September 30 (September 20, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council sends the letter to the Earl of Nottingham drafted August 26 in which the councilors report the death of John White and the accession of John Bourden to the presidency and ask for a skilled engineer to be sent to build new fortifications.  An additional letter explains that the colony has suffered over the past seven years from a shortage of white servants and that while before the earthquake Port Royal could muster 2000 men, now it’s down to 200.

Councilor Samuel Bernard also sends a letter personally to the Earl, proposing a variety of reforms in the structure of government to prevent the kind of unpleasantness between governor and Council (and Assembly) that marked Lord Inchiquin’s tenure.  Among these is the appointment of a Jamaican planter as governor rather than an outsider; unbeknownst to Bernard, this requirement has already been fulfilled by the appointment of William Beeston, whose orders, many of which parallel Bernard’s other suggested reforms, happen to be issued this very day.  Another of Bernard’s requests is for more white servants to be sent, especially from Scotland, to remedy the problems noted in the letter from the Council.

Massachusetts: Cotton Mather, the Boston minister who has been most outspoken in his support for the Court of Oyer and Terminer in Salem, writes to Stephen Sewall, the clerk of the court, asking for the records of several major trials conducted by the court so that he can include summaries of them in his forthcoming book on the witchcraft crisis.  He also asks Sewall to comment on the validity of the controversial spectral evidence used by the court, as well as on the credibility of the testimony given by confessed witches, also a major source of evidence used in the trials.  Both of these types of evidence are coming under increasing fire from critics, and one of Mather’s main objectives in writing his book is to defend the conduct of the court against such objections.  He notes in his letter that Governor Phips himself has directed him to obtain the court records for the book, which is of particular concern to the governor for reasons Mather doesn’t elaborate on.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas continues his tour of Pueblos in the Santa Fe area, reassuring the people of his good intentions, pardoning them for their roles in the 1680 revolt, and bringing them back to Christianity and allegiance to the Spanish crown.  He visits Cuyamungue first, then Nambe, then Pojoaque.  At each pueblo he has Francisco Corvera, one of the three Franciscan missionaries accompanying his expedition, grant the people absolution, then Corvera and the other two missionaries baptize all the children born since the revolt and anyone else in the pueblos who has not yet been baptized.  In all they baptize 30 people at Cuyamungue, 51 at Nambe, and 48 at Pojoaque, where the governor and his entourage spend the night.

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Published in: on September 30, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on September 30 (September 20, o.s.)  

September 29 (September 19, o.s.)

Connecticut: The Court of Oyer and Terminer meets in Fairfield.  Two people appear before the court to give evidence against Mary Staples, Mary Harvey and Hannah Harvey, in accordance with the proclamations issued by the court on September 15 and 16.  The court finds the testimony trivial and unconvincing, and therefore proclaims that the three women are acquitted and that no one should speak ill of them “upon pain of displeasure.”

With that out of the way, the court continues with the trial of Elizabeth Clawson and Mercy Disborough.  The prosecutor, James Bennett, calls his final witnesses, including Katharine Branch, the servant of Daniel Westcott whose fits began the whole affair.  She testifies that Clawson and Disborough both afflicted her, but separately rather than together, and that Clawson was the first to trouble her, followed by Disborough.  She also says that during her fits, which were mostly at night, it seemed bright as midday.

Once the prosecution rests, Clawson and Disborough present evidence of their own, including statements by neighbors attesting to their good character and depositions casting doubt on the reliability of Kate Branch.

Once all the evidence has been presented, the jury retires to deliberate.  It is, however, unable to agree on a verdict for either of the women.  The judges, surprised and frustrated by this result, order the defendants kept in the Stamford jail while they ask the advice of the Connecticut Council on what to do next.  They also direct the prosecuting attorneys to continue gathering evidence for a future session of the court when the trial may be resumed.

Jamaica: The Council meets and appoints Bernart Andreis to command any sloop used against Nathaniel Grubing. Unclaimed salvaged goods from the earthquake are to be sold. All members of the Council are ordered to attend the next meeting.

Massachusetts: In the late morning more weight is added to Giles Corey for refusing to agree to be tried on September 17.  He dies around noon.  As he is dying his tongue begins to protrude from his mouth and the Essex County Sheriff, George Corwin, pushes it back in with his cane.

New Mexico: After a morning mass to celebrate the feast of the Archangel Michael, Governor Vargas goes from his campsite in Santa Fe to the Pueblo of Tesuque to pardon the people there for their role in the 1680 revolt.  When he arrives he is met by the Pueblo’s leader, Domingo, who has been a steadfast ally to him ever since he arrived in the area.  He speaks to the people through an interpreter and explains that he has not come to punish them but to bring them back to Christianity and loyalty to King Carlos II, and they all follow his lead in swearing an oath to the king.  After this, one of the Franciscan missionaries in Vargas’s group, Francisco Corvera, grants absolution to the people and baptizes their children, 74 in all.  Vargas serves as godfather to one of Domingo’s daughters.

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September 28 (September 18, o.s.)

Massachusetts: Giles Corey, who refused the previous day to agree to be tried for witchcraft by the Court of Oyer and Terminer in Salem Town, continues to endure the long, slow, painful process of crushing as punishment.  More weight is added to the load already on him, but he still refuses to back down.  The weight has reached a point where it is quite clear that he will die if any more is added.

In the evening, Ann Putnam, one of the original afflicted girls of Salem Village, suffers terrible fits.  When she finally comes out of them she tells her father, Thomas Putnam, that she saw the apparition of a man who said Giles Corey had murdered him by “pressing him to death with his feet” and that Corey immediately afterward made a covenant with the Devil, who promised him that he would not be hanged for it.  The ghost further said that Corey was brought to court for this but somehow escaped punishment, and that, though this all happened before she was born, her father should know about it.

