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Welcome to my story blog. I will post one new story here every day. You are welcome to comment on any or all of them. Enjoy!
                   --Lee Pound

Day 271 - The Not So Loving Puritans

If you go way back to the founding of the Plymouth Colony, you hear a lot of stories about the Pilgrims coming for religious freedom from persecution in England.

It is true that they wanted freedom from Anglican worship. However in Massachusetts they prohibited the observance of any version of Christianity except their own and made it clear that Catholics, Quakers, Episcopalians, and many others were unwelcome.

Among others Roger Williams was forced out of Boston and went on to found Providence, Rhode Island, where he did allow total religious freedom, welcoming Quakers, Catholics and others to his colony, which was only a few miles from Plymouth.

One of the arrivals in Boston in the 1650s was Mary Dyer, wife of William Dyer, who was a Quaker. The minute she started preaching, the authorities told her to leave town. After a while she did leave but a few years later she returned and continued preaching Quakerism. She was then warned once and then arrested and put on trial. A court convicted her and sentenced her to death by hanging, a sentence that was duly carried out in Boston June 1, 1660.

This complete intolerance of other religions waned over the following decades although a final orgy of killing happened during the Salem witch trials of the 1670s.

By the way, Mary Dyer and Roger Williams were among my many New England ancestors. A lot of my ancestors were Puritans as well, including William Brewster and John Alden. Their full stories are told in many places and are worth a read.

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