Event to honor late historian Bill Twomey and historical figure Anne Hutchinson

Event to honor late historian Bill Twomey and historical figure Anne Hutchinson
This summer, members of the East Bronx History Forum and the Friends of Anne Hutchinson took a tour of a site where Hutchinson’s home might have been located. The tour was led by Tom Casey and is one of several events that were held in honor of the historic woman’s 425th birthday anniversary year.
Photo courtesy of Ada Lugo

A heroine from the borough’s past will be remembered at an event that is sure to please local history buffs.

As part of an ongoing series of events taking place this year, the Anne Hutchinson Year 2016 will team up with the East Bronx History Forum at an upcoming meeting to celebrate both Hutchinson and deceased east Bronx historian and Bronx Times columnist Bill Twomey.

At the EBHF meeting at the Huntington Free Library in Westchester Square on Wednesday, December 21 at 7:30 p.m, there will be a presentation and discussion of Twomey’s connection to the study of Hutchinson and a short presentation about her place in Bronx history.

Twomey, who passed away in 2014, had encouraged Anne Hutchinson Year founder Toby Liederman to pursue her historical endeavor that has seen scores of events honoring Hutchinson, namesake of a river and a parkway, she said.

Twomey offered his encouragement and advice, and lent his name to the fledgling effort when it was founded in 2010, said Liederman.

The local historian attended one of the first planning meetings for the AHY in July 2010, she said.

“Bill Twomey stood up during that luncheon and gave a beautiful speech about how important (Hutchinson) was to local history,” said Liederman, who is interested in Hutchinson as a notable woman from the past.

At its peak, the AHY held some 25 events in a single year honoring Hutchinson, who lived from 1591 to 1643, including near the Hutchinson River in the northeast Bronx at the end of her life.

Within less than two years after moving to land in what later became the northern part of the borough, Native-Americans killed her, said Tom Vasti, EBHF vice-president.

Hutchinson was an early pioneer of religious freedom and freedom of speech, said Vasti.

Vasti said that Twomey had been an early supporter of Liederman’s quest to put Hutchinson on the map as an historical figure of note.

Historians remain divided as to where exactly Hutchinson lived, said Vasti. Possible locations include Connor Street, just outside Co-op City near a bus storage yard, or close to Cardinal Spellman High School said the historian, who added she would have had to live both near a freshwater source and the Hutchinson River.

The meeting on Wednesday, December 21 will be something of a tribute by Liederman to Twomey, said Vasti.

“Toby was appreciative that Bill Twomey lent his name and support to the (AHY), and she wanted to do something to remember him.” said Vasti.

The upcoming meeting will also feature a documentary film featuring Twomey and historian John McNamara from 2000, and a photo collection of Westchester Square.

In an email, Liederman shared with the Bronx Times, Erin Twomey, the historian’s daughter, confirmed her father’s interest in Hutchinson, indicating that they would sometimes discuss her history when they were driving near the Hutchinson River Parkway.

“He certainly embraced whatever opportunity he could to talk up Anne Hutchinson,” stated the email. “He understood her importance in the history of the borough and I’m sure he’s looking down on Toby and everyone else involved in the events this year with pride, knowing that you’re educating others on that importance.”

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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