Special Sub-Topic: Women in Puritan America
|Who was the first published American poet in the New World?|
Anne Bradstreet. Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672), wife of Governor Simon Bradstreet, wrote poems which examined the realities of death, loneliness, and Puritan beliefs in the New World. Some say that within her poems appears a subtle questioning of Puritan theocracy. Her book, "The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America, By a Gentlewoman of Those Parts," was the first book written by a woman to be published in the United States.
|This woman was at the center of the Antinomian crisis. She battled intellectually with the formidable Governor of New England, John Winthrop. Now there is a statue of her in Boston. She shares a first name with an early American poet. Who is she?|
Anne Hutchison. Anne Hutchison was banished by the Puritans in 1637. Then, later, "natives" killed her and all but one of her children. She stood up for people's rights to personal faith and engaged in a drawn-out battle with Governor Winthrop. Hutchison held regular meetings with other women to discuss scripture, meetings which Winthrop called "a thing not tolerable nor comely in the sight of God, nor fitting for your sex."
Source: Deborah Crawford. "Four Women in a Violent Time." 1970, p. 137.
|What woman had the misfortune to be captured during King Philip's War, was taken into captivity, and wrote one of the most famous captivity narratives in American literature?|
Mary Rowlandson. Mary Rowlandson was captured in King Philip's War (1675-1676). She was a prisoner for over eleven weeks. Finally, she would be ransomed for some twenty pounds. Her 1682 book, "The Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson," is, on the one hand, a strong celebration of her faith, of her "Restoration." It allows her as well to include some of her own idiosyncratic responses to Native Americans and to her captivity.
|Cotton Mather spoke eloquently about a woman he thought the personification of hell and witchcraft. Among other things, he called her a "rampant hag." Who was this woman?|
Martha Carrier. Martha Carrier was a real person who was hanged in 1692 for being "in league with the devil." Neighborhood girls, some of her own children, and some neighbors gave alleged 'evidence' of the tangible effects of her witchcraft. She was blamed for an outbreak of smallpox; children testified to all manner of evil doings and physical symptoms. Although most concur that Martha Carrier could be personally disagreeable, in her defense it must be said that she stood in the courtroom and said, "It is a shamefull thing that you should mind these folks that are out of their wits."
Source, The Trial of Martha Carrier, at the Court of Oyer and Terminer,
Held by Adjournment At Salem, August 2, 1692
For a good examination of this topic, see Carol Karlsen, "Devil in the Shape of a Woman," 1998.
|There was a woman who was convicted and hung for preaching sermons in the Quaker faith. Who was she?|
Mary Barrett Dyer. Mary Dyer, a Quaker minister, was testimony to her profound belief in "inner light," in spite of all efforts to ban and silence her. Dyer had direct contact with the famous Anne Hutchison. Dyer insisted on burying her stillborn child in defiance of Puritan ideas that stillborn children were a reflection of evil on the part of their mother. Anne Hutchison was her midwife. Dyer refused to stay safely away from Massachusetts and was hanged.
|Who was the American woman who was captured by Native Americans in 1697 who then escaped by killing ten of the twelve captors in the night? |
Hannah Duston. Hannah Duston was captured during an Indian raid and escaped after killing ten of them. She fled at night in a canoe.
Her husband Thomas escaped with some of their nine children. Hannah left with her nurse, Mary, and her youngest child of six days old, but they were quickly captured. Hannah, along with Mary and another 14 year-old captive, found a way to revolt and, using the Indians' tomahawks, killed ten of the twelve captors. When she came back to Boston, Cotton Mather highly praised her. Henry David Thoreau later wrote of her. In 1879, a statue was built in her honor showing her with a tomahawk in her hands.
|Who was the woman found not guilty of witchcraft (for a change) in 1674?|
Mary Bliss Parsons. Her acquittal did not quell people's suspicions of her. Some believe she was tried again for witchcraft in 1679. Finally, she and her husband left Northampton, Massachusetts about 1680.
It is important here to add that what has been called the famous Salem Witch Hysteria was later - in 1692.
|What woman was the only woman to found a settlement, Gravesend, for people who wanted religious freedom? Because of her independence, she was termed "a dangerous woman." |
Lady Deborah Moody. The settlement of Gravesend (in Brooklyn) was granted in 1645. Its first charter promised freedom of worship and self-government. Governor Peter Stuyvesant was said to consult her frequently on political matters.
In the fall of 1993, Thomas J. Campanella wrote that "Gravesend was the only permanent settlement in America's early colonization period to have been initiated, planned, and directed by a woman."
Source, Campanella, "Sanctuary in the Wilderness: Deborah Moody and the 1643 Town Plan for Colonial Gravesend." "Landscape Journal" 12:2 (Fall 1993).
|What was the name of the philosophy that divided Anne Hutchison from others and that led to her long feud with Governor Winthrop?|
Antinomianism. Finally, Antinomianism inspired Anne Hutchison's belief that she could have her own personal relationship with the Deity and that her faith alone could lead to her salvation. This belief led to a lengthy dispute with the Puritan elders, especially John Winthrop, Governor the Massachusetts Bay Colony. John Winthrop went so far as to write graphically and demeaningly of her miscarriage, which he called her "unnatural birth."
When she went into exile, Anne Hutchinson and her family were joined by others on their exile to a settlement at a place called Aquidneck, now Rhode Island. After the death of her husband, Anne, her servants and five of her children were killed by Mahican Indians in 1643.
|Which early American poet wrote rather innovatively of herself as a woman writer in her prologue to her book and to her many poems regarding writing?|
Anne Bradstreet. Anne Bradstreet came over to the New World on the Arabella. Her life was full of strife, and her poems explore the conflicts in Puritan life, such as which is better, the body or the soul, is there a justification for death, illness and suffering? Her poems sometimes give voice to her sense that writing poetry was not a very acceptable occupation for a woman.
For instance, in her poem,"The Author to Her Book," she refers to her poems as being "Thou ill-form'd offspring of my feeble brain."
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