Elizabeth (Fones) Hallett

Elizabeth (Fones) Hallett

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Elizabeth Hallett formerly Fones aka Winthrop, Feake
Born in Groton, Suffolk, England
Wife of — married in England
Wife of — married about in Massachusetts [uncertain]
Wife of — married about in Church-at-the-Fort, New Amsterdam [uncertain]
Died about in Newtown, Queens, N.York, USA
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Categories: Puritan Great Migration | New Netherland Settlers.

The Puritan Great Migration.
This person migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
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The Old Dutch flag. Elizabeth (Fones) Hallett belongs to a New Netherland family.
If you are interested in this profile,
please check out the New Netherland Settlers Project!


Elizabeth Fones Winthrop Feake Hallett (21 January 1610 – c. 1673) was an early settler in the Massachusetts Bay Colony where her father-in-law (and uncle) John Winthrop served as Governor. Her subsequent behavior would scandalize the Puritan colony.[1]

Elizabeth was born on 21 Jan 1610 at Groton Manor, Suffolk, England, at the home of her mother’s parents.

Early life

Her father was Thomas Fones, a London apothecary; her mother was Anne Winthrop Fones, sister of John Winthrop, a staunch Puritan and the eventual Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.[2][3][4]

As a young girl, Elizabeth worked at her father's shop in London. To the dismay of her family, she entered a whirlwind courtship with her first cousin Henry Winthrop and they were married on 25 April 1629, at the Church of St. Sepulchre at New Gate, London. A year later, her husband sailed for the Massachusetts Bay Colony on the ship Talbot, leaving his young bride behind in England on account of her pregnancy. The baby, a daughter named Martha Johanna Winthrop, was born on 9 May 1630 at Groton Manor.

A day after his arrival in Massachusetts (on 1 July 1630), Henry died in a drowning accident when he went swimming in the North River after visiting an Indian village near Salem. Henry Winthrop was twenty-two years of age, and he left Elizabeth a widow in England. [1]

Life in Massachusetts

In 1631, she sailed on the second voyage of the Lyon to Plymouth/Salem Massachusetts. Within a year, at the instigation of her father-in-law, she married Robert Feake, a goldsmith and merchant who had migrated from London. They settled in Watertown, Massachusetts, and Elizabeth had five children by him. (Watertown was one of the earliest of the Massachusetts Bay settlements. It was begun early in 1630 by a group of settlers led by Sir Richard Saltonstall and the Rev. George Phillips and officially incorporated that same year.)

• ESTATE: Granted eighty acres in the Great Dividend in Watertown, 25 July 1636 [WaBOP 4]; • granted twenty-four acres in the Beaverbrook Plowlands, 28 February 1636/7 [WaBOP 7]; • granted forty acres in the Remote Meadows, 26 June 1637 [WaBOP 8]; granted nine acres at the Town Plot, 9 April 1638 [WaBOP 11].

In 1640, Robert Feake and Daniel Patrick purchased the site of Greenwich, in present-day Connecticut, from the Indians. It fell for a time under Dutch authority. The act of submission was signed by Daniel Patrick and Elizabeth Feake, acting in the absence and illness of her husband, who had returned to England.

At some point, Elizabeth ("Bess") divorced Robert and married William Hallett. For a detailed examination of her divorce and marriage to Hallett, see “When and Where were William Hallett and Elizabeth Fones Winthrop Feake married?” by Will Hallett (posted on 11 Nov 2013 at http://williamhallett.com/william-hallett-elizabeth-fones-winthrop-feake-married/

Her brother-in-law, who had become governor of Connecticut, John Winthrop, Jr., interceded with Peter Stuyvesant, asking that he honor the agreement made between William Hallett (Feake’s farm manager) and Feake. Feake had consented to it before going to England "knowing [Hallett] to be industrious and careful." Winthrop also asked that Hallett be allowed back into Greenwich to improve the land there. [WP 5:338-39].

Stuyvesant agreed. Elizabeth wrote to her cousin John Winthrop, Jr., on 10 January 1652/3 that: "Our habitation is by the whirlpool which the Dutchmen call the Hellgate where we have purchased a very good farm through the governor's means ... we live very comfortably according to our rank. In the spring the Indians killed four Dutchmen near to our house which made us think to have removed ... yet now the Indian are quiet and we think not yet to remove." [WP 6:239]

Helle-gat or Hell gate was a narrow straight on the Sound about 6 miles north of New York. It was dangerous to shipping because of numerous rocks, shelves and whirlpools.

Elizabeth died about 1672 in Newtown, Queens, NY.

The story of Elizabeth Fones was told in 1958 in a powerful historical novel, The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seton.

Elizabeth personality/character as portrayed by Seton:

• unconventional, friendly, unpredictable and innovative. • original, innovative, opinionated. • responsible, serious and reliable; strong and persistent.

Incidents in Seton’s book portray how the Puritans tried to live their religion. In the process, they showed intolerance to non-believers and non-conformists like the Quakers. She suggests that Puritans believed in a literal interpretation of the Bible whereas Quakers believed in grace and inspiration, i.e. , personal revelations of the Spirit of God. Puritans believed in simplicity and working hard; Quakers believed in living simply and in the emancipation of slaves.

Seton points out the culture clash with the Indians who thought they were selling land use and had no idea that the English settlers assumed they were buying title to land that would be theirs forever.


21 JAN 1609/10 Groton Manor, Suffolk, England[1]
21 JAN 1609/10 Groton, England[2]
21 JAN 1610 Groton, Suffolk, England[3][4][5]
BEF 1669[6]
1669 New York[7][8]

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Images: 4
The Winthrop Woman
The Winthrop Woman

Dust jacket of Anya Seton's novel about Elizabeth Fones Winthrop Feake Hallett
Dust jacket of Anya Seton's novel about Elizabeth Fones Winthrop Feake Hallett

Hell's Gate. Elizabeth and her husband Wiliam Hallett lived nearby in the 1600s.
Hell's Gate.  Elizabeth and her husband Wiliam Hallett lived nearby in the 1600s.

Stained glass church window depicting land Elizabeth owned
Stained glass church window depicting land Elizabeth owned


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