Thomas Dudley

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One of thy founders, him New-England know,
Who staid thy feeble sides when thou wast low,
Who spent his state, his strength, and years with care,
That after comers in them might have share.

Anne Bradstreet, verse written on Harvard Yard's Dudley Gate [57]

In 1637 the colony established a committee "to take order for a new college at Newtown". [58] The committee consisted of most of the colony's elders, including Dudley. In 1638, John Harvard, a childless colonist, bequeathed to the colony his library and half of his estate as a contribution to the college, which was consequently named in his honor. The college charter was first issued in 1642, and a second charter was issued in 1650, signed by then-Governor Thomas Dudley, [58] who also served for many years as one of the college's overseers. Harvard University's Dudley House, now only an administrative unit located in Lehman Hall after the actual house was torn down, is named in honor of the Dudley family. [59] Harvard Yard once had a Dudley Gate bearing words written by his daughter Anne; [57] it was torn down in the 1940s to make way for construction of Lamont Library. [60] A fragment remains in Dudley Garden, behind Lamont Library, including a lengthy inscription in stone. [61] [62]

In 1643, Reverend John Eliot established a school at Roxbury. Dudley, who was then living in Roxbury, gave significant donations of both land and money to the school, which survives to this day as the Roxbury Latin School. [63]

Family and legacy

This image, frequently claimed to be of Thomas Dudley, is probably a reversed photographic image of a painting of his son Joseph. Thomas dudley.jpg
This image, frequently claimed to be of Thomas Dudley, is probably a reversed photographic image of a painting of his son Joseph.
Portrait of Joseph Dudley, attributed to Sir Peter Lely Joseph Dudley attributed to Peter Lely.jpg
Portrait of Joseph Dudley, attributed to Sir Peter Lely

Dudley married Dorothy Yorke in 1603, and with her had five or six children. Samuel, the first, also came to the New World, and married Winthrop's daughter Mary in 1633, the first of several alliances of the Dudley-Winthrop family. [65] He later served as the pastor in Exeter, New Hampshire. [66] Daughter Anne married Simon Bradstreet, and became the first poet published in North America. [67] [68] Patience, Dudley's third child, married colonial militia officer Daniel Denison. The fourth child, Sarah, married Benjamin Keayne, a militia officer. This union was an unhappy one, and resulted in the first reported instance of divorce in the colony; Keayne returned to England and repudiated the marriage. Although no formal divorce proceedings are known, Sarah eventually married again, [69] to Job Judkins, by whom she bore five children. Mercy, the last of his children with Dorothy, married minister John Woodbridge. [67]

Dudley may have had another son, though most historians seem to think the evidence is too slim. A “Thomas Dudley” was awarded degrees from Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, in 1626 and 1630, and some historians have argued this is a son of Dudley. Also, Dudley was referred to as “Thomas Dudley Senior” on a lone occasion in 1637. [70]

Dorothy Yorke died 27 December 1643 at 61 years of age, and was remembered by her daughter Anne in a poem: [71]

Here lies,

A worthy matron of unspotted life,
A loving mother and obedient wife,
A friendly neighbor, pitiful to poor,

Whom oft she fed and clothed with her store;

Dudley married his second wife, the widow Katherine (Deighton) Hackburne, descendant of the noble Berkeley, Lygon and Beauchamp families, [72] in 1644. She is also a direct descendant of eleven of the twenty-five barons who acted as sureties for John Lackland on the Magna Carta. [73] They had three children, Deborah, Joseph, and Paul. [67] Joseph served as governor of the Dominion of New England and of the Province of Massachusetts Bay. [74] Paul (not to be confused with Joseph's son Paul, who served as provincial attorney general) was for a time the colony's register of probate. [67]

In 1636 Dudley moved from Cambridge to Ipswich, and in 1639 moved to Roxbury. [75] [76] He died in Roxbury on 31 July 1653, and was buried in the Eliot Burying Ground there. Dudley, Massachusetts is named for his grandsons Paul and William, who were its first proprietors. [77]

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation owns a parcel of land in Billerica called Governor Thomas Dudley Park. [78] The "Two Brothers" rocks are located in the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Bedford, in an area that has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Two Brothers Rocks-Dudley Road Historic District. [79]

