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Abraham ELSON and Rebecca

[F7974]. Abraham ELSON (Elsing, Elsen).
Born about 1586 in Bath, Somersetshire, England.(Kent, England-S8) He was of Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut. He was of Wethersfield, Hartford County, Connecticut. He married Rebecca [F7975] about 1610.(S8).. He died in 1648, probably in Wethersfield, Hartford County, Conntecticut.

THE case of Rebecca Greensmith and her husband, now to be related, was considered by Increase Mather, taking into account the circumstances of her confession, to be as convictive a proof of the reality of witchcraft as most single examples he had met with.

This author published at Boston in 1684, a small book entitled An Essay for the Recording of Illustrious Providences, which is among the rarer of the Mather publications. It was reprinted in London in 1856, and is perhaps best known as Mather’s Remarkable Providences. This book and a letter to the author, dated Dec. 4, 1682, by Rev. John Whiting, pastor of the Second Church in Hartford, have been drawn on for a considerable part of this narrative: the record and a single deposition being all the official papers connected with the trial which have come down to us. Cotton Mather published an abridged account of the case in the Magnalia.

There are in every community those who for one cause or another unfortunately incur the dislike and suspicion of the neighbors, and when belief in witchcraft prevailed such persons were easily believed to have familiarity with the evil one. Nathaniel Greensmith and Rebecca his wife, Elizabeth wife of Richard Seager, the wife of William Ayres, Andrew Sanford and Mary, his wife, were of this class. They all lived in Hartford in 1661-2, 1—2, and, as I think, south of the little river. Greensmith owned a house and barn with some twenty acres of land, valued at 46 pounds. He seems to have been engaged in agriculture. In March, 1650, he was found by the court guilty of stealing a bushel and a half of wheat. In June of the same year he was convicted of stealing a hoe and lying in the face of the court; in March, 1651-2, he was the unsuccessful defendant in an action of battery. He married Rebecca, widow of Jarvis Mudge, previously widow of Abraham Elson of Wethersfield, by whom she had two daughters who at the date of this tragedy were about 17 and 15 years old. She had no children by her second and third husbands. Rev. John Whiting speaks of her as “a lewd, ignorant and considerably aged woman.”

In the spring of 1662 the daughter of John Kelley, a child of 8 years, died after a short illness. In her delirium she cried out against goody Ayres as afflicting her. Her parents and sundry of the neighbors thought the child was bewitched to death. Thereupon sundry persons were examined by the magistrates; some were committed to prison, while some managed to escape. Goody Ayres was arrested, and on some testimony being given in court said, “This will take away my life.” However, by the aid of some friends she succeeded in escaping and with her husband fled with great precipitation. James Walkley was one who fled and took refuge in Rhode Island. Judith, daughter of Caspar Varleth, a dutchman, was imprisoned on “pretend accusation of witchery,” as we learn from a letter in her behalf from her brother-in-law, Governor Peter Stuyvesant, dated Oct. 13, 1662. May 13, 1662, Nathaniel Goldsmith brought against William Ayres an action of slander respecting his wife, which we may suppose had relation to charges of witchcraft, but it never came to trial, the plaintiff and his wife being soon arrested for alledged familiarity with satan, and the defendant out of the court’s jurisdiction. On the 13th of June, 1662, Mary, wife of Andrew Sanford, was indicted for having had familiarity with the great enemy of God and mankind and by his help having acted, and also come to the knowledge of secrets in a preternatural way beyond the ordinary course of nature, to the great disturbance of several members of this commonwealth. She was found guilty by the jury, but we do not know what became of her or whether her case had anything to do with the Greensmiths. We only know that she was a reputed witch.

Ann Cole, daughter of John Cole, a godly man who lived next neighbor to the Greensmiths, had some time been afflicted and in some fears about her spiritual estate. In the year 1662, she was taken with strange fits, wherein she (or rather the devil as ‘tis judged, making use of her lips) held a discourse for a considerable time. The general purport of it was to this purpose, that a company of familiars of the evil one (who were named in the discourse that passed from her) were conspiring how to carry on their mischievous designs against some, and especially against her, mentioning sundry ways they would take to that en&: as that they would afflict her body, spoil her name, hinder her marriage, etc., wherein the general answer made among them was, “She runs to her Rock." This method having been continued some hours, the conclusion was, Let us confound her language that she may tell no more tales. And then, after some time of unintelligible muttering, the discourse passed into a Dutch tone (a family of Dutch then living in the town), and therein an account was given of some afflictions that had befallen divers. Among the rest a young woman (next neighbor to that Dutch family)that could speak but very little (laboring of that infirmity from her youth) had met with great sorrow, as pinchings of her arms in the dark. etc., whereof she had before informed her brother (one of the ministers in Hartford, probably \Vhiting.) In that Dutch toned discourse there were plain intimations, given, by whom and for what cause such a course had been taken with her. Judicious SIr. Stone being by when the latter discourse passed, declared it in his thoughts impossible that one not familiarly acquainted with the Dutch (which Ann Cole had not at all been) should so exactly imitate the Dutch tone in the pronunciation of English. Sundry times such kind of discourse was uttered by her which was very awful and amazing to the hearers. Mr.Samuel Hooker,minister of Farmington, was present the first time, and Mr. Joseph Haynes, a young man of about 21, then perhaps supplying the pulpit of Wethersfield, who wrote what. was said; so did Mr. Whiting, colleague with Mr. Stone in the Hartford church, (from whose letter I am quoting), when he came into the house some time after the discourse began. Extremely violent bodily motions she many times had, even to the hazard of her life in the apprehensions of those that saw them; and very often great disturbance was given in the public worship of God by her and two other women who had also strange fits. Once in special, on a day of prayer kept on that account, the motion and noise of the afflicted was so terrible that a godly person fainted under the appearance of it.

There was a day of fasting and prayer on account of Ann Cole, and at which she was present, kept at the house of Mr. Wyllys, college class mate with Messrs. Hooker and Whiting, when Ann Cole cried out against Elizabeth Seager as a witch. Goody Seager hearing of it remarked that Mr. Haynes had writ a great deal of hodge podge that Ann had said that she was under suspicion for a witch. We should agree with goody Seager in regard to the matter, but it was hardly safe then so to characterize Ann’s hysterical ravings. Seager was herself indicted for witchcraft Jan. 6, 1662-3 ; a second time, July 2, 1663; and a third time July 16, 6, 1665, when she was found guilty and after about a year’s imprisonment she was released and found Rhode Island a more congenial place of residence.

To return to goody Greensmith, who was then in prison on suspicion of witchcraft. The court sent for Mr. Haynes and Mr. Whiting, to read what they had written; which when Mr. Haynes had done (the prisoner being present) she forthwith and freely confessed those things to be true, that she (and other persons named in the discourse) had familiarity with the devil. Being asked whether she had made an express covenant with him, she answered she had not, only as she promised to go with him when he called (which she had accordingly done several times). But that the devil told her that at Christmas they would have a merry meeting, and then the covenant should be drawn and subscribed. Thereupon the fore-mentioned Mr. Stone (being then in court) with much weight and earnestness laid forth the exceeding heinousness and hazard of that dreadful sin; and therewith solemnly took notice (upon the occasion given) of the devil’s loving Christmas.

A person at the same time present being desired the next day more particularly to enquire of her about her guilt, it was accordingly done, to whom she acknowledged that though when Mr.Haynes began to read she could have torn him in pieces, and was so much resolved as might be to deny her guilt (as she had done before) yet after he had read awhile, she was as if her flesh had been pulled from her bones, (such was her expression,) and so could not deny any longer. She also declared that the devil first appeared to her in the form of a deer or fawn, skipping about her, wherewith she was not much aifrighted, but by degrees he contrived talk with her; and that their meetings were frequently at such a place, (near her own house;) that some of the company came in one shape and some in another, and one in particular in the shape of a crow came flying to them. Amongst other things she owned that the devil had frequent use of her body.

At a particular court held at Hartford, December 30, 1662, the following indictment of Nathaniel Greensmith and of Rebecca, his wife, was found:

“Nathaniel Greensmith thou art here indicted by the name of Nathaniel Greensmith for not having the fear of God before thine eyes) thou hast entertained familiarity with Satan, the grand enemy of God and mankind, and by his help hast acted things in a preternatural way beyond human abilities in a natural course, for which according to the law of God and the established law of this commonwealth thou deservest to die.”

The magistrates holding the court were Matthew Allyn, moderator, Samuel Wyllys, Richard Treat, Henry Wolcott, Daniel Clark, secretary, John Allyn. The jury were Edward Griswold, Walter Filer, Ensign Olmsted, Samuel Boardman, Gregory Winterton, John Cowles, Samuel Marshall, Samuel Hale, Nathaniel Willett, John Hart, John Wadsworth and Robert Webster.

Nathaniel Greensmith made no confession. Here is all that we know of the evidence given in against him:

Rebecca Greensmith testifieth in court January 8, 1662.

"1. • ‘That my husband on Friday’ night last, when I came to prison, told me that now thou hast confest against thyself let me alone and say nothing of me and I will be good unto thy children.

“2. ‘I do now testify that formerly when my husband hath told me of his great travail and labor, I wondered at it how he did it; this he did before I was married, and when I was married I asked him how he did it, and he answered me, he had help that I knew not of.

“3. ‘About three years ago, as I think it, my husband and I were in the woods several miles from home, and were looking for a sow that we lost, and I saw a creature, a red creature, following my husband, and when I came to him I asked him what it was that was with him, and he told me it was.a fox.

“4. ‘Another time when he and I drove our hogs into the woods beyond the pound that was to keep young cattle, several miles off, I went before the hogs to call them, and looking back I saw two creatures like dogs, one a little blacker than the other; they came after my husband pretty close to him, and one did seem to me to touch him. I asked him what they were, he told me he thought foxes. I was still afraid when I saw anything, because I heard so much of him before I rriarried him.

“5. ‘I have seen logs that my husband hath brought home in his cart that I wondered at it that he could get them into the cart, being a man of little body and weak to my apprehension; and the logs were such that I thought two men such as he could not have done it.

I speak all of this out of love to my husband’s soul, and it is much against my will that I am now necessitate to speak against my husband. I desire that the Lord would open his heart to own and speak the truth.

“‘I also testify, that I being in the woods at a meeting, there was with me goody Seager, goodwife Sanford and goodwife Ayres. And at another time there was a meeting under a tree in the green by our house, and there was there James Walkicy, Peter Grant’s wife, goodwife Ayres, and Henry Palmer’s wife, of Wethersfield, and goody Seager; and there we danced and had a bottle of sack. It was in the night and something like a cat called me out to the meeting, and I was in Mr. Varlet’s orchard with Mrs. Judith Varlet, and she told me that she was muth troubled with the marshal, Jonathan Gilbert, and cried; and she said if it lay in her power she would do him a mischief, or what hurt she could. Taken upon oath in court.’

“The jury return that they find the prisoner at the bar, Nathaniel Greensmith, guilty of the indictment.

“Respecting Rebecca Greensmith, the prisoner at the bar, the jury find her guilty of the indictment.

“The said Rebecca confesseth in open court, that she is guilty of the charge laid in against her.”

This, with the concurrent evidence, brought the woman and her husband to their death as the devil’s familiars.

On the 6th of January, 1662-3, Mary Barnes, of Farmington, was indicted for witchcraft and found guilty by the jury. It is quite likely that she was put to death; but we know nothing of her evil deeds, nor is her name mentioned in any of the depositions of evidence which have come to our hands.

The diary of Goffe, the regicide judge, as quoted in Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts Bay, says under date of January 20, 1662 (3) "Three witches were condemned at Hartford." — February 24. "After one of the witches was hanged the maid was well." These dates must be understood as those of the entry by the diarist, and not of the events recorded. Goffe was at this time living in concealment at Milford. In the office of the court of probate in this city may be seen "An inventory of the estate of Nathaniel Greensmith, who was executed the 25th of January, 1662 (s.)" It was filed but not recorded, and is in the handwriting of William Pitkin. The amount of the inventory was 137 pounds, fourteen shillings, one penny, besides forty.four pounds, four shillings, four pence, claimed by Hannah and Sarah Elson. On February 11, 1662-3, the magistrates took order as to the estate and the disposition of the two daughters; and at the quarter court held at Hartford, March 5th following, allowance was made to Daniel Garret, the jail keeper, of six shillings a week for keeping Nathaniel Greensmith and his wife, besides their fees, which is to be paid out of Greensmith's estate, and for keeping goodwife Barnes three weeks, twenty-one shillings, besides her fees, which goodman Barnes is to see discharged.

After the suspected witches were either executed or fled, Ann Cole was restored to health. She joined the church, married Andrew Benton of Hartford, by whom she had children, and was living in good repute when Mather published his book in 1684. Andrew Benton, aged 63, died July 31, 1683. His gravestone is still standing in the old cemetery at Hartford. Ann (Cole) his second wife, died in 1686 according to Savage.

