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Witchcraft Trials in New York (1665)

Trial for Witchcraft


At ye Court of Assizes held in New Yorke
ye 2d day of October 1665 &c.
The Tryall of Ralph Hall and Mary his wife, upon suspicion of Witchcraft.

The names of the Persons who served on the Grand Jury.

Thomas Baker, fforeman of ye Jury, of East Hampton.
Capt John Symonds of Hempstead
Mr Hallet (of Jamaica)
Anthony Waters (of Jamaica)
Thomas Wandall of Marshpath Kills
Mr Nicolls of Stamford (of New Yorke)
Balthazer de Haart (of New Yorke)
John Garland (of New Yorke)
Jacoib Leisler (of New Yorke)
Anthonio de Mill (of New Yorke)
Alexander Munro (of New Yorke)
Thomas Searle (of New Yorke)


The Prisoners being brought to the Barr by Allard Anthony, Sheriffe of New Yorke, This following indictmt was read, first against Ralph Hall and then agst Mary his wife, vizt.

The Constable and Overseers of the Towne of Seatallcott, in the East Riding of Yorkshire upon Long Island, Do Present for our Soveraigne Lord the King, That Ralph Hall of Seatallcott aforesaid, upon ye 25th day of December; being Christmas day last, was Twelve Monthes in the 15th years of the Raigne of our Soveraigne Lord, Charles ye Second, by the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland, ffrance and Ireland, Defender of the ffaith &c, and severall other dayes and times since that day, by some detestable and wicked Arts, commonly called Witchcraft and Sorcery, did (as is suspected) maliciously and feloniously, practice and Exercise at the said towne of Seatalcott in the East Riding of Yorkshire on Long Island aforesaid, on the Person of George Wood, late of the same place by wch wicked and detestable Arts, the said George Wood (as is suspected) most dangerously and mortally sickned and languised, And not long after by the aforesaid wicked and detestable Arts, the said George Wood (as is likewise suspected) dyed.

Moreover, The Constable and overseers of the said Towne of Seatalcott, in the East Riding of Yorkshire upon Long Island aforesaid, do further Present for our Soveraigne Lord the King, That some while after the death of the aforesaid George Wood, The said Ralph Hall did (as is suspected) divers times by ye like wicked and detestable Arts, comonly called Withcraft and Sorcery, Maliciously and feloniously practise and Exercise at the said Towne of Seatalcott, in the East Riding of Yorkshire upon Long Island aforesaid, on the Person of an Infant Childe of Ann Rogers, widdow of ye aforesaid George Wood deceased, by wh wicked and detestable Arts, the said Infant Childe (as is suspected) most dangerously & mortally sickned and languished, and not long after by the said Wicked and detestable Arts (as is likewise suspect) dyed, and so ye said Constable and Overseers do Present, That the said George Wood, and the sd Infante 3d Childe by the wayes and meanes aforesaid, most wickedly maliciously and feloniously were (as is suspected) murdered by the said Ralph Hall at the times and places aforesaid, agst ye Peace of Our Soveraigne Lord ye King and against the Laws of the Government in such Cases Provided.

The like Indictmt was read, against Mary the wife of Ralph Hall.

There upon, severall Depositions, accusing ye Prisonrs of ye fact for which they were endicted were rad, but no witnesse appeared to give Testimony in Court vive voce.

Then the Clarke calling upon Ralph Hall, bad him hold up his hand, and read as followes.

Ralph Hall thou standest here indicted, for that having not ye feare of God before thine eyes. Thou did'st upon the 25th day of December, being Christmas day last was 12 Moneths, and at seu'all other times since, as is suspected, by some wicked and detestable Arts, commonly called witchcraft and Sorcery, maliciously and feloniously practice and Exercise, upon the Bodyes of George Wood, and an Infant Childe of Ann Rogers, by which said Arts, the sakd George Wood and the Infant Childe (as is suspected) most dangerously and mortally fell sick, and lkanguisht unto death. Ralph Hall, what dost thous say for thyselfe, art thou guilty, or not guilty?

Mary the wife of Ralph Hall was called upon in like manner.

They both Pleaded not guilty and threw themselves to bee Tryed by God and the Country.

Where upon, their Case was referr'd to ye Jury, who brought in to the Court, this following verdict vizt.

Wee having seriously considered the Case committed to our Charge against ye Prisonrs at the Barr, and having well weighed ye Evidence, wee finde that there are some suspitions by the Evidence, of what the woman is Charged with, but nothing considerable of value to take away her life. But in reference to the man wee find nothing considerable to charge him with.

The Court there upon, gave this sentence, That the man should bee bound Body and Goods for his wives Apperance, at the next Sessions, and so on from Sessions to Sessions as long as they stay wthin this Government, In the meane while, to bee of ye good Behavior. So they were return'd into the Sheriffs Custody, and upon Entring into a Recognizance, according to the Sentence of the Court, they were released.


