Founding date: 1638
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There is no longer a mill on this site but it is a particularly interesting estate that was settled by the Winthrop family from Massachusetts instead of someone from Britain as was usually the case. It showed some of the interaction between the colonies of the time, including Australia, connected by sailing ships and family connections. Isaac Royal, of nearby Royal’s estate, also came from Virginia and Massachusetts where both families had large land grants, cotton and tobacco plantations and ships of their own. The north of the island where Winthrop’s was located, was rather flat terrain and susceptible to periods of drought as letters from Walter Tullideph to Governor Thomas attest. It was also part of the American Base during WWII and where the island’s airport was developed from the original American infrastructure.
Estate Related History/ Timeline
At least two spellings exist, Winthrop/ Winthorp.
Named for Samuel Winthrop, Esq., once Deputy Governor of Antigua c.1650. The Village of Winthorpes was removed to its present site of New Winthorpes near Barnes Hill after the airport was built during WWII when the Americans leased the land for a Base there in 1943. Sir George Walter remembers a wrought iron fenced grave or graves situated at the end of the runway in the bush. It is not certain if they are still there but it has been documented that this is Lord Lavington’s grave from Carlisle’s estate.
1630: John Winthrop settled in New England, a Puritan fleeing religious persecution in England. He became Governor of Massachusetts and thought it providential (and God-given) that Native Americans “are swept away by the small pox,” thereby clearing the way to settle and own the land. In this manner, he acquired the property known as Red Hill Farm.
After one of the Indian wars male children from the Pequot Nation were sent to Bermuda and the women and maid children were disposed in the town. Together 700 Pequot men, women, and children were slain or captured. In Boston at the end of the first war against the Indians, fifteen male and 2 female war prisoners were bound and manacled and marched aboard Salem building “Desire” to be sold as slaves in the West Indies. (Antigua & Barbados) Once there they were traded for stores of cotton, tobacco, and a group of Africans. This is the first historical reference to the sale of blacks in New England, in 1638.
More than 1200 Native Americans of the Pequot and Narragansett tribes were enslaved before the end of the 1600s.
John Winthrop had three sons, Henry (b.1649), Joseph (b..bef.1638), and Samuel (b.bef. 1657). When he died around 1674 he devised his estate in New North Sound, Antigua, commonly known as Groton Hall Plantation, jointly with his three elder sons and his wife Elizabeth.
1676: Will of Elizabeth Winthrop, “To my son Henry Winthrop my part of Barbuda and all the stock there. To my son Samuel all monies in Europe, also Long Island, and my land and storehouses at St. John’s, and my grey Barbuda horse. To my daughter Elizabeth Williams £6 sterling for a tankard. To my daughter Sarah Jones, £10,000 at 16, my side saddle, and 2 negroes, my silver porringer, and all clothing. To Jonas Langford (Quaker) for his care in looking after me in my sickness, £4000, and my great Bible. To my son Stephen Winthrop my part of Groton Hall plantation by my dear husband Samuel Winthrop, deceased, by his will given to me, he to pay legacies……etc.”
1677: There was an act to enable Mr. Henry Winthrop and Lieutenant Samuel Winthrop to sell the late Captain Samuel Winthrop’s plantation in New North Sound, called Groton Hall…..There are debts of £350,000. Power was granted to sell their share after 26 July 1678.
The 1678 Census list shows Lieutenant Winthrop’s Plantation in Old North Sound Division with 4 white men, 1 white woman, 1 white child, 28 negro men, 27 negro women, and 12 negro children. Dr. Francis J. Bremer, Chair, History Department. Editor, The Winthrop Papers. Millersville University of Pennsylvania.
Samuel, the youngest son, settled in Antigua in 1648 at the age of twenty and lived there all his life. “He made his home in grand style at Groton Hall (named after the English manor house in which he had been born), rose to the position of deputy Governor and managed scores of slaves.” He completed a circle of trade between Massachusetts, England, and Antigua. He became the middleman negotiating the movement of cargoes between the islands and New England and also trade with England. Red Hills Farm by C.S. Manegold. P.126.96.36.199
1667: Samuel Winthrop Quaker (1627-1672) Deputy Governor of Antigua 1667-1669. His plantation was called “Groton Hall” in New North Sound.
1669: Jonas Langford, Administrator of Francis Sampson, deceased, for £66,000 pounds sterling sells to Samuel Winthrop of Antigua, planter, a moiety of 200 acres in New North Sound. Vere Oliver Vol.III p.253
Samuel was one of the first Antiguans to engage in sugar production, which proved the means to considerable wealth, and had accumulated over 1,000 acres of land. Samuel Winthrop was a pious man and became a Quaker offering his home as a meeting place for fellow members of the Society of Friends. He was very friendly with Jonas Langford of Langford’s estate.
