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? In The Reputed Wife, 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.