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Georgia Kinney Bopp

Henry of Massachusetts
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Who was Vincent Potter?

The following was sent to GKBopp by Nancy Lani (5 April 2006 email) who prefaced it by saying: Curiosity leads us in different places. I found this information online. Thought you might like to have it. - Nancy

"The Pioneers of Massachusetts" by Charles Henry Pope published at Boston in 1900, page 370, states, "Vincent (Potter), gentleman age 21 came in the Elizabeth & Ann in May 1635, had apprentices: Henry Kenninge and ..., whome he placed with new masters in 1639." This statement Pope made from the Note-Book (legal memoranda) of Thomas Lechford, "a practiser at law, arrived at Boston 1638, who kept careful record of papers drawn by or executed by him..." op. cit. p. 262. - "Henry Kenninge, placed as an apprentice with William Park of Roxbury 21 Apr. 1639 by Vincent Potter." Vincent Potter 1614 1661originally went with Winthrop to Massachusetts, later returned to England and was instrumental in overthrowing and executing Charles I. His signature is on the death Warrant of King Charles I. [Francis J. Bremer, The Puritan Experiment, New York, 1976, pp. 19-21.]

Born in Warwickshire of unknown parents, Vincent Potter was a Puritan merchant and founder member of the Massachusetts Bay Company. He settled in Massachusetts in 1635, but returned to England in 1639. He joined the Parliamentarian army and was commissioned a captain of horse by Lord Brookein January 1643. After Brooke's death, Potter served in Colonel Purefoy's regiment of horse until July 1645 when he was appointed a parliamentary commissioner to the New Model Army with responsibility for provisioning and supplying the Army. The position had previously been held by his brother Captain John Potter, who was killed at the battle of Naseby. Potter proved to be an able administrator, and was severe in his condemnation of plunder and free quarter among the New Model soldiers.

Potter was nominated to the High Court of Justice in January 1649. He was a signatory of the King's death warrant, and also signed the death warrants of the Royalist leaders of the Second Civil War - the Duke of Hamilton and the Lords Capel, Holland and Norwich. In June 1649, Potter was promoted to colonel and was responsible for provisioning Cromwell's campaigns in Scotland and Ireland. At the Restoration, he was arrested in 1660 and was brought to trial as a Regicide.

His trial was marred by inhumane treatment towards him; he was in paroxysm of pain due to an attack of kidney stones but the court refused his requests to be allowed to urinate. He blurted out that he was unable to speak for pain, so his defense was never heard. He was found guilty and was imprisoned in the Tower of London, where he died very quickly, probably from medical neglect and ill treatment, aged only forty-. Potter's wife is unknown, but he had a brother-in-law named Thomas Fowle in Boston prior to the civil war. From a devotional text which he carried in his pocket throughout the war, Potter seems to have been a devout Puritan. [R.L. Greaves and R. Zaller (eds.), A Biographical Dictionary of English Radicals of the seventeenth Century, 3 vols., 1982-4]; [Calendar of the Committee for Compounding, vol. iii. Pp. 1883-4; private research.]

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