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Thomas Dudley

From Academic Kids

Thomas Dudley (October 12, 1576July 31, 1652) was a colonial magistrate who served several terms as governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

He was born in Northampton, England, the son of Capt. Roger Dudley and Susanna Thorne. It is postulated that his family was a scion of the noble Dudley family, originally of Sutton, but the exact connection is still a subject of some contention. He was orphaned at the age of fourteen after his only living parent, his father, was killed at the Battle of Ivry. Thomas entered the service of several wealthy patrons, and was introduced to Puritanism in the late 1590s.

In the 30 years between his conversion and his eventual immigration with the Winthrop Fleet, Dudley served as steward to Theophilus, Earl of Lincoln, and apparently performed an exemplary job in solving the Earl's financial difficulties.

In 1629, with tension between the Puritans and the English government high, Dudley was chosen as one of the five officers to travel to the Americas under the Royal Charter. He was elected deputy governor; John Winthrop was elected governor. Travelling on the Arabella, the flagship of the Winthrop Fleet, Dudley arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. Perhaps due to his touchy nature, he clashed almost immediately with John Winthrop over the location of the seat of government of the new colony.

Dudley served as governor in 1634, 1640, 1645, and 1650. Throughout most of the other years of his time in Massachusetts, he served as deputy governor.

Thomas Dudley married Dorothy Yorke in 1603, who died in 1643. He was remarried to Katherine Deighton the following year. His children include Rev. Samuel Dudley, Gov. Joseph Dudley and the poet Anne Bradstreet.

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