A Sad and Abrupt End

massacre-of-anne-hutchinson-illustration-published-in-a-popular-history-of-the-united-states-circa-1878Anne Hutchinson, along with her children and servants, made their way south towards the New Netherlands. Settling in what would eventually become the Bronx borough of New York City, Hutchinson established a small settlement on Long Island Sound. Though solidly in Dutch territory, their new homes would prove to be vulnerable to Indians attacks, such as the raid by the Siwanoy in 1643 that would take the lives of nearly all members of the Hutchinson family. Until that point, however, Hutchinson and her family thrived, in what can truly be called a matriarchal configuration. She settled and controlled the small community, and though it would only last for a few months, a woman was in charge–a feat only possible in the New World, and at the edges of the society that continued to cling so desperately to rigid gender roles.

Driven by a false sense of security from good relationships with Indian tribes further north, Hutchinson did not heed the warning of the Siwanoy leader, Wampage, who threatened to burn every house and kill every man, woman, and child. Additionally, Hutchinson did, in fact, believe that it was God’s will that her family establish themselves in the area, and would thereafter be protected. This warning was largely a result of the ongoing conflict between the Siwanoys, Wappingers, and the governor of New Amsterdam. While some debate persists regarding who actually put Wampage up to the attack, it is likely that the Hutchinsons were caught in the middle of a turf war. Recent speculation has discussed John Winthrop as possibly being responsible for the attack, as he praised Hutchinson’s death highly. This is perhaps a more valid conclusion because Massachusetts would have still viewed Hutchinson as a threat to theirs and other colonies. Hutchinson’s fatal folly in not leaving would result in the deaths of all members of her family, except for her daughter Susanna, who would be raised among the Siwanoy until she was sold back to her family and returned to Rhode Island.

Hutchinson’s death marked a sort of victory in the mind of Winthrop and the other magistrates of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, but rather than let her be forgotten, Wampage took her name as a sort of trophy, calling himself ‘Anne Hoeck’ thereafter.



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