Connecticut Witch Trials 101 Part 3: 1648-1661 – Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast
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This is Part 3 of Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast’s Connecticut Witch Trials 101 series. In this episode, we discuss the years 1648-1661 and continue to explore the individual lives of Connecticut’s known witch trial victims with only fact backed, trustworthy research and sources. You will hear about the common theories, and which facts are in the primary source records. The lives of these historic individuals have been examined with proper genealogical protocols for identifying and confirming family lines, parentage and marital connections by consulting historian research and available primary source material. Take in this informative New England colonial history conversation with your cohosts and accused witch descendants, writer and podcast producer, Joshua Hutchinson and End Witch Hunts President and people connector extraordinaire, Sarah Jack. Enjoy the new segment, “Minute with Mary” by Mary Bingham, accused witch descendant, writer and researcher. How do we know what we know? We connect past witch trials to today’s witchcraft fear with a discussion answering our advocacy questions: Why do we witch hunt? How do we witch hunt? How do we stop hunting witches?
[00:00:21] Josh Hutchinson: Welcome to Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast. I'm Josh Hutchinson. [00:00:27] Sarah Jack: And I'm Sarah Jack. [00:00:28] Josh Hutchinson: This is part three of our Connecticut Witch Trials 101 series. [00:00:32] Sarah Jack: In this episode, we're going to cover witchcraft accusations in Connecticut during the period from 1648 through 1661. [00:00:40] Josh Hutchinson: Between those years, at least 16 people were accused of witchcraft in the Connecticut and New Haven colonies. [00:00:48] Sarah Jack: We say, "at least," because the records are incomplete. [00:00:51] Josh Hutchinson: Six people were executed in Connecticut Colony between 1648 and 1654. [00:00:57] Sarah Jack: As we discuss these cases, we'll cover the role of John Winthrop, Jr. and like-minded colonial leaders in subduing the urge to dispatch those believed by some to have used magic for sinister purposes. [00:01:09] Josh Hutchinson: Winthrop himself was an alchemical physician and a student of natural magic. [00:01:15] Sarah Jack: Like many, he believed that the devil could help people cause harm. [00:01:19] Josh Hutchinson: However, he believed all magic originated from nature. [00:01:23] The beliefs weren't as black and white as a lot of people, including historians tend to portray them. It wasn't just like a black and white issue. Magic and puritanism weren't entirely incompatible. [00:01:42] Sarah Jack: Before we begin, we want to warn you that the stories you'll hear from us may be different than the way you've heard them before. [00:01:50] Josh Hutchinson: For generations, historians and genealogists have attempted to flesh out the details of the trial participants' lives. Over time, our understanding of the Connecticut Witch Trials has developed, as more has been uncovered, and many inaccuracies have been found in these early volumes. [00:02:16] Sarah Jack: In our narrative, we will tell you the prevailing theories. [00:02:19] Josh Hutchinson: We will also share our reasons for doubting some of these claims. [00:02:24] The sources we rely upon for the facts we can know are the court records of the witchcraft cases themselves. [00:02:31] Sarah Jack: And the other original 17th century documents that can reliably be linked to those involved. [00:02:37] Josh Hutchinson: We begin with the 1648 case of Mary Johnson. [00:02:41] Sarah Jack: Mary lived in Wethersfield and was most likely a servant. [00:02:45] Josh Hutchinson: You may know of Wethersfield from reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. [00:02:50] Sarah Jack: While that book is entirely fiction, eight real-life Wethersfield residents are known to have been accused of witchcraft in the 17th century. [00:02:58] Josh Hutchinson: In 1646, Mary Johnson was convicted of theft. [00:03:04] Sarah Jack: To punish her, the court ordered she be whipped immediately in Hartford and a month later in Wethersfield. [00:03:10] Josh Hutchinson: Sadly, this was not the end of her troubles. [00:03:13] Sarah Jack: On December 7th, 1648, she was convicted of witchcraft. [00:03:17] Josh Hutchinson: The jury found her guilty because she confessed. [00:03:21] Sarah Jack: Cotton Mather later wrote that she was pressured to confess by Samuel Stone, a minister. [00:03:27] Josh Hutchinson: Mather published his story about Mary more than 40 years after her execution. [00:03:33] Sarah Jack: He claimed she confessed not only to witchcraft but also to murdering a child. [00:03:37] Josh Hutchinson: And to, quote, "uncleanness with men and devils." [00:03:42] Sarah Jack: According to Mather, Mary said that she was unhappy with the work her employer assigned her. [00:03:48] Josh Hutchinson: So she asked a devil to help. [00:03:51] Sarah Jack: And it did sweep the hearth and drive hogs out of her boss's field. [00:03:55] Josh Hutchinson: Mather also wrote that she had a conversion experience in jail. [00:04:00] Sarah Jack: And she, quote, "went out of the world with many hopes of mercy through the merit of Jesus Christ." [00:04:05] Josh Hutchinson: She, and I quote again from Mather, "died in a frame extremely to the satisfaction of them that were spectators of it." She went out humble and repentant. [00:04:18] Sarah Jack: Executions were public events. [00:04:21] Josh Hutchinson: Large crowds came out to witness what happened to those who had committed felonies. [00:04:26] Sarah Jack: Parents brought their children for an educational experience. [00:04:30] Josh Hutchinson: Now we'd like to clear up some longtime confusion about Mary Johnson. [00:04:35] Sarah Jack: In 1885, Charles Herbert Levermore wrote that Mary Johnson's execution was delayed due to pregnancy. [00:04:42] Josh Hutchinson: He added that her child was later given to the son of the jail keeper. [00:04:47] Sarah Jack: This information was repeated in an essay by Charles Dudley Warner in 1886. [00:04:52] Josh Hutchinson: And has continued to be handed down from one historian to another ever since. [00:04:58] Sarah Jack: This was included in one of the most significant works on witchcraft accusations in Connecticut, John M. Taylor's 1908 book, The Witchcraft Delusion in Colonial Connecticut, 1647 to 1697. [00:05:10] Josh Hutchinson: The pregnancy and the transfer of the child have even been reported as fact in works published this decade, and the tale is often retold on the internet. [00:05:19] Sarah