William Hutchinson (Rhode Island)

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William Hutchinson
2nd Judge (governor) of the Town of Portsmouth
In office
1639–1640
Preceded by William Coddington
Succeeded by William Coddington as Governor of Newport and Portsmouth
Personal details
Bornbaptised 14 August 1586
Alford, Lincolnshire, England
Died1641
Portsmouth, Colony of Rhode Island (Aquidneck Island)
Spouse(s) Anne Hutchinson
Children Edward, Susanna, Richard, Faith, Bridget, Francis, Elizabeth, William, Samuel, Anne, Mary, Katherine, William, Susanna, Zuriel
OccupationMerchant, deputy, magistrate, selectman, treasurer, judge (governor)

William Hutchinson (1586–1641) was a judge (chief magistrate) in the Colonial era settlement at Portsmouth on the island of Aquidneck. Aquidneck Island was known at the time as Rhode Island, and it later became part of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

Portsmouth, Rhode Island Town in Rhode Island, United States

Portsmouth is a town in Newport County, Rhode Island. The population was 17,389 at the 2010 U.S. Census. Portsmouth is the second oldest municipality in Rhode Island, after Providence; it was one of the four colonies which merged to form the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, the others being Providence, Newport, and Warwick.

Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations English, from 1707, British, possession in North America between 1636 and 1776

The Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations was one of the original Thirteen Colonies established on the east coast of North America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. It was an English and later British colony from 1636 until the American Revolution in 1776, when it became the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

Contents

Hutchinson sailed from England to New England in 1634 with his large family. He became a merchant in Boston and served as both Deputy to the General Court and selectman. His wife was Anne Hutchinson, who became embroiled in a theological controversy with the Puritan leaders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony which resulted in her banishment in 1638. The Hutchinsons and 18 others departed to form the new settlement of Pocasset on the Narragansett Bay, which was renamed Portsmouth and became one of the original towns in the Rhode Island colony.

New England Region of the United States

New England is a region composed of six states of the northeastern United States: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. It is bordered by the state of New York to the west and by the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec to the northeast and north, respectively. The Atlantic Ocean is to the east and southeast, and Long Island Sound is to the south. Boston is New England's largest city as well as the capital of Massachusetts. The largest metropolitan area is Greater Boston with nearly a third of the entire region's population, which also includes Worcester, Massachusetts, Manchester, New Hampshire, and Providence, Rhode Island.

Anne Hutchinson 17th-century American Puritan and colonist

Anne Hutchinson was a Puritan spiritual adviser and an important participant in the Antinomian Controversy which shook the infant Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1636 to 1638. Her strong religious convictions were at odds with the established Puritan clergy in the Boston area, and her popularity and charisma helped create a theological schism that threatened to destroy the Puritans' religious community in New England. She was eventually tried and convicted, then banished from the colony with many of her supporters.

Massachusetts Bay Colony English possession in North America between 1628 and 1684

The Massachusetts Bay Colony (1628–1691) was an English settlement on the east coast of North America in the 17th century around the Massachusetts Bay, the northernmost of the several colonies later reorganized as the Province of Massachusetts Bay. The lands of the settlement were located in southern New England in Massachusetts, with initial settlements situated on two natural harbors and surrounding land, about 15.4 miles (24.8 km) apart—the areas around Salem and Boston.

Hutchinson became treasurer in Portsmouth and William Coddington was the judge (or governor). A controversy compelled Coddington to relocate in 1639 and establish the town of Newport, at which time Hutchinson became the chief magistrate of Portsmouth. This lasted for less than a year, however, as he died shortly after June 1641, and his widow and many of her younger children moved to New Netherland (later in the Bronx in New York City). Mrs. Hutchinson and all but one of her children perished shortly thereafter, massacred by Indians.

