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Geographical note: Aquidneck Island is the largest island in Naragansett Bay. It is officially called Rhode Island, but is known locally as Aquidneck to distinguish it from the state. It contains the towns of Newport, Middletown and Portsmouth. [Ref]
GOV. WILLIAM CODDINGTON (abt 1601 - 1678) of Boston, Lincolnshire, Boston, MA, Portsmouth and Newport
Parents: It has been suggested that William was son of Robert Coddington of Marston, Lincolnshire, who died in 1615 and left a bequest to his son. [Ref] A Katherine Coddington married Isaac Foztree on 30 Jun 1629 in Boston, Lincolnshire. [Ref, church records] Perhaps she is a sister.
Gov. William Coddington was born about 1601. (He deposed that he was about 76 on 27 Sep 1677. [Ref]) He was buried on 6 Nov 1678 in Newport. [Ref][Ref] He married first Mary Unknown. [Ref] She died during the winter of 1630-1, before 28 Mar 1631, in Boston. [Ref] He married second Mary Moseley in Terley, co. Essex on 2 Sep 1631. [Ref] She was buried on 30 Sep 1647 in Newport. [Ref][Ref] He married third Anne Brinley. [Ref][Ref][Ref says that she is a daughter of Thomas, but does not give her first name] She died on 9 May 1708. [Ref]
William was a well-known supporter of Anne Hutchinson; he was exiled from Boston and was later one of the founders of Newport.
On 24 Sep 1625 Mr William Coddington of Boston, Lincolnshire was made freeman. He was required to pay five pounds for this. [Ref]
William is on a 7 Mar 1626/7 list of those who resisted the royal 'Forced Loan' of 1626. [Ref] He wrote in a 1674 letter to Gov. Leverett, 'I was one of those many Lincolnshire gentlemen that denied the Royal Loan, and suffered for it in King Charles the first Days.' [Ref] He was elected Massachusetts Bay Assistant on 18 Mar 1629/30 in Southampton.
He went to New England in 1630, residing first in Boston, where he was admitted to the Boston church as member 92 in the winter of 1630/1. [Ref] His first wife died that winter and at the end of Mar 1631 William returned to England on the Lion and remained there for two years. While there he courted the widow Elizabeth (Fones) Winthrop. She, however married Robert Feake and William married his second wife Mary Moseley. [Ref] Elizabeth, the niece and daughter-in-law of John Winthrop, the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, is the subject of Anya Seton's historical novel The Winthrop Woman. [See her wikipedia entry]. On 4 Jun 1632 William wrote to John Cotton in Boston, Lincolnshire, 'I am, I thank God, in bodily health; yet not enjoying that freedom of spirit, being withheld from that place which my soul desireth, and my heart earnestly worketh after; neither, I think, shall I see it till towards the next spring'. [Ref] Willam and Mary arrived in Boston in May 1633 on the Mary and Jane. [Ref]
On 14 December 1635 five prominent men went to view the land at Mount Wollaston to bound out a farm for Mr. William Coddington. [Ref]
William was highly respected in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, holding high
offices and entrusted with important tasks. He was elected Massachusetts Bay
Assistant again on 9 May 1632 and on 14 May 1634, 6 May 1635, and 25 May 1636.
[Ref] He was appointed Massachusetts Bay Treasurer
on 14 May 1634 and served two years. [Ref] He
was a Selectman in Boston on 1 Sep 1634. [Ref]
He was chosen commissioner to schedule work on 23 Jan 1635/6. [Ref]
On 7 Apr 1635 William and William Pynchon were appointed to investigate the
problems between Mr. Coggeshall and two of his indentured servants. [Ref]
He was appointed Magistrate on 25 May 1636. [Ref]
William was a freeman by his holding the office of Assistant in England, but
as a formality, was made a freeman in the Massachusetts Bay Colony on 25 May
He was on the committee to lay out lands for Mr
William Hutchinson on 9 January 1636[/7] and the committee to land out lands
for Mr John Wheelwright on 3 Apr 1637. [Ref]
William received the sachems' deed to 'The Island of Acquedneck' on 24 Mar 1636/7
[Ref] He was chosen Deputy for Boston on 17
May 1637, 26 Sep 1637 and 2 Nov 1637. [Ref]
In January 1637/8, Gov. John Winthrop wrote to William Coddington, John Coggeshall and William Colburn, telling them that he considered their writing, presumably about Wheelwright, was a great mistake. [Ref] On 15 Feb 1637/8 John Winthrop rebuked William Coddington, John Coggeshall and William Colbron for a remonstrance they had written, apparently about the Antinomian Controversy [Ref]. William Coddington was one of those given a license to depart Boston on 12 Mar 1637/8, along with three of his servants. [Ref]
William and other adherents of Anne Hutchinson moved to Pocasset (now Portsmouth, Newport county, Rhode Island) in 1638. [Ref][Ref] He was granted a houselot there on 20 May 1638. [Ref] He received six acres for an orchard on 5 Jun 1639 and his property was extended on 3 Dec 1639. [Ref] He signed the 1638 compact there and was elected Judge on 7 Mar 1637/8. [Ref]
The Hutchinson group split a year later and a group led by William Coddington and Nicholas Easton moved south to found Newport in 1639. [Ref] On 9 Apr 1639 William Coddington of 'Aquednecke', gentleman sold his house and land in Boston to William Tyng. [Ref] William was chosen Judge at Newport on 28 April 1639 and he was elected Governor in 1640 - 1642. [Ref]
On 5 Aug 1644 William wrote to John Winthrop that 'the Lord hath begun to let
me see by experience that a man's comfort doth not depend in the multitude of
those things he doth possess, the Lord having this last winter taken from me
a large corn barn ... my farm house, 12 oxen, 8 cows, 6 other beasts ... the
fire breaking forth in the night, neither bedding nor household stuff, nor so
much as my servants' wearing cloth, nothing but the shirts off their backs was
saved, and lives." [Ref]
He was elected Assistant from Newport in 1647 and President of Providence Plantations on 16 May 1648. [Ref]
In 1648 charges were brought against President-elect Coddington and he failed to appear to clear himself , so Mr. Jeremy Clarke, was ordered to act as President until the next election or until Coddington was cleared. [Ref]. On 25 May 1649 Mr. William Dyer brought charges against Mr. William Coddington, but they were deferred. [Ref] The litigants were hoping that John Winthrop Jr would intercede in Jun 1653. [Ref]. By 1667, the matter of Mr. Dyer killing William's mare had been heard even by the King's commissioners, and Dyer's appeal was set aside. [Ref].
