Hartford Witch-Hunt

More information about the Hartford witch hunt is available. This part is interesting to me mostly because it invokes the name of my great-great-great-great-great^nth grandfather. (Well, it's about his wife, but....)

Testimony

Witnesseth:

That our said daughter on the 23d of March 1661 being the Lord's day was in good health as she was also a long time before to our apprehension and had neither then nor before done anything that we know that might be prejudicial to her health.

And on the said Lord's day was in the forenoon at her grandmother's house and with her came to our house the wife of William Ayres who going to eat did take broth hot out of the boiling pot and did immediately eat thereof and did require our said child to eat with her of the same, which we did forbid telling her it was too hot for her but the child did eat with her out of the same vessel whereupon she began to complain of pain at her stomach for which pain I gave her a small dose of the powder of angelica root which gave her some present ease, we did at that present wonder the child should eat broth so hot having never used so to do but we did not then suspect the said Ayres.

In the afternoon on the same day the child went to the meeting again and did not much complain at her return home but about 3 hours in the night next following the said child being in the bed with me John Kelly and asleep did suddenly start up out of her sleep and holding up her hands cried Father Father help me help me Goodwife Ayres is upon me she chokes me, she kneels on my belly, she will break my bowels, she pinches me, she will make me black and blue, oh! Father will you not help me, with some other expression of like nature to my great grief and astonishment.

My reply was lie you down and be quiet do not disturb your mother, whereupon she was a little quiet but presently she starts up again and cried out with greater violence than before against Goodwife Ayres using much the expressions aforesaid.

Then rising I lighted a candle and took her up and put her into the bed with her mother from which time she was in great extremity of misery crying still out against the said Ayres and that we would give her drink and on the Monday crying out against the said Ayres saying Goody Ayres torments me she pricks me with pins she will kill me, Oh! Father set on the great furnace and scald her, get the broad axe and cut off her head; if you cannot get a broad axe get the narrow axe and chop off her head, with many the like expressions continually proceeding from her, we used what physical helps we could obtain and that without delay, but could neither conceive nor others for us that her malady was natural in which sad condition she continued till Tuesday on which day I Bethia Kelly being in the house and with me the wife of Thomas Whaples and the wife of Nathaniel Greensmith, the child being in great misery the aforesaid Ayres came in whereupon the child asked her Goodwife Ayres why do you torment me and prick me, to which Goodwife Whaples said to the child you must not speak against Goody Ayres she comes in love to see you, while the said Ayres said she will be well again I hope.

The same Tuesday at night the child told us both that when Goody Ayres was with her alone she asked me Betty why do you speak so much against me I will be even with you for it before you die, but if you will say no more of me I will give you a fine lace for your dressing.

I Bethia Kelly perceiving her while being with the child and thinking she promised her something I asked her what it was. The said Ayres answered a lace for a dressing, the said Ayres departing the child was more quiet till midnight and then she broke out afresh as before against Goody Ayres, moreover on the same Tuesday the child said Father why do you not go to the magistrates and get them to punish Goody Ayres pray father go to the magistrates and if I could go myself I would complain to them of her how she misuses me:

In this plight she continued till Wednesday night and then died. The last words she spake was Goodwife Ayres chokes me and then she was speechless.

The woman takes oath to all the particulars except that about the dose of angelica and the first time of the child's crying out.

Taken upon oath by John Kelly and his wife 15 May 1662 in open court.