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Bradstreet, Simon (Feb. or Mar. 1604–27 March 1697), colonial statesman and governor of Massachusetts, was born in Horbling, Lincolnshire, England, and was baptized on 18 March 1604, the son of Simon Bradstreet, vicar of Horbling, and Margaret (maiden name unknown). In 1617 he entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge (of which his father had been a fellow), and received the degrees of B.A. in 1620 and M.A. in 1624. Between 1621 and 1624 he served as assistant to ...

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Calvert, George (1580?–15 April 1632), first Lord Baltimore and colonial entrepreneur, was born in Kiplin, Yorkshire, the son of Leonard Calvert, a gentleman of modest means, and a woman named Crossland, perhaps Alicia or Alice, or Grace. Calvert received a broad education through formal study and extensive travel. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Trinity College, Oxford, in 1597 and in 1605 an honorary master’s degree from that university. He gained fluency in Spanish, French, and Italian in his sojourns on the European continent. By his mid-twenties this preparation and his obvious talents in administration and diplomacy brought appointment as private secretary to Sir Robert Cecil, a privy councilor and secretary of state, through whom Calvert acquired still other patronage and the attention of the king. Marriage by 1605 to Anne Mynne of Hertfordshire probably also assisted Calvert’s career; she was related to several prominent families active in government circles and in early trading and colonizing ventures....

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Carver, John (1576–12 April 1621), MayflowerMayflower Pilgrim and first governor of Plymouth, Pilgrim and first governor of Plymouth, was born in Doncaster, Yorkshire, England, less than ten miles up the Great North Road from Scrooby. His parents’ names are unknown. He was not a member of the Scrooby (Separatist Puritan) congregation. In 1600 he married Catherine White Leggatt, and they went to London to seek their fortune in business....

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Le Moyne, Jean-Baptiste (baptized 23 Feb. 1680–07 March 1767), French soldier, explorer, and governor of colonial Louisiana, was born in Montréal, New France, the son of Charles Le Moyne, sieur de Longueuil et de Châteauguay, a provincial nobleman, and Catherine Thierry Primot. Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne inherited the title ...

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Phips, Sir William (02 February 1651–18 February 1695), first royal governor of Massachusetts, was born in Woolwich, Maine, the son of James Phips and Mary (maiden name unknown). Apprenticed as a ship’s carpenter, Phips moved to Boston in 1673 to practice his trade. A self-made man, he married Mary Spencer Hull; they adopted one child. After becoming a contractor for the building of ships, his attention turned to the search for sunken treasure off the Bahamas. In 1687 Phips was extremely lucky to discover a large sunken treasure. In appreciation for its share of the find, worth about £30,000, the Crown appointed him provost marshal general, or head of military affairs and peacekeeping, in the Dominion of New England and awarded him a knighthood....

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Smith, John (1580–21 June 1631), colonial governor, promoter, and historian, was born in Willoughby by Alford in Lincolnshire, the son of George Smith, a yeoman, and Alice Rickard. His earliest schooling may have been under Francis Marbury, father of Anne Hutchinson, who was schoolmaster in Alford. Toward the end of his life Smith published an autobiography, one of the first examples of the modern genre, which he titled ...

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Vane, Sir Henry (1613–14 June 1662), Puritan political figure, was born at Debden, Essex, England, the son of Sir Henry Vane, a knight and the comptroller and treasurer of the English royal household, and Frances Darcy. He attended Westminster School and entered Magdalen Hall, Oxford. By the age of fifteen, however, he had become a Puritan; he left Oxford and matriculated at Leyden, on the Continent. When he first brought up the idea of immigrating to New England, his father strongly objected, but the king himself intervened on his behalf....

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Vaudreuil, Pierre de Rigaud de (22 November 1698–04 August 1778), governor of French colonial Louisiana and last governor-general of New France, was born at Quebec, New France, the son of Philippe de Rigaud de Vaudreuil, marquis de Vaudreuil, also governor-general of New France, and Louise-Elisabeth de Joybert de Soulanges et de Marson. (His full name was Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil de Cavagnial, and he was to become the marquis de Vaudreuil.) From a very early age, Vaudreuil benefited greatly from his noble Languedoc lineage, from his father’s position and reputation among the Canadian inhabitants, and from his mother’s many connections to the French court, all of which helped to ensure a solid military education and a steady ascent as an officer in the French colonial regulars, or ...

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Winslow, Josiah (1629–18 December 1680), governor of Plymouth Colony and commander in King Philip's War, governor of Plymouth Colony and commander in King Philip’s War, was born in the town of Plymouth, the son of Edward Winslow and Susanna Fuller White. His was a politically and economically prominent Pilgrim family. Winslow’s father was a member of the colony’s Court of Assistants and occasionally governor during Josiah’s earliest years. In the early 1630s the family moved to Marshfield; Edward Winslow was the town’s main founder. Marshfield remained Josiah Winslow’s home throughout his life. In the mid-1640s Winslow was among the first three American-born students to enroll at Harvard. Winslow did not take a degree, that being, according to custom, largely restricted to those pursuing ministerial careers....

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Winthrop, John (12 January 1588–26 March 1649), first governor and chronicler of Massachusetts-Bay, was born in Edwardstone, Suffolk, England, the son of Adam Winthrop, lord of Groton Manor, and Anne Browne. His early life befitted a scion of the aspiring lesser gentry: matriculation at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1603; marriage in 1605 to Mary Forth (she died in 1615), a wealthy landowner’s sole heiress (shortcircuiting his college career); subsequent advantageous matches to Thomasine Clopton in 1615 (she died a year later) and Margaret Tyndal ( ...