Living “Neighborly and Peaceably with No Unjust Offense”

(NOTE: refer to the December 20, 2016 post entitled Accusations of Witchery, for the story)

As this is Halloween, I thought it might be fitting to consider a witch story—the accusations against Elizabeth Garlicke, the trial and her acquittal, and her reception back at East Hampton.

Thomas Baker and John Hand were charged to transport Elizabeth to her Hartford, Connecticut trial after which she was found “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.” Apparently, both the Bakers and Samuel Dayton did not participate in the gossip and hysteria and remained friends to the Garlickes because about six years later, on December 24, 1664, Sam agreed to indenture his 7 year-old son Jacob to the Bakers and his 5 year-old son Caleb to the Garlickes.

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One Response to Living “Neighborly and Peaceably with No Unjust Offense”

  1. Ed Denne says:

    Perfect topic for today. Here’s another account I found of interest:

    Elizabeth Gardiner Sep 14, 1641 – Feb 1657 – First English child born in the colony of New York.

    “East Hampton: A History and Guide”, 1975 by Jason Epstein (Author), Elizabeth Barlow (Author):

    In 1657, five years after six witches had been tried and executed in Maidstone, Kent, but a full generation before the Salem scandals, the little town [East Hampton] was rocked by its first and only witchcraft case. Lion Gardiner’s fifteen-year-old daughter Elizabeth, who had married the merchant Arthur Howell, fell ill, perhaps of puerperal fever, following the birth of a daughter. On her deathbed she became possessed of the notion that she had been bewitched. Several persons testified under oath to that effect, including Samuel Parson who said he had heard Elizabeth say to her husband Arthur, “Love, I am very ill of my head and fear I shall have the fever.” Whereupon she went to bed, according to Parsons, and, after suckling her child, “screeched out several times together very grievously . . . a witch, a witch; now you are come to torture me because I spoke two or three words against you.”

    Lion Gardiner was called to his daughter’s bedside, and while he was with her she cried out again and said that there was a black thing at the foot of her bed. He husband had to restrain here as she struck out violently while raging against the “witch.” Parsons also testified that he came again as the girl lay senseless with Goody Simons in the bed beside her, and that he and Arthur Howell both heard “a noise on the side of the bed as if something had scratched very hard.”

    Suspicion soon centered on Goodwife Garlick, once a serving woman on Gardiners Island and the wife of the carpenter Joshua Garlick. Goody Simons testified that while she was nursing Elizabeth she had heard the girl say that Goody Garlick was “a double-tongued woman and she asked saying, ‘You did not see her last night stand by the beside ready to pull me in pieces and she pricked me with pins?'” Mary Gardiner, the girl’s mother, herself not well, struggled to her “Bettie’s” bedside. According to Mrs. Gardiner, Elizabeth “cried and cried, and she said, ‘Mother, I am bewitched,’ and I, not regarding it, said, ‘You are asleep or have dreamed,’ and she told me that she was not asleep, and I asked her who she saw, and she said, ‘Goody Garlick in the further corner and a black thing at the hither corner, both at the foot of the bed, ‘ and then I charged her that she should not tell her husband nor no living soul, and I said, ‘Your husband will tell.'”

    The town was in an uproar. Goody Edwards testified that Goody Garlick had been a wet nurse to some of the village babies and that these unfortunate children had subsequently sickened and died. Goody Birdsell said that the child of Goody Davis, a fellow serving woman on Gardiners Island and the wife of one of the convicted, died as soon as Goody Garlick had held it in her arms, and Goody Davis corroborated this, adding that Goody Garlick was “a naughty woman.” Lion Gardiner, trying to counter these attacks, set the record straight about Goody Davis’s baby. He said that the child had died because Goody Davis had starved it by becoming wet nurse to an Indian child “for lucre of a little wampum.”

    The talebearers were not to be denied. Goody Birdsell and Goody Edwards both testified under oath that they had seen a pin being taken out of Elizabeth’s mouth. At this point Joshua Garlick, on his wife’s behalf, entered a defamation action against Goody Davis. To resolve the controversy, the town meeting on March 19, 1657, ordered that “Thomas Baker and John Hand is to go unto Connecticut . . . to carry up Goodwife Garlick that she be delivered up unto the Authority there for the trial of the cause of witchcraft which she is suspected for.” She was charged with the evil eye, “with causing the sickness of infants and the death of cattle, the torments of prickling pain and the blasts of atmosphere by droughts and unseasonable frost on growing corn.”

    Through the interception of Lion Gardiner she was acquitted at Hartford, much to the relief of subsequent East Hampton historians.

    Instead of hanging her, the magistrates fined Joshua Garlick 30 pounds on his wife’s account. The child of Lion Gardiner’s unfortunate Elizabeth — her name was Elizabeth, too — was raised by her father Arthur Howell.


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