Jack: Unfortunately, the story is associated with the wrong woman. [00:05:24] Josh Hutchinson: In a 1974 essay, William K. Holdsworth writes that the confusion came about because two Johnsons were convicted of crimes in Connecticut within a relatively short time. [00:05:36] Sarah Jack: As Holdsworth points out, the original records do not state anything about a delay in Mary Johnson's execution. [00:05:43] Josh Hutchinson: Or that she was pregnant. [00:05:45] Sarah Jack: Cotton Mather also did not include an account of pregnancy or a delay in his telling of Mary Johnson's trial. [00:05:52] Josh Hutchinson: One Goodwife Elizabeth Johnson of Fairfield was convicted of a crime in May 1650. [00:05:59] Sarah Jack: Several clues are contained within that last sentence. [00:06:03] Josh Hutchinson: The Johnson in this second trial was called Goodwife, making it clear that she was married. [00:06:08] Sarah Jack: In fact, the records state that she was the wife of Peter Johnson. [00:06:12] Josh Hutchinson: The name of the woman in this case is given as Elizabeth rather than Mary. [00:06:17] Sarah Jack: This Elizabeth Johnson was from Fairfield, not Wethersfield, where Mary lived. [00:06:22] Josh Hutchinson: Even by modern roads, these two towns are separated by 56 miles. [00:06:26] Sarah Jack: In addition, this Johnson was convicted in May 1650, whereas Mary Johnson was convicted in December 1648. [00:06:34] Josh Hutchinson: And most likely was hanged within days of her conviction, though the record of her conviction does not explicitly state this. [00:06:41] Sarah Jack: Our conclusion is that this is a tale of two different women. [00:06:46] Josh Hutchinson: In summary, Mary Johnson was not pregnant when she was tried and did not leave a baby for the jailer. Elizabeth Johnson did. In addition, we do not know what crime Elizabeth Johnson was tried for. It is theorized that she may have been tried for adultery, because there is a reference to a Thomas Newton paying out of his account for the upkeep of the child, which was born to Elizabeth while she was in jail for 24 weeks. [00:07:29] Please see the links in our show notes and bibliography to view the records firsthand. [00:07:34] Sarah Jack: Goodwife Palmer of Wethersfield was accused of witchcraft in 1648 by John Robbins. [00:07:41] Josh Hutchinson: A December 7th, 1648 court record states that "the court frees Henry Palmer from his recognizance for his wive's appearing at the last particular court to answer the complaint of Mr. Robbins as also remit the miscarriage of his wife therein, hoping it will be a warning to her and others for the future." [00:08:03] Sarah Jack: Unfortunately, the court order for recognizance is not included in the Records of the Particular Court which exist today. [00:08:11] Josh Hutchinson: Though this record does not specify why the recognizance was ordered, it is believed to have been due to a complaint of witchcraft. [00:08:20] Sarah Jack: This belief is predicated on events which followed many years later. [00:08:25] Josh Hutchinson: In Detestable and Wicked Arts, historian Paul B. Moyer states that suspicions of witchcraft may have been voiced about Goodwife Palmer in the 1650s, but no legal action was taken. [00:08:37] Sarah Jack: In Entertaining Satan, John Demos proposes the name Katherine for Henry Palmer's wife, but we have not located a source to verify this. [00:08:45] Josh Hutchinson: Moyer also suggests that the 1648 case against Henry Palmer's wife may have been related to the case that same year of Mary Johnson, who was also from Wethersfield. [00:08:56] Sarah Jack: Johnson was convicted the day that Palmer was freed from his recognizance for his wife. [00:09:02] Josh Hutchinson: Further evidence is needed to prove the connection. [00:09:06] At the same court session that Johnson is convicted, Palmer is freed from this recognizance, which is the bond that he posted for his wife's good behavior. And so the supposition is that Palmer and Johnson were both accused of witchcraft, possibly by John Robbins, at the same time, but only Mary Johnson was convicted, and Palmer wasn't actually tried. [00:09:41] When you look at the record of it, there's a line that is Mary Johnson is indicted, and then there's a line about something else, and then there's a line about this complaint of Mr. Robbins. And it's referring back to a previous court session that we don't have a record of, unfortunately. [00:09:59] So it's another one of those why, what was the complaint of Mr. Robbins? Then you look later, and Mr. Robbins is complaining later about Palmer being a Witch. So you're thinking that, oh, because later on he's, "oh she's a witch," that he complained about Palmer in 1648 of witchcraft. It's just the timing of it. They're from the same town, they're both in court the same day, one's convicted of witchcraft, one's saying that this guy complained of her about something that required her husband to post a bond for good behavior. So what could that be? And there's only a few things it could be. [00:10:48] Sarah Jack: And we know from other trials that the behavior is a huge deal when it comes to alleging that someone's a witch. [00:10:56] Josh Hutchinson: They tell them in other cases to be on your best behavior and don't go around offending your neighbors, because of course they're gonna think you're a witch, and we're gonna bring you back to court. [00:11:09] They might have been accused together, and then, for whatever reason, Palmer gets off, and Johnson doesn't, maybe because of their status in the community. [00:11:21] Henry Palmer's wife was accused of witchcraft by Rebecca Greensmith and the Robbins family during the Hartford Witch Trials of 1662 to 1663. [00:11:32] Sarah Jack: Goodwife Palmer did not stick around for the Hartford Witch-Hunt. Instead, she and Henry likely left Connecticut for Rhode Island in 1662. [00:11:41] Josh Hutchinson: Goodwife Palmer was once again accused of witchcraft in Connecticut in 1667, but was not in that colony any longer. [00:11:50] Sarah Jack: A Goodwife Palmer was later accused in Rhode Island in 1672 by Steven Sebeere, who was ordered to apologize to a Henry Palmer for calling his wife a witch. [00:11:59] Josh Hutchinson: We'll have more about Goodwife Palmer in part four of this series, when we discuss the Hartford Witch Trials of 1662 to 1663. [00:12:08] Sarah Jack: Now we're gonna speak to you about the first New England couple to be accused of witchcraft together. [00:12:13] Josh Hutchinson: Records show that Joan and John Carrington, also of Wethersfield, were indicted on witchcraft charges in 1651. [00:12:21] Sarah Jack: A John Carrington came to New England in 1635 with a Mary Carrington. [00:12:26] Josh Hutchinson: Both were recorded as