Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tablet Honoring Anne Hutchinson Placed on Split Rock on May 3, 1911

On May 3, 1911, the Colonial Dames of New York unveiled a memorial tablet honoring Anne Hutchinson.  The monument was affixed to Split Rock, a Pelham landmark.  An interesting account of the event and the efforts of The Colonial Dames of New York to get to Pelham Bay Park for the event appeared the following day in a New York City newspaper.  That account is quoted in its entirety below, followed by a citation to its source.

"Anne Hutchinson on Trial" by Edwin Austin.

Colonial Dames Unveil a Monument in Her Memory.

The Colonial Dames of New York unveiled in Pelham Bay Park yesterday a memorial tablet to Anne Hutchinson, whose religious beliefs led to her banishment from Boston by the Puritans in 1638.  The tablet is of bronze and is set in one part of Split Rock, which is about a mile above the Bartow station.  The inscription sets forth that Anne Hutchinson was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony because of her devotion to religious liberty, that she sought freedom from persecution in New Netherland, and in 1643 she and her household were massacred by the Indians.  Her home was not far from Split Rock.

About one hundred members of the Colonial Dames went from their headquarters in West Fortieth street to Pelham Park in sightseeing automobiles.  There was a delay in getting one of the autos started.  When it got to Forty-eighth street one of the women who had been chilled by the cold breezes as the others were too -- stopped for rugs and wraps.  Then the suggestion was made that the auto continue on up Fifth avenue.  This proposal was opposed by one of the Colonial Dames who insisted that she would not be seen on the avenue in a sightseeing car.  She carried her point, and the auto took the Seventh avenue route.  

On the return trip the steering gear of one of the machines began to misbehave near the Bartow station.  The driver was confident that he could coax it to run back without mishap, but the women were frightened and they desterted the machine.  Luckily the Bartow railroad station was handy.  

Mrs. William Robinson, State president of the society, presided at the exercises.  The speakers were William B. Hornblower, the Rev. James de Normandie of Boston and J. Edward Weld.  Mr. Weld is a lineal descendant of Joseph Weld of Roxbury, Mass., in whose house Mrs. Hutchinson was imprisoned before she was banished.  When the idea of the memorial originated Mr. Weld suggested that it should be erected by the descendants of the persecutors of Mrs. Hutchinson as a sort of atonement for the sins of their ancestors and the Colonial Dames took up the idea.

Mr. Hornblower in his speech said that we shouldn't be too harsh on the Puritans, that we should overlook their faults and give thanks for their virtues.  He reviewed the history of the life of Mrs. Hutchinson and of her time.  He said that she had failings and undoubtedly at times was an uncomfortable neighbor.  

Just before Mrs. Robinson removed the American flag that covered the tablet Archibald M. Howe of Cambridge, Mass., made a short and unannounced speech in which he praised William Hutchinson, Anne's husband, of whom nothing had been said hitherto.  Mr. Howe thought the occasion should not be passed without a mention of Mr. Hutchinson's 'modesty and humility' and he said it and was applauded."

Source:  TABLET TO ANNE HUTCHINSON -- Colonial Dames Unveil a Monument in Her Memory, The Sun [NY, NY], May 4, 1911, Vol. LXXVIII, No. 246, p. 8, col. 7.  

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