Sunday, July 10, 2011

My great-grandmother 11 X's back

My mom is very busy tracing our family tree. It's very colorful and pretty grand. One of my grandmothers was the founder of the very first women's Bible study in America. She belived more in religous freedom and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Anne Marbury Hutchinson is recognized as one of the first in the American colonies to champion freedom of religion and freedom of assembly, which brought persecution upon her. Thanks to her example and that of others, a century and a half later these rights were explicitly granted to all U.S. citizens in the Bill of Rights. Her great courage and intelligence is manifest in the transcript of her trial at which she allowed herself to be banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony and later excommunicated rather than recant.
Anne was born in 1591 in Alford, Lincolnshire, England to Rev. Francis Marbury and his wife Bridget Dryden Marbury. She was the fifth of his sixteen children and they were raised in a very religious home. Her father had been imprisioned for advocating freedom of religion and had taught his daughter well. Anne assisted her mother as a midwife and became skilled in medicine. In 1612 she married William Hutchinson, a textile merchant. They resided for the next 22 years in Alford, where they had fourteen children.
Rev. John Cotton To flee religious persecution, this family decided to follow the exiled minister of their choice, John Cotton across the Atlantic Ocean. They emigrated to the village of Boston, in the wilderness of the New World. They arrived in 1634 with their ten surviving children, only 4 years after Boston was founded and 14 years after the Mayflower had arrived. Anne brought new life and light to this world, dispensing medicine wisdom and cheer. She began what was probably the first women's group in America, by inviting women to her home each week to discuss that week's sermon. Soon, however, prominent men were also attending and the city's theocratic leaders noticed that she had more influence than many of their ministers. The only ministers she approved of were John Cotton and his assistant John Wheelwright, who had married her husband's sister Mary.
Gov. John Winthrop Governor John Winthrop censured and then banished Rev. Wheelwright, and those who supported him were deprived of their weapons. The May, 1637, elections defeated the "Hutchinsonians" who held public office. Soon afterward Anne was also brought to trial. The proceedings of the trial are very instructive to read. Anne's intelligence was far too much for her inquisitor Gov. Winthrop; in fact, she has been said to have been the most intellectual woman in America in that century. When she insisted on knowing what the charge against her was, he said she had broken of fifth commandment and dishonored her parents by inviting disreputable people into her home. She quoted the Bible which states that older women should instruct the younger, which he could not refute. When he then went on to ask her questions, she asked him why, if he didn't think she should even teach women, was he now asking her to instruct the entire court? She also had the temerity to ask that the ministers, who were both her accusers and judges, to take an oath to tell the truth. What finally swayed the court against her was when she claimed that the Holy Ghost had given her revelations. She was banished from Boston and later excommunicated from the church. Later her youngest sister Katherine was imprisoned in Boston for her religious views and cruelly whipped.
Anne's Trial in 1637 In 1638 Anne moved to Aquidneck in what would become Rhode Island to join her husband where religious freedom prevailed. Many of her followers accompanied her, along with 9 of their children from ages 2 to 17. Edward, their eldest son did not come, but had been one of the founders of Newport, Rhode Island. Persecution followed her to Rhode Island, where Massachusetts tried to extend its jurisdiction. After William's death four years later, she moved with six of her children to the wilderness of New York and built the first house on Long Island sound near what became New Rochelle, New York. On Aug. 20, 1643 she and all of her children there except Susanna were killed in an Indian raid. Nine-year-old Susanna was taken captive by them and then ransomed back by the Dutch four years later and returned to relatives in Boston.

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