MySource:Quolla6/Grant, 1892:237-238

MySource Grant, 1892:237-238
Year range -
Grant, 1892:237-238.

Wilson, James Grant. 1892. The memorial history of the City of New-York, from its first settlement to the year 1892. [New York]: New York History Co. Source:Grant, 1892 Google Books


One of the most notable characters of the Kieft period was Lady Deborah Moody a refugee from the sectarianism both of England and New England. Lady Moody was in close sympathy with those who battled for constitutional and natural rights; and drank in, from her family associations, those principles of religious freedom that were trampled on in her native land, and which caused her to flee from it. The condition of the English subject then being that of slavery to the Crown and Prelacy, and the Lady Moody being a particular object of animadversion to the inquisitorial Court of the Star Chamber, she resolved to abandon her native land, and decided to settle in the Colony of Massachusetts Bay. To this Colony a strong tide of immigration was flowing of those who sought it as a place of repose and religious peace. Lady Moody left England prior to the year 1640, and was warmly welcomed by Pilgrim and Puritan. She at first settled at Saugus (now Lynn), and became a member of the Congregational Church at Salem. The General Court made to her an extensive grant of land, and she purchased, stocked, and cultivated a large farm at S\vampscott. Hardly had she become comfortably settled in her new possessions, when she had personal experience that she was not to enjoy that religious freedom which had been the inducement of her exile. In three years after joining the church at Salem, she was admonished by that church for denying the propriety of infant baptism, and was, subsequently, formally excommunicated for denying that the baptism of infants was of divine ordinance. Again harassed, mortified by her arraignment and presentation before the General Court, still seeking a haven for repose and freedom of religious expression, Lady Moody, for a second time, became an exile (in the summer of 1643), reluctantly abandoning the country of her adoption, with a number of her friends. They were warmly welcomed at New Amsterdam, although there was some little murmuring as to the possible effect of the reception of so large a number of sectaries in the Dutch settlement. We are led also to infer that there was some dissatisfaction or disappointment ou her part, from a request that she made for a return to the New England Colony, of which mention is made in a letter written by Deputy-Governor John Endicott to Governor Winthrop in 1644.

Matters,however, seem to have been amicably arranged with the New- Amsterdam authorities, for Lady Moody and her friends were allowed to settle in the same year (1643) upon a large tract of land on Long Island, at that portion of the island known as the town of Gravesend, for which a patent was subsequently given. This place was situated on the southwesterly coast of Long Island, within a few miles of New Amsterdam, the name being given to it by Governor Kieft, after the Dutch village of 's Gravesande, not far from the river Maas. Lady Moody, being a person of substance, no doubt had as comfortable a residence built for her as could be erected at that time. It was evidently a large, substantial structure, for it was used as a citadel when the town was attacked by Indians; and, three several times, did the spirited lady and her friends repulse them. The settlers at Gravesend seem to have been generally affected with anabaptist views, and to have had no settled church. In an account of the state of the churches in New Netherland, given in 1657, by Do- mines Megapolensis and Drisius, addressed to the Classis of Amsterdam, they speak of the inhabitants of Gravesend as being Mennonists — " yea," the account states, "they, for the most part, reject infant baptism, the Sabbath, the office of preacher, and the teachers of God's word; saying that through these have come all sorts of contention into the world. Whenever they meet together, the one or the other reads something for them."