The Massachusetts Bay Company and Its Predecessors


Author: Rose-Troup, Frances
Publication Date: 1930
Reprint Date: 2002
Pages: 176 pp.


Working from original sources, Frances Rose-Troup has documented the organizational history leading to the settlement of Massachusetts Bay. While it is well known that the Massachusetts Bay Company, under the leadership of John Winthrop, ultimately settled Massachusetts Bay in 1630, it is less well understood that the Massachusetts Bay Company’s claim on New England was preceded by those of two other joint stock companies. The first of these belonged to an association of “Adventurers” known as the Dorchester Company, organized by the Anglican minister John White. Although it succeeded in launching a settlement on Cape Ann in 1623, the Dorchester Company went out of existence in 1626. The company’s claim was transferred to a new organization, the New England Company for a Plantation in Massachusetts Bay (better known as the New England Company), led by John Endecott. Endecott would ultimately found the town of Salem, Massachusetts, in 1628. Endecott’s shares and those of fifty-six other New England Company investors would ultimately be absorbed into those of the Massachusetts Bay Company in 1629. The author ably recounts the fortunes, intrigues, and shifting allegiances of these formative companies and lists members or investors wherever such information has survived. She then follows Winthrop’s extraordinarily successful settlement of Massachusetts, including the fortuitous history of the Massachusetts Bay Charter, through the 1640s. Of great interest to genealogists are the sketches of 125 Adventurers (investors) in Massachusetts Bay, a number of whom did not emigrate to the New World, but some of whom were related to those who did. While the sketches vary in coverage, most refer to kinsmen of the Adventurers. Everyone and everything referred to in this highly informative volume is accessible via the indexes to persons, subjects, and places found at the back of the book. This worthy volume belongs alongside the works of such venerable New England scholars as Savage, Banks, and Drake and promises to hold the interest of all genealogists curious about the background of New England colonization.

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