Mayhew, Thomas

Mayhew, Thomas a Trinitarian Congregational minister, son of Thomas Mayhew, the governor of Martha's Vineyard, was born in Southampton, England, about 1621; emigrated with his father to New England in 1631; resided for a few years in Watertown, Mass.; and in 1642 assisted his father in establishing a settlement at Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard. Being deeply affected by the intellectual and moral degradation of the Indians, and possessing good natural talents, and a considerable knowledge of the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages, he determined to devote himself to preaching to the natives of the island. He soon acquired their language, commenced his pulpit ministrations in 1646, and labored among them so faithfully that in 1650 he had 100 converts, and in 1662, 282, among whom were eight pawams or priests. In 1657 he sailed for England to obtain aid from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel; but the ship in which he had taken passage was lost at sea, and never heard of. Cotton Mather says that "he was so affectionately esteemed by the Indians that many years afterwards he was seldom named without tears." He wrote, in connection with John Eliot, Tears of Repentance, or a Narrative of the Progress of the Gospel among the Indians in New England. — Sprague, Annals American. Pulpit, 1:131; Drake, Dict. American Biography, s.v.

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