The Honorable John Winthrop, Esq

Detail of the Honorable John Winthrop, Esq from an engraving by Amos Doolittle

John Winthrop Jr. (1606-1676)

On November 4, 1631, English-born John Winthrop Jr. arrived on the shores of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, where his father was governor. Four years later, Winthrop received a commission to found a colony in Connecticut. This colony eventually became Saybrook. Eleven years later, Winthrop founded New London, Connecticut, and operated a gristmill there that became the first monopoly granted in New England. Active in Connecticut politics for the rest of his life, Winthrop served as the Connecticut Colony’s governor in 1657 and then again from 1659 until his death in 1676. During this time, Winthrop acquired a charter that united the Connecticut and New Haven colonies, and he became a commissioner of the United Colonies of New England.


Detail of Warwick patent copy by John Winthrop, Jr., 1662

The Charter of 1662

The Connecticut Charter, which provided the basis for Connecticut government until 1818, was secured because of Connecticut's realization after the restoration of Charles II to the English throne in 1660 that the government of the colony lacked any legal foundation. …[more]

Learn More


Connecticut State Library. “John Winthrop, Jr.,” 2016. Link.
Yale Law School. “The Avalon Project: Charter of Connecticut - 1662,” 2016. Link.


Connecticut State Library Digital Collections. “Digitized Reprint - The Charter of Connecticut, 1662,” 2016. Link.
Connecticut State Library Digital Collections. “Founding Documents of Connecticut - Warwick Patent Copy by John Winthrop, Jr., 1662, with Transcript,” 2016.
Yake University Libraries. “Guide to the Winthrop Family Papers,” 2000. Link.


Winthrop, John. A Letter from Gov. John Winthrop, Respecting the Payment of Expenses for Obtaining the Connecticut Charter, 1860. Link.
Woodward, Walter William. Prospero’s America: John Winthrop, Jr., Alchemy, and the Creation of New England Culture, 1606-1676. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
Dunn, Richard S. Puritans and Yankees; the Winthrop Dynasty of New England, 1630-1717. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1962.
Black, Robert C. The Younger John Winthrop. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1966.