My name is Barry Arthur Cotton and I am the 7th great-grandson of John Cotton, the Puritan Patriarch of New-England. John Cotton was a Founding Father to America’s Founding Fathers and established America’s first public school, the Boston Latin School, and its first university, Harvard University. I am President Emeritus of the Winthrop Society and have authored articles for the Winthrop Journal and the Mayflower Quarterly.

Currently, I am working on a biography of John Cotton titled John Cotton: An Intimate Investigation of His Life and Times, which was awarded First Place in the 2017 WRITERS’ LEAGUE OF TEXAS MANUSCRIPT CONTEST for nonfiction.

I am also working on a book titled, TALES OF TWO BOSTONS: The pivotal role immigrants from Boston, Lincolnshire played in founding the Massachusetts Bay Company and shaping Colonial America.

Having discovered a rich family heritage that stretches back for twelve generations to early 16th century England has been both a blessing and a burden. A burden because digging in the past unearths bones crying out for flesh.

While fleshing out the past is both exhausting and exhilarating work, it is very demanding. Dots are connected, patterns emerge and stories unfold.  These stories need to be told. This “blog” – this “website” – this offering results from the need to tell those stories and become intimate with ancestors long dead and forgotten. Not to aggrandize them but to shed light on their lives.

For me, digging up bones is more enjoyable than assembling skeletons and connecting dots and finding patterns is more enjoyable than crafting stories. Writing does not come easy. Taking Pains only begins to describe the process.  I have never written a book but will endeavor to do so.  I have never written a blog but will do so to log my progress.

Over time, my story as storyteller will unfold. I relish a good story. We all do. Storytelling is as old as humanity. I aspire to be a great storyteller. The problem is that I must endeavor to tell “true stories”. I am not an academic historian. I am not a trained genealogist. I do not have an MFA in creative nonfiction. So aside from my innate curiosity and a desire to become intimate with the past, I have little to offer by way of qualifications. The learning is in the doing.

Barry’s quotes

“In zazen, leave your front door and your back door open. Let thoughts come and go. Just don’t serve them tea.”— Shunryu Suzuki