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While much has been written and even speculated about Elizabeth Fones Winthrop Feake Hallett, this much is certain – she was a pioneer and survivor, and her courage and indominitable spirit make her amongst the most fascinating and important individuals of the early American landscape. She is also the subject of the recently published historical biography, 'Insubordinate Spirit: A true story of life and loss in earliest America, 1610-1655" by Missy Wolfe. Ms. Wolfe's incredible text is exhaustively researched, and serves not only to document the history of those times, but to correct facts – or establish as unsubstantiated and at times untrue – items from Anya Seton's historical fiction novel, "The Winthrop Woman" that have seeped into the fabric of history and now appear as "facts" on genealogy websites far and wide.
As a novel, "The Winthrop Woman" is a terrific read, but clearly takes certain liberties with history, which is fine for a fiction novel, but not all that great when fiction is picked up and portrayed as fact. Here are some facts about Elizabeth:
Born: January 21, 1610 Groton Manor, Suffolk England, to Thomas Fones (A London Apothecarist) and Anne Winthrop, the sister of John Winthrop. John Winthrop would go on to become Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and Elizabeth's connection to him would become an important part of her life – and survival – in America.
Died: Widely published as February 1, 1673, however a reliable citation for this date of death has not been established to my knowledge.
1. Henry Winthrop, son of John Winthrop m. on 25 April 1629
Martha Johanna Winthrop (b.1630) born 9 May 1630
2. Robert Feake m. bet 2 Nov 1631 and 27 Jan 1631/32
1. Elizabeth "Lisbet" Feake b.1633 d. November 4, 1675 in Oyster Bay, Long Island; m. Captain John Underhill
2. Hannah Feake b. August, 1637 d. Jan 31, 1677/8 in London; m. John Bowne May 7th, 1656 in Flushing
3. John Feake b. December 23, 1638 d. May, 1724; m. Elizabeth PRIOR on September 15, 1670
4. Robert Feake, Jr. b. 17 July 1642 in Greenwich d. 1669
5. Sarah Feake was born about March 1647 in Greenwich d. 1647
3. William Hallett (b.1616) m. 1647? (For more on when and where William and Elizabeth were married, click here.)
1. William Hallett, Jr. (b.1648)
2. Samuel Hallett, Sr. (b.1650)
Primary Source Documents:
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