What did anne Hutchinson and John Smith have in common? Both of them had very different upbringings, but both were devoted readers and intellectuals. In particular, Hutchinson was inspired by the Reverend John Cotton, the vicar of a Lincolnshire parish who had fled to North America to join the religious dissidents. Their beliefs and practices were so different that they nearly tore apart the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Hutchinson had a background as an English minister and was well versed in the Bible. She became devoted to John Cotton, and began to hold small meetings in her home to discuss his sermons. This was a subtle challenge to the patriarchy in the Bay Colony. She also criticized Puritan ministers for contradicting the Scriptures, which made her a scapegoat and resulted in her death.
Upon arriving in Boston, Hutchinson began to establish a settlement with Roger Williams. Together, they founded Providence Plantations. After her husband died, Hutchinson moved outside the borders of Massachusetts and the Bay Colony. She eventually settled near Split Rock, a site where she would raise her children. In the years that followed, Hutchinson’s influence spread across the state.
Hutchinson became a midwife in Boston. In 1634, she and Smith established the Portsmouth settlement with Roger Williams. After her husband’s death, Hutchinson sought to leave the colony with her two young children. In 1833, she partnered with fellow Puritan reformer Francis Marbury and helped found Providence Plantations. After their marriage, Hutchinson and Smith began a community of women and established a parish in Plymouth. After John’s death, she and her children left Boston and moved to Rhode Island. She grew close to Split Rock and settled in a small village near the historic site of the town.
Both were adamantly opposed to the Puritan Church. They feared the threat of a revolt by other women and refused to accept her legal counsel. Despite this, both were given legal counsel the previous evening. During the trial, Hutchinson continued to criticize the ministers in public, insisting on their testimony under oath. The Magistrate Simon Bradstreet said she was “theologically incorrect” by refusing to testify under oath.
After her husband’s death, she moved to the outside of the city and started a new life. She was a midwife who worked in the Boston area. She had strong relationships with local women and began holding meetings to discuss the preacher’s sermons. This was a radical act in the Bay Colony, and the first meeting between Hutchinson and the Puritans was held in a courtroom.