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Wheelwright, John

John Wheelwright, c.1592–1679, American Puritan clergyman, founder of Exeter, N.H., b. Lincolnshire, England. He studied at Cambridge and was vicar (1623–33) of Bilsby. Suspended by Archbishop Laud on a charge of nonconformity, he emigrated to New England in 1636. While pastor of a Puritan church at Mt. Wollaston (now Quincy), Mass., he alienated himself from the parent church in Boston by publicly defending the views of Anne Hutchinson, his sister-in-law. The General Court in Boston banished him from the colony in 1638, whereupon he formed a settlement at Exeter, N.H. When the new town was claimed as within the limits of Massachusetts, the minister, with part of the church he had established, moved in 1643 to Wells, Maine. The next year, upon his acknowledging some error on his own part, the sentence of banishment was withdrawn. He held a pastorate in Hampton, N.H. After visiting England, he returned to America; his last pastorate, from 1662, was at Salisbury, N.H.

See memoir by C. H. Bell in the 1876 ed. of Wheelwright's works; biography by J. Heard, Jr. (1930).

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