William Coddington Rhode Island colonial governor

William Coddington was an early magistrate of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and later of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. He served as the judge of Portsmouth and Newport, governor of Portsmouth and Newport, deputy governor of the four-town colony, and then governor of the entire colony. Coddington was born and raised in Lincolnshire, England. He accompanied the Winthrop Fleet on its voyage to New England in 1630, becoming an early leader in Boston. There he built the first brick house and became heavily involved in the local government as an assistant magistrate, treasurer, and deputy.

Newport, Rhode Island City in Rhode Island, United States

Newport is a seaside city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island, located approximately 33 miles (53 km) southeast of Providence, Rhode Island, 20 miles (32 km) south of Fall River, Massachusetts, 73 miles (117 km) south of Boston, and 180 miles (290 km) northeast of New York City. It is known as a New England summer resort and is famous for its historic mansions and its rich sailing history. It was the location of the first U.S. Open tournaments in both tennis and golf, as well as every challenge to the America's Cup between 1930 and 1983. It is also the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport, which houses the United States Naval War College, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and an important Navy training center. It was a major 18th-century port city and also contains a high number of buildings from the Colonial era.

New Netherland 17th-century colony of the Dutch Republic that was located on the East Coast of North America

New Netherland was a 17th-century colony of the Dutch Republic that was located on the east coast of America. The claimed territories extended from the Delmarva Peninsula to southwestern Cape Cod, while the more limited settled areas are now part of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut, with small outposts in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

William Hutchinson was described by Governor John Winthrop as being mild tempered, somewhat weak, and living within the shadow of his prominent and outspoken wife.

John Winthrop Governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, author of "City upon a Hill"

John Winthrop was an English Puritan lawyer and one of the leading figures in founding the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the second major settlement in New England, following Plymouth Colony. Winthrop led the first large wave of immigrants from England in 1630 and served as governor for 12 of the colony's first 20 years. His writings and vision of the colony as a Puritan "city upon a hill" dominated New England colonial development, influencing the governments and religions of neighboring colonies.

Early life

William Hutchinson was born into a prominent Lincolnshire family. He was the grandson of John Hutchinson (1515–1565) who had been Sheriff, Alderman, and Mayor of the town of Lincoln, dying in office during his second term as mayor. [1] John's youngest son Edward (1564–1632) moved to Alford and had 11 children with his wife Susanna, the oldest of whom was William, who was baptized 14 August 1586 in Alford. [1]

Lincolnshire County of England

Lincolnshire is a county in eastern England, with a long coastline on the North Sea to the east. It borders Norfolk to the south east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south west, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to the west, South Yorkshire to the north west, and the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north. It also borders Northamptonshire in the south for just 20 yards (18 m), England's shortest county boundary. The county town is the city of Lincoln, where the county council has its headquarters.

Edward Hutchinson was a mercer and a resident of Lincolnshire, England, most noted for the careers of his children in New England. While his father and several of his uncles and brothers became prominent as clergymen, aldermen, sheriffs, and mayors in the city of Lincoln, Edward focused his efforts on his business after moving to the town of Alford. Remarkably, not a single record for him has been found in Alford, other than his burial and the baptisms of his 11 children, but he likely gained a considerable estate, and his children married into prominent families. What was most exceptional about Edward Hutchinson occurred following his 1632 death. Beginning in 1634, five of his nine surviving children and his widow immigrated to New England, and all six of them were exiled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony as a result of the events of the Antinomian Controversy from 1636 to 1638. From Boston two of his children went south and became founding settlers of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, and three of them, with his widow, went north to establish Exeter in the Province of New Hampshire, and then proceeded to Wells, Maine. Because of their involvement in the controversy, his children had a disproportionately large role in the establishment of these new settlements in New England.

Alford, Lincolnshire town and civil parish in Lincolnshire, England

Alford is a town in Lincolnshire, England, about 11 miles (18 km) north-west of the coastal resort of Skegness. It lies at the foot of the Lincolnshire Wolds, which is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The population of the town was recorded as 3,459 in the 2011 Census.

