John Cotton - Preachers, Family and Childhood

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John Cotton's Personal Details

John Cotton was a 17th century preacher and an eminent theologian of the Massachusetts Bay Colony

InformationDetail
BirthdayDecember 4, 1585
Died onDecember 23, 1652
NationalityBritish, American
FamousPreachers, Theologians, Miscellaneous, Preachers
SpousesElizabeth Horrocks, Sarah
SiblingsSariah
Childrens Elizabeth, Maria, Rowland, Sariah, Seaborn
Universities
  • Derby School
  • Trinity College
  • Emmanuel College
Discoveries / Inventions
  • Anglican
  • Puritan
Birth PlaceDerbyshire, England
Born CountryUnited Kingdom
GenderMale
FatherRowland Cotton,
MotherMary Hurlbert
Sun SignSagittarius
Born inDerbyshire, England
Famous asTheologian & Preacher
Died at Age67

// Famous Preachers

John Cotton's photo

Who is John Cotton?

John Cotton, a highly respected and knowledgeable clergyman of the early 17th century, was an outstanding scholar who advocated for bringing about reforms in the manner the Anglican Church operated. An eminent theologian of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, he was a Puritan who established the first church in Boston along with John Wilson. He served as a teacher in the church and played an important role in the establishment of America’s first public school - The Boston Latin School. He was an excellent preacher and an eloquent speaker whose views and opinions were greatly respected. He was often consulted for advice in settling issues both in the political and church matters. The son of a lawyer, he was exposed to religious studies from an early age. He studied rhetoric, philosophy, Greek, astronomy and logic in colleges and was regarded highly educated in his time. He also developed his preaching and oratory skills for which he would become famous later on. He was especially influenced by the teachings of the Cambridge theologian, William Perkins who was one of the foremost leaders of the Puritan movement. He was a notable speaker who spoke with such authority and clarity that listening to him was like listening to the speeches of none other than Jesus Christ.

// Famous Preachers

Childhood & Early Life

He was one of the four children of lawyer Rowland Cotton and his wife Mary Hurlbert, a pious lady.

Young John was educated at Derby School where he was taught by the ordained priest Richard Johnson. He later went to Trinity College from where he completed his matriculation in 1598. He received his B.A. in 1603.

He went to the Puritan college, Emmanuel College and completed his M.A. in 1606. He continued his studies and read Hebrew, theology, and disputation. He also began preaching at this time. He was already well-versed in Greek and perspective.

Career

He was ordained as a priest and deacon in July 1610 and became the minister at Saint Botolph’s church in Boston in 1612. He was only 27 years old at that time but was already gaining fame for his scholarly and persuasive preaching. He received his Bachelor of Divinity in 1613.

He was deeply influenced by the teachings of the Puritan theologian William Perkins from whom he learned to be practical, sensible and flexible. He himself was a non-conformist Puritan.

He received an intuitive message that he had been called for Salvation. He understood that his life’s calling was in preaching and teaching. Through his preaching he convinced John Preston, the future master of Emmanuel College to convert.

He was strongly anti-Catholic and opposed the established English church. As a puritan he believed it was necessary to bring reforms in the established church, and that these reforms should come from within.

Puritans had four basic agendas: Seeking moral transformation, practicing piety, returning to the Bible, and strictly following the Sabbath. As a devoted Puritan, Cotton followed all the four of these.

During the 1610s, he worked at St. Botolph’s Church where non-conformity was already being practiced. His lectures and preaching became so popular that many people flocked to hear him speak. He now lectured on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

Puritans from all over wanted to correspond with this great scholar. He was earning a very good salary by 1615 and established a church within his church and held special services with focus on Puritanism in its truest sense.

Over the next decade he was consulted by several young ministers who were facing crises in their lives. Many colleagues and students also came to him for advice.

Since he was a non-conformist, legal action was taken against him in 1632 and thus he immigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1633. There he became the first teacher of the First Church of Boston and served there till his death.

He became member of a committee to make a draft of laws that corresponded to the Word of God in 1636. The code was later titled ‘An Abstract of the laws of New England’.

