Celebrating friendships, stories and discoveries along the way

Friday, August 29, 2014

Remembering Anne Hutchinson

On this month 371 years ago Anne Hutchinson was massacred at Pelham Point, in the current-day borough of the Bronx, New York. She was massacred by the Siwanoy Indians with six of her eleven children. The only survivor of the massacre was her nine-year old daughter Susan, who was picking blueberries in the woods during the slaughter. Susan heard the screams of her family and hid in a crevice of the Split Rock, a large boulder formation which still exists, located as the intersection of Route 95 and the Hutchinson River Parkway in New York. The Siwanoy found Susan but did not kill her; instead, they raised her and adopter her into their tribe. Susan stayed with the Siwanoy until she was eighteen and then rejoined her five eldest siblings in Boston, where she married John Cole. She and John had eleven children. The family later removed to Rhode Island, where Susan died in 1713 at the age of eighty.1

The exact date of the massacre of Anne's family at Pelham Point is not known, but is believed to have been during the month of August from an entry in John Winthrop's journal in September 1643.2

Anne Marbury Hutchinson, the daughter of Reverend Francis Marbury, was born in Alford, Lincolnshire, England on July 17, 1591. Reverend Marbury believed in education for all his children and educated his daughters at home. The brilliant Anne was an apt pupil. Her religious training led her to follow Puritan minister John Cotton, the minister of Saint Botolph's Church in Boston, Lincolnshire, England. As non-conformist Puritans were forced to leave England, Cotton migrated to Boston, Massachusetts in 1633 and Anne and her husband William Hutchinson migrated the following year. Anne's theology training compelled her to hold religious discussion groups at her home during 1635 and 1636. Her well-attended religious meetings often drew more patrons than Sunday services at the First Church in Boston. Her intelligence and outspokenness was in direct conflict with seventeenth-century Puritan mores. She was accused of heresy and tried by the General Court in 1637, who banished her from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1638 Anne was excommunicated by the First Church of Boston, and the excommunication sentence was delivered by her mentor, Reverend John Cotton. She and her family made the journey to Rhode Island, where her husband and sons assisted in the founding of Rhode Island, the landing place for religious dissenters from Massachusetts Bay Colony. After the death of her husband William in 1642 Anne removed from Rhode Island to free herself from English control. She and her seven youngest children resettled in the Dutch Colony of New York at Pelham Bay. In late summer of 1643 the Siwanoy sought reprisals against the Dutch for violence against their tribe which led to the massacre of Anne and her children, who were mistaken by the Siwanoy as Dutch settlers.3

I am extremely proud to be a descendant of Anne Marbury Hutchinson through her daughter Susan Hutchinson Cole. To view my descent from Anne Marbury Hutchinson to my grandmother Bertha Fairchild please click here.

For modern-day views of the Split Rock where Susan hid, please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split_Rock_%28Bronx,_New_York%29.

1Eve LaPlante, American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman who Defied the Puritans (New York: Harper Collins, 2004), 238-39.
2LaPlante, American Jezebel, 243-44.
3LaPlante, American Jezebel, 271-72.


  1. This is reminiscent of the stories told about the "White Woman of the Genesee"; was Susanna blond also?

    1. Hi Sharon! Susan, or Susanna, may have had red hair. One account states that the Siwanoy had never seen red hair before, and this unique physical feature save Susan's life. Thank you very much for stopping by!