About Me

My name is Barry Arthur Cotton and I enjoy telling stories that history overlooks. 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 serve as a Trustee of the Partnership of the Two Historic Bostons that links Boston, England and Boston, Massachusetts and am President Emeritus of the Winthrop Society. I have authored articles for the Winthrop Journal and the Mayflower Quarterly. I grew up in Longmont, Colorado and received a B.A. in philosophy from Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan and an M.A. in ESL/linguistics from the University of Hawaii. For most of my life, I have worked overseas in Japan and the Middle East and recently retired to Austin, Texas after having served as special advisor to an ambassador at the United Nations in New York City. Currently, I am working on a book titled John Cotton: An Intimate Investigation of His Life and Times and recently entered it into the 2017 WRITERS’ LEAGUE OF TEXAS MANUSCRIPT CONTEST and was awarded first place in the nonfiction category.

Having discovered a rich family heritage that stretches back eighteen generations to early 14th century Cambridge, 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. Painstaking 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.

Overtime, 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 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

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