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date: 05 March 2021

Stoughton, Williamlocked

(30 September 1631–07 July 1701)
  • Richard R. Johnson


Stoughton, William (30 September 1631–07 July 1701), colonial politician and lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, was born, probably in England, the son of Israel Stoughton and Elizabeth Clarke. The family soon immigrated to Dorchester, Massachusetts, where Stoughton’s father became a large landowner and outspoken politician before returning to England in 1644 to enlist in the parliamentary army. Stoughton followed him after graduating from Harvard in 1650. He studied at Oxford, becoming a fellow of New College and receiving an M.A. on 30 June 1653. He was appointed minister of the Sussex parish of Rumboldswycke near Chichester in 1659 but lost his Oxford fellowship following the restoration of Charles II and returned to Massachusetts in 1662. There he continued to preach, as in a famous election sermon of 1668 delivered before the Massachusetts General Court in which he proclaimed that “God sifted a whole Nation that he might send choice Grain over into this Wilderness” ( ...

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