Exile, Then Escape

Following the conclusion of her church trial for blasphemy in early 1638, Hutchinson and her family were banished, which carried the religiously ‘heavier’ punishment of being excommunicated from the church. After walking through Spring snow for days, Hutchinson and her children reached Providence Plantation, whose founder, Roger Williams, offered a safe haven for the now disgraced and imperiled woman.

While this fresh start would have provided an opportunity for a like minded and receptive audience, fractures appeared in the new colony within a year. Anne Hutchinson was not directly involved in the power struggle between a handful of men living on Aquidneck Island, however, her husband William would serve as governor of the settlement, and later as a magistrate. William Hutchinson gave up this last position at the persuasion of his wife, who again challenged the authority of governmental figures. This would be noted in the diary of Massachusetts Bay’s John Winthrop, who called Anne Hutchinson: “the beginner of all the former troubles in the country.”

Hutchinson’s husband would die in 1642, leaving his widow to face the continued wrath of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which continually sent representatives to harass her, some four years after her banishment. In order to escape this, and other political issues within Williams’ new colony, Hutchinson, her children, and a handful of slaves left the relative safety of Rhode Island, to settle just north of New Amsterdam. It would be in this new location that Hutchinson and her family met a savage end.





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