Rhode Island Tercentenary Issue First Day Cover
300th Anniversary of the Settlement of Rhode Island
Issued on May 4, 1936 in Providence, RI - Scott #777

Add-On Art by RAT Cachets (Yours Truly)
Ann Hutchinson - Rhode Island Co-Founder

Anne Hutchinson Marbury was born either in 1590 or 1591. She was baptized July 20, 1591 in Alford, Lincolnshire, England. Ann was a religious liberal who became one of the co-founders of Rhode Island after her banishment from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Ann was the daughter of a Deacon in Christ's Church, Cambridge, England. She married William Hutchinson, a merchant, in 1612 and they moved to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1634. Ann was an outspoken and deeply religious person who organized her own weekly meetings of the women in the colony to discuss recent sermons and to express her own theological views. She stressed the individual's intuition as a means of reaching God and salvation, rather than the observance of institutionalized beliefs. Her detractors accused her of antinomianism--the view that God's grace has freed the Christian from the need to observe established moral precepts.

Ann was highly critical of the Massachusetts Puritans for what she considered to be their narrowly legalistic concept of morality. A leading preacher of the colony, John Winthrop, was violently opposed to Ann's views and was active in her prosecution after he became governor.  Ann was tried by the Massachusetts General Court for "traducing the ministers," convicted in 1637 and sentenced to banishment from the colony. Ann was imprisoned at the house of Joseph Weld, Marshall of Roxbury from 1637 to 1638 in an attempt to get her to recant her beliefs. When Ann refused to denounce her beliefs she was tried by the Boston Church Council and formally excommunicated. 

In 1638 Ann and several of her followers were taken to the Massachusetts/Rhode Island border and banished. Ann and her followers established a colony on the island of Aquidneck in what is now Portsmouth, RI. (This was a common practice of the times in the Bay Colony for anyone who didn't conform to the colony's rules. Colonists of the Quaker belief were frequently banished in this way. The usual practice was to sentence them to be flogged in the various towns of the colony before banishment.) 

After the death of her husband in 1642, Ann moved to Pelham Bay on the Long Island Sound where she and all of her children with the exception of two still living in Rhode Island were massacred by Indians in 1643.

Although Ann Hutchinson was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony as a religious dissenter the real reason for her persecution may have been that she challenged the traditional role of  male superiority in Puritan society by expressing her own religious convictions. Ann Hutchinson should be considered as one of the first crusaders in the struggle for Women's Equal Rights

PBS - The American Experience 
Anne Hutchinson: Unsung Heroine of History - Bianca Leonardo & Winnifred Rugg

Ann Hutchinson - American Jezebel or Woman of Courage - Rachel Buckingham 

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