being 33 years old when they arrived. Names like John and Mary were very common in 17th century New England, and it is quite possible that multiple Carrington families came to New England around the same time, as I've seen with my own ancestors. That has happened with so many of my lines. There have been people with the same name or very similar names that get confused with each other. [00:13:00] Sarah Jack: A John Carrington bought land in Wethersfield in 1643. [00:13:04] Josh Hutchinson: Many presume John had a son, also named John, who was an original proprietor of Farmington, Connecticut, who later settled Mattattuck, now Waterbury. [00:13:16] Sarah Jack: Others believe the second John had a sister, Rebecca, who married Abraham Andrews of Farmington, who also moved to Mattattuck. [00:13:23] Josh Hutchinson: However, no evidence has been shown to connect John Carrington of Wethersfield to either the John who came over with Mary or the John who lived in Farmington and Mattattuk. [00:13:34] Sarah Jack: Therefore, because we do not have records, we cannot say that the John Carrington charged with witchcraft had children with either Mary or Joan. [00:13:43] Josh Hutchinson: What we can say is that John Carrington of Wethersfield was a carpenter, as recorded in the indictment for witchcraft. [00:13:51] Sarah Jack: In March 1650, he was convicted of selling a gun to a Native American and was fined 10 pounds. [00:13:57] Josh Hutchinson: A John Carrington's estate was valued at only 23 pounds and 11 shillings in 1653, with an associated debt of a little over 10 pounds, leaving 13 pounds, one shilling, and six pence. No heir is named in the record summarized in Charles William Manwaring's A Digest of the Early Connecticut Probate Records. [00:14:22] Sarah Jack: The 1651 witchcraft indictments accused Joan and John of entertaining familiarity with the devil and using his help to perform works above the course of nature. [00:14:32] Josh Hutchinson: The Carringtons were convicted on March 6th, 1651. [00:14:36] Sarah Jack: The indictment specified the death sentence as the appropriate penalty. [00:14:40] Josh Hutchinson: Quote, "according to the law of God and of the established law of this commonwealth, thou deserveth to die." [00:14:47] Sarah Jack: As we read in part two of the series, the sentence of death was ordered for all convicted of witchcraft. [00:14:52] Josh Hutchinson: As it says in the King James version of the Bible, "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." [00:14:59] Sarah Jack: The couple was most likely hanged together in Hartford very soon after their convictions. [00:15:03] Josh Hutchinson: We believe they were hanged and were one of only two couples hanged together for witchcraft in British North America. [00:15:11] Sarah Jack: As we'll cover in the next episode in the series, Rebecca and Nathaniel Greensmith were the other couple hanged together. [00:15:18] Josh Hutchinson: Now, the Salem magistrates did condemn both Elizabeth and John Proctor. [00:15:24] Sarah Jack: However, Elizabeth's hanging was delayed due to pregnancy, and she was reprieved by the governor in 1693. [00:15:30] Josh Hutchinson: Martha and Giles Cory were also victims of the Salem Witch Trials together, who were a married couple. However, Giles refused to stand trial and was pressed to death rather than hanged. [00:15:42] Sarah Jack: Next we have the case of Goodwife Bassett of Fairfield. [00:15:46] Josh Hutchinson: We only know about her witchcraft accusation through one brief court record and a 1654 defamation suit filed by Mary Staples against colonial leader Roger Ludlow. [00:15:58] Sarah Jack: The court record states that the governor and two other men were to go to Stratford for "the trial of Goody Bassett for her life." [00:16:05] Josh Hutchinson: This entry was dated May 15th, 1651. [00:16:09] Sarah Jack: We next hear of Bassett in the Staples case, in which a witness testified that "Goodwife Bassett, when she was condemned, said there was another witch in Fairfield that held her head full high." [00:16:19] Josh Hutchinson: While Goodwife Bassett's given and maiden names are not known, she may have been the wife of Thomas Bassett. We've also seen a book theorizing that she was the wife of a Robert Bassett. [00:16:34] Sarah Jack: Thomas Bassett arrived in the colonies in 1635 and first made his home in Dorchester, Massachusetts. [00:16:41] Josh Hutchinson: It was there that he likely first encountered Thomas Thornton, a man we spoke of in the last episode in the series. [00:16:50] Sarah Jack: If you recall, Thornton was a tanner who resided next to Alice Young in Windsor, Connecticut in the 1640s. [00:16:57] Josh Hutchinson: He lost four children to the epidemic which may have been the cause of the accusations against Alice. [00:17:03] Sarah Jack: But the Thorntons and the Youngs were just some of the many Dorchester, Massachusetts settlers who made the move to Windsor. [00:17:09] Josh Hutchinson: Thomas Bassett also relocated to Windsor and lived there at the same time as the Thorntons and the Youngs. [00:17:16] Sarah Jack: It was in 1650 that Thomas Bassett relocated to Stratford. [00:17:20] Josh Hutchinson: That same year, John Young and the Thorntons also moved from Windsor to Stratford. [00:17:25] Sarah Jack: Thomas Thornton was elected Stratford's deputy to the Connecticut General Court in 1651, the very year Goodwife Bassett hanged. [00:17:34] Josh Hutchinson: As noted in "Between God and Satan" by Beth Caruso and Dr. Katherine Hermes, Thornton was in proximity to several witch trials. [00:17:42] Sarah Jack: His exact role in any of these trials is not yet known. [00:17:47] Josh Hutchinson: As mentioned previously on the show, the Stratford Historical Society is hosting several events in April and May to honor Goodwife Bassett's memory. [00:17:56] Sarah Jack: The society is leading commemorative walks retracing Goodwife Bassett's last steps on May 3rd and 10th at 7:00 PM. These feature historical commentary by the town historian, David Wright. [00:18:07] Josh Hutchinson: The inaugural Goody Bassett Ball will take place on Saturday, May 20th at 6:00 PM. [00:18:12] Sarah Jack: More information can be found on the society's webpage. in easthampton [00:18:17] Josh Hutchinson: Following the Bassett hanging, Goodwife Knapp of Fairfield was also charged with witchcraft. [00:18:23] Sarah Jack: She hanged in 1653. [00:18:26] Josh Hutchinson: Again, we know about her case through the Staples defamation suit. [00:18:30] Sarah Jack: Unfortunately, the testimony in that case refers to her only as Goody Knapp. [00:18:35] Josh Hutchinson: We do not know her given or maiden names. [00:18:38] Sarah Jack: We do not know the identity of her husband. [00:18:41] Josh