Mather tells a story about a man and woman mentioned in Ann Cole's Dutch toned discourse, (who I think were William Ayres and his wife,) who were put into the water bound hand and foot, to try whether they were witches or not. They floated, and doubting that a halter would choke them though the waters would not, they took their flight and were not seen in that part of the world afterwards. Mather condemns this mode of probation as superstitious and unlawful.

Mather also tells a story about a brother of Ann who was struck dead by lightning while at a prayer meeting at the home of his father-in-law, Henry Condliff at Northampton, April 28, 1664. He says he was informed, that when Matthew Cole was killed by lightening, the demons which disturbed his sister Ann (forty miles distant) in Hartford, spoke of it, intimating their concurrence in that terrible accident. Savage gives the date as April 28, 1665. As Ann was delivered from her trouble in 1663, there seems to be a discrepancy in the dates.


Increase Mather
Remarkable Providences
An Essay For the Recording of Illustrious Providences (Boston, 1684)

George Lincoln Burr, ed., Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases 1648-1706, (New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1914) 3-38

Hanover Historical Texts Project
Scanned and proofread by Kirstie Kleopfer, August, 1999.
Proofread and pages inserted by Jonathan Perry, March 2001.


by George L. Burr

INCREASE MATHER (1639-1723), divine, historian, college president, colonial statesman and diplomat, is a familiar figure to the student of American history. Born the youngest son of a religious leader known in Old England as well as New, and graduated from Harvard in 1656, while Puritanism was still dominant in the mother land, he had choice of two worlds for his career, and at first elected for the old, where two of his brothers were already prospering. First a student for his master's degree at Dublin, then a preacher in En-gland and in the Channel Islands, he would gladly have remained beyond sea, but for the religious restrictions of the Restoration, which drove him home in 1661-though not until he had come into a permanent closeness of touch with British thought and feeling. In Boston he speedily be-came the minister of the new North Church, and he re-tained this pastorate throughout his life, though from 1685 to 1701 he added to its duties those of the presidency of Harvard.[1]

But not his diligence as a student nor his devotion to his influential pulpit could blind him to the larger affairs of New England and of the Christian world. It was he who in 1679 stirred up his colleagues and the General Court to the con-vening of a synod of the clergy, which should consider what evils had "provoked the Lord to bring His Judgments on [Page 4] New-England" and what was to be done "that so these Evils may be Reformed"; and it was he who put into form the result of their deliberations. Some of the "judgments"-King Philip's war, the small-pox, the two great fires-he felt to call for lay activity as well as clerical ; but the others com-plained of, the decay of piety and the departure from the fathers' ways, were ills for pastoral healing, and in 1681, the year that followed the final session of that "reforming synod," another general meeting of the ministers took, at his instance, that action for "the recording of illustrious providences" which is recounted in the following pages.

Such a method of arousing men to religion was nothing new in Christian history. So, a thousand years before, Pope Gregory, culling (precisely as did now the New England leader) the experiences of his fellow clerics, had compiled those Dialogues whose tales of vision and apparition served for centuries to make the invisible world as real as that of sight and touch; and from his day onward such "providences" had been to clerical historians the tissue of their story. In the later Middle Ages there multiplied collections of these exempla. Nor did the Reformation interrupt their use. Luther's own sermons and table talk were for Protestants a mine of "modern instances" ; and out of such materials a Hondorff, a Lonicer, a Philip Camerarius, compiled their treasuries for the Lutheran pulpit, while their Zwinglian and Calvinistic neighbors were yet better equipped by the industry of Theodor Zwinger and Simon Goulart. Puritan England had found such purveyors in Beard and Taylor and Samuel Clarke. But it was of the nature of these attempts to keep abreast of the warnings of Heaven that they speedily went out of date. Only an enterprise like that devised by Matthew Poole for their continual registry could meet the needs of callous and forgetful man.

But the suggestion of Poole was twenty years old, and [Page 5] even the draft found in John Davenport's papers must for some years have been in Mather's hands: what new impulse stirred him now to action? It is not hard to guess. The group of Platonists who at Cambridge, the mother of New England Puritanism, had now inherited the spokesmanship of positive religion, laid the emphasis of their teaching on what they called "the spiritual world" ; and since the Restoration they had found a notable ally. Joseph Glanvill, a young Oxford theologian, one of the keenest of English philosophic minds, and withal one of the most rational, had taken a brief for the defence, and in a brilliant essay on "the vanity of dogmatizing" had in 1661 turned the guns of the rationalists upon themselves. It was not the dogmatizing of theology, but that of the audacious rising science of things natural and human, whose premises he attacked and seemed to sweep away; and great was the applause of all committed to the "eternal verities." But he speedily discerned that the strength of his skeptical adversaries lay in their denial and ridicule of what they counted the "old wives' tales" of religion. "Atheism is begun in Sadducism. And those that dare not bluntly say, There is no God, content themselves (for a fair step, and Introduction) to deny there are Spirits, or Witches." Wherefore, with astounding boldness, he came in 1666 to the defence of ghosts and witches in an essay, oft reprinted, whose most telling title was A Blow at Modern Sadducism. He had now adopted to the full the tenets of the Cambridge Platonists, whose leader, Henry More, became his correspondent, almost his colleague, and like them he championed all old tales ; but his keen sight discerned that "things remote, or long past, are either not believed, or forgotten)" whereas "Modern Relations," "being fresh, and near, and attended with all the circumstances of credibility, it may be expected L hey should have more success upon the obstinacy of Unbelievers." To his essay he therefore now appended, [Page 6] and swelled with each successive edition, a "collection of modern relations," which should demonstrate from present experience "the real existence of apparitions, spirits and witches." This was indeed to carry the war into Africa, and the Africans rallied to their guns. John Wagstaffe in 1669 and 1671, the anonymous author of The Doctrine of Devils in 1676, John Webster in 1677, came to the defence of challenged incredulity. Glanvill died in 1680, leaving unfinished that enlarged edition which should be his reply; but in 1681 it was published by his friend Henry More (with additions of his own, including a mass of new "relations") under the aggressive title of Sadducismus Triumphatus.[2]

It was for a share in this battle royal, to which his book makes many allusions, that Increase Mather now marshalled the hosts of New England orthodoxy. Their broadside, delivered in 1684, was this Essay for the Recording of Illustrious Providences.[3] Most at the same time (1685) George Sinclar, professor at Glasgow, brought out in Scotland the "choice collection of modern relations which he called Satan's Invisible World Discovered. How English Puritanism echoed we shall see betimes.

Mather's book was forthwith welcome. It went through two or three impressions in 1684-at least the title-page was thus often reprinted-and a part of the copies went to the London market, equipped with the imprint of an English bookseller. The book is best known, not by the long title of its title-page, but by its running caption of "Remarkable Providences "-already his son quotes it by this name-and it was under this title, Remarkable Providences illustrative of the Earlier Days of American Colonisation, that a convenient [Page 7] little reprint, "with introductory preface by George Offor," was published at London in 1856 (as a volume in John Russell Smith's "Library of Old Authors"), and again in 1890.

[Page 8]


An Essay For the Recording of Illustrious Providences, Wherein an Account is given of many Remarkable and very Memorable Events, which have happened in this last Age; Especially in New-England.

By Increase Mather, Teacher of a Church at Boston in New-England. Psal. 107.5. Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the Children of Men. Psal. 145. 4. One Generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.

Boston in New-England, Printed by Samuel Green for Joseph Browning, And are to be sold at his Shop at the corner of the Prison Lane. 1684. [4]

The Preface. About six and twenty years ago, a Design for the Recording of illustrious Providences was under serious consideration among some eminent Ministers in England and in Ireland. [5] That motion was principally set on foot by the Learned Mr. Matthew Pool, whose Synopsis Criticorum, and other Books by him emitted, have made him famous in the World. [6] But before any thing was brought to effect, the [Page 9] Persons to have been imployed, had their thoughts diverted another way. Nevertheless, there was a MSS. (the Composer whereof is to me unknown) then written, wherein the Subjects proper for this Record, and some Rules for the better managing a design of this nature, are described. In that MSS. I find notable Stories related and attested, which elsewhere I never met with. Particularly, the Story of Mr. Earl of Colchester, and another mentioned in our subsequent Essay.[7] And besides those, there are some very memorable Passages written, which have not as yet been published, so far as I understand. There are in that MSS. several Remarkables about Apparitions, e g. It is there said, that Dr. Frith, (who was one of the Prebends belonging to Windsor) lying on his Bed, the Chamber Doors were thrown open, and a Corps with attending Torches brought to his Bed-side upon a Bier; The Corps representing one of his own Family : After some pause, there was such another shew, till he, the said Dr., his Wife and all his Family were brought in on the Bier m such order as they all soon after died. The Dr. was not then sick, but quickly grew Melancholly, and would rising at Midnight repair to the Graves and monuments at Eaton. [8] Colledge ; saying, that he and his must shortly take up their habitation among the Dead. The Relater of this Story (a Person of great integrity) had it from Dr. Frith's Son, who also added, My Fathers Vision is already Executed upon all the Family but my self, my time is next, and near at hand.

In the mentioned MSS. there is also a marvelous Relation concerning a young Scholar in France : For, it is there affirmed, that this prophane Student, having by extravagant courses outrun his means, in his discontent walking solitarily, a Man came to him, and enquired the cause of his sadness. Which he owning to be want of Money, had presently a supply given him by the other. That being quickly consumed upon [Page 10] his Lusts, as soon as his Money was gone his Discontent returned; and in his former Ws[k, he met with his former Reliever, who again offered to supply him ; but askt him to contract with him to be his, and to sign the contract with his Blood. The woful wretch consented : but not long after, considering that this contract was made with the Devil, the terrors of his Conscience became insupportable; so as that he endeavoured to kill himself to get out of them. Some Ministers, and other Christians, being informed how matters were circumstanced, kept dayes of Prayer for him and with him : and he was carefully watched that so he might be kept from Self-Murder. Still he continued under Terror, and said he should do so, as long as the Covenant which he had signed, remained in the hands of the Devil. Hereupon, the Ministers resolve to keep a day of Fasting and Prayer in that very place of the Field where the distressed creature had made the woful Bargain, setting him in the midst of them. Thus they did, and being with special actings of Faith much enlarged to pray earnestly to the Lord to make known his power over Satan, in constraining him to give up that contract, after some hours continuance in Prayer, a Cloud was seen to spread it self over them, and out of it the very contract signed with the poor creatures Blood was dropped down amongst them; which being taken up and viewed, the party concerned took it, and tore it in pieces. The Relator had this from the mouth of Mr. Beaumond, [9] a Minister of Note at Caon [10] in Normandy, who assured him that he had it from one of the Ministers that did assist in carrying on the Day of prayer when this memorable providence hapned. Nor is the Relation impossible to be true, for Luther speaks of a providence not unlike unto this, which hapned in his Congregation. [11]

This MSS. doth also mention some most Remarkable Judgments of God upon Sinners, as worthy to be Recorded [Page 11] for Posterity to take notice of. It is there said, that when Mr. Richard Juxon was a Fellow of Kings Colledge in Cambridge, he led a most vicious life : and whereas such of the Students as were serious in matters of Religion, did endeavour by solemn Fasting and Prayer to prepare themselves for the Communion which was then (this was about the year 1636) on Easter-Day, This Juxon spent all the time of preparation in Drunken wild Meetings, and was up late and Drunk on the Saturday night. Nevertheless, on the Lords day, he came with others to the Communion, and sat next to the Relator, who knowing his Disorder the night before, was much troubled : but had no remedy ; Church-Discipline not being then so practised as ought to have been. The Corn-munion being ended, such of the Scholars as had the fear of God in their hearts, repaired to their Closets. But this Juxon went immediately to a Drunken-meeting, and there to a Cock-fight, where he fell to his accustomed madness, and pouring out a volley of Oaths and Curses ; while these were between his Lips, God smote him dead in the twk::4e of an eye. And though Juxon were but young, and of a comely person, his Carcase was immediately so corrupted as that the stench of it was insufferable, insomuch that no house would receive it ; and his Friends were forced to hire some base Fellows to watch the Carcase till night ; and then with Pitch and such like Gums covered him in a Coffin, and so made a shift to endure his Interment. There stood by a Scholar, whose name was George Hall, and who acted his paft with Juxon in his prophaneness: but he was so astonished with this amazing Providence of God, as that he fell down upon his knees, begging pardoning mercy from Heaven, and vowing a Reformation; which vow the Lord enabled him to keep, so as that afterwards he became an able and famous Minister of the Gospel.

