Accusations of Witchery

Thirty-five years before the Salem witch trials, East Hampton had their own witch trial, the accused having been suspected of practicing witchcraft, causing the death of Lion Gardiner’s daughter, Elizabeth Howell.

On her deathbed, young Elizabeth was in pain and with fever and hallucinations, she screamed that she was being bewitched and tortured by a servant who attended her. Unfortunately, because the servant and her husband were perceived by other servants to be favored by the Gardiners, perhaps a bit of gossip and jealousy fueled additional testimony against her, filling many pages of East Hampton town records.

Our own Thomas Baker and John Hand were charged to transport the accused to Hartford, Connecticut for trial when the East Hampton court did not feel adequate to try the case. The trial ended with a verdict of “not guilty” for lack of evidence and she was sent back home with instructions for the town to carry on neighborly and peaceably with no unjust offense.

The accused was none other than Elizabeth Garlicke, to whom Samuel Dayton indentured his son Caleb six years later.

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