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The Winthrop-Connection
Posted by: David D. Collver Date: May 21, 2000 at 04:00:11
  of 83

The debate continues re the marriage of Edward's son John to Mary Winthrop, daughter of Gov. John Winthrop of Connecticut. I do not accept it as fact because nobody (including me) has ever produced primary research that confirms same. But I do not reject it either, because there is simply too much anecdotal evidence to suggest that they did, indeed, marry. Among one such piece of evidence is offered below from "Historic and Descriptive Sketches of Groton" (written by various local residents, but compiled and copyrighted 1909 by C.F. Burgess):

Sketch titled "Oldest Baptist Church in the State" dated 1838 (page 97)

"The church was blessed with faithful laymen as well as officers. Joseph Colver, a lineal descendant of Gov. Winthrop of Connecticut, was a judicious and trusted helper, and a tower of strength to the church in his day and in faithful attendance his record is without parallel. He carefully kept a diary and according to its pages he was absent from Lord's day services only twice in forty years. Two of his grandsons have filled important positions in the Baptist ministry, Rev. Palmer G. Wightman whose name appears later as Pastor of this church, and Rev. Joseph C. Wightman an eminent scholar and divine."

Two things are striking about this quotation: 1) This Joseph was only two or three generations removed from John (son of Edward)... so few generations that the Winthrop connection (assuming it to be true) would have still been a matter of well known and accepted oral family history. 2) This was written more that 170 years closer to the fact (than our present time)when the relationship would have been more widely known in the Groton area, was evidently a claim that this Joseph made for himself and was accepted by others who respected him.

This is only one of many things that I've read that make it impossible for me to dismiss the Mary Winthrop-John Colver marriage and to continue to hold to the strong possibility that John married twice, his second wife being Mercy Clark.


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