One strange paasage more I shall here relate out of the MSS. which we have thus far made mention of. Therein l find part of a Letter transcribed ; which is as followeth :

Lismore, Octob. 2.1658. In another part of this Countrey, a poor man being suspected to have stollen a Sheep was questioned for it; he forswore the thing, and wished that if he had stollen it, [Page 12] God would cause the Horns of the Sheep to grow upon him. This man was seen within these few dayes by a Minister of great repute for Piety, who saith, that the Man has an Horn growing out of one corner of his Mouth, just like that of a sheep : from which be hath cut seventeen Inches, and is forced to keep it tyed by a string to his Ear, to prevent its growing up to his eye : This Minister not only saw but felt this Horn, and reported it in this Family this week, as also a Gentleman formerly did, who was himself an eye-witness thereof. Surely such passages are a Demonstrative evidence that there is a God, who judgeth in the Earth, and who though he stay long, will not be mocked alwayes.

I shall say no more concerning the MSS. only that it was sent over to Reverend Mr. Davenport, [12] by (as I suppose) Mr. [13] How it came to lie dormient in his hands I know not: though I had the happiness of special Intimacy with that worthy Man, I do not remember that ever I heard him speak any thing of it. But since his Death, looking over his MSS's I met with this, and communicated it to other Ministers, who highly approved of the noble design aimed at therein. Soon after which, some Proposals in order to the reviving of this work were drawn up, and presented at a general Meeting of the Ministers in this Colony, May 12, 1681, which it may not be unsuitable here to recite.

Some Proposals concerning the Recording of Illustrious Providences.

1. In Order to the promoving [14] of a design of this Nature, so as shall be indeed for Gods Glory, and the good of Posterity, it is [Page 13] necessary that utmost care shall be taken that All, and Only Remarkable Providences be Recorded and Published.

Il. Such Divine Judgements, Tempests, Floods, Earth-quakes, Thunders as are unusual, strange Apparitions, or what ever else shall happen that is Prodigious, Witchcrafts, Diabolical Possessions, Remarkable Judgements upon noted Sinners, eminent Deliverances, and Answers of Prayer, are to be reckoned among Illustrious Providences.

111. Inasmuch as we find in Scripture, as well as in Ecclesiastical History, that the Ministers of God have been improved [15] in the Recording and Declaring the works of the Lord ; and since they are in divers respects under peculiar Advantages tbereunto : It is proposed, that each one in that capacity may diligently enquire into, and Record such Illustrious Providences as have hapned, or from time to time shall happen, in the places whereunto they do belong : and that the Witnesses of such notable Occurrents [16] be likewise set down in Writing.

IV. Although it be true, that this Design cannot be brought unto Perfection in one or two years, yet it is much to be desired that something may be done therein out of hand, as a Specimen of a more large Volurun, that so this work may be set on foot, and Posterity may be encouraged to go on therewith.

V. It is therefore Proposed that the Elders may concurre in desiring some one that hath Leisure and Ability for the management of such an undertaking, with all convenient speed to begin therewith.

VI. And that therefore other Elders do without delay make Enquiry concerning the Remarkable Occurrents that have formerly fallen out, or may fall out hereafter, where they are concerned, and transmit them unto the aforesaid person, according to the Directions above specified, in order to a speedy Publication.

VII. That Notice be given of these Proposals unto our Brethren, the Elders of the Neighbour Colonies, that so we may enjoy their Concurrence, and Assistance herein.

VIII. When any thing of this Nature shall be ready for the Presse, it appears on sundry Grounds very expedient, that it should be read, and approved of at some Meeting of the Elders, before Publication.

These things being Read and Considered. the Author of this Essay was desired to begin the work which is here done; [Page 14] and I am Engaged [17] to many for the Materials and Informations which the following Collections do consist of. It is not easie to give an Account of things, and yet no circumstantial mistakes attend what shall be related. Nor dare I averr, that there are none such in what follows. Only I have been careful to prevent them; and as to the substance of each passage, I am well assured it is according to Truth. That rare accident about the Lightning which caused a wonderful change in the Compasses of a Vessel then at Sea, was as is in the Book expressed, Page 91, 92. Only it is uncertain whether they were then exactly in the Latitude of 38. For they had not taken an Observation for several dayes, but the Master of the Vessel affirms that to be the Latitude so near as they could conjecture. Since the Needle was changed by the Lightning, if a lesser Compass be set over it, the Needle therein (or any other touched with the Load-stone) will alter its polarity and turn about to the South, as I have divers times to my great admiration experimented. There is near the Northpoint a dark spot, like as if it were burnt with a drop of Brimstone, supposed to be caused by the Lightning. Whether the Magnetic impressions on that part of the Needle being dissipated by the heat of the Lightning, and the effluvia on the South end of the Needle only remaining untouched thereby, be the true natural reason of the marvelous alteration ; or whither it ought to be ascribed to some other cause, the Ingenious may consider.

There is another Remarkable Passage about Lightning which hapned at Duxborough [18] in New-England, concerning which I have lately received this following Account.

September 11, 1653, (being the Lords Day) There were small drizling Showers, attended with some seldome and scarce perceiv-able rumbling Thunders until towards the Evening ; at what time Mr. Constant Southworth of Duxbury returning home after evening Exercise, in company with some Neighbours, Discoursing of some extraordinary Thunder-claps with Lightning, and the awful effects and consequents thereof, (being come into his own House) there were present in one room himself, his Wife, two Children, viz. Thomas (he was afterwards drowned) and Benjamin, (he was long after this [Page 15] killed by the Indians) with Philip Delano (a Servant,) there broke perpendicularly over the said House and Room a most awful and amazing clap of Thunder, attended with a violent flash, or rather flame of Lightning; which brake and shivered one of the Needles of the Katted or Wooden Chimney, carrying divers Splinters seven or eight Rods distance from the House: it filled the Room with Smoke and Flame. Set fire in the Thatch of a Leanto which was on the backside of a Room adjoyning to the former, in which the five per-sons abovementioned were. It melted some Pewter, so that it ran into drops on the out-side, as is often seen on Tin ware; melted round holes in the top of a Fire-shovel proportionable in quantity to a small Goose-shot ; struck Mrs. Southworths Arm so that it was for a time benummed ; smote the young Child Benjamin in his Mothers Arms, deprived it of Breath for a space, and to the Mothers apprehension squeased it as flat as a Planck; smote a Dog stone-dead which lay within two foot of Philip Delano, the Dog never moved out of his place or posture, in which he was when smitten, but giving a small yelp, and quivering with his toes, lay still, blood issuing from his Nose or Mouth. It smote the said Philip, made his right Arm senseless for a time, together with the middle finger in special (of his right hand) which was benummed, and turned as white as Chalk or Lime, yet attended with little pain. After some few hours that finger began to recover its proper colour at the Knuckle, and so did gradually whiten unto its extremity ; And although the said Delano felt a most violent heat upon his body, as if he had been scorched in the midst of a violent burning fire, yet his Clothes were not singed, neither had the smell of fire passed thereon.

I could not insert this story in its proper place, because I received it after that Chapter about Thunder and Lightning was Printed. Some credible persons who have been Eye-witnesses of it, inform me, that the Lightning in that House at Duxborough did with the vehemency of its flame, cause the Bricks in the Chimney to melt like molten lead: which particular was as Remarkable as any of the other mentioned in the Narrative, and therefore I thought good here to add it.

In this Essay, I design no more than a Specimen ; And hav-ing (by the good hand of God upon me) set this Wheel a going, I shall leave it unto others, whom God has fitted, and shall incline thereto, to go on with L the undertaking. [19]

[Page 16] Some Digressions I have made in distinct Chapters, handling several considerable Cases of Conscience, supposing it not unprofitable, or improper so to do ; since the things related gave the occasion : both Leisure and Exercise of Judgement re required in the due performance of a Service of this Nature: There are some that have more leisure, and many that have greater Abilities than I have : I expect not that they should make my Method their Standard ; but they may follow a better of their own, as they shall see cause. The Addition of Parallel Stories is both pleasing and edifying: ad my reading and remembrance of things been greater, I might have done more that way, as I hope others will in the next Essay.

I could have mentioned some very memorable Passages of Divine Providence, wherein the Countrey in general hath been concerned. Some Remarkables of that kind are to be seen in my former Relations of the Troubles occasioned by the Indians in New-England [20] There are other particulars no less worthy to be Recorded, but . in my judgement, this is not so proper a season for us to divulge them. It has been in my thoughts to publish a Discourse of Miscellaneous observations, concerning things rare and wonderful, both as to the works of Creation and Providence, which in my small Readings I have met with in many Authors: [21] But this must suffice for the present. I have often wished, that the Natural History of New-England might be written and published to the World ; the Rules and method described by that Learned And excellent person Robert Boyle Esq.[22] being duely observed [Page 17] therein. It would best become some Scholar that has been born in this Land, to do such a service for his Countrey. Nor would I my self decline to put my hand (so far as my small capacity will reach) to so noble an undertaking, did not manifold diversions and employments prevent me from attending that which I should account a profitable Recreation. I have other work upon me, which I would gladly finish before I leave the World, and but a very little time to do it in : Moreover, not many years ago, I lost (and that's an afflictive loss indeed!) several Moneths from study by sickness. Let every God-fearing Reader joyn with me in Prayer, that I may be enabled to redeem the time, and (in all wayes wherein I am capable) to serve my Generation.


Boston in New-England,
January 1, 168(3/4).


Concerning things preternatural which have hapned in New- England. A Remarkable Relation about Ann Cole of Hartford. Concerning several Witches in that Colony. Of the Possessed Maid at Groton. An account of the House in Newberry lately troubled with a Doemon. A parallel Story of an House at Tedworth in England. Concerning another in Hartford. And of one in Portsmouth in New-England lately dis quieted by Evil Spirits. The Relation of a Woman at Barwick in Nev~England molested with Apparitions, and sometimes tormented by invisible Agents.

INASMUCH as things which are praeternatural, and not accomplished without diabolical operation, do more rarely happen,[23] it is pitty but that they should be observed. Several [Page 18] Accidents of that kind have hapned in New-England ; which I shall here faithfully Relate so far as I have been able to come unto the knowledge of them.

Very Remarkable was that Providence wherein Ann Cole of Hartford in New-England was concerned [24]. She was and is accounted a person of real Piety and Integrity. Nevertheless, in the Year 1662, then living in her Fathers House (who has likewise been esteemed a godly Man) She was taken with very strange Fits, wherein her Tongue was improved by a Dsemon to express things which she her self knew nothing of. Sometimes the Discourse would hold for a considerable time. The general purpose of which was, that such and such persons (who were named in the Discourse which passed from her) were consulting how they might carry on mischievous designs against her and several others, mentioning sundry wayes they should take for that end, particularly that they would afflict her Body, spoil her Name, etc. The general answer made amongst the Daemons, was, She runs to the Rock. This having been continued some hours, the Daemons said, Let us confound her Language, that she may tell no more tales. She uttered matters unintelligible. And then the Discourse passed into a Dutch-tone (a Dutch Family [25] then [Page 19] lived in the Town) and therein an account was given of some slllictions that had befallen divers; amongst others, what had befallen a Woman that lived next Neighbour to the Dutch Family, whose Arms had been strangely pinched in the night, declaring by whom and for what cause that course had been taken with her. [26] The Reverend Mr. Stone (then Teacher of the Church in Hartford) [27] being by, when the Discourse hapned, declared, that he thought it impossible for one not familiarly acquainted with the Dutch (which Ann Cole had not in the least been) should so exactly imltate the Dutch-tone in the pronunciation of English. Several Worthy Persons, (viz. Mr. John Whiting, Mr. Samuel Hooker, and Mr. Joseph Hains) [28] wrote the intelligible sayings expressed by Ann Cole, whilest she was thus amazingly handled. The event was that one of the persons (whose Name was Greensmith) being a lewd and ignorant Woman, [29] and then in Pflson on suspicion for Witch-craft, mentioned in the Discourse as active in the mischiefs done and designed, was by the Magistrate sent for; Mr. Whiting and Mr. Haines read what they had written; and the Woman being astonished [Page 20] thereat, confessed those things to be true, and that she and other persons named in this preternatural Discourse, had had familiarity with the Devil : Being asked whether she had made an express Covenant with him, she answered, she had not, only as she promised to go with him when he called, which accordingly she had sundry times done; and that the Devil told her that at Christmass they would have a merry Meeting, and then the Covenant between them should be subscribed. The next day she was more particularly enquired of concerning her Guilt respecting the Crime she was accused with. She then acknowledged, that though when Mr. Hains began to read what he had taken down in Writing, her rage was such that she could have torn him in pieces, and was as resolved as might be to deny her guilt (as she had done before), yet after he had read awhile, she was (to use her own expression) as if her flesh had been pulled from her bones, and so could not deny any longer : She likewise declared, that the Devil first appeared to her in the form of a Deer or Fawn, skipping about her, wherewith she was not much aifrighted, and that by degrees he became very familiar, and at last would talk with her. Moreover, she said that the Devil had frequently the carnal knowledge of her Body. And that the Witches had Meetings at a place not far from her House ; and that some appeared in one shape, and others in another; and one came flying amongst them in the shape of a Crow. Upon this Confession, with other concurrent Evidence, the Woman was Executed; so likewise was her husband, though he did not acknowledge himself guilty [30]. Other persons accused in the Discourse made their escape [31]. Thus doth the [Page 21] Devil use to serve his Clients. Mter the suspected Witches were either executed or fled, Ann Cole was restored to health, and has continued well for many years, approving her self a serious Christian.

