also destroyed the flag of England believing that its depiction of the St. George’s Cross was an overt symbol of the Pope and pushed for women to be veiled while in church.
His religious doctrine also impacted the countryside. In 1636, he led an expedition into present-day Connecticut. As he has his men violently encountered the Pequot tribe, war broke out. Between 1636 and 1638 the Pequot War killed and captured over 700 tribespeople. Endecott had the prisoners sold into slavery and sent them to the sugar plantations of the West Indies. At the end of the war, Endecott and other colonist declared that the Pequot people were extinct, which opened their land for settlement. John Endecott dies in 1664 or 1665 in Boston. He is buried at Boston’s King’s Chapel in the Granary Burying Ground.