Stoughton, William

Stoughton, William

(stō`tən), 1631–1701, American colonial statesman. He was probably born in England but studied at Harvard (grad. 1650) before attending New College, Oxford (M.A., 1653). At the Restoration (1660) he was ejected from his fellowship at Oxford. He returned (1662) to Massachusetts Bay colony, where he became active in public life, serving as colonial assistant (1671–86). Between 1677 and 1679 he represented the colony in England in regard to the claims of the heirs of John MasonMason, John,
1586–1635, founder of New Hampshire, b. England. After serving (1615–21) as governor of Newfoundland, he and Sir Ferdinando Gorges received (1622) a patent from the Council for New England for all the territory lying between the Merrimack and Kennebec
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 (1586–1635) and Sir Ferdinando GorgesGorges, Sir Ferdinando
, c.1566–1647, English colonizer, proprietor of Maine. He was knighted (1591) for his services to Henry IV of France in the French Wars of Religion and was subsequently (1596–1601, 1603–29) military governor of Plymouth, England.
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. Stoughton was a member of the council of Gov. Edmund AndrosAndros, Sir Edmund
, 1637–1714, British colonial governor in America, b. Guernsey. As governor of New York (1674–81) he was bitterly criticized for his high-handed methods, and he was embroiled in disputes over boundaries and duties (see New Jersey), going so far as
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 but eventually joined the opposition. From 1692 to his death he was lieutenant governor of the colony, and for about five years of that time he served as acting governor. He presided with great severity at the Salem witchcraft trials (1692). Stoughton was one of the major early benefactors of Harvard College; Stoughton Hall was named for him.
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