There were some that had a mind to try whither [32] the Stories of Witches not being able to sink under water, were true; and accordlngly a Man and Woman mentioned in Ann Cole's Dutch-toned discourse, had their hands and feet tyed, and so were cast into the water, and they both apparently swam after the manner of a Buoy, part under, part above the Water. A by-stander imagining that any person bound in that posture would be so born up, offered himself for trial, but being in the like matter gently laid on the Water, he immediately sunk right down. This was no legal Evidence against the suspected persons ; nor were they proceeded against on any such account; However doubting that an Halter would choak them, though the Water would not, they very fairly took their flight, not having been seen in that part of the World since. Whether this experiment were lawful, or rather Superstitious and Magical, we shall (greek)[33] enquire afterwards. [34]

Another thing which caused a noise in the Countrey, and wherein Satan had undoubtedly a great influence, was that which hapned at Groton [35]. There was a Maid in that Town [Page 22] (one Elizabeth Knap) [36] who in the Moneth of October, Anno 1671, was taken after a very strange manner, sometimes weeping, sometimes laughing, sometimes roaring hideously, with violent motions and agitations of her body, crying out Money, Money, etc. In November following, her Tongue for many hours together was drawn like a semicircle up to the roof of her Mouth, not to be removed, though some tried with their fingers to do it. Six Men were scarce able to hold her in some of her fits, but she would skip about the House yelling and looking with a most frightful Aspect. December 17, Her Tongue was drawn out of her mouth to an extraordinary length; and now a Daemon began manifestly to speak in her. Many words were uttered wherein are the Labial Letters, without any motion of her Lips, which was a clear demonstration that the voice was not her own. Sometimes Words were spoken seeming to proceed out of her throat, when her Mouth was shut. Sometimes with her Mouth wide open, without the use of any of the Organs of speech. The things then uttered by the Devil were chiefly Railings and Revilings of Mr. Willard (who was at that time a Worthy and Faithful Pastor to the Church in Groton.) Mso the Daemon belched forth most horrid and nefandous Blasphemies, exalting himself above the most High. Mter this she was taken speechless for some time. One thing more is worthy of Remark concerning this miserable creature. She cried out in some of her Fits, that a Woman, (one of her Neighbours) appeared to her, and was the cause of her Affliction. The Person thus accused was a very sincere, holy Woman, who did hereupon with the Advice of Friends visit the poor Wretch; and though she was in one of her Fits, having her Eyes shut, [Page 23] when the innocent person impeached by her came in ; yet could she (so powerful were Satans Operations upon her) declare who was there, and could tell the touch of that Woman from any ones else. But the gracious Party thus accused and abused by a malicious Devil, Prayed earnestly with and for the Possessed creature ; after which she confessed that Satan had deluded her, making her believe evil of her good Neighbour without any cause. Nor did she after that complain of any Apparition or Disturbance from such an one.[37] Yea, she said, that the Devil had himself in the likeness and shape of divers tormented her, and then told her it was not he but they that did it.

As there have been several Persons vexed with evil Spirits, so divers Houses have been wofully Haunted by them. In the Year 1679, the House of William Morse in Newberry [38] in New-England, was strangely disquleted by a Daemon. After those troubles began, he did by the Advice of Friends write down the particulars of those unusual Accidents. And the Account which he giveth thereof is as followeth ;

On December 3, in the night time, he and his Wife heard a noise upon the roof of their House, as if Sticks and Stones had been thrown against it with great violence; whereupon he rose out of his Bed, but could see nothing. Locking the Doors fast, he returned to Bed again. About midnight they heard an Hog making a great noise in the House, so that the Man rose again, and found a great Hog in the house, the door being shut, but upon the opening of the door it ran out.

On December 8, in the Morning, there were five great Stones and Bricks by an invisible hand thrown in at the west [Page 24] end of the house while the Mans Wife was making the Bed, the Bedstead was lifted up from the floor, and the Bedstaff [39] flung out of the Window, and a Cat was hurled at her; a long Staff danced up and down in the Chimney; a burnt Brick, and a piece of a weatherboard were thrown in at the Window : The Man at his going to Bed put out his Lamp, but in the Morning found that the Saveall of it was taken away, and yet it was unaccountably brought into its former place [40]. On the same day, the long Staff but now spoken of, was hang'd up by a line, and swung to and fro, the Man's Wife laid it in the fire, but she could not hold it there, inasmuch as it would forcibly fly out ; yet after much ado with joynt strength they made it to burn. A shingle flew from the Window, though no body near it, many sticks came in at the same place, only one of these was so scragged that it could enter the hole but a little way, whereupon the Man pusht it out, a great Rail likewise was thrust in at the Window, so as to break the Glass.

At another time an Iron Crook that was hanged on a Nail violently flew up and down, also a Chair flew about, and at last lighted on the Table where Victuals stood ready for them to eat, and was likely to spoil all, only by a nimble catching they saved some of their Meal with the loss of the rest, and the overturning of their Table.

People were sometimes Barricado'd out of doors, when as yet there was no body to do it : and a Chest was removed from place to place, no hand touching it. Their Keys being tied together, one was taken from the rest, and the remaining two would fly about making a loud noise by knocking against each other. But the greatest part of this Devils feats were his mischievous ones, wherein indeed he was sometimes Antick enough too, and therein the chief sufferers were, the Man and his Wife, and his Grand-Son. The Man especially had his share in these Diabolical Molestations. For one while [Page 25] they could not eat their Suppers quietly, but had the Ashes on the Hearth before their eyes thrown into their Victuals . yea, and upon their heads and Clothes, insomuch that they were forced up into their Chamber, and yet they had no rest there; for one of the Man's Shoes being left below, 'twas filled with Ashes and Coals, and thrown up after them. Their Light was beaten out, and they being laid in their Bed with their little Boy between them, a great stone (from the Floor of the Loft) weighing above three pounds was thrown upon the mans stomach, and he turning it down upon the floor, it was once more thrown upon him. A Box and a Board were likewise thrown upon them all. And a Bag of Hops was taken out of their Chest, wherewith they were beaten, till some of the Hops were scattered on the floor, where the Bag was then laid, and left.

In another Evening, when they sat by the fire, the Ashes were so whirled at them, that they could neither eat their Meat, nor endure the House. A Peel [41] struck the Man in the face. An Apron hanging by the fire was flung upon it, and singed before they could snatch it off. The Man being at Prayer with his Family, a Beesom [42] gave him a blow on his head behind, and fell down before his face.

On another day, when they were Winnowing of Barley, some hard dirt was thrown in, hitting the Man on the Head, and both the Man and his Wife on the back; and when they had made themselves clean, they essayed to fill their half Bushel but the foul Corn was in spite of them often cast in amongst the clean, and the Man being divers times thus abused was forced to give over what he was about.

On January 23 (in particular) the Man had an iron Pin twice thrown at him, and his Inkhorn was taken away from him while he was writing, and when by all his seeking it he could not find it, at last he saw it drop out of the Air, down by the fire : a piece of Leather was twice thrown at him; and a shoe was laid upon his shoulder, which he catching at, was suddenly rapt from him. An handful of Ashes was thrown at his face, and upon his clothes : and the shoe was [Page 26] then clapt upon his head, and upon it he clapt his hand, holding it so fast, that somewhat unseen pulled him with it backward on the floor.

On the next day at night, as they were going to Bed, a lost Ladder was thrown against the Door, and their Light put out; and when the Man was a bed, he was beaten with an heavy pair of Leather Breeches, and pull'd by the Hair of his Head and Beard, Pinched and Scratched, and his Bed-board [43] was taken away from him; yet more in the next night, when the Man was likewise a Bed; his Bed-board did rise out of its place, notwithstanding his putting forth all his strength to keep it in ; one of his Awls [44] was brought out of the next room into his Bed, and did prick him; the clothes wherewith he hoped to save his head from blows were violently pluckt from thence. Within a night or two after, the Man and his Wife received both of them a blow upon their heads, but it was so dark that they could not see the stone which gave it ; the Man had his Cap pulled off from his head while he sat by the fire.

The night following, they went to bed undressed, because of their late disturbances, and the Man, Wife, Boy, presently felt themselves pricked, and upon search found in the Bed a Bodkin, a knitting Needle, and two sticks picked [45] at both ends. He received also a great blow, as on his Thigh, so on his Face, which fetched blood : and while he was writing a Candlestick was twice thrown at him, and a great piece of Bark fiercely smote him, and a pail of Water turned up without hands. On the 28 of the mentioned Moneth, frozen clods of Cow-dung were divers times thrown at the man out of the house in which they were ; his Wife went to milk the Cow, and received a blow on her head, and sitting down at her Milking-work had Cow-dung divers times thrown into her Pail, the Man tried to save the Milk, by holding a Piggin[46] side-wayes under the Cowes belly, but the Dung would in for all, and the Milk was only made fit for Hogs. On that night ashes were th rown into the porridge which they had made ready for the Supper, so as that they could not eat [Page 27] it ; Ashes were likewise often thrown into the Man's Eyes, as he sat by the fire. And an iron Hammer flying at him, gave him a great blow on his back; the Man's Wife going into the Cellar for Beer, a great iron Peel [47] flew and fell after her through the trap-door of the Cellar ; and going afterwards on the same Errand to the same place, the door shut down upon her, and the Table came and lay upon the door, and the man was forced to remove it e're his Wife could be released from where she was; on the following day while he was Writing, a dish went out of its place, leapt into the pale, and cast Water upon the Man, his Paper, his Table, and dis-appointed his procedure in what he was about ; his Cap jumpt off from his head, and on again, and the Pot-lid leapt off from the Pot into the Kettle on the fire.

February 2. While he and his Boy were eating of Cheese, the pieces which he cut were wrested from them, but they were afterwards found upon the Table under an Apron, and a pair of Breeches : And also from the fire arose little sticks and Ashes, which flying upon the Man and his Boy, brought them into an uncomfortable pickle; But as for the Boy, which the last passage spoke of, there remains much to be said concerning him, and a principal sufferer in these afflictions: For on the 18 of December, he sitting by his Grandfather, was hurried into great motions and the Man thereupon took him, and made him stand between his Legs, but the Chair danced up and down, and had like to have cast both Man and Boy into the fire : and the Child was afterwards flung about in such a manner, as that they feared that his Brains would have been beaten out; and in the evening he was tossed as afore, and the Man tried the project of holding him , but ineffectually. The Lad was soon put to Bed, and they presently heard an huge noise, and demanded what was the matter? and he answered that his Bed-stead leaped up and down : and they (i. e. the Man and his Wife) went up, and at first found all quiet, but before they had been there long, they saw the Board [48] by his Bed trembling by him, and the Bed-clothes flying off him, the latter they laid on immediately, but they were no sooner on than off ; so they took him out of his Bed for quietness.

[Page 28] December 29 The Boy was violently thrown to and fro, only they carried him to the house of a Doctor in the Town, and there he was free from disturbances, but returning home at night, his former trouble began, and the Man taking him by the hand, they were both of them almost tript into the fire. They put him to bed, and he was attended with the same iterated loss of his clothes, shaking off his Bed-board, and Noises, that he had in his last conflict; they took him up, designing to sit by the fire, but the doors clattered, and the Chair was thrown at him, wherefore they carried him to the Doctors house, and so for that night all was well. The next morning he came home quiet, but as they were doing somewhat, he cried out that he was prickt on the back, they looked, and founci a three-tin'd Fork sticking strangely there; which being carried to the Doctors house, not only the Doctor himself said that it was his, but also the Doctors Servant affirmed it was seen at home after the Boy was gone. The Boys vexations continuing, they left him at the Doctors, where he remained well till awhile after, and then he com-plained he was pricked, they looked and found an iron Spindle sticking below his back; he complained he was pricked still, they looked, and found Pins in a Paper sticking to his skin; he once more complained of his Back, they looked, and found there a long Iron, a bowl of a Spoon, and a piece of a Pansheard. They lay down by him on the Bed, with the Light burning, but he was twice thrown from them, and the second time thrown quite under the Bed; in the Morning the Bed was tossed about with such a creaking noise, as was heard to the Neighbours ; in the afternoon their knives were one after another brought, and put into his back, but pulled out by the Spectators; only one knife which was missing seemed to the standers by to come out of his Mouth : he was bidden to read his Book, was taken and thrown about several times, at last hitting the Boys Grandmother on the head. Another time he was thrust out of his Chair and rolled up and down with out cries, that all things were on fire ; yea, be was three times very dangerously thrown into the fire, and preserved by his Friends with much ado. The Boy also made for a long time together a noise like a Dog, and like an Hen with her Chickens, and could not speak rationally.

