By Stacy B. C. Wood, Jr.
Plimoth, July 1655 — Word has been received from England that former Governor Winslow is dead. Mr. Winslow died at sea on the 8th of May while returning from Jamaica on a mission for our Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell. He was one of the "Old Comers/Planters" or Purchasers who came from Leiden in 1620 with his wife Elizabeth Barker, and George Soule and Elias Story who had joined him in England. Elizabeth died the first winter and the following spring he married Susanna, the widow of William White who died the first winter. This was the first wedding in the Colony. Two children and two stepchildren survive: Josiah and Elizabeth, and Resolved and Peregrine, respectively.
Mr. Winslow was born in Droitwich, Worcester, England, on 18 October 1595, a son of Edward Winslow, salt merchant, and Magdalene Oliver. Originally a London printer, while in Leiden he is said to have been assisting the late Elder Brewster and Thomas Brewer in publishing religious books that were offensive to the Church of England.
On arrival of the Mayflower in New England, he was a signer of the Mayflower Compact and took part in the earliest explorations, taking care to respect the Indians and see that they were repaid for an possessions coming into the New Comer's hands.
He made several trips back to England including the one of 1623 when he returned with our first cattle and a heifer. On his 1635 trip the Archbishop of Canterbury caused him to be arrested for teaching in our Pilgrim church and performing civil marriages. He was then thrown into London's Fleet prison for seventeen weeks. He was a major contributor to the first account of the first winter, A Relation of Journal of the Proceedings of the Plantation Settled at Plymouth, that was published in London in 1622 and wrote the continuation of the Colony's history for 1622-1623 that was published in 1624 as Good Newes from New England. This work describes the Indians and their religion. His recent writings since his final trip to England, include Hypocrisy Unmasked (1646) which includes our reasons for leaving Leiden and New England's Salamander Discovered (1647) responding to accusations that New England colonies were operating contrary to the laws of England.
He served on several Parliamentary committees, in 1650 he inventoried the estate of the executed King Charles I, and was chosen by Lord Cromwell and the Dutch Parliament as a commissioner to resolve their differences after their war. He took part in the international Treaty of Westminster that ended the war in 1654. Held in such high esteem, the Puritans of Barbados wanted him appointed their governor. He was appointed a judge of England's High Court that was charged with trying all cases of treason. At his death he was acting as head civil adviser on the military expedition to the Caribbean. We assume that his body was committed to the sea.