Hutchinson: We hope records with this information will be located one day. [00:18:45] Sarah Jack: In 2019, a memorial plaque was placed in the Black Rock community in Bridgeport, Connecticut in Goodwife Knapp's honor. [00:18:52] Josh Hutchinson: The court record for Mary Staples' defamation suit against Roger Ludlow indicates that Ludlow had accused Staples, because she, quote, "had laid herself under a new suspicion of being a witch, that she had caused Knapp's wife to be new searched after she was hanged. And when she saw the teats said, if they were the marks of a Witch, then she was one, or she had such marks." [00:19:16] Sarah Jack: Document also reports that according to Mary Staples, Roger Ludlow had said that Knapp had told him Staples was a witch. [00:19:24] Josh Hutchinson: However, Thomas Lyon told the court he was watching goody Knapp when five women came in and asked her to confess. Knapp responded that she was not a witch and she would not name Mary Staples as a witch. [00:19:39] Sarah Jack: One Hester Ward claimed that Goody Knapp had told her that Mary Staples had admitted to receiving two little things brighter than the light of day from a Native American. [00:19:48] Josh Hutchinson: She purportedly called the mystery items, quote, "Indian gods." [00:19:53] Sarah Jack: Goodwife Sherwood questioned Knapp about the objects. [00:19:57] Josh Hutchinson: According to Sherwood, Knapp denied ever saying that anyone in town had taken the shiny objects from the Native American. [00:20:06] In other words, Knapp was saying that she never accused Goody Staples of taking the shiny objects that were known as "Indian gods." [00:20:20] Knapp time and again we're seeing denied that Staples had anything to do with witchcraft, and this is another denial of that. So that's the significance of that statement. Staples is saying that Knapp isn't a witch and Knapp, according to all these witnesses, repeatedly said that I'm not calling Staples a witch because she isn't one. I'm not one. She's not one. [00:20:48] Sarah Jack: Ultimately, Roger Ludlow was found to have defamed Staples and was ordered to pay Thomas Staples 15 pounds for falsely accusing his wife of witchcraft and for court costs. [00:20:58] Josh Hutchinson: Roger Ludlow was a colonial official. He had written the laws of Connecticut. [00:21:05] Sarah Jack: So isn't that interesting that he was found to have defamed? [00:21:09] Josh Hutchinson: They're basically saying that you lied, that you called her something, and you couldn't prove that she was a witch. [00:21:16] In 1653, the same year that Knapp was executed, Mrs. Elizabeth Godman of New Haven went to court to complain about several people, who she said had called her a Witch. [00:21:27] Sarah Jack: That's interesting. [00:21:30] Josh Hutchinson: This is a defamation that backfires. [00:21:32] Sarah Jack: Elizabeth Godman struck terror in the hearts of her supposed victims, causing one to sweat profusely and another to faint. [00:21:41] Josh Hutchinson: And this is just saying that because they believed so strongly that she was a witch, they had these visceral physical reactions when they crossed her and she reacted to them with either a stare or some words. One person said that she sweated so much in her bed after having a dream about Knapp, that she woke up and it was like she was floating on water. And another person, Stephen Goodyear, actually said that Knapp gave him a dirty look and he swooned. [00:22:23] Sarah Jack: When you consider their belief and fear of witches, and then here is the embodiment of one interacting directly with them, you can feel their terror and understand these reactions. [00:22:41] Josh Hutchinson: And psychological terror does produce known chemical reactions within the body that can elevate the heart rate, cause you to sweat, cause you to breathe differently, cause you to faint. This is all part of your fight or flight response or freeze. [00:23:02] Sarah Jack: Yeah, it is. [00:23:04] Josh Hutchinson: And so if you really believe in your heart and in your mind that somebody is a witch and they're capable of harming you, you can actually, in essence, harm yourself just through your body's reactions to your psychological state. [00:23:24] Sarah Jack: And so that is what would be happening today in these communities, where they believe this alleged witch is causing death and sickness and misfortune. They are having these type of responses in their bodies and minds. [00:23:46] Josh Hutchinson: Yes, we see this happening around the world today. We see it throughout the history of witch trials in a lot of the testimony. It's possible that it happened with the afflicted persons in Salem and with other afflicted persons that they became, they were so distressed that they became physically ill and psychologically traumatized. [00:24:13] Sarah Jack: And then imagine if you are actually ill and then psychologically traumatized from your fear of who is causing your illness. [00:24:22] Josh Hutchinson: Yes, that just compounds it and that can lead your health to really deteriorate rapidly. [00:24:30] Sarah Jack: And you know who comes to mind with me on that is Timothy Swan in North Andover. [00:24:35] Josh Hutchinson: Yes, that's a good one. I was thinking of, one we'll talk about later is Betty Howell, who is supposedly afflicted. She starts having some kind of fits, and then she just becomes really ill and rapidly deteriorates and passes, because she's in such a panic that whatever physically might have been going on with her, just that mental fear gets added to that. [00:25:08] Sarah Jack: That's such a good use of the word panic in these situations. The panic is in the accusers. It's interesting. [00:25:16] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah, it's in the supposedly bewitched people. They're panicking in their own selves about being terrorized by this witch, thinking that, "oh, she's gonna kill me." And then it's like a self-fulfilling prophecy, "that witch is gonna kill me," and then you get really sick and you die. There's clinical cases of people having heart attacks and different reactions to intense fright. [00:25:48] Not fearing witches is good for all of us, so we want to remove the witch fear and show people that there's other reasons why misfortune happens. You've got to remove the layer of mystery and give explanations why things happen when they do. [00:26:12] New Haven's leading minister, John Davenport, quote, had occasion to speak of witches and showed that a froward discontent frame of spirit was a subject fit for the devil to work upon in that way." As a result, Goodwife Larrimore considered Godman to have the appearance of such a person. [00:26:34] Sarah Jack: Mrs. Atwater allegedly