Mayhew, Thomas

Mayhew, Thomas

(1593–1682) Protestant missionary, colonist; born in Wiltshire, England. He settled in Medford, Mass., before 1632 and purchased Martha's Vineyard in 1641, establishing his son as head of a colony there. The elder Mayhew continued and expanded his son's missionary work among the Indians after the latter was lost at sea in 1657. As governor of Martha's Vineyard he was a benevolent dictator; a grandson succeeded him as missionary and chief magistrate of the island.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.