Margaret Tyndal Winthrop (1591 – 1647) was the wife of John Winthrop, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The pair are notable for the survival and character of the love-letters which they wrote to each other in which the couple put their love of God before their love of each other.
In Margaret Winthrop’s words “ I have many reasons to make me love thee, whereof I will name two, first because thou lovest God, and secondly because that thou lovest me.” Religious feeling exalted their mutual love and dignified it.
She had 16 years of pioneer experience as the 1st lady of Massachusetts Bay Colony during her husband’s long service as governor and assistant. She revealed some of her feelings in her letters from the new colony.
In a letter, dated “Boston, 1637, she confessed to being “unfit for any thinge, wonderinge what the Lord meanes by all these troubles among us.” She found in herself a “fierce spirit, unwilling to submit to the will of God,” and yet in the next sentence could say, “God’s will be done.” She did not know how to say otherwise.
She died after one day’s illness in midsummer 1647, apparently of influenza. In her husband’s words, she “left this world for better, being about fifty-six years of age: a woman of singular virtue, prudence, modesty and piety, and especially beloved and honoured of all the country.” There is no portrait of that “lovely countenance” that he had so “much delighted in and beheld with so great contente.” Four of her 8 children survived her, Stephen, Adam, Deane, and Samuel.
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