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HOOTEN, ELIZABETH (d. 1672), quakeress, appears to have been middle-aged in 1647, when George Fox first met her in Nottinghamshire. Fox describes her as a ‘very tender woman’ (Journal, ed. 1765, p. 6), and she is usually considered to have been the first person to accept the peculiar doctrines of quakerism. It was not until 1650, although she probably preached earlier, that she formally received ‘the gift of the ministry,’ and she has the honour of being the first woman who was recorded as a quaker minister. She soon commenced to make ministerial journeys. In 1651 she was imprisoned at Derby on complaint of having reproved a priest, and in the following year was imprisoned in York Castle for exhorting a congregation at Rotherham at the close of the service. In 1654 she suffered five months' imprisonment at Lincoln for disturbing a congregation. At Selston, Nottinghamshire, she was violently assaulted in 1660 by Jackson, minister of the village, because she was a quaker, although she does not appear even to have spoken to him. In 1661, when more than sixty, she went to America on a missionary journey, arriving at Boston in 1662. On account of the laws against the quakers she had considerable difficulty in obtaining food or shelter, and for visiting some quakers in prison was taken before the governor, John Endecott [q. v.], who, after insulting her, sent her to prison. She was subsequently carried two days' journey into the forest and there left to starve. She managed to find her way to Rhode Island, obtained a passage to Barbadoes, returned to Boston, and after a brief stay came back to England. Having procured a license from Charles II to settle in any of the American colonies, Elizabeth Hooten returned to Boston, where she attempted to settle, but found that the king's license was set at nought by the rulers of the town. She then went to Cambridge, where, because she would not deny her creed, she was thrown into a dungeon and kept without food or drink for forty-eight hours (a person who relieved her being fined 5l. for the offence). She was afterwards ordered by the court to be whipped through three towns, which was done in the depth of winter and with great severity. She was then again carried into the depth of the forest and left; she was enabled to find her way to a town, where she was befriended, and then, after visiting Rhode Island, she returned to Cambridge, where she was again subjected to barbarous usage. She returned to England and resumed her work as an itinerant preacher, but in 1665 she was committed to Lincoln gaol for three months on a charge of disturbing a congregation. Notwithstanding her age, she accompanied George Fox and a number of other Friends to the West Indies in 1670, and died very suddenly about the middle of January 1671–2 in Jamaica.

Elizabeth Hooten published (with Thomas Taylor) an address ‘To the King and both Houses of Parliament,’ 1670, 4to. Several of her letters are preserved among the Swarthmore MSS.

[Fox's Journal, ed. 1765, pp. 6, 426, 438; Gough's Hist. of the People called Quakers, 1799, i. 200–1, ii. 115; Bowden's Hist. of Society of Friends in America, vol. i. pt. iii. pp. 257–62, 282, pt. iv. p. 347; Besse's Sufferings of the Friends, ii. 231; Bishop's New England Judged, pp. 371 et seq.; Crœse's Hist. of the Quakers, p. 37; Sewel's Hist. of the Rise, &c., ed. 1800, i. 23, 61, 569; Smith's Cat. of Friends' Books, i. 973; Swarthmore MSS.]

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