- Written by Joseph B. Barnes, Esq.
Roger Newton was born possibly as early as 1607 but most likely about 1620 in a town in eastern England likely Bourne, Lincolnshire, England. A number of Newtons arrived in America and Canada in the 1600s but some say he was the first of his family to do so landing at Boston about the year 1638, Coincidentally the same year Davenport and Prudden arrived with the future Milford Settlers.
He was the son of Samuel Newton, of the same family as Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1726).
Samuel's parents (Roger's grandparents) are believed to have been John Newton born on April 1, 1565 in Bourne, Lincolnshire and Alice Hales.
Young Roger Newton enrolled in 1636 in Cambridge University [England]. In the Alumni Cantabrigienses which provides a record of students enrolled between 1261-1900 his entry reads:
"NEWTON, ROGER. Matriculated as a "sizar" [a student receiving financial help from the college while having menial duties in return] from King's, Easter, 1636…
He migrated to Boston in New England where he studied theology at Harvard. There is no record of his graduation possibly as the early Harvard records were accidentally burned. Rev. Cotton Mather speaks of him as one of the young students who came from England to finish their education in America.
A puritan superstar of the time, Rev. Thomas Hooker moved to Hartford from Boston in 1636, he returned to Boston several times, and it is said that "crowds rushed to hear him." In 1639, Thomas Hooker and Governor Haynes remained in Boston nearly a month, and one of Hooker's sermons delivered in Cambridge at that time, was two hours in length. It is presumed that Hooker and Newton made their acquaintance at Harvard at this time
In 1640, Roger traveled on foot from Cambridge, MA to Hartford, CT to study for the ministry under Rev. Thomas Hooker at his home. It is possible that Rev. Hooker may have known grandfather, Rev. John Newton of Bourn, while studying at Cambridge University. Cambridge University assigned John as minister to the church in Bourne. If so, then Roger Newton and Thomas Hooker may have had ties predating Harvard.
Roger married Hooker's eldest daughter, Mary Hooker at Hartford in 1644 (winter of 1645 in the old Julian calendar as new year then was March 25). Mary Hooker, as a child, had walked the long miles through the Massachusetts wilderness beside the litter which carried her invalid mother, Susannah Hooker; her journey was commemorated in marble on the front of the Capitol in Hartford. "Susannah Hooker was a lady of culture, and worthy to be the companion of such a man as Thomas Hooker." They had once lived in Holland where many strong Calvinists, like the Pilgrims, had fled to avoid the Church of England's dictates.
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