Governors of Connecticut

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John Haynes

From: The Governers of Connecticut
By: Frederick Calvin Norton
Published: 1905


THE first governor of Connecticut was John Haynes, who had previously held the same office in the neighboring colony of Massachusetts. He was the oldest son of John Haynes of
Cocidicot, County of Hertford, England, and was born in 1594. The Haynes flimily was old and wealthy, and besides other valuable property they owned Copford Hall, a fine country-seat which furnished a large income. The father of’ Governor Haynes, in his will dated October 20, 1605, describes lands owned by him in the counties of Hartford and Essex.

Governor John Haynes became an admirer of Thomas Hooker and emigrated with him to America. They sailed from England in the Griffin in 1633, and in the party, besides Haynes and Hooker, were John Cotton, the eminent divine, and Samuel Stone, who was destined to take so important a part in the early history of Hartford. They landed in Massachusetts, September 3, 1633. Haynes was made a freeman May 14, 1634. He was chosen an assistant, and finally governor, in 1635. The next year he was made an assistant again; but in May 1637, he, with others, removed to Hartford where he was to be one of the foremost men in the infant colony. Hartford, at that time, had a population of eight hundred persons, of which two hundred and fifty were adult men.

Haynes was an original proprietor and owned a lot on the main Street, “opposite the meeting-house yard,” but previous to February, 1639, he purchased from Richard Webb the lot on the corner of Front and Arch Streets. In November, 1637, Haynes presided over the session of the General Court and continued in that position two years.

The first election of officers of the Connecticut colony, under the Constitution, was held April 11, 1639. John Haynes was elected governor and Roger Ludlow deputy governor. He was so satisfactory as chief magistrate of the colony that he was elected to that high office every alternate year until bis death. Haynes was deputy governor in 1640, ‘44, ‘46, ‘50 and ‘52, interchanging with Edward Hopkins. Originally no one was to be chosen governor two years in succession; but in 166o this restriction was abolished by the freemen. Governor Haynes’ career in Hartford was eminently distinguished. He was one of the five who prepared the first Constitution of Connecticut, which embodies the main part of all subsequent state constitutions, and of the Federal Constitution.

In 1646 Governor Haynes made a voyage to England. He died at Hartford, on March 1, 1653~4.* His will, dated 1646, brought to light the fact that his residence in Connecticut caused a serious shrinkage in his property, the estate inventorying only 1540 pounds. General Hezekiah Haynes, his son, wrote in 1675 of his father. “It is sufficiently knowne how chargeable the government was to the magistrates in that first planting wherein my father bore a considerable part to the almost ruin of his family or he has transmitted into these parts between 7000 and 8ooo pounds.” Governor Haynes is described as “of large estate and larger affections, and dear to the people by his benevolent virtues and disinterested conduct.” He WflS probably the best representative of the republicanism of the period which Coleridge termed "the religious and moral aristocracy.” His second wife was Mabel Harlakenden of prominent family and royal descent.


* NOTE: Genealogists in recording the death of Governor Haynes use both 1653 and 1654; therefore in such cases both dates are used throughout these biographies. The apparent conflict of dates arises many times from a misuse of the years as computed old style and the reformed system. The old style was in use previous to 1752. In instances where the two methods are combined in this book the old style will be given first, followed by the new- Author

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