Anne Hutchinson, the Puritan Heretic Who Founded Rhode Island


In the early 1600s, Anne Hutchinson was a Protestant mother in England who spoke out against the Church of England. She was tried for heresy and sent away from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. But, undeterred, she went on to found the colony of Rhode Island. Here’s the story of this brave and influential woman. You can find out more about what colony did Anne Hutchinson found. 

A Courageous Woman 

Anne Hutchinson was born in Alford, England, in 1591. Her father was a clergyman, and her mother was a strong influence in her life. As a young woman, she married William Hutchinson, and they had 15 children together. The family emigrated to America in 1634, settling in Boston. 

Anne Hutchinson

Anne became known as a pillar of the community for hosting meetings in her home where she discussed religious matters with other women. She also began to question the teachings of the minister at her church, John Cotton. Her views began to diverge from those of the puritans who were in charge of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. 

While most Puritans believed that humans were damned from birth and could only be saved by God’s grace, Anne believed that salvation was available to all through their good works. Unfortunately, this heretical view put her at odds with the colony’s leaders. 

In November 1637, she was summoned to appear before the General Court to answer for her beliefs. Although she denied any wrongdoing, she was convicted of sedition and heresy and banished from the colony. 

Banished from Massachusetts Bay Colony 

Anne and her family left Massachusetts Bay Colony and settled in Portsmouth on Aquidneck Island (now Rhode Island). With the help of her husband William and friend Roger Williams, she founded the colony of Rhode Island, which guaranteed religious freedom for all its residents. 

Anne Hutchinson continued to play an influential role in religious debates until her death in 1643. Her legacy lives on in Rhode Island, which is known as “The Land of Religious Liberty.”  She is also remembered as a brave pioneer for women’s rights and freedom of religion. 

Her other contributions include being a midwife and healer, aiding the sick, and delivering babies during the difficult times of early colonial life. She also advocated for equal rights for Native Americans, living peacefully with them and even defending them in court. 

Anne Hutchinson’s bravery and determination continue to inspire individuals who fight for religious freedom and equality today.

In addition, she has been honored with a statue in Boston’s Anne Hutchinson Memorial Park and the naming of schools and streets in her honor. Her story reminds that a single person can make a difference and stand up for their beliefs, even against powerful opposition. 


Anne Hutchinson was a courageous woman who stood up for what she believed in despite considerable opposition. She was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for her beliefs but went on to found the colony of Rhode Island, which guaranteed religious freedom for all its residents. Anne Hutchison’s story reminds us that everyone has a right to believe as they see fit and that freedom is a precious commodity worth fighting for.


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