- Hutchinson, Anne
- (15 91-16 4 3)religious dissident in colonial New EnglandAnne Hutchinson, a leading dissenter in early 17th-century Puritan Massachusetts, has been recognized in the 20th century as a pioneer Christian feminist. Hutchinson was born Anne Marbury in Alford, Lincolnshire, England. Her father, a Puritan minister, had been arrested on several occasions for expressing dissenting opinions. She married William Hutchinson in 1612.In 1634, the Hutchinsons took up residence in Boston, Massachusetts. Hutchinson had been impressed by John Cotton's ministry in London the previous year, but she found the atmosphere in Boston considerably less free than in London. Only the male members of the church were invited to meet after Sunday services to discuss the sermon. In reaction, she invited the women to her home. These meetings provided an opportunity for her to inject her dissenting views into the community. The meetings became quite popular, eventually drawing men as well as women. She emphasized personal religion and also questioned the faith of many of the ministers, at one point claiming that only John Cotton and John Wheelwright (her brother-in-law) showed signs of being among the elect.Hutchinson's real troubles began when former governor John Winthrop blocked the appointment of Wheelwright as pastor to one of the Boston churches. Her dissent now became a public issue, and she was branded as an antinomian (against the law).As a result of the controversy, Winthrop resumed his former post and placed a ban on private meetings. His supporters had a list of reputed heresies read out at a synod meeting. When Hutchinson continued to hold her meetings, she and Wheelwright were tried for heresy. Hutchin-son proved an articulate defendant and answered all the charges against her. However, in the process, she also revealed that she had received a private revelation. Winthrop branded it a delusion, and the court banished her from Massachusetts. she was put under house arrest to await a church trial.In March 1638, Hutchinson was tried by the elders of the church of Boston. By this time, John Cotton had joined her opponents and accused her of teaching free love. she was excommunicated. Hutchinson, her family, and some followers left Massachusetts to settle on an island purchased from the Narragansett people in what is now Rhode Island. Her husband died in 1642, and she moved to a settlement just north of present-day New York City, where she and several of her children were killed in 1643 in an Indian war.Further reading:■ Robert Rimmer, The Resurrection of Anne Hutchinson (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1987)■ Winnifred King Rugg, Unafraid: A Life of Anne Hutchinson (Boston/New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1930)■ Jared Sparks, In Defiance of the Law: From Anne Hutchinson to Toni Morrison (New York: Peter Lang, 2001)■ Selma R. Williams, Divine Rebel: The Life of Anne Marbury Hutchinson (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1981).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.