In honor of Women’s History Month, I will present little known/under-appreciated women in American history. I’ll aim for one a day. We’ll see how long that lasts. It’s not that there aren’t enough women to write about. It’s that sometimes the days get away from me.
Anne Marbury Hutchinson was born and raised in England. She arrived in the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1634 and settled with her husband, William, and eleven of their children in Boston.
A devout Puritan, Hutchinson regularly attended church services, and she held religious discussion groups in her home to help other women in the community better understand John Cotton’s sermons. By 1636 those group meets had become so large and so popular that they attracted the notice of civil and religious authorities.
Hutchinson posed a couple of threats to Puritan Boston. She presided over meetings that gradually comprised both women and men, and presumed to teach men about the Bible and theology. She criticized Boston ministers for promoting salvation through good works rather than grace.
In 1637, the General Court called Hutchinson to appear and answer charges of disrupting the peace of the colony, being in league with a condemned group, and traducing or slandering local ministers. She was found guilty and sentenced to banishment. Next, Hutchinson’s church called her for an examination regarding her beliefs. The ministers declared her a liar and excommunicated her.
Hutchinson and a group of her followers, including William and the children, settled in Rhode Island in 1638, then moved on to New York. In 1643, Hutchinson and her remaining family members were killed in a Native American attack.
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