In 1633 the Dutch erected a fort where Hartford now is, but some English emigrants from Plymouth Colony, in defiance of a threatened cannonade, sailed past and built a trading-house at Windsor, where, joined by colonists, from about Boston, they soon effected a settlement.
Wethersfield and Hartford were presently founded. In 1630 the Plymouth Company had granted Connecticut to the Earl of Warwick, who turned it over to Lord Brooke, Lord Say-and-Seal, and others. Winthrop the Younger, son of Governor Winthrop, of Massachusetts, commissioned by these last, built a fort at Saybrook. Till the expiration of his commission the towns immediately upon the Connecticut were under the government of Massachusetts. Their population in 1643 was three thousand. A convention of these towns met at Hartford, January 14, 1639, and formed a constitution, like that of Massachusetts Bay, thoroughly republican in nature. Connecticut breathed a freer spirit than either Massachusetts or New Haven, being in this respect the peer of Plymouth.
At Hartford Roger Williams was always welcome.
Meantime, in 1638, having touched at Boston the year before, Davenport, Eaton, and others from London began planting at New Haven. The Bible was adopted as their guide in both civil and religious affairs, and a government organized in which only church members could vote or be elected to the General Court. The colony flourished, branching out into several towns. In 1643 it numbered twenty five hundred inhabitants.
As early as 1622, Mason and Gorges were granted land partly in what is now Maine, partly in what is now New Hampshire; and in 1623 Dover and Portsmouth were settled. Wheelwright, a brother-in-law of Mrs.
Hutchinson, with others, purchased of the natives the southeast part of New Hampshire, between the Merrimac and the Piscataqua, and in 1638 Exeter was founded. In the same year with Wheelwright's purchase, Mason obtained from the council of the Plymouth Company a patent to this same section, and the tract was called New Hampshire. These conflicting claims paved the way for future controversies and lawsuits. The settlers here were not Puritans, nor were they obliged to be church members in order to be deputies or freemen.
The settlement of Maine goes back to 1626, when the Plymouth Company granted lands there both to Alexander and to Gorges. In 1639 Gorges secured a royal charter to re-enforce his claim. Large freedom, civil and religious, was allowed. For many years the Maine settlements were small and scattered, made up mostly of such as came to hunt and fish for a season only.
See also: 1631, 1635