Historical highway marker for William and Anne Hutchinson property at Mount Wollaston, later in Quincy, Massachusetts Hutchinson Hist Hwy Mkr Quincy MA 20130331.jpg
Historical highway marker for William and Anne Hutchinson property at Mount Wollaston, later in Quincy, Massachusetts

William Hutchinson grew up in Alford where he was the warden of his church in 1620 and 1621. He then became a merchant in the cloth trade and moved to London. [2] Here he renewed a friendship from Alford with Anne Marbury, the daughter of Francis Marbury and Bridget Dryden, and the couple were married on 9 August 1612 at the Church of Saint Mary Woolnoth on Lombard Street in London. [1] [3] Anne's father was a clergyman, school master, and Puritan reformer who was educated at Cambridge. [4]

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Francis Marbury (1555–1611) was a Cambridge-educated English cleric, schoolmaster and playwright. He is best known for being the father of Anne Hutchinson, considered the most famous English woman in colonial America, and Katherine Marbury Scott, the first known woman to convert to Quakerism in the United States.

St Mary Woolnoth Church in London , England

St. Mary Woolnoth is an Anglican church in the City of London, located on the corner of Lombard Street and King William Street near Bank junction. The present building is one of the Queen Anne Churches, designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor. The parish church continues to be actively used for services, with Holy Communion every Tuesday. St Mary Woolnoth lies in the ward of Langbourn.

Hutchinson and his wife raised a large family in Alford, as he prospered in his business. The couple had 14 children in England, one of whom died in infancy, and two of whom died from the plague. The Hutchinsons, particularly Anne, became very enamored with the preaching of the Reverend John Cotton who was the vicar of Saint Botolph's Church in the town of Boston, about 21 miles from Alford, [1] and they made the day-long round trip to Boston whenever they could to hear Cotton preach.

Cotton had strong Puritan sympathies, however, and Archbishop William Laud began cracking down on those whose opinions differed from the established Anglican church. Cotton was forced into hiding, and then had to flee the country to avoid imprisonment. [1] Mrs. Hutchinson was distraught to lose her mentor, and the family intended to sail with him to New England aboard the ship Griffin in 1633; however, Anne's 14th pregnancy prevented it. Instead, they sent their oldest son Edward, age 20 and under the care of Cotton, with the intention of following to New England as soon as they could. [1] William Hutchinson's youngest brother, also named Edward, was aboard the same ship with his wife. [1]

In 1634, William Hutchinson, his wife Anne, and his other ten children sailed from England to New England on the Griffin, the same ship that had taken Cotton and their oldest son a year earlier. The family first resided at Boston where Hutchinson was admitted to the Boston Church on 26 October 1634, and his wife was admitted seven days later. [5] He became a merchant in Boston and took the freeman's oath there in 1635. [6] He was one of the town's Deputies to the Massachusetts Bay General Court from 1635 to 1636, and was also a selectman from 1635 to 1637, attending a selectmen's meeting for the last time in January 1638 as his tenure in Boston was coming to an end. [7]

Trouble in Boston

"Anne Hutchinson on Trial" by Edwin Austin Abbey Anne Hutchinson on Trial.jpg
"Anne Hutchinson on Trial" by Edwin Austin Abbey

Hutchinson's wife was described by historian Thomas W. Bicknell, writing 300 years after she lived, as "a pure and excellent woman, to whose person and conduct there attaches no stain." [6] Her own contemporaries, however, did not view her in the same light. She was helpful to the sick and needy, and she was undeniably gifted in argument and speech, but her theological doctrines and open disdain toward Boston's ministers began to inflame a growing controversy between Cotton's followers and the Puritan elders. [6] In late 1636, Governor John Winthrop wrote that Mrs. Hutchinson was "a woman of ready wit and bold spirit," but she had brought several dangerous theological errors which he elaborated on in his journal. [8] She was holding private meetings at her home, drawing many people from Boston and other towns, including many prominent citizens, and teaching them a religious view that was increasingly antithetical to the views of the Puritan church. [8] She also began to express an open disdain for most of the Puritan ministers, with the exception of Cotton. She was finally put on trial in November 1637, convicted, and banished from the colony along with some of her followers. [8]

