Roger Ludlow (1590-1664)

English Immigrant to America and First Lieutenant-Governor and Co-Founder of the Colony of Connecticut

Note: This article only covers the Family History of this major character in American History.

Vital Stats[]

  • Son of Sir Thomas Ludlow and Jane Pyle
  • 1590-Mar : Birth in Dinton, Wiltshire, England
  • 1609/10 : Matriculated at Balliol College, Oxford
  • 1615? : Marriage to Mary Cogan in England, sister-in-law to Governor John Endicott of Massachusetts
  • 1630-May : Sailed to Massachusetts Bay Colony on the ship Mary & John.
  • 1635 : Relocated to Connecticut
  • 1654 : Left America with Wife, settled in Dublin, Ireland
  • 1664-68 : Died in Dublin, Ireland (parish death records were lost.)


See Wikipedia for his full Biography of Roger Ludlow.

Roger Ludlow was one of the founders of the Colony of Connecticut. He was born in March 1590 in Dinton, Wiltshire, England. Roger was the second son of Sir Thomas Ludlow of Maiden Bradley, Wiltshire and Jane Pyle, sister of Sir Gabriel Pyle. He matriculated at Balliol College, Oxford in 1609 or 1610, and was admitted to the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple in 1612.

Ludlow sailed to America in May 1630 aboard the ship Mary & John with his wife Mary Cogan, a sister-in-law of Governor John Endicott of Massachusetts. They settled at Dorchester, Massachusetts, where they remained for five years. During that period he was chosen magistrate in the Court of Assistants for the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He was elected as Deputy Governor in 1634. During this time Ludlow successfully negotiated the first treaty between the English and the Pequot. In 1635 he was defeated by John Haynes for Governor.

In 1635 Roger Ludlow joined with other Puritans and Congregationalists who were dissatisfied with the rate of Anglican reforms, and sought to establish an ecclesiastical society subject to their own rules and regulations. The Massachusetts General Court granted them permission to settle the cities of Windsor, Wethersfield, and Hartford in the area now known as Connecticut. The Ludlows settled into Windsor. However, ownership of the lands for the new towns along the Connecticut River was called into dispute by the English holders of the Warwick Patent of 1631 that had been granted by Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick. The Massachusetts General Court established the March Commission to mediate the dispute between the Connecticut colony and the Saybrook Colony, and named Roger Ludlow as its head. The Commission named 8 magistrates from the Connecticut towns to implement a legal system. The March Commission expired in March 1636, after which time the settlers continued to self-govern.

In late 1636 and early 1637 the burgeoning Connecticut colony faced armed conflict in the Pequot War 1636. The Connecticut towns decided to send a force of more than 70 soldiers along with Narragansett and Mohegan collaborators into an attack upon a Pequot settlement on May 26, 1637. While Ludlow did not participate in what became known as the Mystic massacre, his role in the General Court meant that he took part in the decision to send the force. After the destruction at Mystic Ludlow did leave the Windsor area to pursue Sassacus and other Pequot survivors, first to Saybrook at the mouth of the Connecticut river, then westward toward the Mattabesset village known as "Sasqua" or "Unquowa". On July 13, 1637 the battle in swamps around Unquowa signalled the final military defeat of the remaining Pequots.

On May 29, 1638 Ludlow wrote to Massachusetts Governor Winthrop that the colonists wanted to "unite ourselves to walk and lie peaceably and lovingly together." Ludlow was a framer of a document called the Fundamental Orders, which was adopted on January 14, 1639. The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut is the world's first written constitution for a self-governing people.

Roger Ludlow was a magistrate in 1637 and 1638, and was then named as the first Deputy Governor of Connecticut. He was also chosen as a Magistrate in 1640, and every year from that date until he left the colony in 1654, except in 1642 and 1648, when he was again chosen Deputy Governor. In 1643 Ludlow was one of the representatives from Connecticut in the negotiations which led to the con-federation of the colonies.

Then Ludlow left Virginia to return to England and made it to Ireland by September 1654. Ludlow settled at Dublin and in November of 1654 was appointed to serve the Council as an adjudicator of matters relating to property law. The appointment may have been made at the request of Oliver Cromwell. He served on the commission from 1654 to 1658. A new commission was appointed and Ludlow was again assigned to it in 1658. He was also appointed to the post of Master in Chancery in Ireland.

He was a resident and member of St. Michan's Church in Dublin. His wife Mary died and was buried on June 3, 1664 according to records kept at the parish church. Parish records of his death in Dublin (presumed to have taken place between 1664 and 1668) no longer exist.

Roger Ludlowe Middle School and Fairfield Ludlowe High School, both in Fairfield, are named for him.

Children of Roger Ludlow and Mary Cogan[]

  1. Sarah Ludlow (1625-1665) - m. Rev Nathaniel Brewster and settled in Brookhaven, NY (Long Island)


  • Roger Ludlow: The Colonial Lawmaker - Google Books by John Metcalf Taylor