Deborah Moody, d. 1659, American colonial religious leader and colonizer, b. England. She emigrated (1639) to Massachusetts Bay and settled in Saugus (now Lynn, Mass.). After being admonished (1643) by the Puritan church for her Anabaptist religious beliefs, Moody led a group of followers to the Dutch colony of New Netherland. She founded the settlement of Gravesend in Brooklyn and was granted (1645) a town charter by the Dutch guaranteeing freedom of worship and self-government; it was the first charter issued to a woman in the New World. Moody became influential in the affairs of New Netherland and was frequently consulted by Governor Peter Stuyvesant on political matters.
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