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Alden, Priscilla Mullins (1602–1684), one of the first settlers of Plymouth Colony, was born the daughter of William Mullins, a shoemaker, and Mary (maiden name unknown). She was probably born in Dorking, Surrey, England, though there is no record of her birth. Her father’s life is not well documented, but he may be the William Mollines who was brought before the Privy Council in April 1616. If so, his Puritan faith might have been the reason that he and his family joined the Separatists on their ...

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Brent, Margaret (1601–1670?), landowner and colonial leader, was born in England, the daughter of Richard Brent, lord of Admington and Lark Stoke in the county of Gloucester, England, and Elizabeth Reed.

When Margaret Brent was about thirty-seven years old, she traveled to the New World with her sister Mary, brothers Giles and Fulke, and their servants. They landed at St. Mary’s (later St. Marys) Maryland, in November 1638. Although the two sisters traveled with their brothers, they did not depend on them for their economic survival. They arrived with servants as well as the means to procure large land grants from the proprietor, Lord Baltimore (...

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Dare, Virginia (18 August 1587–?), the first child of English parents in the New World, was born on Roanoke Island in the colony of Virginia, now North Carolina, the daughter of Ananias Dare and Elenor (also spelled Ellinor, Eleanor, and Elyoner) White, Roanoke colony settlers. The facts of Virginia Dare’s life are scant. Her mother left Plymouth, England, while pregnant with Virginia, on 8 May 1587 as one of the settlers in Sir Walter Raleigh’s third attempt to establish an English colony in the New World. Virginia’s maternal grandfather, the artist ...

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Duston, Hannah (03 December 1657–1736), Massachusetts settler and Indian captive, was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, the daughter of Michael Emerson and Hannah Webster. Her father was an English shoemaker who immigrated to Massachusetts and married the daughter of an original settler of Ipswich. Hannah was one of fifteen children. Nothing is known of her life before her marriage. In December 1677 she married Thomas Duston (also written as Dustin, Dustan, and Durstan), a bricklayer and farmer originally from Dover, New Hampshire. They lived in a cottage two miles from Haverhill and had thirteen children. Thomas became a respected citizen and was appointed a constable for Haverhill....

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Hutchinson, Anne (1591?–1643), religious leader, was born in Alford, Lincolnshire, England, the daughter of Francis Marbury, minister of the Church of England, and Bridget Dryden. She learned scripture and theology from her father, who had been silenced and imprisoned for long periods of time by his bishop for complaining about the poor training of English clergymen....

Article

Moody, Lady Deborah (1586–1659?), English colonist and early proponent of religious liberty, was born Deborah Dunch in London, England, the daughter of Walter Dunch and Debora Pilkington, members of the landed gentry. Her father had read law at Gray’s Inn and was a member of Parliament at the time of Moody’s birth. Her mother’s ancestors included churchmen noted for their radical Puritan leanings. Moody probably grew up at the family estate in Wiltshire, where she would have received an education in reading, writing, and accomplishments customary for girls of her class. In 1606 she married Henry Moody. Shortly thereafter, Henry was knighted by James I, making his wife Dame, or Lady, Deborah Moody. Henry Moody would go on to become sheriff of Wiltshire, a baronet, and a member of Parliament. The couple had two children....