During the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665-1667), the Dutch Admiral Michiel De Ruyter sailed a fleet of thirteen vessels into Carlisle Bay on Barbados and destroyed a number of English ships. One of the ships he captured was carrying a valuable cargo of choice sugar being shipped by Winthrop, who wrote that De Ruyter then captured “a great many ships at Montserrat and Nevis,” after which he sailed north towards New York.
The story of the attack on Antigua was related in considerable detail by Samuel Winthrop when the end of the war made it possible for him to reestablish communications with his brother in New England. He wrote that the attack on Antigua began at Five Island Harbor, on the northwest coast of the island, near the town of St. John’s. The English batteries that defended the harbor were silenced by the cannonade from the French ships. The French then landed troops and advanced on St. John’s burning all the houses in their path, including the stone residence of the governor (probably Carden). Carden attempted to block the advance, but he was captured and his troops routed. The situation looked bleak and so Samuel sent his wife and children to Nevis dispatching them in a shallop from the landing place on his plantation. On the third day of the invasion, two hundred Antiguan troops under Lt. Colonel Bastiaen Bayer defended his fortified home at St. John’s harbor against a French force of about six hundred men. “The contention was very smart for about half an hour,” wrote Winthrop, “and our men withstood them very resolutely, but being overpowered with men, were put to flight. Many were slain on both sides,” but the English casualties were greater. The French “Took many prisoners, plundered the house, fired all that was combustible,” and prepared to complete the conquest of the island the next day.
At this point Winthrop’s Groton Hall was the only defendable structure on the island, and the remaining English troops retreated. At noon the following day, the French forces appeared and demanded that the English surrender, offering generous terms. If not they would destroy the colony “by fire and sword, and give no quarter.” After two days a treaty was agreed to and those who swore allegiance to the French could keep their lands, those who refused were given six months to sell their property and leave. A levy of 200,000 pounds of sugar was to be paid in six months.
Following the surrender, the French commander made Groton Hall his headquarters for the following week. During that time, according to Winthrop he “possessed 24 of my slaves (the rest escaped) and most of the slaves in the island, destroyed most of my stock, his soldiers plundering the country round about.” He did not destroy Winthrop’s sugar works and burned only the homes of those settlers who had fled the island.
In the aftermath of that invasion, Samuel emerged as the key figure in the colony. Over the remaining years of his life, he rebuilt his fortune so that when he died he had over 1,100 acres of land and sixty-four slaves. Along with three associates, he was granted the small neighboring island of Barbuda for a period of thirty-two years. The four used the island to breed cattle and horses.
Samuel Winthrop’s will is said to have been dated December 12, 1672, and he died sometime during the following year. His son Samuel married a daughter of Governor Philip Warner, his daughter would inherit Groton Hall. Samuel Winthrop: From Puritan to Quaker.
1668: Sarah Winthrop, spinster, grant of Maiden Island.
Henry Winthrop (b.1649) owned 240 acres in St. Peters. Joseph Winthrop (1653-1679) owned “Cinnamon Valley of 300 acres. Vere Oliver. Vol.III p.250
1678: Samuel Winthrop’s estate debts of £350,000 sterling, Groton Hall in New North Sound – permission for sons Henry, Capt. Joseph and Lieut. Sam Winthrop to sell.
1679: 5,125 lbs of sugar sold on 150 acres to Maj. William Barnes New North Sound.
1679: £15,125 sell 20 acres to Mr. John Nibbs.
“Winthorpes” of 231 acres in St. Georges.
1700: Draught of Winthrop Act reciting that Hon. Winthrop, ye father and guardian of his son Samuel, has a plantation 240 acres of waste and no other estate owes half the value of the land to St Peter’s Parish for Taxes. Said Sam is now 8 years of age.” Vere Oliver Vol.III p.253
Reference has been made to Samuel Winthrop as an early planter and a letter to his brother John, of date 1667, contains the statement; “I sent by George Parris to Richard Wharton 21 hogs of sugar to pay my sonne’s debts in New England, of whose arrival I have as yet heard nothing. It is all I have left besides my land and twelve working negroes.”
Groton Hall was inherited by Henry Lyons when he married Sarah, granddaughter of the first Samuel Winthrop. Both Henry and John Lyons (Lyon’s) came from Ireland in the late 1960s as officers of Henry Holt’s regiment.
1715: Groton Hall north by Blizzard, 231 acres con Vere Oliver Vol.II p.214
“Henry Lyons of Groton Hall estate in Antigua d.1715. William Lyons of Groton Hall d.1776.”