Dudley Square

Dudley Square in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood was named after Dudley. [80] Proponents of an effort to rename the square noted that Dudley was "a leading politician in 1641", when the colony became the first to legally sanction slavery. [81] Conversely, Byron Rushing, former president of the Museum of African American History in Boston, stated, “I’ve really searched, and I’ve found no evidence that Dudley ever owned slaves." [82]

A non-binding advisory question was added to the 5 November 2019, municipal ballot for all Boston residents asking, "Do you support the renaming/changing of the name of Dudley Square to Nubian Square?" [80] Election night results show that the question was defeated. [83]

Mayor of Boston Marty Walsh subsequently announced that the question had "passed in the surrounding areas" near the square, and could be considered further by the city's Public Improvement Commission. [84] On 19 December 2019, the Public Improvement Commission unanimously approved changing the name of Dudley Square to Nubian Square. [85] [86] Dudley station was renamed Nubian station in June 2020. [87]


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  23. Female Piety in Puritan New England: The Emergence of Religious Humanism, Amanda Porterfield, p. 89
  24. Winthrop, John; Dudley, Thomas; Allin, John; Shepard, Thomas; Cotton, John; Scottow, Joshua (January 1696). "Massachusetts: or The First Planters of New-England, The End and Manner of Their Coming Thither, and Abode There: In Several Epistles (1696)". Joshua Scottow Papers. University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Retrieved 21 January 2011.
  25. Moore, p. 283
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  50. Hurd, p. ix
  51. Hurd, p. x
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  54. Bremer, p. 239
  55. 1 2 Moore, p. 292
  56. Bremer and Webster (2006), p. 79
  57. 1 2 Morison, p. 195
  58. 1 2 Jones, p. 243
  59. Harvard Library Bulletin, Volume 29, p. 365
  60. Bunting and Floyd, pp. 216,319–320
  61. Yael M. Saiger (5 May 2017). "Closing a Gate, Creating a Space". The Harvard Crimson . Trustees of The Harvard Crimson. OCLC   55062930 . Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  62. Rose Lincoln (2 September 2014). "Hidden Spaces: Secret garden". Harvard Gazette . Harvard University. ISSN   0364-7692. OCLC   837901863 . Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  63. Jones, p. 330
  64. See e.g. the Auden genealogy entry for Thomas Dudley Archived 6 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine , and Google image search for "Thomas Dudley"
  65. Jones, pp. 422,467
  66. Jones, p. 467
  67. 1 2 3 4 Moore, pp. 295–296
  68. Kellogg, p. xii
  69. Jones, pp. 469–471
  70. Savage, James (2008). Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company. ISBN   978-0-8063-0759-6.
  71. Jones, p. 318
  72. Ancestral Roots Of Certain American Colonists Who Came To America Before 1700, 8th edition, Frederick Lewis Weis, Walter Lee Sheppard, William Ryland Beall, Kaleen E. Beall, p.90
  74. Moore, pp. 391–393
  75. Moore, p. 291
  76. Jones, p. 256
  77. Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, p. 12:412
  78. "Massachusetts DCR Property Listing" (PDF). Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  79. "MACRIS listing for Two Brothers Rocks-Dudley Road" (PDF). Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  80. 1 2 DeCosta-Klipa, Nik (19 September 2019). "Boston residents will get to vote on changing the name of Dudley Square. Here's why". . Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  81. Daily Free Press Staff (6 November 2019). "Boston votes against renaming Dudley Square". The Daily Free Press. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  82. MacQuarrie, Brian (18 December 2019). "Dudley Square: at the intersection of Colonial history, African heritage" . The Boston Globe . Retrieved 23 December 2019.
  83. "BOSTON MUNICIPAL ELECTION NOVEMBER 2019". 3 October 2016. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  84. Cotter, Sean Philip (15 November 2019). "Behind the 8 ball: Boston heads for City Council recount as margin just 8 votes" . Boston Herald . Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  85. adamg (19 December 2019). "Dudley Square officially gets renamed Nubian Square" . Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  86. Cotter, Sean Philip (19 December 2019). "Roxbury's Dudley Square renamed Nubian Square". Boston Herald . Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  87. Belcher, Jonathan. "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district" (PDF). Boston Street Railway Association.

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Further reading

Thomas Dudley
3rd, 7th, 11th, and 14th Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony
In office