Chapter 1 The Mentor
After we set sail on the crowded ship, I had many tasks to do to help William, the men, and children. I would get down on the floor of the ship and play with the children. We would pretend to be animals or play hide and seek. At night as I looked at the moon, I was thinking back to when William became my mentor:
William Hutchinson was a merchant from Alford, Lincolnshire, England. Lincolnshire was the center of wool and textile production and had a close connection to the Dutch for trade. William married his childhood friend Anne in London in 1612.
He met my father, Robert Hurde, a Yeoman, and found that his wife just gave birth to me. My father told William that he planned on teaching and training me in the trades. Father told him, “There is no family fortune for John to inherit, so I will support him in whatever trade he picks.” William kept in touch with my father because he took an interest in my passion for sewing.
When William received my letter notifying him that Robert died from an illness, and that I was 16 years old. He knew I had no income to help his mother or sisters. William also noticed that I was seeking him out for an apprenticeship and knew that I was gifted with a needle and thread.
My mother boasted about my talent to all their neighbors. I developed a following at a young age, but I wanted to provide an income for my mother and sisters.
William came to visit and offered to take me under his wing and become my mentor since my father died early in his life. I accepted the offer, and William made sure my mother and sisters were provided for. My mother was very angry about me leaving. She felt all alone even though she had my sisters with her, and she felt abandoned and would not answer any of my letters.
I felt abandoned by my mother and felt she did not care. A few years later, my sisters informed me that my mother passed from fever. I regretted not being there to say goodbye.
I went to the local pub started drinking my sorrows away. William noticed this behavior and helped me to realize that I was going down a dangerous path and helped him to stop with communication and prayer. I still cried every day, and I wished that I were able to make amends, but I could not. I did stop drinking though.
William had me serve him for many years. I accompanied him, and William recommended me to his clients to do tailoring jobs. I would make clothes for William’s clients, and William would sell them. When I took on these jobs, it was for extra money.
I even worked as a yeoman for William. He helped with fulfilling orders and record keeping. This would give me training to run my own shop in the future.
William’s wife, Anne, was the daughter of an Anglican minister. Anne started following John Cotton who had extreme Puritan views. This was a special strain of religious radicalism which put a heavy stress on the Holy Spirit. This strain had its origin in Lincolnshire. I met Anne after moving to their estate in Alford, Lincolnshire, England. I admired her convictions and great faith but was not as fanatic about some of her views. Although I had a Christian upbringing, I struggled with personal issues. I was dealing with the loss of my father and felt alone. Even my mother did not keep in touch with me after I moved out to work with William. I was disappointed.
Anne was convinced to move to the colonies, so she could follow Mr. Cotton and have freedom of religion. William decided support her even though he was considered the head of the household. She was dominant in personality. She also was an educated woman and was a midwife. She wanted to board the ship with Mr. Cotton and her oldest son in 1633, but she was pregnant.
William and Anne decided to go the following year in 1634. They packed up their 11 children, servants and provisions and boarded the “Griffin.” They asked me to accompany them with an agreement to finish my contract over the next three years. I agreed.
I was so excited. I was 22 years of age, single, had a few more years of servitude and had no debts. I wanted a new start, marriage, a family, and my own tailor shop without religious persecution.
I stepped onto the ship with bravery, and the journey started…
The historical facts regarding William and Anne Hutchinson are true, but the story about how John became his servant is fictional. According to historical documents it does state that John served William for many years and became a freeman in 1639. We do not find John on the ships list, but it does state that 40 people out of 200. The rest were servants. Because records are not available in England, we can make a hypothesis that John received some type of training to be a skilled tailor and to run a shop.
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