claimed Godman was married to a manitou named Hobbamock, a giant stone spirit known to the Quinnipiac. [00:26:42] Josh Hutchinson: A common motif is expressed in many of the testimonies against Elizabeth Godman. When someone refused to sell, barter, or give anything to her, misfortune followed, and we see that again in witch trial after witch trial, in Salem with Sarah Good, Samuel Parris refuses to give her anything. [00:27:05] She goes away muttering something. They believe then that she cursed them in spite where really it's their guilt for not giving her what she wanted. [00:27:18] Sarah Jack: Godman was a widow who lived with Stephen Goodyear. [00:27:21] Josh Hutchinson: He was the deputy governor of the New Haven Colony. [00:27:24] Sarah Jack: The magistrates questioned Godman and the people she complained about. [00:27:28] Josh Hutchinson: Godman was accused of afflicting people and animals following quarrels. [00:27:34] Sarah Jack: She was also supposed to have laid upon a bed, quote, "as if somebody was sucking her." [00:27:39] Josh Hutchinson: This was another reference to the belief that witches had teets from which they fed devils and familiars or imps. [00:27:46] Sarah Jack: Godman supposedly also talked to herself. [00:27:49] Josh Hutchinson: And I just wanna point out, that's another common thing. As we just mentioned, the case of Sarah Good, she went away muttering something to herself, and people believed that she was muttering curses. It was considered aberrant behavior to talk to herself in public. And people are like, "that's odd. She must be up to something." [00:28:14] And Godman knew what others did and said when she was not there. [00:28:19] Sarah Jack: Godman's defamation claim was rejected. [00:28:23] Josh Hutchinson: However, she did not face trial for witchcraft. [00:28:27] Sarah Jack: Nicholas Augur, a New Haven physician, consulted John Winthrop, Jr. about the mysterious afflictions of three women. [00:28:34] Josh Hutchinson: Historian Walter Woodward writes that Winthrop's diagnosis likely saved Godman's life. [00:28:40] Sarah Jack: However, most of the correspondence between Augur and Winthrop is missing, so we don't know precisely what effect Winthrop's response may have had on the case. [00:28:50] Josh Hutchinson: In any event, the court ordered Godman to "look after her carriage hereafter." [00:28:57] Sarah Jack: And to "not go in an offensive way to folks houses in a railing manner, as it seems she hath done, but that she keep her place and meddle with her own business." [00:29:07] Josh Hutchinson: The magistrates warned her that she now was considered suspicious and would be brought back to court if additional evidence was brought in against her to show that she was a witch. [00:29:19] Sarah Jack: Even though she's the one that walked in first. [00:29:21] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah. She's, " hey, these people are pointing fingers at me. I'm gonna point back at them." And they're like, the court's like, "well, we think they have a point." [00:29:30] Sarah Jack: Godman was indeed called back to court on August 7th, 1655. [00:29:37] Josh Hutchinson: She was again accused of causing a series of strange events and bewitching animals. [00:29:43] Sarah Jack: On this occasion, she was jailed. [00:29:45] Josh Hutchinson: Considering her to be in poor health, the court released her into the custody of Thomas Johnson on September 4th and warned her to return to court in October. [00:29:55] Sarah Jack: At an October 17 court session, Godman was ordered to pay 50 pounds bond to ensure her good behavior and warned she would be jailed again if she gave cause. [00:30:05] Josh Hutchinson: She was warned that she "must forebear from going from house to house to give offense and carry it orderly in the family where she is." [00:30:15] Sarah Jack: Her bond was paid out of her estate on January 1st, 1656. [00:30:20] Josh Hutchinson: Elizabeth Godman died in 1660. [00:30:23] Sarah Jack: When she died. Her estate was valued at 200 pounds. [00:30:26] Josh Hutchinson: In 1654, the same year as the Staples lawsuit, Lydia Gilbert of Windsor was accused of practicing witchcraft. [00:30:35] Sarah Jack: She was indicted on November 28th for allegedly bewitching Thomas Allyn's gun. [00:30:41] Josh Hutchinson: Which had misfired during a militia exercise three years earlier. [00:30:46] Sarah Jack: And killed Henry Stiles. [00:30:48] Josh Hutchinson: Allyn had already been convicted of homicide by misadventure and paid a fine. [00:30:54] Sarah Jack: It is unknown why Gilbert was accused three years after the fact. [00:30:58] Josh Hutchinson: Not much is known for certain about Lydia Gilbert. The indictment against her does not specify a husband or even refer to Gilbert as Goodwife. [00:31:09] Sarah Jack: All evidence we have seen to link Lydia and Thomas has been circumstantial and based upon Thomas's business relationship with Henry Stiles. [00:31:16] Josh Hutchinson: We do know that Stiles and Allyn had some previous business relationship and that Gilbert had business relationships with the other two, but this is with Thomas Gilbert, and I haven't seen the name Lydia in any court records other than the one brief record about her trial. [00:31:42] There was a Lydia Bliss in jail with a Thomas Gilbert. [00:31:47] In 1643, the court ordered a Thomas Gilbert and a Lydia Bliss jailed, along with George Gibbs and James Hullet. I don't know if we know what offense they were in there for. So we're just saying like these two people knew each other before. They had some kind of prior relationship, and her name's Lydia. And like we said before, these are inferences, and there's not a marriage record that says Thomas Gilbert, Jr. of Windsor married Lydia Bliss, daughter of such and such, so you go through a chain of inferences to get there. [00:32:34] Henry Stiles may have roomed at one Thomas Gilbert's house, and Lydia may have been his wife, his daughter, his sister, or another relative. [00:32:46] Sarah Jack: One thing we can say for sure is that Gilbert was convicted. [00:32:50] Josh Hutchinson: The court record of her case makes this quite clear. [00:32:54] Sarah Jack: She was likely executed. [00:32:57] Josh Hutchinson: Like many of the victims, no record of an execution exists today. [00:33:01] Sarah Jack: However, like the others, she disappears from the record after the conviction and is therefore presumed to have been hanged as the law specified. [00:33:10] It really goes to show that the same processes you use when you're doing work in your family tree, connecting one generation to the next by a reliable record is the same process that needs to be done when you're connecting individuals in a history research to their spouses and