Gookin, Daniel, 1612 - 1687

Daniel Gookin, military and governmental supervisor of the Indians, was born in England or Ireland in 1612, the son of Daniel Gookin, Sr. He travelled to Virginia with his younger brother to look after his father's land in the colony. He first appears in the colonial Virginia records in 1630 at the age of thirty. He received his own land of 2,500 acres in 1634-35. After his wife died in 1639, he returned to London and remarried Mary Dolling. They both sailed back to Virginia in 1641, where Gookin served as a representative from Upper Norfolk County in the Assembly and was appointed captain of the local militia. Gookin was sympathetic to the puritan cause during the British civil wars and carried the Nansemond Petition to Boston in the fall of 1642 asking that puritan ministers be sent to Virginia to establish three new parishes. Gov. William Berkeley ejected the ministers and Gookin moved to New England, where he became a member of the First Church in Boston and freeman in May 1644. While attending the Boston church, he settled in Roxbury but soon moved to Cambridge, where he became a member of Thomas Shepard’s church. He was appointed captain of the Cambridge company militia (1648-87), elected representative from Cambridge to the Massachusetts General Court (1649 and 1651), chosen speaker of the House (1651), and elected assistant (1652-75, 1677-87). During the Cromwellian Protectorate, he travelled between England and New England. At the restoration, he returned on the same ship as the regicides Edward Whalley and William Goffe and entertained them at his Cambridge home before they moved into the colony of Connecticut. Gookin had assisted John Eliot with establishing praying Indian towns and was appointed superintendent of the Christian Indians in 1657. Because he had been busy on the island of Jamaica for most of 1656 and 1657 as an agent of the Cromwellian government, Humphrey Atherton took his place and it was only in 1661 that Gookin turned his full attention to the job of superintendent of Christian Indians. Gookin believed that Indians had to adopt European ways. When King Philip’s War broke out in 1675, Gookin and Eliot moved many of the “praying Indians” from Natick to Deer Island in Boston harbor to protect them, first, from hostile puritan settlers in the Boston area and, second, from Metacom’s warriors. This did not make him popular and he was not elected assistant in 1676. He soon resumed his public office and was re-elected assistant the following year and appointed major general of the colony’s militia. He died at his home in Cambridge on March 19, 1687. Gookin wrote two works on New England Indians (unpublished during the colonial period): Historical Collections of the Indians in New England (ms. 1674) and An Historical Account of the Doings and Sufferings of the Christian Indians of New England in 1675, 1676 and 1677 (ms. 1677). ODNB; ANB; Jon Butler, "Two 1642 Letters from Virginia Puritans," Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, vol. 84 (1972), 99-109; Neal Salisbury, "Red Puritans: The 'Praying Indians' of Massachusetts Bay and John Eliot," William and Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., vols. 31 (1974), 27-54.
March 19, 1687