The Diary of Anne Hutchinson
JournalThe Diary of Anne Hutchinson

By Justine H.
Grade 5

The Day of Our Lord
22, March 1638

I am, Lord, Mistress Anne Hutchinson, one who stood trial from, November last to this day. My sentence for following Your Word is banishment and excommunication. So say the ministers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and there are none who dare defy them.

My eight children and I pack what belongings we can carry and make ready to join my husband, William, in Aquidneck, a place where other Puritan outcasts have found refuge.

The Day of Our Lord
23, March 1638

At dawn, the children and I leave our lodgings and proceed to the wood at the southern most part of the Colony. The two eldest children, Francis and Samuel, carry cast iron pans and sacks of dried fruit, and meat. The younger children do not know this, but Francis also carries a small firearm. It is ten-year-old Anne's burden to tote the baby, Zuriel, in a cloth sling wrapped round her chest. Mary, who is but nine years of age, assists me in keeping the smaller children in line. Everyone, save Anne, has a small quilt and a deerskin pouch of water to carry.

As we cross the village green, all see us, yet no eyes are laid directly upon us. We are ghosts, shadows among the living. We depart the Colony in silence without a single "Farewell."

Our instructions from William are to travel south, then east. We are to continue along the Indian path until we arrive at the bent tree where we will be met. But by whom, I do not know.

"How long to the bent tree?" I ask my son, Francis.

"At least two days walk," he replies.

We enter the wood as if we are entering another world. We continued our walk for several hours. Anne has given Zuriel into my care but, brave girl that she is, she offers to carry the loads of her younger sisters and brother. How long will she last?

We walk until dusk. The smaller children can walk no longer.

We make ready for bed below a large maple tree. Francis builds a lean-to out of sticks, and leaves and bits of old cloth brought from Boston. Anne and I start a fire with kindling and small logs. The younger children are frightened by the darkness but Anne and I sing hymns, which soothe them. We fall asleep huddled together, all nine of us. I hear an owl call out into the night.

The Day of Our Lord
24, March 1638

We awaken to a frost upon us. Flakes of snow attach themselves to our hair and eyes. Baby Zuriel whimpers. We have never before slept in the open. It is so cold.

Francis leaps up, shakes a layer of snow from his cloak, and reaches for the tinderbox. It is difficult to start a fire in the damp but somehow he manages to do so. We breakfast on roasted potatoes, and after a moment of prayer, we move on.

The Indian trial is narrow and overgrown with bush and vines. There is so much frost that we cannot see the thorns until we are upon them. They piece the clothing we wear, even our thick woolen stockings. Francis and I take the lead to spare the children injury.

We walk til sunset. Then we rest.

The Day of Our Lord
25, March 1638

It is our third day in the wood and yet, we have not arrived at the bent tree. As I walk, with Zuriel resting upon my back, I think upon my trial and banishment. Why am I banished? Did I steal? Did I murder? Did I hoard? No, I only spoke out against injustice and others chose to hear me. I ask the questions I have asked for years. Is the Puritan church any better than the Quaker or the Catholic? Is a white man better than a red-skinned one? Why must one belong to a particular church to receive God's grace?

I am awakened from my thoughts by Francis' excited calls. We have, at last, come to the bent tree but sadly, there is no one to meet us.

"Do we want, Francis, or do we walk on?" I ask my son.

"We wait, Mother," he replies.

I put my cloak atop a bed of moss. Anne and Mary settle the youngest children upon it. Samuel and Francis collect wood. In no time, Francis has a warm fire burning despite the fierce winds. Anne tells the younger children stories while I look to the sun and pray.

After an hour, two men approach the tree. To our surprise, they are not colonists from Aquidneck. They are Narragansett Indians dressed in deerskins. Francis reaches for his firearm but hesitates when he sees them bow slightly to me. They address Francis in a combination of words and signs. They are to be our guides, sent by William. The taller of the two brings two freshly caught fish out from under his tunic.

The natives build a wooden tower over the fire. They lay the fish atop this to roast. Samuel assists them. After the meal, the natives motion to us to follow. We are to walk again, for how long, we do not know.

The taller of the natives tells Francis that we are traveling to the shore. We are grateful when we reach the water before nightfall. For this, we give a moment of thanksgiving.

There is no need to build a lean-to tonight as the guides lead us toward a simple hut built into the ground. The snow falls once again but tonight we are warm.

The Day of our Lord
26, March 1638

I did not sleep well last eve, even with the warmth of the hut. The trials came to me in my dreams. I am standing once again before the church council. I am charged with twenty-nine gross errors. I am charged with behaving more like a man than a woman and more like a magistrate than a subject. I am cast out. I am said to be a threat to the community and the church. A woman not fit for society. Would it have been better to hold my tongue when I knew I could not? Would it have been better to ignore the word of God in order to embrace the word of Man? I think not. No matter how long I must live with haunted dreams, I know I will awaken each day with the knowledge that I follow God's will.

Once again, we prepare to travel. Daughter Anne lifts Zuriel to her chest and Francis and Samuel gather our supplies. There will be no walking today as we travel by boat. Mary shouts when she sees the bark canoe touch the shore. Two more young Narragansett natives appear before us. They are to paddle us closer to Aquidneck. Our guides of the evening before bid us a farewell. I ask Francis, "Aren't they coming along?"

"Not, Mother, they are not. They say they are to go back into the wood to guide others of the Colony."

Others? Are there truly others to come? Oh, Lord, let it be so. Let them follow us to freedom!

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