Anne Hutchinson

Anne Hutchinson

Anne Hutchinson, the daughter of a clergyman, was born in Lincolnshire, England, in 1615. A Puritan, Hutchinson emigrated with her husband to America in 1634.

Hutchinson settled in Massachusetts Bay, where she soon obtained a following as a preacher. Hutchinson began to claim that good conduct could be a sign of salvation and affirmed that the Holy Spirit in the hearts of true believers relieved them of responsibility to obey the laws of God. She also criticised New England ministers for deluding their congregations into the false assumption that good deeds would get them into heaven.

Complaints were made about Hutchinson's teachings and John Winthrop, the governor of Massachusetts, called her to appear before the authorities. During her cross-examination she claimed that she had received a revelation from God. To the Puritan authorities this was blasphemy and she was banished from the community.

Hutchinson joined Roger Williams and his colony on Rhode Island. The colony was a haven of religious toleration and admitted Jews and Quakers and other religious dissenters.

After the death of her husband in 1642, Hutchinson moved to a new settlement in Pelham Bay. The following year Anne Hutchinson and fourteen members of her family were murdered by Native Americans in the area.