[Ordeers Warrants Letters, II.]
A Release to Ralph Hall & Mary his wife from
ye Recognizance they entered into at the Assizes.
These Are to Certify all whom it may Concerne That Ralph Hall & Mary his wife (at present living upon Great Minifords Island) are hereby released & acquitted from any & all Recognizances, bonds of appearance of othr obligations -- entred into by them or either of them for the peace or good behavior upon account of any accusation or Indictemt upon suspition of Witch Craft brought into the .Cort of Assizes against them in the year 1665. There haueving beene no direct proofes nor furthr prosecucon of them on eithr of them since -- Giuen undr my hand at Fort James in New York this 21th day of August 1668. R. NICOLLS


[Court of Assize Book.]
An Ordr for Katherine Harrison to Remove from Westchestr.
Whereas Complaint hath beene made unto me by ye Inhabitants of Westchestr agt Katherine Harrison late of Wethersfeild in his Maties Colony of Connecticott widdow. That contrary to ye consent & good liking of ye Towne she would settle amongst them & she being reputed to be a person lyeing undr ye supposicon of Wichcraft hath given some cause of apprehension to ye Inhatgitants there, To ye end their Jealousyes & feares as to this perticuler may be removed, I have thought fitt to ordr & appoint that ye Constable & Overseers of ye Towne of Westchestr do giue warning to ye said Katherine Harrison to remove out of their prcincts in some short tyme after notice giuen, and that are likewise to admonish her to retorne to ye place of her former abode, that they nor their neighbours may receive no further disturbance by her, Given undr my hand at ffort James in New Yorke this 7th day of July, 1670.


An Ordr for Katherine Harrison & Captn Richard Panton to appeare at ye ffort before ye Governor.
Whereas Complaint hath beene made unto me by ye Inhabitants of Westchestr agt Katherine Harrison widdow That she doth neglect to refuse or obey my late Ordr concerning her removall out of ye said Towne, These are to require you that you give notice until the said Katherine Harrison as also unto Captn Richard Panton at whose house she resydeth, That they make their personall appearance before me in this place on Wesnesday next being ye 24th of this Instant month, when those of ye Towne that have ought to object agt them doe likewise attend, where I shall edeavor a Composure of this difference betweene them. Given undr my hand at ffort James in New Yorke this 20th day of August 1670. To ye Constable of Westchestr.


A warrant to ye Constable of Westchestr to take
an Account of ye Goods of Katherine Harrison.
These are to require you to take an Account of such Goods as haue lately beene brought from out of his Maties Colony of Connecticott unto Katherine Harrison & having taken a note of ye pticulers that you retorne ye same unto me for ye doeing whereof this shall be yor warrant, Given undr my hand at ffort James in New Yorke this 25th day of August 1670.

To ye prsent Constable of Westchester.



An Ordr concerning Katherine Harrison.
Whereas seuerall Adresses haue beene made unto me by some of ye Inhabitants of Westchestr on behalfe of ye rest desiring that Katherine Harrison late of Wethersfeild in his Matie Coloiny of Connecticott widdow at prsent residing in their Towne may be ordered to remove from thence & not permitted to stay wthin their Jurisdiction upon an apprehension they have of her grounded upon some troubles she hath layne undr at Wethersfeild upon suspition of Witchcraft, the reasons whereof do not so clearly appeare unto me, Yett notwthstanding to giue as much satisfaction as may be to ye Complts who prtend their feares to be of a publique Coincerns I have not tought fitt absolutely to determyne ye mattr at prsent, but do suspend it until ye next Genrll Cort of Assizes, when there will be a full meeting of ye Councell & Justices of ye peace to debate & conclude ye same. In ye meane tyme ye said Katherine Harrison wth her Children may remaine in the Towne of Westchestr where she now is without disturbance or molestation, she having given sufficient security for her Civill carriage & good behavior. Given undr my hand at ffort James in New York this 25th day of August in ye 22th years of his Maties Raigne Annoq Domini 1670.
An* 1670. Appeals, Actions, Presentmts &c. Entred for Hearing & Tryall at ye
Genall Cort of Assizes to bee eld in New Yorke beginning on the first Wednesay of Octobr 1670.

Katherine arryson bound over to appeare upon ye Complt of the Inhabitants of Westchester upon suspicon of Witch-craft. In the case of Katherine Harryson Widdow, who was bound to the good Behaviour upon Complt of some of the Inhabitants of Westchester untill ye holding of this court, It is Ordered, that in regard there is nothing appears against her deserving the continuance of that obligacon shee is to bee releast from it, & hath Liberty to remaine in the Towne of Westchester where shee now resides, or any where else in the Goverumt during her pleasure.

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This page last updated August 9, 2000.