(b. July 1586 - d. 7 July 1647) was the Puritan
of what would later be the American
Hooker was born in Marfield, Leicestershire in England to
Puritan parents. After first attending Queens College
in Cambridge then Emmanual College, Cambridge, he began
his lifelong career as a Christian minister. He was invited to
be a lecturer in Chelmsford. It is maintained that his sermons
helped reform Chelmsford from a party-town to a more godly one.
At this time the leader of the Church of England,
Archbishop William Laud, was becoming more powerful and
tried to silence those who
would not conform to the teachings of the Church of England.
The church in Chelmsford fired Hooker who then formed a
grammar school nearby.
Laud continued to harass Hooker, forcing him
to leave England. Hooker preached for some time in Holland,
but then joined fellow puritanical Englanders in a voyage
to the New World. They settled in Newtown, Massachusetts
(now Cambridge, MA) in 1633
where Hooker served as a pastor. A disagreement arose, however,
between leaders of the community about how power should be
distributed and what the rights of the citizens should be. One
leader, John Cotton, held that only (male) members of the church
who owned property should be able to vote, but Hooker thought that
all men should be able to have a vote, even though he too wanted
a godly community.
The difference could not be resolved, and in 1636
Hooker let a hundred people
to found a new settlement in what is now Hartford,
Connecticut. Two other settlements joined Hooker's to form the
Connecticut Colony, and they put down on paper what is sometimes considered
the first written constitution, the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut,
Hooker died on 7 July 1647. Supposedly on his deathbed someone
said to him, "Sir, you are going to receive the reward of all
your labours." Hooker replied, "Brother, I am going to receive
"Every good and holy desire, though it lack the form, has in itself
the substance and force of a prayer with God, who regards the
moanings, groans and sighings of the heart." -- Thomas Hooker
Many biographies on the web are written by his religious heirs.
One appears, along with selections of Hooker's writings at
www.intoutreach.org/hooker.html . A more objective
summary of Hooker's life can be found at
as well as your favorite encyclopedia.