Quaker Ancestor Buys 6 Year-Old Indian Captive by Carol P. Christ

When I wrote about Anne Hutchinson as America’s first feminist theologian a few years ago, I mentioned that I had a Sackett ancestor living in Boston at the time, who might well have been a follower of Hutchinson. That branch of my family tree has since been shown to be false. Recently, while looking into the branch that replaced it, I discovered that in 1637 my 9x great-grandfather William Wodell was required to turn in all of his guns and other weapons because he had been “seduced” and led into “dangerous errors” by a Mr. Wheelwright and Mrs. Hutchinson.

In 1643 William Wodell was charged with “heresy and sedition” in relation to “blasphemous errors.” He was convicted and banned from Boston. He retreated to property he had purchased in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, which had been founded by the Hutchinsons and others fleeing persecution in Boston. Wodell became a respected member of the Quaker community in Portsmouth, holding a number of important public offices before his death some 50 years later.

My happiness at finding an ancestor whose convictions I could admire, was to be short-lived. The next morning, I discovered that in 1677 the respected Quaker William Wodell bought a 6 year-old Indian girl who had been captured in King Phillip’s War. Indian women and children were captured and sold as slaves during both the Pequot War (1636-1638) and King Phillip’s War (1675-1676). Some of those captured were sent to the West Indies, while others were purchased by English colonists. Continue reading “Quaker Ancestor Buys 6 Year-Old Indian Captive by Carol P. Christ”

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