Photo: Anne Hutchinson statue
Courtesy of WGBH Gavel-to-Gavel

Sculptor: Cyrus E. Dallin

Created: 1915

Anne Hutchinson had grown up at the side of her father, Reverend Francil Marbury, who himself had been a controversial minister in England. Shortly after her father's death she married, and became a follower of religious reformer John Cotton.

In 1633, Mather fled England for Massachusetts. The next year Anne and her husband William, with eleven of their children, boarded the same ship Mather had taken and followed him to Boston. On board she expressed her belief that grace and self understanding brought one to salvation, rather than good works alone. She gained a ship-board following, and after arriving in Boston drew crowds to weekly discussions, with sometimes as many as 100 people attending.

Recognizing her potential to disrupt the Massachusetts theocracy, Governor John Winthrop brought her to court on charges of heresy. Hutchinson was not allowed counsel, or witnesses -- she stood alone and responded to questioning by the legislature, before being banished in 1638. The Hutchinsons and their supporters, which included Mary Dyer, went to live in Newport, Rhode Island. After the death of her husband 1642, Hutchinson and her fourteen children moved to Long Island, where she and all but one of the children were massacred by Indians in 1643.

More than perhaps any other colonial woman, Anne Hutchinson paved the way for religious liberty, and America's constitutional division of church and state. Her great-great grandson, Thomas Hutchinson, would later become the chief justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court, and serve as Governor during the eventful period preceding the American Revolution (1771-1774).