Cotton Mather

Cotton Mather (1663 - 1728)

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Cotton Mather
Born in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusettsmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married in Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusettsmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusettsmap
Profile last modified | Created 1 Jun 2011
This page has been accessed 5,176 times.

Categories: Boston, Massachusetts | Congregational Ministers | Smallpox | Copp's Hill Burying Ground, Boston, Massachusetts | Salem Witch Trials | Boston Latin School | Massachusetts Notables | Witch Trials.

Cotton Mather is Notable.
Cotton Mather was involved in the Salem Witch Trials.
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Cotton Mather, the son of Increase Mather and Maria Cotton, was born February 12, 1663 in Boston. He was the grandson of both John Cotton and Richard Mather, prominent Puritan ministers. Mather was named after his maternal grandfather, John Cotton. He attended Boston Latin School, where his name was posthumously added to its Hall of Fame, and graduated from Harvard in 1678 at age 15. After completing his post-graduate work, he joined his father as assistant pastor of Boston's original North Church. In 1685 Mather assumed full responsibilities as pastor at the Church.

Mather was known for his vigorous support of the Salem Witch Trials and is credited with providing key support for the use of 'spectral evidence' during the trials. [1]

In 1706 a slave, Onesimus, explained to Cotton Mather how he had been inoculated as a child in Africa. Mather was fascinated by the idea. By July 1716, Mather had read an endorsement of inoculation by Dr. Emanuel Timonius of Constantinople in the Philosophical Transactions. Mather then declared, in a letter to Dr. John Woodward of Gresham College in London, that he planned to press Boston's doctors to adopt the practice of inoculation should smallpox reach the colony again. This created a major debate in the city. The Franklin brothers, James and Ben were important participants in the debate.[2]

Cotton Mather in 1692, during his Magnalia stated that [[Bancroft-32 | Captain Bancroft] was instrumental in the formation of the foundation and building of the fort at Pemmaquid which was called William Henry. There is another event that Cotton Mater relates. It was on the 4th of July in 1690 in Exeter, near Lamphrey River, that 8 men were attacked while they were gathering hay. A large number of Indians slew them and had taken captive one boy and on the day after this group attacked Col. Hilton's garrison at Exeter. Lt. Bancroft was stationed in town proceeded with a small force to travel the 3 to 4 miles to relieve the garrison. His company suffered a loss of 8 or 9 men. [3]

Cotton Mather wrote more than 450 books and pamphlets, and his ubiquitous literary works made him one of the most influential religious leaders in America. Mather set the moral tone in the colonies, and sounded the call for second- and third-generation Puritans, whose parents had left England for the New England colonies of North America, to return to the theological roots of Puritanism. [4]

Cotton Mather died in 1728 and was buried at Copps Hill Burying Ground, Boston. His memorial has photos and links to those of his parents, three wives and a child. His second wife, Elizabeth Clark was the mother of their son Samuel Mather.[5]


Copps Hill Burying Ground, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts
Find A Grave Memorial# 684


  1. Wikipedia entry for Cotton Mather
  2. There is a great deal on the debate on inocultation in the Wikipedia article.
  3. Pages 19 and 20, Howard
  4. Cotton Mather at Wikipedia has a full biography.
  5. Cotton Mather memorial at Find A Grave.
  • Howard, Loea Parker. Reading men in the early colonial wars. Reading, Mass: Printed by the Reading Chronicle Press, 1934. Print.
  • Cotton Mather at Wikipedia has a full biography with pictures.


  1. Wikipedia entry for Cotton Mather
  2. There is a great deal on the debate on inocultation in the Wikipedia article.
  3. Pages 19 and 20, Howard
  4. Cotton Mather at Wikipedia has a full biography.
  5. Cotton Mather memorial at Find A Grave.


  • WikiTree profile Mather-42 created through the import of Tom.ged on Jun 1, 2011 by Tom Elliott.

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No known carriers of Cotton's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

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Images: 2
Cotton Mather Image 1
Cotton Mather Image 1

Cotton Mather
Cotton Mather


On 13 Sep 2016 at 00:28 GMT Cheryl (Aldrich) Skordahl wrote:

see as source:

"New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial....." Vol 1, p. 1.see at


On 7 Jan 2016 at 15:22 GMT Sally Stovall wrote:


This is an awesome Profile. Thank you for all of your hard work you have put into this one. GREAT JOB.

Sally ~ WikiTree Leader / Mentor

Cotton is 26 degrees from Rosa Parks, 23 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 15 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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