Lothropp Family Foundation

Articles & Resources

Keynote Address - Part 3

Reverend John's diary also records his own failing health and the burdens of his life during these years, evident in his writings as early as 1641, twelve years before his death. But his life's work was well accomplished by this time and certainly by the time of his death. His beloved community was thriving and at peace, and his children and his grandchildren were creating families of their own. And what families they proved to be. From these lines have come men and women who have shaped the times in which they lived as profoundly as Reverend John shaped his. Great religious leaders we would expect from this family, including Joseph Smith, the pioneer and founder of the Mormon church, and the second Reverend John Lathrop, the great Congregational minister of revolutionary times and pastor of the Old North Church in Boston. Great soldiers and great statesmen have also arisen from this family. Ulysses S. Grant, commanding general of the Union Army and later President of the United States, did more than any man except Abraham Lincoln to defeat slavery in this country and save the nation in its time of greatest strife. Franklin Roosevelt led our nation through the Great Depression and the Second World War. Oliver Wendel Holmes created much of modern jurisprudence. Other statesmen of this family include John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, Adlai Stevenson III, Sir Robert Borden, Thomas Dewey, George Romney, Kingman Brewster, George Kennan, Wayne Morse, and the present occupant of the White House, George Bush. Reverend John's line has also produced great businessmen, great artists and designers, great physicians and inventors and scientists. Among them are:

  • Jane Lathrop Stanford and Leland Stanford (builder of the Southern Pacific Railroad and founders of Stanford University )
  • Alfred Fuller (founder of the Fuller Brush Company)
  • Marjorie Merriweather Post (founder of General Foods)
  • J.P. Morgan, the great financier
  • Frederick Law Olmstead ( the greatest of American landscape architects )
  • Louis Comfort Tiffany, the great designer
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the great poet
  • Louis Auchincloss, the novelist
  • Charles Ives, the great composer
  • Georgia O'Keefe, the great contemporary artist
  • Benjamin Spock, the great physician and educator
  • Eli Whitney, the inventor of the cotton gin

Let us bear in mind, however, at this time of remembering all that has past before us in this family, and reflecting on the accomplishments of the past, that Reverend John would take no great pleasure in knowing that we remember him here today. Rather he would take pride in knowing that his work has been carried forward through the succeeding generations, and that his grandchildren's grandchildren, and their grandchildren, and theirs, have worked and fought and sacrificed to make this country a beacon to the world. Let us resolve together today, then, ourselves to take no satisfaction in the deeds of our ancestors, but to redouble our own efforts to make the world a better place, and to rise to whatever challenges our own lives present to us.

Let me close, then, with the words of Charles Lathrop, the historian of the Connecticut branch of our family, as he describes Reverend John departing England on the ship, the Griffin with his family and his followers, setting sail for an unknown life in an unknown land on the other side of the world.

"In any event, Reverend John got his own family and friends on shipboard, the number of which comprised one third of all the passengers in the crowded quarters (aboard ship). As the Griffin finally cleared the coast and put out to sea, and ... (as) Rev. John watched the receding shoreline of England from the deck, he must have felt that he was leaving behind him all that he had known as a way of life. (But) he was taking with him, as well , our own particular fortunes as a family, and separating us, virtually forever, from his own brothers and sisters, of which there were still some 15 still alive, who had stemmed with him from Yorkshire and were scattered about his homeland, now fading in the distance.

Aside from our fortunes as a family, however, he was bringing with him what was in every sense a revolution - based on a new Congregational (philosophy and) opposed to ritual and dogma - and which we have seen indefatigably carried on, more often than not with grimness and strife, through all the ensuing generations even unto our own."


Huntington, Rev. Elijah Baldwin, A Genealogical Memoir Of The Lo-lathrop Family, Ridgefield, Connecticut, 1884 [More]

Lathrop, Charles Leonard, In This Place, Lebanon, Connecticut, 1973 [More]

Morton, Nathaniel, New England Memorial [More]

Neal, Daniel, A History Of The Puritans From The Reformation In 1517 To The Revolution In 1688, 1822 [More]

Neal,Daniel, A History Of The Puritans Or Protestant Non - Conformists, New York, 1855

Neal, Daniel, History Of New England [More]

Otis, Amos, Genealogical Notes Of Barnstable Families, 1888 [More]

Price, Richard, John Lothropp, A Puritan Biography And Genealogy, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1984 [More]

Prince, Thomas, A Chronological History Of New England, Boston, 1736 [More]

Sprague, William B., DD, The Annals Of The American Pulpit, 1857 [More]

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