[Page 29] Particularly, on December 26. He barked like a Dog, and clock't like an Hen, and after long distraining to speak, said, there's Powel, I am pinched; his Tongue likewise hung out of his mouth, so as that it could by no means be forced in till his Fit was over, and then he said 'twas forced out by Powel. [49] He and the house also after this had rest till the ninth of January : at which time because of his intolerable ravings, and because the Child lying between the Man and his Wife, was pulled out of Bed, and knockt so vehemently against the Bedstead Boards, [50] in a manner very perillous and amazing. In the Day time he was carried away beyond all possibility of their finding him. His Grandmother at last saw him creeping on one side, and drag'd him in, where he lay miserable lame, but recovering his speech, he said, that he was carried above the Doctors house, and that Powel carried him, and that the said Powel had him into the Barn, throwing him against the Cart-wheel there, and then thrusting him out at an hole; and accordingly they found some of the Remainders of the Threshed Barley which was on the Barn-floor hanging to his Clothes.

At another time he fell into a Swoon, they forced somewhat Refreshing into his mouth, and it was turned out as fast as they put it in ; e're long he came to himself, and expressed some wilinguess to eat, but the Meat would forcibly fly out of his mouth; and when he was able to speak, he said Powel would not let him eat : Having found the Boy to be best at a Neighbours house, the Man carried him to his Daughters, three miles from his own. The Boy was growing antick as he was on the Journey, but before the end of it he made a grievous hollowing, and when he lighted, he threw a great stone at a Maid in the house, and fell on eating of Ashes. Being at home afterwards, they had rest awhile, but on the 19 of January in the Morning he swooned, and coming to himself, he roared terribly, and did eat Ashes, Sticks, Rugyarn. The Morning following, there was such a racket with [Page 30] the Boy, that the Man and his Wife took him to Bed to them. A Bed-staff was thereupon thrown at them, and a Chamber pot with its Contents was thrown upon them, and they were severely pinched. The Man being about to rise, his Clothes were divers times pulled from them, himself thrust out of his Bed, and his Pillow thrown after him. The Lad also would have his clothes plucked off from him in these Winter Nights, and was wofully dogg'd with such fruits of Devilish spite, till it pleased God to shorten the Chain of the wicked Daemon.

All this while the Devil did not use to appear in any visible shape, only they would think they had hold of the Hand that sometimes scratched them ; but it would give them the slip. And once the Man was discernably beaten by a Fist, and an Hand got hold of his Wrist which he saw, but could not catch; and the likeness of a Blackmore[51] Child did appear from under the Rugg and Blanket, where the Man lay, and it would rise up, fall down, nod and slip under the clothes when they endeavoured to clasp it, never speaking any thing.

Neither were there many Words spoken by Satan all this time, only once having put out their Light, they heard a scrapmg on the Boards, and then a Piping and Drumming on them, which was followed with a Voice, singing, Revenge! Revenge! Sweet is Revenge! And they being well terrified with it, called upon God; the issue of which was, that suddenly with a mournful Note, there were six times over uttered such expressions as, Mas! Mas! me knock no more! me knock no more! and now all ceased.

The Man does moreover affirm, that a Seaman (being a Mate of a Ship) coming often to visit him, told him that they wronged his Wife who suspected her to be guilty of Witchcraft; and that the Boy (his Grandchild) was the cause of this trouble; and that if he would let him have the Boy one day, he would warrant him his house should be no more troubled as it had been ; to which motion he consented. The Mate came the next day betimes, and the Boy was with him until night ; after which his house he saith was not for some time molested with evil Spirits.

Thus far is the Relation concerning the Daemon at William [Page 31] Morse his House in Newbery. [52] The true Reason of these strange disturbances is as yet not certainly known : some (as has been hinted) did suspect Morse's Wife to be guilty of Witchcraft.

One of the Neighbours took Apples which were brought out of that house and put them into the fire; upon which they say, their houses were much disturbed. Another of the Neigh-bours, caused an Horse-shoe to be nailed before the doors, and as long as it remained so, they could not perswade the suspected person to go into the house ; but when the Horse-shoe was gone, she presently visited them. I shall not here inlarge upon the vanity and superstition of those Experiments, [Page 32] reserving that for another place : All that I shall say at present is, that the Daemons whom the blind Gentiles of old worshipped, told their Servants, that such things as these would very much affect them ; yea, and that certain Characters, Signs and Charms would render their power ineffectual; and accordingly they would become subject, when their own directions were obeyed. It is sport to the Devils when they see silly Men thus deluded and made fools of by them. Others were apt to think that a Seaman [53] by some suspected to be a Conjurer, set the Devil on work thus to disqulet Morse's Family. Or it may be some other thing as yet kept hid in the secrets of providence might be the true original of all this Trouble.

A Disturbance not much unlike to this hapned above twenty years ago, at an house in Tedworth, in the County of Wilts in England, which was by wise men judged to pro-ceed from Conjuration.

Mr. Mompesson of Tedworth being in March 1661, at Lungershall,[54] and hearing a Drum beat there, he demanded of the Bailiff of the Town what it meant, who told him, they had for some dayes been troubled with an idle Drummer, pretending Authority, and a Pass under the hands of some Gentlemen. Mr. Mompesson reading his Pass, and knowing the hands of those Gentlemen, whose Names were pretended to be subscribed, discovered the Cheat, and commanded the Vagrant to put off his Drum, and ordered a Constable to secure him : but not long after he got clear of the Constable. In April following, Mr Momposson's house was much disturbed with Knockings, and with Drummings; for an hour together a Daemon would beat Round-heads and Cuckolds, the Tattoo and several other points of War as well as any Drummer. On November 5, The Daemon made a great noise in the House, and caused some Boards therein to move to and fro in the day time when there was an whole room full of People present. At his departure, he left behind him a Sulphurous smell, which was very offensive. The next night, Chairs walked up and down the Room; the Childrens Shoes were hurled over their heads. The Minister of the Town being there, a Bed-staff was thrown at him, and hit him on the Leg, but without the least hurt. In the latter end of December, 1662, They heard a noise like the jingling of Money, the occasion of which was thought to De, some words spoken the night before, by one in the Family; [Page 33] who said that Fairies used to leave money behind them, and they wished it might be so now. In January Lights were seen in the House, which seemed blue and glimmering, and caused a great stiffness in the eyes of them that saw them. One in the room (by what Authority I cannot tell) said, "Satan, if the Drummer set thee a work give three knocks and no more", which was done accordingly. Once when it was very sharp severe Weather, the room was suddenly filled with a Noisome smell, and was very hot though without fire. This Daemon would play some nasty and many ludicrous foolish tricks. It would empty Chamber-pots into the Beds; ; and fill Porringers with Ashes. Sometimes it would not suffer any light to be in the room, but would carry them away up the Chimney. Mr. Mompesson coming one morning into his Stable, found his Horse on the ground, having one of his hinder legs in his mouth, and so fastened there, that it was difficult for several men with a Leaver to get it out. A Smith lodging in the House, heard a noise in the room, as if one had been shoeing an Horse, and somewhat come as it were with a Pincers snipping at the Smith's Nose, most part of the night. The Drummer was under vehement suspicion for a Conjurer. He was condemned to Transportation. All the time of his restraint and absence, the House was quiet. See Mr. Glanvil's Collection of Mod-ern Relations, P.71, etc. [55]

But I proceed to give an account of some other things lately hapning in New-England, which were undoubtedly praeternatural, and not without Diabolical operation. The last year did afford several Instances, not unlike unto those which have been mentioned. For then Nicholas Desborough of Hartford in New-England was strangely molested by stones, pieces of earth, cobs of Indian Corn, etc., falling upon and about him, which sometimes came in through the door, sometimes through the Window, sometimes down the Chimney, at other times they seemed to fall from the floor of the Chamber, which yet was very close ; sometimes he met with them in his Shop, the Yard, the Barn, and in the Field at work. In the House, such things hapned frequently, not only in the night but in the day time, if the Man himself was at home, but never when his Wife was at home alone. There was no [Page 34] great violence in the motion, though several persons of the Family and others also were struck with the things that were thrown by an invisible hand, yet they were not hurt thereby. Only the Man himself had once his Arm somewhat pained by a blow given him; and at another time, blood was drawn from one of his Legs by a scratch given it. This molestation began soon after a Controversie arose between Desborough and another person, about a Chest of Clothes which the other said that Desberough did unrighteously retain : and so it continued for some Moneths (though with several intermissions) . In the latter end of the last year, when also the Man's Barn was burned with the Corn in it . but by what means it came to pass is not known. Not long after, some to whom the matter was referred, ordered Desberough to restore the Clothes to the Person who complained of wrong; smce which he hath not been troubled as before. Some of the stones hurled were of considerable bigness; one of them weighed four pounds, but generally the stones were not great, but very small ones. One time a piece of Clay came down the Chimney, falling on the Table which stood at some distance from the Chimney. The People of the House threw it on the Hearth, where it lay a considerable time : they went to their Supper, and whilest at their Supper, the piece of Clay was lifted up by an invisible hand, and fell upon the Table; taking it up, they found it hot, having lain so long before the fire, as to cause it to be hot. [56]

Another Providence no less Remarkable than this last mentioned, hapned at Portsmouth in New-England, about the same time : concerning which I have received the following account from a Worthy hand. [57]

[Page 35] On June 11, 1682, Being the Lords Day, at night showers of stones were thrown both against the sides and roof of the house of George Walton: [58] some of the People went abroad, found the Gate at some distance from the house, wrung off the Hinges, and stones; came thick about them : sometimes falling down by them, sometimes touching them without any hurt done to them, though they seemed to come with great force, yet did no more but softly touch them; Stones flying about the room the Doors being shut. The Glass-Windows shattered to pieces by stones that seemed to come not from without but within; the Lead of the Glass Casements, Window-Bars, etc. being driven forcibly outwards, and so standing bent. While the Secretary [59] was walking in the room a great Hammer came brushing along against the Chamber floor that was over his head, and fell down by him. A Candlestick beaten off the Table. They took up nine of the stones and marked them, and laid them on the Table, some of them being as hot as if they came out of the fire; but some of those mark't stones were found flying about again. In this manner, about four hours space that night : The Secretary then went to bed, but a stone came and broke up his Chamber-:loor, being put to (not lockt), a Brick was sent upon the like Errand. The abovesaid Stone the Secretary lockt up in his Chamber, but it was [Page 36] fetched out, and carried with great noise into the next Chamber The Spit was carried up Chimney, and came down with the point forward, and stuck in the Back-log, and being removed by one of the Company to one side of the Chimney, was by an unseen hand thrown out at Window. This trade was driven on the next day, and so from Day to Day, now and then there would be some intermission, and then to it again. The stones were most frequent where the Master of the house was, whether in the Field or Barn, etc. A black Cat was seen once while the Stones came and was shot at, but she was too nimble for them. Some of the Family say, that they once saw the appearance of an hand put forth at the Hall Window, throwing stones towards the Entry, though there was no body in the Hall the while : sometimes a dismal hollow whistling would be heard; sometimes the noise of the trotting of an horse, and snorting but nothing seen. The Man went up the great Bay in his Boat to a Farm he had there, and while haling Wood or Timber to the Boat he was disturbed by the Stones as before at home. He carried a stirrup iron from the house down to the Boat, and there left it; but while he was going up to the house, the iron came jingling after him through the Woods;, and returned to the house, and so again, and at last went away, and was heard of no more. Their Anchor leapt overboard several times as they were going home and stopt the boat. A Cheese hath been taken out of the Press and crumbled all over the floor. A piece of Iron with which they weighed up the Cheese-press stuck into the Wall, and a Kittle hung up thereon. Several Cocks; of English-hay [60] mowed near the house were taken and hung upon Trees ; and some made into small whisps, and put all up and down the Kitchin, Cum multis aliis, [61] etc. Mter this manner, have they been treated ever since at times ; it were endless to particularize. Of late they thought the bitterness of Death had been past, being quiet for sundry dayes and nights : but last week were some Returnings again; and this week (Aug. 2, 1682) as bad or worse than ever. The Man is sorely hurt with some of the Stones that came on him, and like to feel the effects of them for many dayes.

Thus far is that Relation.

I am moreover informed, that the Daemon was quiet all the last Winter, but in the Spring he began to play some ludicrous tricks, carrying away some Axes that were locked up [Page 37] safe. This last Summer he has not made such disturbances as formerly. But of this no more at present.[62]

There have been strange and true Reports concerning a Woman now living near the Salmon Fails in Barwick [63] (formerly called Kittery) unto whom Evil Spirits have sometimes visibly appeared; and she has sometimes been sorely tormented by invisible hands: Concerning all which, an Intelligent Person has sent me the following Narrative.[64]

A Brief Narrative of sundry Apparitions of Satan unto and Assaults at sundry times and places upon the Person of Mary the Wife of Antonio Hortodo, dwelling near the Salmon Falls: Taken from her own mouth, Aug.13, 1683.