Further history of the Lyon family can be found on the internet under “Lyons of Ledestown”
Letters from a Sugar Plantation in Antigua 1739-1758:
Life was not always easy on the estates with years of drought causing havoc and hardship. Letters written by managers to absentee estate owners often attest to dire need. Corn and beans were often requested as foodstuffs to sustain the slaves when local crops failed.
The following excerpts are from letters to Governor Thomas from Walter Tullideph which give a brief insight into plantation life and hardships.
“Govr. Thomas Antigua, Aprile 10th 1742. A hot, dry weather, what we planted at Winthorpes is dead, we can make no Sugar here next year but what we plant now to use as a nursery, to send flower bread & corn as we expect hard times, our making 24 hhds, at 5 Islands & expect 8 or 10 more & hope to ship at least 25 home.
“Govr. Thomas Antigua, January, 14th 1743…... I hope ye rum will answer ye expences & ship all ye Sugar to London ye state of his estates like to make 60 hhds at Winthorpes & near 200 at North S. The Guinea Corn failed therefore to send Provisions. Wr. Tullideph”
“The Hon. Geo. Thomas Gov. of Pennsylvania Antigua, Augt. 8th 1743 About ten days, before we finished at Winthorpes, one of ye Mares, came under ye Vanes when the Mill was abot, by which she was killed & One of ye Points lost 7 foot, but with a weight to lead to it, ye Mill finished ye Crop.”
“Govr. Thomas Antigua, Octr. 5th 1745. Inclosed you have your plantation Accontts for the year 1744, balance in your favour 108. 2. 6 1/2 ukl which is more than I expected or intended. …..I have cleared away and planted ten or 12 Acres of Good Guinea Corn along the Bay at Winthorpes leaving a sufft. Defense agt, the North Wind & have planted Potatoes besides the Yam piece. therefore hope to be at little expense for Provisions this ensuing year.”
“The Honourable Geo. Thomas Esqr. Antigua, September 23rd, 1746.….. We have advices from home of ye safe Arrival of our May fleet, & ye insurance on your 20 hhds.fm. Winthorpe’s saved, of ye Death of ye King of Spain with a probability of a Peace with Spain. ….I must now inform you of very bad news here no rains yet, all ye Guinea Corn burn’t up & too late now to plant again, no prospect of a Crop & a probability of Provisions being very dear. Corn is now at 8/- & hardly to be gott. … I believe it would be cheaper for you to supply your Estates from Philadelphia than in Beans from London as the freight is high from thenee as well as from America. Most of ye Ponds in ye Island are drie, your negroes are reduced to drink ye spring water at Vogan’s. I wish they may not suffer the fluxes. I am. Wr. T.”
“George Thomas Esqe. Antigua, Novr. 22nd 1749. There are many Vessells gone to the Coast of Guiney, so it is probable slaves will be in Plenty this year. I think to buy four young Girls and two Men boys, for Winthorpes, in the Crop, and I suppose as many at least for No.Sd.” (North Sound)
Taken from the Isaac Royall site on the internet.
The Isaac Royall House is a historic house located at 15 George Street, Medford, Massachusetts. It is a National Historic Landmark, operated as a non-profit museum, and open for public visits between June 1 and the last weekend in October. The Royall House is notable for its excellent preservation, its possession of the only surviving slave quarters in Massachusetts, and its American Revolution associations with General John Stark, Molly Stark, and General George Washington. Among the historic objects on display is a tea box, said to be from the same batch that was dumped into Boston Harbor on the night of December 16, 1773, and a very small painting by John Singleton Copley of Isaac Royall, Jr. on copper.
The site’s recorded history began about 1637 when Gov. John Winthrop built a house there. Around 1692, this house was replaced with a more imposing brick structure standing 2½ stories high and one room in depth, with exceedingly thick walls. On December 26, 1732, Isaac Royall, Sr., a slave trader, rum distiller, and wealthy merchant of Antigua, purchased the house and 504 acres (2 km²) of land along the west bank of the Mystic River in what was then Charlestown (annexed to Medford in 1754). He extensively remodeled the house between 1733 and 1737, adding a third story, encasing its east facade in clapboard, and ornamenting the exterior with architectural details and continuous strips of spandrel panels. Royall also constructed outbuildings in 1732, including the only known slave quarters to survive in New England today. After this construction, Royall brought 27 enslaved Africans from Antigua. In so doing he doubled the enslaved population of the community.
In 1829, Winthorpes contained 231 acres – 153 slaves.
1843: Freemans Upper 211 acres, Winthorpe’s of 231 acres, and Galley Bay of 447 acres owned by Inigo Thomas.
1851: Antigua Almanac shows Winthorpe’s of 231 acres belonging to Inigo Thomas.
