Anne Hutchinson was a religious leader and public figure who was born in the late 16th century. She became famous in 17th-century Boston, where her ideas were met with disdain and anger by religious and political leaders. While the consequences of her actions were not as severe as those for some of her followers, particularly Mary Dyer, she is known for being persecuted to a certain degree.
Before a person can understand why Hutchinson was famous, they have to understand the climate in Puritan Boston. This was a highly religious community with very staunch interpretations of the Bible. Of course, they added a few rules of their own. This all added up to an infamously rigid town where hangings could take place for religious reasons. Witchcraft was considered quite real and a threat, as was anything that contradicted the Puritan interpretation of the Bible.
Hutchinson's beginnings as a religious leader
It all began when Hutchinson decided to hold meetings regarding church and religious beliefs at her home. They quickly caught on, and she developed something of a following. She began putting an emphasis of feeling the spirit and preached that this was the way into heaven. Puritans believed working hard and following the Bible was the path to heaven. Therefore, this and other teachings of Hutchinson's defied the Boston Church. Hutchinson was a smaller player in the grand scheme of "heretic hunting" in Boston, as far as ministers were involved, but she became a figurehead for the Free Grace Controversy.
Hutchinson makes enemies
Hutchinson initially had friends in high places. However, free-grace advocates were under heavy fire from orthodox Puritans, so some were tried and some left. When Hutchinson was left without these allies, she quickly faced trial for speaking out against Boston's ministers.
It was at Hutchinson's trial for speaking against the town's ministers that she displayed the temerity for which she is now famous. She dared the ministers speaking against her to go under oath. She was bold in her statements, essentially saying that God will punish them for false accusations against her. It was quite a daring thing to say in a courtroom in front of a group of Puritan men who did not agree with what she, a woman, believed about God.
At the end of the trial, Hutchinson had painted herself as the sole reason for the recent religious upheaval in Boston. She did so by speaking clearly and concisely. She may have gone without punishment, were it not for her flippant statements in court. As it was, she was banished from Boston. Until such a time as she could leave, she was kept at an unsympathetic reverend's house. Her family could not stay with her. In the subsequent religious trial, she was labeled a heathen and excommunicated from the church.
Hutchinson would have been famous enough, given her dramatic excommunication. She left Boston to lead a relatively uneventful life with a family that stuck by her side. Unfortunately, it ended very badly for most of them. The entire family, save young Susanna, was murdered by natives during Kieft's War.