Even amongst the Puritans who stayed in Massachusetts, not all of them shared exactly the same ideas. Thomas Hooker was a Puritan clergyman who lived in New Towne, a fast-growing community next to Boston. Hooker didn't always agree with the laws and leadership in Massachusetts. When he heard about a fertile valley along a river to the west, he convinced his family and about 100 other people to move there with him.
It took Hooker and his followers two weeks to travel to the Connecticut Valley with their animals and belongings. There they established a settlement on the site of an old Dutch fort, where an earlier group of English colonists had settled. Hooker and his followers called their new community Hartford. In 1639, Hartford joined with two other settlements to form the colony of Connecticut.
Hooker believed that government should be based on “the free consent of the people,” to whom belongs “the choice of public [officials] by God's own allowance.” He helped draw up the first written plan of government for any of the colonies, and which was called the Fundamental Orders. The Fundamental Orders guaranteed the right to vote to all men who were members of the Puritan church.
Meanwhile, other Puritans formed a separate colony nearby called New Haven. The Puritans of New Haven agreed to live by the “word of God,” so their laws were stricter than those in Hooker's Connecticut colony.
Neither of these colonies, however, was legally authorized by the king. Then, in 1662, King Charles II granted a charter for a new Connecticut colony that included New Haven. The charter gave Connecticut colonists more rights than those enjoyed by any other colonists except Rhode Island's. A popular legend states that when King James II sent Governor Andros to Hartford 15 years later to take back the colonists' charter, someone stole it and hid it in the trunk of a huge white oak tree. The “Charter Oak” became a symbol of Connecticut's freedom.