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Colonial MassachusettsSome early history relative to ancestors in this Genealogy.
Anne Hutchinson, John Wheelwright and the Antinomian Controversy
Anne Hutchinson, who has historically been placed at the center of the controversy, was a strong-minded Puritan woman who grew up with a solid foundation in religious thought from her father, Francis Marbury, an Anglican minister and school teacher. In England she embraced the religious views of the dynamic Puritan minister John Cotton who became her mentor, and when Cotton was forced to leave England, Hutchinson followed him to New England. In Boston, Hutchinson was influential among the settlement's women and hosted them at her house for discussions on the weekly sermons. Eventually, men, such as Governor Vane, were included in these gatherings. During the meetings Hutchison criticized the colony's ministers for preaching a covenant of works as opposed to the covenant of grace espoused by the Reverend Cotton.
The religious controversy had immediate political ramifications. During the election of May 1637, the free grace advocates suffered two major setbacks when Vane was defeated by John Winthrop in the gubernatorial race and the Boston magistrates who supported Hutchinson and Wheelwright were voted out of office.
The authorities, and especially Governor John Winthrop and Reverend Thomas Shepard, viewed these activities as a threat, tending toward a usurpation of their authority.
This was referred to as the Antinomian Controversy, also known as the Free Grace Controversy in the Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1636 to 1638.
The General Court continued to meet throughout most of the month of November. On the 15th a number of men who had signed a petition in support of Wheelwright were disfranchised (that is, were stripped of their freemanship).
Anne Hutchinson was excommunicated by the Boston church and went with many of her followers to the northern end of Aquidneck Island (location of Newport, RI today) in Narragansett Bay and founded the town of Portsmouth.
Wheelwright led a group of his supporters north to found the town of Exeter (now New Hampshire).
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