William returned to England in late Jan 1648/9. [Ref] While there, he married his third wife Anne. By August 1651 he was back in Rhode Island, with a commission naming him governor of Aquidneck Island for life. [Ref]. 'Coddington is known to have acted as a sort of guardian and marriage broker to young women and on the couple's return to Newport RI in 1653 they took Anne's younger sister Grissell with them.' [Ref]
On 14 April 1652, William Coddington acknowledged that he had held the property
deeded by the sachems in Rhode Island and agreed to deliver the deeds of the
purchases and other records to the other purchasers and freemen or their representatives.
[Ref] He purchased Dutch Island with Benedict
Arnold by 1658. [Ref]
On 18 May 1653, he was ordered to present the the Newport statute book, and
book of records. [Ref]. He was fined for failing
to return all of them; the fine was later remitted and it was ordered that he
should not face prosecution, except by order from his Highness the Lord Protector'.
[Ref]. In spring of 1656, William Coddington
freely submitted 'to the authority of his Highness in this colony as it is now
united, and that with all my heart'. [Ref] He
was appointed Commissioner for Newport on 17 Mar 1655/6. [Ref]
In 1656 the Rhode Island court suspected that the guns showing up in the hands of Indians were much like 'those Mr. Coddington brought over'. [Ref].
Mr William Coddington and Mr William Brenton, a merchant of Boston, engaged in a dispute over horses to be shipped to Barbadoes on 22 May 1656 to 20 May 1657. [Ref]
William was elected Assistant from Newport again on 2 May 1666 and Deputy Governor on 5 May 1674. [Ref]
William Coddington, Esq., aged about seventy-six years, 'testifieth ... that when he was one of the magistrates of the Massachusetts Colony he was one of the persons that made a peace with Caunnonnicus and Mianantonomy in the Colony's behalf of all the Narragansett Indians ... a little before they made war with the Pequod Indians. Not long after this, deponent went from Boston to find a plantation to settle upon, and came to Acquidneck, now called Rhode Island, where was a sachem called Wonnumetonomey; and this deponent went to buy the Island of him, but his answer was that Caunonnicuss and Miantonomy were the chief sachems, and he could not sell the land; whereupon this deponent, with some others went from Aquidneck Island into the Narragansett to the said sachems, Caunonicus and Miantonmy, and bought the Island of them.' [Ref from the RI court records]
Children of William Coddington and Mary Unknown. The baptisms and burials were in Boston, Lincolnshire and are recorded in [Ref][Ref, church records]
Children of William Coddington and Mary Moseley:
Children of William Coddington and Anne Brinley. All births are in Newport and are listed in William's entry in the Great Migration Project. [Ref]
MARY CODDINGTON (b 1654)
Parents: Gov. William Coddington and Anne Brinley [Ref]
Mary Coddington was born on 16 May 1654 in Newport. [Ref] She married Gov. Peleg Sanford as his second wife on 1 Dec 1674. [Ref][Ref]
Anderson, Robert Charles, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, Vol. 1-3, Boston, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995.
Arnold, James N., Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1636-1850, First Series, Births, Marriages and Deaths: A family register for the people, Providence, Narraganset Historical Publishing Co., 1891-1912.
Boston Births, Baptisms, Marriages, and Deaths, 1630-1699, New England Historic and Genealogical Society.
Datchet Village History Website, 2007.
King, David, "William Coddington and Richard Bellingham," New England Historical and Genealogical Register 28, 1874, 13.
King, David, "William Coddington: Resistance by Him and Others in Lincolnshire to the Royal Loan, 1626-7," New England Historical and Genealogical Register 6, 1882, 138 -.
Moriarty, G. Andrews, "President John Sanford and his Family," New England Historical and Genealogical Register 103, 1949, 208-216, 271-277.
Official town website of Newport, RI: history section.
Paige, Lucius, R., "List of Freemen, " New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 3, 1849, 89-96, 187-194, 239-246, 345-352.
Seabury, P. G., "Early Marriages in Newport R.I, from Friends' Records,"
New England Historical and Genealogical Register 18, 1865, 240-241.
Waters, Henry F., "Genealogical Gleanings in England," New England Historical and Genealogical Register, many issues.