In 1587 Eleanor Dare started a history of first New England's female settlers. In XVI-XVII century it was characterized more with dismal end then with a story of prosperous life and happy ending. Coming to New World mostly in search for a good partner, as "tobacco brides " or being simply deported as undesirable citizens, women died from starvation, malaria or Indian attacks. Some women sailed across the ocean as indentured servants and suffered from the cruelty of their masters. There were, of course, stories of success such as with the Brent sisters. Unmarried, they ran Maryland colony during crises. Margaret Brent became to be known as the nation's first lawyer and the first colonial woman who demanded the right to vote. Although, not being a settler, a young noble Indian women Pocahontas was a figure of no small importance. She not only provided struggling colonist with food, but also brought peace between settlers and Algonquin tribe by the act of marriage with John Rolfe. .
Although women didn't hold office or vote, they played an active role in the South colonies. Sarah Drummond, Sarah Grendon and Lydia Chisman came to prominence during Bacon Rebellion as a strong rulers and advocates of their husbands. Male dominance began to weaken.
Women were legally vested a right to operate business and perform jobs such as merchants, printers and doctors, but were paid much less for performing the same duties as men. .
Ann Hutchinson, who opposed Puritan authority, was the most famous dissident in early colonial history. She was banished from Massachusetts and moved to New York where she found her death due to Indian attack. There were many other strong-minded women living in colonies. Hannah Dustan was taken captive and could escape, returning home with scalps of Indians. Elizabeth Tozier pretended to be a man so she could protect the fields. .
During late XVII century notorious Salem with-hunt took place in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.