Josiah Winslow was born in Plymouth Colony in 1629 and died on December 18, 1680 in Marshfield, Massachusetts. In records of the time, historians also name him “Josias Winslow”, and modern writers have carried that name forward. He was the Harvard College-educated son of Pilgrim leader Edward Winslow and was Governor of Plymouth Colony from 1673 to 1680. The most significant event during his term in office was “King Philip’s War" which created great havoc for both the English and Indian populations and changed New England forever.
Josiah Winslow’s parents were Edward Winslow (d.1655) and his 2nd wife, widow Susannah White. Her first husband had been Pilgrim William White, who died in February 1621, with whom she had sons Resolved and Peregrine White, all of whom were Mayflower passengers. The wedding of Edward Winslow and Susannah White was the first in Plymouth Colony.
In 1643 Josiah Winslow was chosen deputy to the general court from Marshfield and In 1656 he succeeded Myles Standish as the commander of the colony’s military forces.
In 1657 he was chosen Assistant Governor, a post he filled until he was elected Governor in 1673. Also, in 1658 he was Plymouth’s Commissioner to the United Colonies (Puritan military alliance against the Indians) until 1672. In 1659 he was appointed military commander of the Colony.
On September 5, 1672, he was one of six signers of the new Articles of Confederation of the New England colonies and in 1673 he became the first native Plymouth Colony Governor on the death of Governor Thomas Prence.
During his Chief Magistracy in 1674-75 the first public school was established and in 1680 the first Lieutenant-Governor was elected and in 1675 he was elected General-in-Chief of the entire military forces of the United Colonies, being the first native-born general as well as governor in New England.
In 1675 the General Court ordered that four halberdiers (possibly as armed guards) should attend the governor and magistrates at elections and two during Court sessions. The government maintained a state of readiness that was previously unknown in the Colony.
On September 9, 1675 he signed a Declaration of War made by the commissioners against the Indian leader known as “King Philip”.
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