to their children. If you can't, that's the equivalent of a brick wall in your tree . [00:33:39] Josh Hutchinson: A lot of times, we rely upon the work that someone else has done before us, when we should be verifying their information from primary sources and making those connections ourselves. [00:33:59] Sarah Jack: You wouldn't just take somebody's branch from their tree and graft it into yours without looking at how the record matches your family line. And with these individuals, we need to see how is the record putting the story together, and if the record's not there, you can't put the story together. That part of the story can't go together. [00:34:22] Josh Hutchinson: Be careful not to leap to conclusions. [00:34:26] Sarah Jack: But just like when you're working on your family tree, you can have a working branch where it's an open research, you can continue to do that. You can consider things a possibility, but that's all that it is until you know. [00:34:44] Goodwife and Nicholas Bailey were the next couple to be accused of witchcraft. [00:34:49] Josh Hutchinson: They were brought to court for other things on July 3rd, 1655. [00:34:54] Sarah Jack: Impudent and notorious lying. [00:34:56] Josh Hutchinson: Endeavoring to make discord among neighbors. [00:35:00] Sarah Jack: And filthy and unclean speeches. [00:35:03] Josh Hutchinson: In court, quote, "sundry passages taken in writing were read, which being duly considered, doth render them both, but especially the woman, very suspicious in point of witchcraft. But for matters of that nature, the court intends not to proceed at this time." [00:35:21] Sarah Jack: They were ordered out of town. [00:35:24] Josh Hutchinson: Quote, "betwixt this court and the next court they must consider of a way how to remove themselves to some other place or give sufficient security to the court's satisfaction for their good behavior and pay the fine for lying, which is 10 shillings." [00:35:41] Sarah Jack: However, the couple delayed moving. [00:35:43] Josh Hutchinson: They came back to court August 7th, 1655. [00:35:47] Sarah Jack: The court granted a delay until the middle of April of 1656, but only if they paid 40 pound security that they would leave plus 50 pounds bond for good behavior and attended every monthly court session during the delay. [00:36:00] Josh Hutchinson: On September 4th, 1655, the court told them to come back to the next session on the first Tuesday of October and an additional session the third Wednesday of October. [00:36:13] Sarah Jack: They returned to court October 2nd, 1655. [00:36:17] Josh Hutchinson: And were told they would be excused from future court appearances, if they removed before the third Wednesday of that month. [00:36:24] Sarah Jack: The records end there, so it is believed that the Baileys did indeed leave the colony. [00:36:30] Josh Hutchinson: Walter Woodward writes that John Winthrop, Jr. likely had a role in the decision to exile rather than execute the Baileys. [00:36:38] William Meaker filed a slander suit in 1657 against Thomas Mullener, who he said accused him of bewitching some pigs. [00:36:47] Sarah Jack: The two had shared some time in court the previous year. [00:36:51] Josh Hutchinson: On that occasion, Mullener was on trial for allegedly stealing swine from another neighbor. [00:36:56] Sarah Jack: And Meaker testified against him. [00:36:59] Josh Hutchinson: Later the two had an argument. [00:37:01] Sarah Jack: Meaker claimed that Mullener had broken his fence. [00:37:04] Josh Hutchinson: And Mullener believed Meaker got his revenge by casting a spell on his pigs. [00:37:10] Sarah Jack: Mullener lost the slander suit and was ordered to apologize to Meaker and to post a 50 pound bond for his good behavior. [00:37:16] Josh Hutchinson: The next to be accused was Elizabeth Garlick of Easthampton on Long Island. [00:37:23] Sarah Jack: At this time, Easthampton was part of Connecticut. [00:37:26] Josh Hutchinson: Garlick was tried in 1658. [00:37:29] Sarah Jack: This was the first witchcraft case John Winthrop, Jr. worked on in an official capacity. [00:37:35] Josh Hutchinson: Now serving as governor of Connecticut Colony, he presided over the court. [00:37:40] Sarah Jack: Before Garlick's trial, Connecticut had tried seven people for witchcraft. All had been convicted and executed. [00:37:47] Josh Hutchinson: As Chief Magistrate, Winthrop had considerable influence over the proceedings. [00:37:52] Sarah Jack: His presence at the least brought balance to the court. [00:37:56] Josh Hutchinson: Of the seven magistrates on the court, four had previously been involved in multiple witchcraft cases resulting in conviction. [00:38:05] Sarah Jack: Garlick was the wife of Joseph or Joshua Garlick. [00:38:09] Josh Hutchinson: Joseph or Joshua was a business intermediary between John Winthrop, Jr. and Lion Gardiner on at least two occasions when Winthrop was living in Saybrook. [00:38:21] Sarah Jack: The Garlicks perhaps lived on Gardiner's Island from 1650 or earlier until he relocated to Easthampton on Long Island in 1653. [00:38:30] Josh Hutchinson: In Easthampton, Garlick acquired nearly a hundred acres over time and owned livestock. [00:38:37] Sarah Jack: Godbeer says Garlick was a healer in The Devil's Dominion. [00:38:41] Josh Hutchinson: Godbeer bases this on a deposition of a woman named Goodwife Bishop, who went to Elizabeth Garlick and obtained an herb called dockweed that had some medicinal purposes. However, every woman at the time, especially every wife and mother, was the nurse of their household and had common herbs on hand for treating illnesses. [00:39:15] So we don't know if that meant that she was a professional healer or not. We're looking into the records in more detail to see. And there are a lot of implications in this label as healer, as it's popularly believed that healers and even midwives were common targets of witchcraft accusations. [00:39:46] Scott R. Ferrara and John Demos have written that Garlick's maiden name was probably Blanchard. [00:39:53] Sarah Jack: And Demos notes that her possible father may have been a French Huguenot. [00:39:58] Josh Hutchinson: Nine accusers testified at Elizabeth Garlick's trial. [00:40:02] Sarah Jack: Garlick was accused of bewitching Elizabeth Howell to death. Howell was the daughter of prominent citizen Lion Gardiner and the wife of Arthur Howell, whose father was the leading citizen of Southhampton. [00:40:13] Josh Hutchinson: Garlick was also accused of killing a man, an African American child, two infants, and some piglets. [00:40:22] Sarah Jack: Further, one Goody Edwards claimed Garlick had caused her daughter's breast milk to dry up. [00:40:28] Josh Hutchinson: Garlick was also accused of bewitching an ox