Thomas Painter: The Accuser
Governor John Winthrop described Thomas Painter as “scandalous and burdensome by his idle and troublesome behavior.”
Between 1637 and 1644 Painter had bounced between several Massachusetts towns. In 1644 he described the Puritan
church at Hingham as “unchristian,” and refused to have his child baptized there. This earned him a court trial and a whipping
for contempt, and for his evil behavior at home as well as at court.
Painter received a grant of land in Providence, Rhode Island in the late 1630s, but it was given to another man in 1645,
probably because Painter had never lived there. In 1655 Tom Painter was on Newport’s freeman list and accused George
Gardner in court. Where was he between 1644 and 1655? I theorize that Thomas Painter was in New Amsterdam, where
he learned from John Hicks that Herodias had been separated, but not officially divorced from Hicks.
Thomas Painter led a quieter life after his accusations against Gardner. He sold his Newport home in 1664 and was living in
Westerly, Rhode Island by 1669.