EXIT of the DAY: Exit 5. I-95s: To: Riverside, Old Greenwich,
Early Residents of Greenwich Connecticut were not unfamiliar with wealthy, scandalous and beautiful neighbors. And not much has changed in 300 years.
The first European settlers of Greenwich were Puritans from England. In colonial times, it marked the line between Dutch New Holland to the south, and British New England to the north. These colonies were surrounded by Native Americans with whom in general they had friendly relations -- early on.
Not long after the first Thanksgiving. perhaps not surprisingly Greenwich was founded in 1640 by a rich, beautiful and spirited lady. Elizabeth Winthrop was the daughter-in-law of Pilgrim John Winthrop, founder of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They say she also had smarts and chutzpah and subsequent behavior would scandalize the Puritan colony.
Elizabeth purchased Elizabeth’s Neck Point and much of what is Old Greenwich. The fact that a woman bought property in her own name was scandalous but what she did next was real scandal in 2019 — much less 1640.
Due to financial problems, her husband abandoned her and their five children. Then Elizabeth horrified the rigid Puritan society by marrying her husband's business partner without evidence that she and her husband were divorced. Only her close blood relationship to the Governor saved her from prosecution for adultery. She could have been hanged.
Nevertheless, Elizabeth’s family was forced to leave for the more tolerant Dutch New Netherlands. Like many a Greenwich divorcee, she lived in New Amsterdam/New York City without much reduction to her reputation.
Given her spunk and independence it should not be surprising that her descendants include Former Presidential Candidate and Vermont Governor Howard Dean, Secretary of State John Kerry, Microsoft Founder Bill Gates, aviator Amelia Earhart and the ultimate pirate of Hollywood, Johnny Depp.
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