and a sow. [00:40:31] Sarah Jack: It's so many wild accusations. That's so many accusations. It reminds me of Rebecca Nurse. [00:40:39] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah. All of the Salem people, it was just neighbors coming in saying, "oh, we, you know, disagreed about this or that, and then she railed at me, and then the next day my horse fell over." [00:40:51] Sarah Jack: A Goodwife Hand claimed that when she learned of her sow's affliction neighbors burned its tail, upon which Elizabeth Garlick came in. [00:40:59] Josh Hutchinson: This is significant, because it was believed, and we see this in several witch trials, and we'd covered it in a previous episode, that burning a bewitched object returned the curse to the witch. [00:41:17] Elizabeth Garlick was acquitted, but her husband had to post 30 pounds bond for his wife's good behavior and to appear at the next court session in Easthampton. [00:41:29] Sarah Jack: Governor Winthrop Jr. wrote to Easthampton to tell the people there to "carry neighborly and peaceably without just offense to Joshua Garlick and his wife." He also told the Garlicks to do the same toward the others in town. [00:41:41] Josh Hutchinson: The Garlicks lived to old age. The town record of Goodman Garlick's death in 1700, estimated his age at about a hundred years. [00:41:49] Sarah Jack: Elizabeth's death is not recorded, but a later estimate says one of the Garlicks lived to be 105 and the other 110. Demos estimates these figures were exaggerated by a decade. [00:42:00] Next, an unknown resident of Saybrook was accused of witchcraft. [00:42:05] Josh Hutchinson: Court record states, "Mr. Wyllys is requested to go down to Saybrook to assist the major in examining the suspicions about witchery and to act therein as may be requisite. June 15th, 1659." [00:42:21] Sarah Jack: The major mentioned here was John Mason, a leading figure in Connecticut Colony's early history. [00:42:28] Josh Hutchinson: Mr. Wyllys was Samuel Wyllys, who left behind a collection of documents known as the Wyllys Papers. [00:42:35] Sarah Jack: These papers do include records of witch trials but do not include this incident. [00:42:40] Josh Hutchinson: The person or persons suspected of witchery are unnamed in the record that we do have, and no indictment exists from this time period to show that the case ever reached a grand jury or a trial jury. [00:42:53] Margaret and Nicholas Jennings of Saybrook were the next couple to be accused of witchcraft. [00:42:59] Sarah Jack: So it is interesting that the unknown Saybrook was before a known Saybrook. [00:43:04] Josh Hutchinson: But there's a two year gap. So I've seen some writers tie the two incidents together and say that Margaret and Nicholas Jennings were suspected in 1659 and indicted in 1661, but again, you're missing a link to say that the 1661 case had to do with the 1659 suspicions of witchery. [00:43:33] Sarah Jack: But in any case, there were suspicions going on in the community there. [00:43:38] Josh Hutchinson: There were. Something was going on and people were suspicious at the time of witchcraft. [00:43:44] Sarah Jack: In 1643, they were convicted for running away from indentured servitude, theft, and fornication, whipped and ordered by the court to marry each other. [00:43:53] Margaret and Nicholas were indicted for suspected witchcraft on September 5th, 1661. [00:43:59] Josh Hutchinson: They were accused of bewitching to death the wife of Reinold Marvin and the child of Baalshassar de Wolfe. [00:44:07] Sarah Jack: They were acquitted on October 9th, 1661. [00:44:11] Josh Hutchinson: Quote, "respecting Nicholas Jennings the jury return that the major part find him guilty of the indictment. The rest strongly suspect it that he is guilty." [00:44:22] Sarah Jack: Quote, "respecting Margaret Jennings the jury return that some of them find her guilty the rest strongly suspect her to be guilty of the indictment." [00:44:31] Josh Hutchinson: But because the jury did not agree in full on either indictment, the couple were released from jail and left the colony. [00:44:43] Sarah Jack: It's interesting to me that there could be like some, she's guilty and others strongly suspect. It relates to the seven indicators of someone being a witch, and then after that there were things that strongly caused suspicion but don't necessarily prove. It's interesting me that there's this gray area like that. [00:45:08] Josh Hutchinson: There's a difference between suspicion and evidence. There are things that lead you to question a suspect. And then there are things that lead you to indict the suspect. And then there are stronger things needed to convict the suspect. And this is a sign, I think also of the changing times, possibly because of Winthrop's influence in the area. Between 1655 and 1661, no one's convicted. [00:45:44] You start having these suspicions, and they're saying that there isn't quite enough evidence here, where before it was a slam dunk for the prosecution. Seven of the first seven people in Connecticut Colony, at least, were convicted. So they had a perfect record going for a while. [00:46:08] And now Mary Bingham is here with Minute With Mary. [00:46:13] Mary Bingham: I cannot comprehend the intense anxiety I would experience if someone falsely accused me of a crime I did not commit. Then to realize if I were found guilty, I could be executed. This was a painful reality of three of my ancestors in 1692, Susannah Martin, Sarah Wilds, and Mary Esty. From the time they were arrested at their homes, their journey became a living hell. After intense interrogation from the magistrates at the meeting house, coupled with noisy bystanders, they faced screaming accusers. Their accusers stated out loud that the specters of my ancestors and their familiars were allegedly flying about the room. [00:47:03] Once the interrogation was over for each woman, they traveled by cart to the jail, which was small and overcrowded. Besides humans, other roommates would be lice, mice, rats, and other vermin. The stench of sickness fills the dark interior where all of the accused for witchcraft were shackled. Puritans believe the shackles prevented the specters of the accused for witchcraft to go forth from their personal bodies to afflict harm on other people. [00:47:36] Then came the days of the execution. About one week after the guilty verdict was handed down for each woman, my ancestors would've been placed on a cart and traveled with the high sheriff, George Corwin, to Proctor's Ledge. The streets were lined with people, as the cart traveled the long mile from the jail to the execution site, which included an incline to the final destination. How my grandmothers remain steadfast to the truth of their