Thomas Dudley was born in Northampton, England in 1576. He worked as chief steward of Theophilus Clinton, the Earl of Lincoln, where he developed Puritan beliefs.
In 1628 a group of Puritans, led by Dudley and John Winthrop persuaded Charles I to grant them an area of land between the Massachusetts Bay and Charles River in North America. That year the group sent John Endecott to begin a plantation in Salem.
The main party of 700 people left Southampton in April 1630. The party included Dudley, John Winthrop, William Pynchon, Simon Bradstreet and Anne Bradstreet. Before they left John Cotton gave a sermon where he emphasized the parallel between the Puritans and the God's chosen people, claiming it was God's will that they should inhabit all the world. During the 1630s over 20,000 people emigrated to Massachusetts.
John Winthrop was the first governor of Massachusetts Colony. He chose Boston as the the capital and the seat of the General Court and the legislature. Dudley was appointed his deputy and on four occasions (1634, 1640, 1645 and 1650) he served as governor.
Dudley and John Winthrop did not always agree about the way the colony should be ruled. Whereas Winthrop was tolerant and liberal, Dudley favoured the expulsion of any person he considered to be a heretic. It was Dudley who managed to get Anne Hutchinson and her followers removed from the colony. A crisis meeting was held in 1635 and these conflicts were resolved. Two years later Winthrop published a new policy on heresy. Thomas Dudley died in Roxbury, Massachusetts, on 31st July, 1653.