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John Cotton (Reverend)

Born:
December 4, 1585
Derby, England
Died:
December 23, 1652
Boston, Massachusetts
Father:
Roland Cotton

Mother:
Mary Hurlbert
Brothers and Sisters:
unknown
Spouse:
Elisabeth Horrocks
Children:
None
Spouse:
Sarah Hawkridge
m. April 25, 1632
England
Children:
Rowland Cotton
Seaborn Cotton
Maria Cotton
Sarah Cotton
Elizabeth Cotton
John Cotton

Additional Information:
"He studied at Trinity college and obtained a fellowship at Emmanuel, where he became head lecturer, dean, and catechist, and while there was urged to join the Puritans. He was a minister of the Established church at Boston, England, 1612, where he was suspended by the bishop for refusing to conform to some of the ceremonies of the church, but as the majority of his people sustained him he was restored. For twenty years he educated young men for the ministry and carried on numerous reforms. Upon the accession of Bishop Laud dissensions again arose and he fled to London, not wishing to appear before the court, and finally embarked for America, arriving in Boston, Mass., in 1633. He was almost immediately chosen teacher in the first church in Boston under John Wilson, pastor, and he retained connection with that church until his death. He at first encouraged Anne Hutchinson in her Antinomian doctrines but afterward opposed her. In 1642, with Hooker and Davenport, he was invited to assist the assembly of divines at Westminster in organizing a church government for New England, but was dissuaded from going by Hooker, who sought to frame a system himself. He maintained the right of civil authority over religious matters and was the clerical head of the Puritan commonwealth with the Bible as its basis and the meeting-house as its court room. He had a famous controversy with Roger Williams on the rights of the civil authorities. He introduced in New England the custom of making the Sabbath observances extend from evening to evening, and was largely instrumental in securing Boston Common to posterity. His descendants in Boston caused to be erected in St. Botolph's church, Boston, England, in 1857 a tablet to his memory, with a Latin inscription written by Edward Everett. He published: Set Forms of Prayer (1642); The Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and the Power Thereof (1644); The Bloody Tenent Washed and Made White in the Blood of the Lamb (1647); and Milk for Babes Drawn out of the Breasts of both Testaments chiefly for the Spiritual Nourishment of Boston Babes in Either England, but may be of use for any Children (1646)."

--From The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans: Volume II


References:
John Cotton Gravestone
Ancestral File. AFN: 91V2-SG
"The Cotton Family," by John Wingate Thornton, Esq., LL.B.
The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans: Volume II

Documents:
John Cotton Gravestone
Letter from Thomas Cotton to Bibye S. Cotton.

Last Updated:
21 August 1999

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