innocence to the end as they faced the cruelest form of death continues to be an inspiration to me. Thank you. [00:48:17] Sarah Jack: Thank you, Mary. [00:48:19] Josh Hutchinson: Here's Sarah with End Witch Hunts News. [00:48:22] Sarah Jack: Awareness of the violent modern witch hunts against alleged witches is increasing across the world. International media, organizations, governments, and individuals want it to stop and are taking action and are educating about it. The United Nations Human Rights Council is acknowledging the crisis and urging additional efforts by affected states and by all stakeholders. [00:48:44] We are all stakeholders in efforts to stop these witch attacks and abuse crimes against women and children. When you see it in the news, read about it and share it. Educate yourself and others. We have links in our show notes to a new YouTube documentary called "Why Witch Hunts are Not Just a Dark Chapter from the Past" with journalist Karin Helmstaedt featuring important interviews with several experts, including Advocacy for Alleged Witches advocate, Dr. Leo Igwe. Witches of Scotland advocate, Dr. Zoe Venditozzi, modern attack victims, and witch trial historians. Please see the show description for the link to watch it. [00:49:18] Historically, people have been blamed for using witchcraft to manipulate weather to cause harm. King James VI of Scotland is infamously known to have done this. This mentality persists to this day. This week, at least two reports of witch attacks related to blaming a person for weather-related misfortune have been reported. One example is the misfortune of lightning strikes. The Nigeria Lightning Safety and Research Center reported that two innocent lives were taken due to false accusations of causing lightning strikes. I'm sorry to report that enraged youths buried the accused alive, and they perished. The Nigeria Lightning Safety and Research Center states, quote, " as a lightning safety organization, we condemn the tragic event and urge everyone to take lightning safety seriously." Thank you, Nigeria Lightning Safety and Research Center for standing with the victims and for urgently educating about the science of lightning and effectuating crucial safety education. Links to news articles reporting these weather-blaming circumstances are in the show description. [00:50:16] Next month, the Salem, Massachusetts area and Hartford and Farmington, Connecticut are getting a rare visit from Dr. Leo Igwe, director of the Advocacy for Alleged Witches nonprofit organization. It is an incredible honor for us to organize a week of speaking engagements during his May speaking tour in the United States and to accompany him as he speaks in places of historical significance to early American colony witch trial history. [00:50:38] Witch persecutions and trials are ongoing incidents in Africa and on other continents, reportedly occurring in at least 60 nations around the world. Witchcraft accusation is still a form of death sentence. Across continents, thousands, mainly women and elderly persons are accused, tried, attacked, killed, imprisoned, or banished every year. You can follow Dr. Leo Igwe on Twitter @leoigwe to see how he's advocating on the ground in the victim communities in real time as these individuals are experiencing being accused and hunted. [00:51:07] This first event at the Salem Witch Museum is virtual, but Dr. Igwe will be with us in Salem touring the historic sites, guided by a local seasoned in the history, Mary Bingham. Tuesday, May 16 is your chance to experience a very special evening of in-person conversation with Leo at the Rebecca Nurse Homestead in Danvers. Please see the Facebook event for details. Isn't this a great week? Make sure you mark your calendars. [00:51:29] Next, you can en enjoy an in-person speaking event with Dr. Igwe at Central Connecticut State University on Wednesday, May 17th at 6:00 PM. While in the Hartford area, Leo will be touring known witch trial historic sites with author Beth Caruso. On Thursday afternoon, May 18th, Leo will be presenting at the Stanley-Whitman House living history center in Farmington, Connecticut. Look for Facebook events for all these occasions posted by our social media. [00:51:53] Would you like to know more about Leo? You are in luck, because we have a great podcast episode for you to listen to. For more info on Leo, listen to the episode "Witchcraft Accusations in Nigeria with Dr. Leo Igwe." Come hear Leo. Invite your friends and family. See you there. [00:52:08] Get involved. Visit endwitchhunts.org. To support us, purchase books from our bookshop or merch from our Zazzle shop. Our links are in the show description. [00:52:16] Josh Hutchinson: Thank you, Sarah. [00:52:20] What did you learn today, Sarah? [00:52:23] Sarah Jack: Looking at the case of Palmer, it's just another reminder that this was ongoing. It was always ongoing, specifically for some individuals, but just that the court was always hearing these accusations of witchcraft. It takes away from the excuse of hysteria. [00:52:44] Josh Hutchinson: That's a wonderful point that people had these long running suspicions of particular neighbors. It wasn't all in a moment of panic. There was a whole chain of events. And when we talked to Malcolm Gaskill in episode 5, he talked about how there was often a decades long history of suspicion before anybody actually went to the court. There was just one last thing that pushed things to that point, that took it into a legal process rather than an informal just suspicion, gossip among neighbors. [00:53:30] There's also the fact that the suspicion would follow a person, even when they moved to a different colony, that neighbors there had presumably heard about her past word of mouth or through letters. " Hey, this Palmer family just moved here." And somebody's " oh, really? Them? She's a witch." [00:53:54] So there's that. [00:53:56] Sarah Jack: Yeah. And I wonder how the people that were fearing the witches, like what was that like for them seeing these women walking around free that they knew were witches? [00:54:10] Josh Hutchinson: Exactly. Gaskill was talking about as a practical matter, you would try to avoid those people and not cross them. [00:54:19] Thank you for listening to Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast. [00:54:23] Sarah Jack: Join us next week. [00:54:25] Josh Hutchinson: Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. [00:54:28] Sarah Jack: Visit thoushaltnotsuffer.com. [00:54:31] Josh Hutchinson: Remember to tell your friends about the show. [00:54:34] Sarah Jack: Support our efforts to End Witch Hunts. Visit endwitchhunts.org to learn more. [00:54:39] Josh Hutchinson: Have a great today and a beautiful tomorrow.