John Cotton, John Winthrop, and Mary Rowlandson all dealt with the wilderness (Native Americans) of the North American continent while in Massachusetts Bay Colony. However, Mrs. Rowlandson may have experienced it a bit differently than Mr. Cotton and Mr. Winthrop, who were a minister (Cotton) and a lawyer and governor (Winthrop). Rowlandson was captured by Native Americans, Winthrop wanted to share the Word of God, and Cotton wished to be in a place of safety and a place at where he could form his own church. These three were all Puritans, seeking a new land and the freedom to worship God the way they wished and believed.
John Winthrop believed not only to escape the grasp of England church and their king, James I but to share the Gospel with the Native Americans as well. He believed that God had brought them (the Massachusetts Bay Colonists) to spread the word and to convert the Indians.
Winthrop thought the Indians as less fortunate, as a poor civilization, that needed God’s love, God, and riches that the Puritans had. Winthrop became governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony and did encourage the Puritans to spread the word of the Gospel.
John Cotton went to Massachusetts Bay Colony to escape William Laud. Laud was all about catching the Puritans in action for the king of England and the church. This caused many along with Cotton to go into hiding. After almost of a year of hiding in “plain sight” in England, Cotton, his second wife, Sarah, and several other Puritans sailed on Griffin to the New World.
Cotton, as soon as upon landing, became a minister to the Massachusetts church in Boston.
Mary Rowlandson was a Puritan. She had three children. Her husband, Joseph Rowlandson, had failed in an attempt to save her and her children from the Native Americans when they were captured. She was one of the very few, if not the only, Puritan woman who wrote a book. Her book, Captivity and Restoration, tells everything that happened to her, her children, and everyone who was captured by the Native Americans during the King Philip’s War. It is considered the first American bestseller.
For eleven weeks, Rowlandson was a prisoner to the Indians. She said that the Indians were savages. But through it all, she never doubted God. She believed He had and controlled the situation and would eventually free her. After eleven weeks, she and all of her children were freed by ransom.
Winthrop saw the Native American wilderness as a chance to share God. Cotton saw it as a way to build his own church and to escape the controlling hands of England. He also saw it as God who had freed the Israelites from captivity, was the same God who freed him and his people as well. Finally, Rowlandson saw the wilderness as an Indian savage home.