In June 1682 (the day forgotten) at Evening, the said Mary heard a voice at the door of her Dwelling, saying, What do you here? about an hour after, standing at the Door of her House, she had a blow on her Eye that settled her head near to the Door post, and two or three dayes after, a Stone, as she judged about half a pound or a pound weight, was thrown along the house within into the Chimney, and going to take it up it was gone ; all the Family was in the house, and no hand appearing which might be instrumental in throwing the stone. About two hours after, a Frying-pan then hanging in the Chimney was heard to ring so loud, that not only those in the house heard it, but others also that lived on the other side of the River near an hundred Rods distant or more. Whereupon the said Mary and her Husband going in a Cannoo over the River, they [Page 38] saw like the head of a man new-shorn, and the tail of a white Cat about two or three foot distance from each other, swimming over before the Cannoo, but no body appeared to joyn head and tail together; and they returning over the River in less than an hours time, the said Apparition followed their Cannoo back again, but disappeared at Landing. A day or two after, the said Mary was stricken on her head (as she judged) with a stone, which caused a Swelling and much soreness on her head, being then in the yard by her house, and she presently entring into her house was bitten on both Arms black and blue, and one of her Breasts scratched; the impressions of the Teeth being like Mans Teeth, were plainly seen by many : Whereupon deserting their House to sojourn at a Neighbours on the other side of the River, there appeared to s;aid Mary in the house of her sojourning, a Woman clothed with a green Safeguard, a short blue Cloak, and a white Cap, making a profer to strike her with a Firebrand, but struck her not. The Day following the same shape appeared again to her, but now arrayed with a gray Gown, white Apron, and white Head-clothes, in appearance laughing several times, but no voice heard. Since when said Mary has been freed from those Satanical Molestations.

But the said Antonio being returned in March last with his Family, to dwell again in his own house, and on his entrance there, hearing the noise of a Man walking in his Chamber, and seeing the boards buckle under his feet as he walked, though no man to be seen in the Chamber (for they went on purpose to look) he returned with his Family to dwell on the other side of the River; yet planting his Ground though he forsook his House, he hath had five Rods of good Log-fence thrown down at once, the feeting of Neat Cattle plainly to be seen almost between every Row of Corn in the Field yet no Cattle seen there, nor any damage done to his Corn, not so much as any of the Leaves of the Corn cropt.

Thus far is that Narrative.

I am further informed, that some (who should have been wiser) advised the poor Woman to stick the House round with Bayes, as an effectual preservative against the power of Evil Spirits. This Counsel was followed. And as long as the Bayes continued green, she had quiet ; but when they began to wither, they were all by an unseen hand carried away, and the Woman again tormented.

It is observable, that at the same time three Houses in three several Towns should be molested by Daemons, as has now been related.


[1] As to his career see especially the careful study of Sibley, in his Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Harvard University (henceforward to be cited as Harvard Graduates), I. 410-470, and the authorities there named.

[2] "Sadducism Triumphed Over." More spells it Saducismus; but this was not Glanvill’s usage, and the later editions have a double d.

[3] It is true the book of Mather is not wholly on "the world of spirits": other "providences" fill half the volume. But it is more largely so than any earlier collection of its sort, and in this the author’s interest clearly centres.

[4] This is the wording of what is believed the earliest impression of the title-page. It has a misprint in the first citation of scripture : "Psal. 107.5" should be Psal. 107.8.

[5] As the author signs his preface on January 1, 1684 (and he used our present calendar), the design of twenty-six years before must belong to 1658 or thereabouts. At that time he was himself in the British Isles and in close touch with their leading Puritan divines : it is highly probable that he speaks of the project from personal knowledge.

[6] Matthew Poole (1624-1679) was one of the most ablest scholars among the English Presbyterians. Educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, like so many of the religious leaders of New England, he was first a pastor in London, but, ejected in 1662 by the Act of Uniformity, devoted himself to scholarship, and is best known by the Synopsis Criticorum, into whose five huge folios (1669-1676) he condensed the substance of earlier commentators on the Scriptures. Of his scheme for the recording of illustrious providences we know only what is here told us.

[7] These stories are told in the chapter on "Apparitions", not here reprinted.

[8] Eton

[9] Jean de Baillehache, seigneur de Beaumont. Two of the name, father and son, held in succession the Huguenot pastorate at Caen, and were of like eminence.

10] Caen

[11] The "providence" he means is that related by Samuel Clarke (Mirrour…of Examples, fourth ed., London, 1671- the edition used by Mather-I. 34) of a young man at Wittenburg whose contract the devil threw in at the church window.

[12] John Davenport (1597-1670), one of the most eminent of the Puritan divines, who, after a career as preacher in London and in Amsterdam, came in 1637 to New England and became the founder and leader of the New Haven theocracy. When at last that colony was merged in that of Connecticut he accepted (1668) the call of the conservative First Church in Boston, and there died.

[13] Samuel Hartlib (c. 1600-c. 1670), son of a Polish merchant of German extraction and of an English mother, was born in Prussia, but spent most of his life in New England. He is perhaps best known as the friend of Milton; but "everybody knew Hartlib." By business a merchant, he was deeply interested in religious affairs, and had a wide correspondence with Protestant scholars throughout Christendom, laboring for their union and incidentally carrying on at London a sort of general news agency. Writing September 3, 1661, to Governor Winthrop of Connecticut, Hartlib sends therewith "a small packet" for Mr. Davenport, to whom he "cannot write for the present." (Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, 1878, p. 212.)

[14] Promoting.

[15] Made good use of : the usual meaning of "improve" in these narratives.

[16] Occurrences.

[17] Indebted.

[18] Duxbury, Massachusetts.

[19] We shall see how this suggestion fruited in the Memorable Providences and the Wonders of his son Cotton; and in 1694 the President and Fellows of Harvard College (Increase Mather being himself the President, and Cotton one of the eight fellows) addressed once more to the ministers of New England an appeal for the recording and reporting of "remarkables." It may be found in bk. VI. Of Cotton Mather’s Magnalia (1702), at the head of his collection of such providences, into which he incorporated many of those already related by his father.

[20] He doubtless means both his A Brief History of the War with the Indians in New-England (Boston, 1676) and his A Relation of the Troubles which have hapned in New-England (Boston 1677).

[21] This project was never carried out.

[22] Robert Boyle (1627-1691) was then the glory of English Science. But he was also governor of the Corporation for the Spread of the Gospel in New England. His "Heads for the Natural History of a Country" may be found in vol. III. (pp. 5-14) of his Philosophical Works (London, 1725).

[23] More rarely, that is, than those supernatural wonders that proceed from God. It is of these-of "remarkable sea deliverances, of "other remarkable preservations," of "remarkables about thunder and lightning"-that earlier chapters have told. In chapter IV., however, the author argues that thunderstorms are sometimes the work of Satan, and he is now ready to take up Satanic marvels.

[24] This story was reported by the Rev. John Whiting, from 1660 a pastor at Hartford, the home of his family, in a letter of December 4, 1682, now in the keeping of the Boston Public Library and published (1868) in the Mather Papers (Mass. Hist. Soc., Collections, fourth series, VIII.) at pp. 466-469. The incidents occurred in 1662. This was by no means the earliest of Connecticut’s witch cases. On these in general see the sane and lucid study of C.H. Levermore, in the New Englander, XLIV. (1885), 788-817, and, condensed, in the New England Magazine, new series, VI. (1892), 636-644; also F. Morgan’s in Connecticut as a Colony and as a State (Hartford, 1904), I 205-229, and in the American Historical Magazine, I. (1906), 216-238; and J.M. Taylor’s little monograph, The Witchcraft Delusion in Colonial Connecticut (New York, 1908). On this episode in particular and the surviving records see also C.J. Hoadly, "A Case of Witchcraft in Hartford," in the Connecticut Magazine, V. (1899), 557-560.

[25] The name of this Dutch Family, as appears from a letter of Governor Stuyvesant of New Amsterdam addressed October 13, 1662, to the authorities at Hartford, was Varleth, or Varlet. Stuyvesant accredits his brother-in-law (Capt. Nichlas Varleth), now "necessitated to make a second voyage" to aid "his distressed sister Judith Varleth, "imprisoned on the charge of witchcraft, and urges on her behalf "her well-known education, life, conversation, and profession of faith"-and with success, for this Judith, becoming at her father’s death his heiress, repaired to New Netherland and there (1666) marrying Stuyvesant’s able nephew, Nicholas Bayard, shared with him his notable role in the life of that colony. See Walker, History of the First Church in Hartford (Hartford, 1884), p. 177, note; Taylor (as above), pp. 151-152; Connecticut Colonial Records, 1636-1665, p. 387; Documents relating to the Colonial History of New York , XIV. 518; Records of New Amsterdam (New York, 1897), V. 130, 137; New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, X. (1879), 35-36.

[26] She was, says Mr. Whiting, as sister of one of the ministers in Hartford. Of Mr. Whiting himself?

[27] Samuel Stone (1602-1663), educated at Cambridge, came to Massachusetts in 1633 with Cotton ad Hooker, became the latter's associate and pastorate, and took part with him in 1636 in the founding of Hartford, where he remained a minister till his death. As to both Stone and Whiting (and as to this episode) see especially Walker, History of the First Church in Hartford (Hartford, 1884).

[28] By "Mr. John Whiting" (see preceding notes) is of course meant Mather's informant himself; but in his letter he says that he "came into the house some time after the discourse began." Hooker, a son of the founder of Connecticut colony and, like Whiting, of the Harvard Class of 1653, had in 1662 just become pastor at the neighboring Farmington. Haynes (1641-1679), son of the governor, was an incipient divine, destined in 1664 to succeed Stone as Whiting's fellow pastor at Hartford.

[29] "cosiderably aged," adds Whiting. She had twice been married before she became the wife of Nathaniel Greensmith, and by her first husband, Abraham Elson, had two daughters, who were now aged about seventeen and fifteen.

[30] Nathaniel Greensmith and Rebecca his wife were hanged at Hartford in January, 1663. They seem to have been well-to-do, but not over-reputable, people. The Greensmiths, Whiting tells us, lived next door to the Coles. "The instance of the witch executed at Hartford," says Mather in his next chapter, "considering the circmstances of that confession, is as convictive a proof as most single examples I have met with." And of Ann Cole he elsewhere adds (Providences, ch. IV.): "I am informed, that when Matthew Cole was killed with the lightning at North-Hampton, the daemons which disturbed his sister, Ann Cole (forty miles distant), in Hartford, spoke of it, intimating their concurrence in that terrible accident."

[31] Beside the Greensiths and perhaps Judith Varlet there was implicated by Ann Cole a "Goodwife Seager," and Goodwife Greensmith is known to have mentioned several as accomplices, among them Judith Varlet and Goodwife Ayres. The latter and her husband are believed to be the "Man and Woman" told of in the next paragraph.

[32] Whether

[33] "With God," i.e., God Willing.

[34] This was, of course, the well known "water test" for witches. Its origin in witch procedure is obscure; but it gained vogue in the later sixteenth century, finding its chief spokesman in the German schoolmaster Scribonius. As administered on the Continent, the witch was "cross-bound," i.e., with right thumb made fast to left great-toe and left thumb to right great-toe, and then flung, or let down, supine into the water (usually thrice in succession), and was counted guilty on failure to sink wholly under the water. The theory was that the pure element refused to receive a witch into its bosom or that dealing with Satan made the witch too light to sink-reputed phenomena which found many explanations. Rejected by the majority, both of jurists and theologians, the practice eventually lived on only as an illegal procedure of the mob. In pages not here reprinted Increase Mather discusses it and sharply condemns it as superstitious.

[35] This case was reported by the Rev. Samuel Willard (1640-1707), who had witnessed it as pastor at Groton, but who from 1678 to his death was the eminent minister of the Old South Church in Boston. The exceedingly minute and exact account is not a letter to Mather, but an inclosure in one, and is clearly a contemporary journal completed in January, 1672, when the episode was barely at an end. It is printed full in the Mather Papers (Mass. Hist. Soc., Collections, fourth series, VIII.) at pp.555-570, and yet with greater care by Dr. S.A. Green, in his Groton in the Witchcraft Times (Groton, 1883), pp.7-21. No document is more fundamental to the study of New England witchcraft. Mather's brief summary is but a hint of it's contents; but he must have used other sources as well (perhaps a lost letter of inclosure and doubtless Willard's sermon on the subject, printed in 1673 with others in his Useful Instructions).

[36] A girl of sixteen-born April 21, 1655 (Green, Groton, p.6).

