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Samuel Gorton

1592/3-1677. Early American colonist. Born in England, he migrated in 1637 to Massachusetts. His opposition to the union of church and state, an ordained ministry, and the sacraments, his denial of heaven and hell, and his advocacy of unorthodox views of the Trinity and inner illumination of the Holy Spirit soon forced him to flee to Rhode Island in the winter of 1637-38. After some years of wandering in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, in 1643 he founded Shawomet which he later renamed Warwick. He was in England from 1644 to 1648 and secured religious liberty for his colony from the earl of Warwick. He served several times as a member of the Massachusetts Assembly between 1649 and 1666, and was a member of the Warwick town council in 1677, the year of his death.