Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Rev John Wilson portrait, Boston and Charlestown (1588–1667)

This is the minister who came to Ulster along with John Winthrop Jr in 1635. Rev John Wilson’s 1846 biography is online here. He pinged back and forth across the Atlantic, during the era when the Anglican, and Head of the Church of England, Charles I, was persecuting non-conforming Protestants and Presbyterians. Even though Wilson was ‘officially’ minister of congregations at Boston and Charlestown, he also preached in Ipswich/Agawam in the early 1630s - the exact area that Eagle Wing was bound for. So it makes perfect sense that he would come to Antrim to meet with Blair, Livingstone and McLellan.

From page 55 of the biography it seems that Winthrop and Wilson had been on a return voyage from America in Autumn 1634, bound for Barnstaple in Devon, when they were almost shipwrecked off the coast of Galway, but they managed to land. They then headed to Dublin. Wilson sailed for England but was driven back to Kinsale in yet another storm which sank a few other ships.

“... Being thus forced to make some stay in Ireland, both he and the governor’s worthy son exerted themselves strenuously to promote the interests of religion in New England, wherever they came … their travels extended into Scotland and the north of England; and wherever they went, they gave much satisfaction to Christian people about the prospects of New England, and stirred up many to make it their future home ...

The biography says that Winthrop and Wilson then sailed for New England around 10 August 1635, arriving in Boston on 3 October 1635. These dates vary a little from the Ulster accounts, but the overall narrative is exactly the same.


Csm webandcontentvol39 p36