He was a prolific writer and left behind a legacy of numerous sermons, a catechism and a shorter catechism for children titled ‘Spiritual Milk for Boston Babies’. This was considered as the first children’s book by an American.

Personal Life & Legacy

He married Elizabeth Horrocks in 1613. The couple did not have any children and his wife died of malaria later on.

In 1632 he married Sarah who was the widow of Roland Story. His second marriage produced six children.

He became very ill in late 1652 and died in December. He was interred in the King's Chapel Burying Ground in Boston.

Several of his descendants went on to become famous and successful including his grandson Cotton Mather who also became a well-known minister and historian.

Trivia

Actor John Lithgow is a descendant of this very famous 17th century theologian.

// Famous Theologians

John Cotton biography timelines

  • // 4th Dec 1585
    He was one of the four children of lawyer Rowland Cotton and his wife Mary Hurlbert, a pious lady.
  • // 1598 To 1603
    Young John was educated at Derby School where he was taught by the ordained priest Richard Johnson. He later went to Trinity College from where he completed his matriculation in 1598. He received his B.A. in 1603.
  • // 1606
    He went to the Puritan college, Emmanuel College and completed his M.A. in 1606. He continued his studies and read Hebrew, theology, and disputation. He also began preaching at this time. He was already well-versed in Greek and perspective.
  • // 1610
    During the 1610s, he worked at St. Botolph’s Church where non-conformity was already being practiced. His lectures and preaching became so popular that many people flocked to hear him speak. He now lectured on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
  • // Jul 1610 To 1613
    He was ordained as a priest and deacon in July 1610 and became the minister at Saint Botolph’s church in Boston in 1612. He was only 27 years old at that time but was already gaining fame for his scholarly and persuasive preaching. He received his Bachelor of Divinity in 1613.
  • // 1613
    He married Elizabeth Horrocks in 1613. The couple did not have any children and his wife died of malaria later on.
  • // 1615
    Puritans from all over wanted to correspond with this great scholar. He was earning a very good salary by 1615 and established a church within his church and held special services with focus on Puritanism in its truest sense.
  • // 1632 To 1633
    Since he was a non-conformist, legal action was taken against him in 1632 and thus he immigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1633. There he became the first teacher of the First Church of Boston and served there till his death.
  • // 1632
    In 1632 he married Sarah who was the widow of Roland Story. His second marriage produced six children.
  • // 1636
    He became member of a committee to make a draft of laws that corresponded to the Word of God in 1636. The code was later titled ‘An Abstract of the laws of New England’.
  • // 23rd Dec 1652
    He became very ill in late 1652 and died in December. He was interred in the King's Chapel Burying Ground in Boston.

// Famous Miscellaneous

John Cotton's FAQ

  • What is John Cotton birthday?

    John Cotton was born at 1585-12-04

  • When was John Cotton died?

    John Cotton was died at 1652-12-23

  • Where was John Cotton died?

    John Cotton was died in Boston, Massachusetts

  • Which age was John Cotton died?

    John Cotton was died at age 67

  • Where is John Cotton's birth place?

    John Cotton was born in Derbyshire, England

  • What is John Cotton nationalities?

    John Cotton's nationalities is British,American

  • Who is John Cotton spouses?

    John Cotton's spouses is Elizabeth Horrocks, Sarah

  • Who is John Cotton siblings?

    John Cotton's siblings is Sariah

  • Who is John Cotton childrens?

    John Cotton's childrens is Elizabeth, Maria, Rowland, Sariah, Seaborn

  • What was John Cotton universities?

    John Cotton studied at Derby School, Trinity College, Emmanuel College

  • What is John Cotton's inventions/discoveries?

    Anglican, Puritan was invented (or discovered) by John Cotton

  • Who is John Cotton's father?

    John Cotton's father is Rowland Cotton,

  • Who is John Cotton's mother?

    John Cotton's mother is Mary Hurlbert

  • What is John Cotton's sun sign?

    John Cotton is Sagittarius

  • How famous is John Cotton?

    John Cotton is famouse as Theologian & Preacher