1852: Inigo Thomas was the proprietor. Winthorpe’s Bay and Village are adjoining.
1941: Antigua Sugar Factory, Ltd. Cane Returns for 1941 Crop. Winthorpe’s & Date Hill. Estimated 953 tons, 70 acres estate, 3 acres peasants on the estate, tons of cane delivered 738 at 10.25 tons per acre.
A poem by a well-known writer of historical poetry, Mary Geo. Quinn depicts the moving of the town of Winthorpe to make room for the US airport.
NINETEEN FORTY-TWO by Mrs. Geo. Quinn
A memorable year for Winthorpeans is Nineteen Forty-two,
The year the Americans came and, without too much ado,
Evicted us out of the land which had been home for years,
And settled us at Blizard’s, despite our fears and tears.
World War Two was being fought then, and Britain, the Mother Country,
In exchange for battleships to fight the enemy,
Had leased to the Americans in British possessions overseas,
Lands for construction of army and naval bases.
Fortunately or unfortunately, Antigua’s strategic site
Included dear, old Winthrope’s, our home of great delight.
We received words that we’d have to move; and we said a great, bit, ‘No!’
But the Government explained to us that we really had to go.
In fairness to all, I must admit that they gave us the option
Of choosing or deciding our new habitation.
We chose to go to Blizard’s, but asked to retain our name;
And so New Winthorpes, our village then became.
The Americans have come and gone, and the local government
Now owns the place, and there they’ve built as true mark of development,
To take care of our ever-increasing air transport,
The famous V.C. Bird International Airport.
Dutchman’s Bay is named after the Dutch ships that landed there in 1666 during the Anglo-Dutch War. Men off the ships marched inland to Governor Samuel Winthrop’s residence who was compelled to surrender the island. Written on the 71st anniversary of the removal of people from Winthorpes, Dutchmans Bay and High Point. Freeston T’ror Williams
Coolidge Airport built by the United States Air Forces around 1942 was named after Capt. Hamilton Coolidge (1895-1918), was a United States Army Air Service pilot killed in World War I. Upon closure of the Base it became a civil airport around 1949. It was renamed in honour of Sir Vere Cornwall Bird (1910-1999), the first prime minister of Antigua & Barbuda. Canadian funding helped to build the first airport terminal building which replaced the small wooden terminal of the 1950’s. Recently, a new terminal built with the assistance of Chinese funding and contractors, directly north of the existing terminal, was opened in 2015.
R. Allen Stanford b.1950. Serving 110 years in a jail in Texas for fraud in a massive Ponzi scheme had developed the area around the airport terminal to include a cricket pitch and restaurant, several offices, a printer, and bank building. It was all done extremely tastefully in a Caribbean vernacular style enhanced with beautiful gardens, making a lasting impression on visitors entering and leaving the country.
Enslaved People’s History
Based on contemporary research, we have little information to share about the enslaved peoples from this plantation at this time. We do know some, however. In 1829, right before slavery was abolished in the Caribbean, Winthorpe’s contained 231 acres and housed 153 enslaved peoples. This plantation was also unique because its first enslaved peoples were American Indians forced from Massachusetts to work in the Caribbean by the original settlers of Red Hill Farm in New England. More than 1,200 Native Americans of both the Pequot and Narrangansett nations were enslaved before the end of the 1600s. We will continue our quest for more information about these vital individuals.
Legacy of British Slave-ownership:
Winthrope’s was awarded £1,937 19 s 8 d for 162 enslaved.
Freeman Thomas was awardee and Inigo Freeman Thomas was unsuccessful.
- 1648 Samuel Winthrop (1627-1674)
- 1674 Lieut. Samuel Winthrop II b.bef. 1657
- 1700 Maj. Henry Lyons (1660-1714) md. Sarah granddaughter of Samuel Winthrop
- 1714 Henry Lyons (1700-1746)
- 1746 William Lyons (1660-1776)
- 1750 Hon.George Thomas Governor of the Leeward Islands 1752
- 1774 George T. Thomas Baptised 1750 d.1774 (the 1777/78 Luffman map shows mixed ownership from Winthorpe’s Bay to Dutchman’s & Blizard’s Bay.)
- 1829 Heirs of George Thomas
- 1843 Thomas Inigo Wickham Freeman (1795-1884)
- 1878 Thomas Freeman b.1808 1872 Horsford Almanac (Freeman Thomas)
- 1891 Charles Inigo Thomas. b.1846
- 1921 John Gomes.
- 1933 John Gomes 1933 Camacho map
- 1942 Coolidge Airport
- 1968 Antigua Government – Crown Land
- 2005 R. Allan Stanford b.1950