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Lived: 1586-1647

Thomas Hooker was the founder of Hartford, Connecticut and a Puritan preacher. Born in Leicestershire, England in 1586, Hooker received an extensive religious education. Despite this education, Hooker took a position as a lecturer in Chelmsford, England, a town renowned for its debauchery. Hooker, while effective as a lecturer, was known for having less than orthodox views regarding personal faith, something his superiors found less than acceptable. Hooker, forced into exile, fled to the colony of Massachusetts. There he resumed his preaching, but came into disagreement with John Cotton, minister and co-founder of Boston. Cotton believed that no man should be allowed to vote without participation in the church, where Hooker believed all men should have the right to vote. So bitter their conflict became that Hooker left the Massachusetts colony, heading south, to found a colony named Hartford. Those who followed Hooker joined him in signing the Fundamental Orders, which some regard as America's first written constitution. Hartford would later merge with several nearby cities, and Hooker's small settlement would become the heart of a thriving new colony - Connecticut.