[37] Very different as to this kernel of the story is Willard's MS.: "She declared that if the party were apprehended shee should forthwith bee well, but never till then; whereupon her father went, and procured the coming of the woman impeached by her, who came downe to her on Thursday night, where (being desired to be present) I observed that she was violently handled, and lamentably tormented by the adversarye, and uttered unusual shrieks at the instant of the persons coming in, though her eyes were fast closed: but having experience of such former actings, wee made nothing of it, but waited the issue: God therefore was sought to, to signifye something whereby the innocent might bee acquitted, or the guilty discovered, and hee answered our prayers, for by 2 evident and cleere mistakes she was cleered, and then all prejudices ceased, and she never more to this day hath impeached her of any apparition."

[38] Newbury

[39] A "bedstaff" was a stick used to help in making a bed which stood in a recess, and the same name was given to the stick then fixed to the side of a bed to keep the bed-clothes from falling off: doubtless the same staff served both purposes. Later in this account we shall find it called a "bed-board": at least Cotton Mather, repeating the tale in his Magnalia, identifies the two.

[40] The "lamp" was of course a candle, and the "saveall" was a contrivance at the base enabling the wick to burn to the very bottom without waste.

[41] A fire-shovel; or a similar implement for getting things into an oven or out of it.

[42] A broom.

[43] See p.24, note 39.

[44] Morse was a shoemaker.

[45] Pointed, sharpened.

[46] A small wooden pail, with one stave long, to serve as a handle.

[47] See p. 25, note 41.

[48] See p.24, note 39.

[49] This sentence is clearly of the nature of an interplotation; for the "rest" mentioned in the following clause must date from the events narrated in the preceding paragraph. The "Powel" meant was of course Caleb Powell-see p. 31, note 52.

[50] See p. 24, note 39; yet head-board and foot-board may here be meant.

[51] Blackamoor, negro.

[52] This "relation" was undoubtedly received from the Rev. Joshua Moodey, then minister at Portsmouth, in a letter of August 23, 1683 (Mather Papers, pp. 361-362); for a postscript speaks of its enclosure and says that he had it from William Morse himself. That Morse was its author we know only from Mather. Happily, there exist also many documents of the two witch-trials arising from the affair-those of Caleb Powell and Mrs. Morse. Some of these, preserved in the court records at Salem, were printed by Joshua Coffin in his History of Newbury (Boston, 1845), at pp. 122-134; and again, more carefully, with others, by W.E. Woodward in his Records of Salem Witchcraft (Boston, 1864), II. 251-261. Others, which had strayed from public keeping, were published by S. G. Drake, then their owner, in an appendix (pp. 258-296) to his Annals of Witchcraft (Boston, 1869), in which he summarizes the story (pp. 141-150). Two (her conviction at Boston and her release) have been printed in the Records of the Court of Assistants, I. (Boston, 1901), pp. 159, 189-190. Others still are in the Massuchusetts archives (vol. CXXXV., fol. 11-19), where they have been used by Mr. W. F. Poole (see, in the N.E. Hist. and Gen. Register, XXIV., his note, p. 386, to an unpublished draft of Governor Hutchinson's account). These documents supplement, and sometimes correct, the relation of Morse. Thus, from sworn statements of December, 1679 (Coffin, Newbury, pp. 124, 131-133), it is clear that the events above ascribed to December 3 belong to Novemeber 27, that the grandson's name was John Stiles, that the "seaman" who charged him with the mischief was Caleb Powell, who was indicted for witchcraft on December 8 (the day on which the disturbances were resumed) and was tried at Ipswich in March. He succeeded in clearing himself, but at the cost of Goodwife Morse. She was a midwife, and had long been suspected of witchcraft by some of her neighbors. Indicted in March, she was tried at Boston in May before the magisrates of the colony, was found guilty and sentenced to death, but was reprieved by the magistrates, and in June, 1681, after more than a year's imprisonment, permitted, though without acquittal, to return to her home, "provided she goe not above sixteen rods from hir oune house and land at any time except to the meeting house." For the end of her pitiful story see p. 412, below.

[53] Caleb Powell

[54] Ludgershall

[55] This famous relation was first printed in 1668 as an appendix to the third edition of Glanvill's essay on witchcraft (see above, pp. 5-6), and was much enlarged in the edition of 1681. What is here printed is not the briefer original form but an abridgement of Mather's own.

[56] These experiences of Nicholas Desborough were reported by the Rev. Joh Russell, of Hadley, in a letter of August 2, 1683, which may be found in the Mather Papers (pp. 86-88). Russell says he received the account from "Capt. Allyn, a neer neighbor to Disborough." John Allyn, long secretary of the colony, was one of the foremost men in Connecticut.

[57] The "worthy hand" was again that of the Rev. Joshua Moodey, of Portsmouth. His earliest letter about the matter does not appear in the Mather Papers; but in a later one (July 14, 1683-Mather Papers, pp. 359-360) he writes thus: "About that at G. Walton's; because my Interest runs low with the Secretary, I have desired Mr. Woodbridge to endeavor the obtaining it, and if I can get it shall send it per the first; Though if there should bee any difficulty thereabout, you may doe pretty well with what you have already." And writing again on August 23 (Mather Papers, pp. 360-361), he says his endeavors have not been wanting to obtain it, but he finds it difficult. "If more may bee gotten, you may expect when I come, or else must take up with what you had from mee at first, which was the summe of what was then worthy of notice, only many other particular actings of like nature had been then and since. It began of a Lord's day, June 11th, 1682, and so continued for a long time, only there was some respite now and then. The last sight I have heard of was the carrying away of severall Axes in the night, notwithstanding they were laied up, yea, lockt up very safe, as the owner thought at least, which was done this spring." The "Secretary" (i.e., of the province) was that Richard Chamberlain from whose own pen we have the fuller account of the episode printed later in this volume (pp. 58-77); and there can be little doubt that what Mather gave to the press rests on the basis of his journal. As to "Mr. Woodbridge" see p. 65, note 1.

[58] Walton (1615-1686) was a prosperous Quaker. "George Walton, and his wife Alice, and Daughter, Abishag...lived on the great Island in Piscataqua, and this Alice was one of the most accounted of the Women, for Profession in the Island, whom it troubled them to lose; but Truth took her, and overturned the Priest." (Bishop, New-England Judged, pp. 466-467.) Great Island (now Newcastle), then a part of the township of Portsmouth, was often the seat of the provincial government, and the secretary lodged at Walton's house. As to Walton's family and estate see his will (Probate Records of the Provinces of New Hampshire, I. 299, and N.E. Hist. and Gen. Register, IX. 57).

[59] Richard Chamberlain, secretary of the province. See preceding notes.

[60] Doubtless what is now known as "timothy." In 1807 Kendall found this still called "English grass" in Conecticut.

[61] "With many other things."

[62] As for Walton, the Quaker of Portsmouth, whose house has been so strangely troubled," adds Mather in the following chapter, "he suspects that one of his neighbours has caused it by witchcraft; she (being a widow-woman) chargeth him with injustice in detaining some land from her. It is none of my work to reflect upon the man, nor will I do it; only, if there be any late or old guilt upon his conscience, it concerns him by confession and repentance to give glory to that God who is able in strange wayes to discover the sins of men"-and see also p. 214.

[63] Berwick, on the Maine side of the River.

[64] This narrative too came from the Rev. Joshua Moodey (see his letters of July 14 and August 23, 1683-Mather Papers, pp. 359-361), but at Mather's length obtained the enclosed, which I transcribed from Mr. Tho Broughton, who read to mee what he took from the mouth of the woman and her husband, and judge it credible, though it bee not the half of what is to be gotten. I expect from him a fuller amd farther account before I come down to the Commencement." John Emerson, the schoolmaster, we shall meet again at Sale see p. 377, note). Thomas Broughton was a well known Boston merchant, then sojourning in New Hampshire.

[F7975]. Rebecca.
Born about 1586 in England. She was of Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut. She married (1) Abraham ELSON [F7974] about 1604. She married (2) Jarvis MUDGE. She married (3) Nathaniel GREENSMITH. She and her third husband Nathaniel were accused of witchcraft, and were hanged in Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut on 25 JAN 1662-1663.

While Rebecca was in prison under suspicion, she was interviewed by two ministers, Revs. Haynes and Whiting, as to the charges of Ann Cole - a next door neighbor - which were written down by them, all of which, and more, she confessed to be true before the court. (Note. Increase Mather regarded this confession as convictive a proof of real witchcraft as most single cases he had known.)


"She forthwith and freely confessed those things to be true, that she (and other persons named in the discourse) had familiarity with the devil. Being asked whether she had made an express covenant with him, she answered she had not, only as she promised to go with him when he called (which she had accordingly done several times). But that the devil told her that a Christmas they would have a merry meeting, and then the covenant should be drawn and subscribed. Thereupon the fore-mentioned Mr. Stone (being then in court) with much weight and earnestness laid forth the exceeding heinousness and hazard of that dreadful sin; and therewith solemnly took notice (upon the occasion given) of the devil's loving Christmas.

"A person at the same time present being desired the next day more particularly to enquire of her about her guilt, it was accordingly done, to whom she acknowledged that though when Mr. Haynes began to read she could have torn him to pieces, and was so much resolved as might be to deny her guilt (as she had done before) yet after he had read awhile, she was as if her flesh had been pulled from her bones, (such was her expression,) and so could not deny any longer. She also declared that the devil first appeared to her, wherewith she was not much affrighted but by degrees he contrived talk with her; and that their meetings were frequently at such a place, (near her own house;) that some of the company came in one shape and some in another, and one in particular in the shape of a crow came flying to them. Amongst other things she owned that the devil had frequent use of her body."

Had Rebecca been content with purging her own conscience, she alone would have met the fate she had invoked, and probably deserved [NOTE: from this compiler, I am disappointed that John M. Taylor, an educated man of the 19th century, could make such a statement! The viewpoint of two centuries earlier was clearly understandable given the beliefs of the time. But Taylor completely misses what was happening to the innocent victims, arrested on false accusations, imprisoned and too frequently executed on confessions wrung out by fear and even torture. That Rebecca was a troublesome neighbor is likely true; that Nathaniel was perhaps just as troublesome is also likely true. That they possessed property that fell into the hands and ultimate possession of their accusers lends significant suspicion as to the real motive behind both Nathaniel's and Rebecca's conviction and execution. - V.P.]; but out of "love toher husband's soul" she made an accusation against him, which of itself secured his conviction of the same offense, with the same dire penalty.


"Rebecca Greensmith testifieth in Court Janry 8. 62.

"1. That my husband on Friday night last when I came to prison told me that now thou hast confest against thyself let me alone and say nothing of me and I wilbe good unto thy children.

"I doe now testifie that formerly when my husband hathe told me of his great travaile and labour I wondered as it how he did it this he did before I was married and when I was married I asked him how he did it and he answered me he had help yt I knew not of.

"3. About three years agoe as I think it; my husband and I were in ye wood several miles from home and were looking for a sow yt we lost and I saw a creature a red creature following my husband and when I came to him I asked him what it was that was with him and he told me it was a fox.

"4. Another time when he and I drove our hogs into ye woods beyond ye pound yt was to keep cattle severall miles of I went before ye hogs to call them and looking back I saw two creatures like dogs one a little blacker than ye other, they came after my husband pretty close to him and one did seem tome to touch him I asked him wt they were he told me he thought foxes I was stil afraid when I saw anything because I heard soe much of him before I married him.

"5. I have seen logs that my husband hath brought home in his cart that I wondered at it that he could get them into ye cart being a man of little body and weake to my apprehension and ye logs were such that I thought two men such as he could not have done it.

"I speak all this out of love to my husbands soule and it is much against my will that I am now necessitate to speake agaynst my husband, I desire that ye Lord would open his heart to owne and speak ye trueth.

"I also testify that I being in ye wood at a meeting there was with me Goody Seager Goodwife Sanford & Goodwife Ayres; and at another time there was a meeting under a tree in ye green by or house & there was there James Walkely, Peter Grants wife Goodwife Aires & Henry Palmers wife of Wethersfield, & Goody Seager, & there we danced, & had a bottle of sack; it was in ye night & something like a catt cald me out to ye meeting & I was in Mr. Varlets orcherd with Mrs. Judith Varlett & shee tould me that shee was much troubled with ye Marshall Jonath: Gilbert & cried, & she sayd if it lay in her power she would doe hin a mischief, or what hurt shee could."

The Greensmiths were convicted and sentenced to suffer death. In January, 1662, they were hung on "Gallows Hill," on the bluff a little north of where Trinity College now stands - "a logical location" one most learned in the traditions and history of Hartford calls it - as it afforded an excellent view of the execution to a large crowd on the meadows to the west, a hanging being then a popular spectacle and entertainment.