Settling in Rhode Island

Portsmouth Compact with William Hutchinson's signature third on the list Portsmouth Compact document.jpg
Portsmouth Compact with William Hutchinson's signature third on the list

William Hutchinson and other supporters of his wife signed the Portsmouth Compact on 7 March 1638 before leaving Boston, agreeing to form a non-sectarian government that was Christian in character. [9] The group of signers considered going to New Netherland, but Roger Williams suggested that they purchase some land on the Narragansett Bay from the Narragansett Indians. They purchased Aquidneck Island, which was called Rhode Island at the time, and formed the settlement of Pocasset there, which was renamed Portsmouth in 1639. In June 1638, Hutchinson was the treasurer of the town and William Coddington was called judge, the name given to the chief magistrate of the settlement. [7]

The following year, a disagreement prompted Coddington and a few other leaders to leave Portsmouth and begin a new settlement at the south end of the island called Newport. Hutchinson became the judge (governor) of the Portsmouth settlement from 1639 until 12 March 1640, when Portsmouth united with Newport to become the Colony of Rhode Island, with Coddington elected as governor of the two-town colony, and Hutchinson becoming one of his assistants. [10] In his journal, Governor Winthrop described the 1639 disagreement in Portsmouth: "the people grew very tumultuous and put out Mr. Coddington and the other three magistrates, and chose Mr. William Hutchinson only, a man of very mild temper and weak parts, and wholly guided by his wife, who had been the beginner of all the former troubles in the country and still continued to breed disturbance." [8]

Hutchinson died in Portsmouth shortly after June 1641, after which his widow left Rhode Island to live in New Netherland on the border between the modern-day Bronx and Westchester County, New York. Soon after the move, she and her entire household were murdered by Indians in a massacre during a war with the Dutch in late summer 1643, with only one daughter escaping. [3] [10]

Family and descendants

William and Anne Hutchinson had 15 children, all but the last born in England. The oldest child was Edward, a captain who died from wounds received at the battle of Wheeler's Surprise during King Philip's War. [11] The fourth child was Faith, who married Thomas Savage, a Boston soldier and merchant. The fifth child was Bridget; she married John Sanford who succeeded William Coddington as Governor of the two towns on Rhode Island (Portsmouth and Newport) following the repeal of the Coddington Commission. [12] [13] Their 14th child was Susanna, the only survivor of the Indian massacre which killed her mother and six of her siblings. She was taken captive by those Indians and held by them for several years. [14]

Hutchinson's sister Mary was the wife of the Reverend John Wheelwright, another banished minister who founded Exeter, New Hampshire. [15] Prominent descendants of William and Anne Hutchinston include U.S. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush. [16]

See also

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Antinomian Controversy

The Antinomian Controversy, also known as the Free Grace Controversy, was a religious and political conflict in the Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1636 to 1638. It pitted most of the colony's ministers and magistrates against some adherents of the Free Grace theology of Puritan minister John Cotton. The most notable Free Grace advocates, often called "Antinomians", were the charismatic Anne Hutchinson, her brother-in-law Reverend John Wheelwright, and the young governor of the colony Henry Vane. The controversy was a theological debate concerning the "covenant of grace" and "covenant of works".

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Champlin 1913, p. 2.
  2. Chester 1866, p. 363.
  3. 1 2 Anderson 2003, p. 479.
  4. Venn.
  5. Anderson 2003, p. 477.
  6. 1 2 3 Bicknell 1920, p. 990.
  7. 1 2 Anderson 2003, p. 478.
  8. 1 2 3 4 Anderson 2003, p. 482.
  9. Austin 1887, p. 278.
  10. 1 2 Bicknell 1920, p. 991.
  11. Bonfanti 1981, p. 29.
  12. Anderson 2003, p. 480.
  13. Austin 1887, p. 171.
  14. Kirkpatrick 1998, p. 228.
  15. Anderson 2003, p. 481.
  16. Roberts 2009, pp. 365, 383, 398.

Bibliography

Online sources