Rebecca the Witch Excerpt from William DeLoss Love, The Colonial History of Hart- ford, Hartford CT (Connecticut Printers) 1935 (U S Bicentennial Edition, 1974, Centinel Hill Press), p 282-286 The most serious indictment that has ever been brought against our early criminal courts is for their action in the witchcraft delusion, the explanation of which has been often made and is here left to others. It was an episode in New England history that should be judged in view of similar beliefs then current in the old world. In Connecticut, all the cases where the condemned were executed occurred between 1647 and 1662. They were, therefore, tried in the Particular Court. Of the seventeen in the river towns who were charged with witchcraft during this period, nine were residents of Hartford. Three of these were executed. As the prison where all criminals of Hartford, Windsor, Wethersfield and Farmington were confined was located in Hartford, it is probable that the entire number from these towns, which were hung in this delusion, suffered in Hartford. Alse Young of Windsor was the first unhappy victim, but the court records give us no information concerning her trial. On cover of Mathew Grant's Diary, Dr. J. Hammond Trumbull discovered the record "May 26, 47 Alse Young was hanged." This supplies the blank in Winthrop's History: "One ----- ----- of Windsor arraigned and executed at Hartford for a witch." So far as known, this was the first execution for witch- craft in New England.

The next victim was Mary Johnson of Wethersfield [Rev. Henry SMITH, our DIRECT ANCESTOR, presided at the trial]. In 1646, she had been sentenced to be whipped for theft, probably at Hartford, which was to be repeated a month later at Wethersfield. On her own confession, she was indicted by a jury December 7, 1648, as guilty of "familiarity with the Deuill." Mather says [in Magnalia Christi Americana, 1698, VI.71- 78], "Her confession was attended with such convictive circum- stances that it could not be slighted." She confessed, he says, that she had murdered a child, and committed other faults of licentiousness. For some months before her execution, she was imprisoned at Hartford, under the care of William Ruscoe. A son was born to her while there. Nathaniel Ruscoe, the jailor's son, agreed with her before her death to bring up and educate the child, which agreement was afterward sanctioned by the court. The jailor was paid 6 10s, for twenty-four weeks' charges to June 6, 1650, from which fact it is inferred that she was executed on that date. Rev. Samuel Stone ministered to her while in prison, and it is said that she became a penitent woman. She was evidently a poor, misguided creature, who accounted for her fault according to the superstition of the age. After the execution of John and Joan Carrington of Wethersfield in 1651, and Lydia Gilbert of Windsor in 1654, a witchcraft tragedy was enacted among Hartford residents. It is one story [sic] and has been written and published by Dr. Charles J. Hoadley ["A Case of Witchcraft in Hartford" in Connecticut Magazine, Nov., 1899, pp. 557-561.] Nine persons were involved, largely through the statements of Rebecca Greensmith [DIRECT ANCESTOR , when wife of Abraham ELSEN ]. She had been the wife of Abraham Elsen of Wethersfield [DIRECT ANCESTOR], who died in 1648. Then she married Jarvis Mudge [Jarvis (1) MUDGE of our database], and was a widow when she married the unfortunate Nathaniel Greensmith. Those who were implicated constituted a group of local acquaintances, some of whom had a repute for misdemeanors or immorality. Their names were Nathaniel and Rebecca Greensmith; Elizabeth, the wife of Richard Seager; Andrew Sanford and Mary his wife; William Ayres and his wife; Judith Varlett and James Walkley. Of Rebecca Greensmith, Rev. John Whiting wrote to Inrease Mather that she was a "lewd, ignorant and considerably aged woman." Her husband had twice been convicted of theft. The court had once censured him for lying. Elizabeth Seager left a record of shameless crime, being guilty of blasphemy and adultery. These were the leaders. The others kept such company. One night they had a merrymaking, under a tree on the green near Rebecca Greensmith's house. James Walkley, Goodwife Ayres and Goody Seager were present. They all danced and had a bottle of sack. Other nocturnal gatherings were held. Suspicions were awakened in the neighborhood. Nathaniel Greensmith had a small home-lot, house and barn, recently pur- chased. It was located just south of our present Barnard Park, on which green the dance of the witches was doubtless held. Complaint had been made to the town that he had set his barn on common land. James Walkley had a house-lot on the north side of the road from George Steele's to the South Meadow. Sanford and Ayres apparently lived on North Main Street. The crisis came in the spring of 1662, with the accusations of a young daughter of John Kelley, uttered in the delirium of sickness. The child died. Immediate- ly, the neighborhood was busy with reports that she had been bewitched unto death. The magistrates examined several of those accused. Nathaniel Greensmith then sued William Ayres for slandering his wife.

She and her husband were soon arrested. The defendant Ayres, his wife, and James Walkley, took refuge in flight. Ann, the daughter of John Cole, had strange fits about that time. Her examination by the ministers, Samuel Hooker of Farmington, Samuel Stone, Joseph Haynes and John Whiting of Hartford, only increased the mystery and augmented the excitement. On June 6th, Andrew Sanford was indicted for witchcraft. The jury disagreed. A week later, Mary Sanford was indicted and found guilty. This action furthered the ultimate indictment of Nathaniel and Rebecca Greensmith, which occurred December 30, 1662. They were both found guilty [see Footnote below]. The woman's testimony implicated her associates. On January 6th, Mary Barnes of Farmington was indicted, and was also found guilty. The tragic scenes, which closed this horrible episode of our local history, can be all too clearly imagined. Mary Sanford was convicted first, and was not long detained in jail. Like some weird spectre of the spirit world, she disappeared. Goodwife Barnes was confined three weeks, for which Daniel Garret, the jailkeeper, was allowed 21s., to be paid by Goodman Barnes. The jailor was also allowed 6s. a week for keeping Nathaniel and Rebecca Greensmith, to be paid out of his estate. His inventory states that he was executed January 25, 1662-3. Hutchinson quotes the diary of Goffe, the regicide, under the date January 20th, as saying "three witches were condemned at Hartford." On this date the Particular Court met. He also says of Rebecca Greensmith: "Upon this confession she was executed, and two more of the company were condemned at the same time." The scene was doubtless accompanied by the public sensation common to such occasions in England. It was the last time any witches were hung in Connecticut, and forty years before the excitement over the Salem witchcraft. Elizabeth Seager was indicted on the same day with Mary Barnes, and twice later. In 1665 she was convicted, but the Court of Assistants found a way to release her, after a year's imprisonment. It seems probable that the witches were executed outside of the town-plot, on the road from the Cow Pasture into the Country. There the gallows of early times was located. On March 10, 1711-12, John Read sold to John Olcott a tract of about seven acres, bounded south on the "highway leading out of Hartford town towards Symsbury," now Albany Avenue. It is described in the deed as "near the house lately built by Joseph Butler, near where the Gallows used to stand." The place is near enough identified as on the north side of the avenue, on the east end of the present Goodwin lot. There, a large elm tree on a rise of ground might well memorialize the place where this tragedy of Hartford's early history was enacted. [FOOTNOTE, concerning trial of Nathaniel Greensmith:] The indictment reads: "Nathaniel Greensmith, thou art here indicted by the name of Nathaniel Greensmith for not having the feare of God before thine eyes; thou hast entertained familiarity with Satan, the grand Enemy of God and Mankind, and by his help hast acted things in a preter naturall way beyond human abilities in a naturall course, for which according to ye Law of God and ye established laws of this Commonwealth thou deserveth to die." The form of the information, used in the Superior Court for many years, assigned all crimes to the instigation of the Devil. The magistrates at this trial were as follows: Mr. [Mathew} Allyn [DIRECT ANCESTOR], moderator, Mr [Samuel] Wyllys, Mr [Richard] Treat [DIRECT ANCESTOR if Richard (1) TREAT of our database, otherwise son Richard (2) TREAT, brother of DIRECT ANCESTOR Joanna TREAT], Mr. [Henry] Woolcot, Danll Clark, Sec., Mr. Jo. Allyn. The jury were: Edw. Griswold, Walter Ffiler Ensign [Nicholas] Olmstead [sic: this may mean Walter Ffiler, ----- Ensign and Nicholas Olmstead --- we have DIRECT ANCESTOR James ENSIGN, and Nicholas OLMSTEAD was father-in-law of Hannah MIX, sister of DIRECT ANCESTOR Daniel (1) MIX)], Samll Boreman, Goodm [Gregory] Winterton, John Cowles [DIRECT ANCESTOR], Samll Marshall, Samll Hale [DIRECT ANCESTOR], Nathan Willet, John Hart, John Wadsworth, Robert Webster. The execution of the criminals then devolved upon the Marshal, who was Jonathan Gilbert. One of the accused is said to have seen this worthy official in a dream, which seemed to presge the end. He was the first of three appointed to settle Greensmith's estate. Jonathan Gilbert succeeded Thomas Stanton in this office, and was followed by George Grave.

CHILDREN of Abraham ELSON [F7974] and Rebecca [F7975]:
  1. [F3987]. Sarah ELSON. Born 17 MAR 1643-1644 at Wethersfield, Hartford County, Connecticut.(S5). She married William HILLS [F3986] in 1666. She died May 1676 in Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut.(S3).
  2. Hanah ELSON, dau Abraham & Rebeckah, b Aug 15, 1645.
  3. Martha ELSON*, dau Abraham & Rebecka, b Aug 14, 1646 (*"Hannah" in Tillotson's Copy).

Jarvis MUDGE.
Jarvis Mudge, immigrant ancestor, was born in England, and came to this country about 1638. He was in Boston, Massachusetts, in that year, and, in 1640, in Hartford, Connecticut, where he had six acres set off to him. In 1644 he settled in Wethersfield, the town next adjoining, and, in 1649, removed to Pequot, now New London. That same year he married Rebecca Elsen or Elsing, widow of Abraham Elsen, of Wethersfield. He died in the early part of the year 1653, in New London, and his widow afterwards lived in Wethersfield.(S9).

CHILDREN of Jarvis MUDGE and Rebecca [F7975]:
  1. Micah, born in New London, 1650. Micah, son of Jarvis Mudge, was born in New London, in 1650; died in Hebron, Connecticut, in the early part of January, 1724. After his father's death he removed with his mother to Wethersfield. The first public record of him appears on the town books of Northampton, Massachusetts, where he married, September 23, 1670, Mary, daughter of George and Susanna Alexander, born October 20, 1648, died in the early part of the year 1728. Her father, George Alexander, was one of the original proprietors of Northampton, 1654. Here Micah Mudge lived for a time after his marriage, and acted as surveyor. He appears to have been an original proprietor of Northfield, Massachusetts. The settlement of this town was attended with great difficulties with the Indians, who burnt the village and drove off the settlers in 1675. He returned, with others, afterwards, 1682, and became an actual settler there. He removed to Lebanon, Connecticut, and was one of the early settlers of that town prior to 1698. He served as a surveyor there, and assisted in laying out the town. He was one of the nine persons who organized the First Congregational Church, in Lebanon, November 27, 1700. In 1702 the name of Mary, his wife, appears on the church records. December 22, 1704, he was chosen keeper of a public house; or tavern. Some time before September, 1717, he with his family, removed to Hebron, Massachusetts. Here also he served as a surveyor, and, with his sons, owned a mill on his house lot, which was situated upon the road to Colchester. He lived there until his death, in 1724. Children: Mary, born August 8, 1671; Elizabeth, October, 10, 1673; Sarah, married John Palmer; Moses, married Elizabeth _______; Abigail, married William Phelps; Ebenezer, born February 26, 1683, mentioned below; Thankful, 1685; Susanna; Martha, married Isaac Tilden. (S9).
  2. Moses MUDGE. Born in 1652 in New London. He married Mary ___________.

Nathaniel Greensmith lived in Hartford, south of the little river, in 1661-62, on a lot of about twenty acres, with a house and barn. He also had other holdings "neer Podunk," and "on ye highway leading to Farmington."

He was "thrifty by divergent and economical methods", since he is credited in the records of the time with stealing a bushel and a half of wheat, of stealing a hoe, and of lying to the court, and of battery.

In one way or another he accumulated quite a property for those days, since the inventory of it filed in the Hartford Probate Office, January 25, 1662, after his execution, carried an appraisal of 137. 14s. 1d. - including "2 bibles," "a sword," "a resthead," and a "drachm. cup" - all indicating that Nathaniel judicously mingled his theology and patriotism, his recreation and refreshment, with his everyday practical affairs and opportunities.

But he made one adventure that was most unprofitable. In an evil hour he took to wife Rebecca, relict of Abraham Elson, and also relict of Jarvis Mudge, and of whom so good a man as the Rev. John Whiting, minister of the First Church in Hartford - afterward first pastor of the Second Church - said that she was 'a lewd, ignorant and considerably aged woman."

This triple combination of personal qualities soon elicited the criticism and animosity of the community, and Nathaniel and Rebecca fell under the most fatal of all suspicions of that day, that of being possessed by the evil one.

Gossip and rumor about these unpopular neighbors culminated in a formal complaint, and December 30, 1662, at a court held in Hartford, both the Greensmiths were separately indicted in the same formal charge.

"Nathaniel Greensmith thou art here indicted by the name of Nathaniel Greensmith for not having the fear of God before thine eyes, thous hast entertained familiarity with Satan, the grand enemy of God and mankind - and by his help hast acted things in a preternatural way beyond human abilities in a natural course for which according to the law of God and the established law of this commonwealth thou deservest to die."