When Thomas Putnam hears his daughter’s story, he does indeed remember the incident in question, and is surprised to realize that he had forgotten about it.  He recalls that about seventeen years earlier a man who was living with Corey died suddenly and mysteriously, and a coroner’s jury found extensive bruising that seemed to have led to his death and concluded that he had been murdered.  Corey, however, managed to keep the court from charging him with the murder by paying a large sum of money.

Published in: on September 28, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on September 28 (September 18, o.s.)  

September 27 (September 17, o.s.)

Massachusetts: The Court of Oyer and Terminer meets in Salem Town.  The grand jury hears evidence in the case of Abigail Faulkner of Andover, who confessed to witchcraft on August 30 after insisting on her innocence at her initial examination on August 11.  In addition to her confession, the evidence against her includes the statements of various afflicted persons from both Andover and Salem Village accusing her of attacking them spectrally.  Given the confession, the grand jury has no trouble issuing indictments against her, and her trial follows immediately.

The evidence against Faulkner at trial includes not only her own confession and the testimony of the afflicted, but the statements of other confessors as well implicating her in their crimes.  The trial jury finds this convincing, and she is convicted and sentenced to death.  She pleads for a reprieve given that she is pregnant, and the judges agree to postpone her execution.

The next piece of business before the court is the trial of Giles Corey, whose wife Martha was tried and convicted on September 8 and who was himself indicted by the grand jury the next day.  Corey is called up for his trial and pleads not guilty.  However, when the judges ask him if he will agree to trial by God and his country, meaning by a jury, he refuses to answer.  This puts him at risk of being pressed to death, the traditional penalty under English law for refusing to consent to a trial, but he has noticed that everyone who has been tried has been convicted and sentenced to death, so he sees no point in going through with the process if the result is inevitable.  The judges are concerned about the implications for the court of a stunt like this, however, and they try to convince him to change his mind and stand trial, but he is steadfast in his refusal, and the court reluctantly orders him taken back to prison and laid on his back with weights on top of him.  The weight is to be increased each day until he either agrees to stand trial or dies.  This is done, and the court then adjourns.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas, frustrated that the people of Pecos Pueblo still have not returned to his campsite there to make peace with him despite his having sent several messages to them guaranteeing their safety, decides to return to Santa Fe.  First he orders his secretary of government and war, Alfonso Rael de Aguilar, to count the prisoners taken over the course of the occupation of Pecos.  There are 28, mostly women and children.  Vargas orders that they be set free and their houses and fields be returned to them.  He leaves them with a large cross and a piece of paper with a cross drawn on it, and orders them to tell the others, if and when they return, to come to him wherever he is so that they may make peace with him and return to Christian obedience.  He then sets off for Santa Fe, carefully leaving everything at Pecos undisturbed, even the kivas.  He takes with him eight captives, Spanish people and allied Indians captured during the Pueblo Revolt in 1680 and found by his men while they searched the surrounding mountains for the people of Pecos.  He arrives at his campsite in Santa Fe around 3:00 pm.

Published in: on September 27, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (1)  

September 26 (September 16, o.s.)

Connecticut: The Court of Oyer and Terminer meets in Stamford. The session begins with the court making another proclamation that anyone who has evidence to bring against Mary Staples, Mary Harvey or Hannah Harvey in connection with accusations of witchcraft against them should come to the court to testify.  The proclamation of the previous day has not yet resulted in anyone appearing.

Once that is out of the way, the trial of Elizabeth Clawson and Mercy Disborough continues.  Prosecutor James Bennett continues the presentation of his case with the testimony of more witnesses, who testify orally.  This is in addition to the depositions presented before, and consists of much of the same sort of testimony: stories about Katharine Branch’s fits and accusations placing the blame for them on Clawson and Disborough, among others, and accounts of previous incidents involving suspicious behavior on the part of the defendants.

Massachusetts: The Court of Oyer and Terminer meets in Salem Town.  The grand jury considers the case of Mary Parker.  The evidence against her consists entirely on the statements of afflicted persons and the confessors William Barker Jr. and Mercy Wardwell, who named her in their confessions, but the grand jury finds it convincing nonetheless and indicts her.  Her trial follows immediately afterward and involves the same evidence, which the trial jury uses to convict her.

New Mexico: Around 4:00 pm the young man whom Governor Vargas sent out from Pecos Pueblo the previous day to deliver a message to the people of the pueblo returns with just one other man.  The messenger, who says his name is Juan Pedro, reports that he was unable to find any other people, as they have gone off in all different directions.  The other man, who says his name is Agustín Sebastián, says the same thing.  Vargas orders them detained with the other prisoners while he decides what to do.

Soon afterward, Domingo, the Tewa leader who has been a firm ally to Vargas, arrives at Pecos and reports to Vargas that he and some of his people went out into the mountains to look for the people of Pecos and assure them that they could safely return to the pueblo.  They were only able to find three people, way up in the mountains, and were unsuccessful in their attempts to persuade them to return, getting only abuse and defiance in response to their entreaties.  The people said they wanted neither peace nor friendship with the Spanish and the Tewas, and that they would go to Taos or to the Apaches rather than return to Pecos.

Published in: on September 26, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (1)  

September 25 (September 15, o.s.)

Connecticut: The Court of Oyer and Terminer meets in Fairfield for the trials of Mercy Disborough and Elizabeth Clawson on witchcraft charges.  The grand jury that indicted Disborough and Clawson the previous day states that, based on the evidence against them, it also finds sufficient evidence to indict Mary Staples, Mary Harvey, and Hannah Harvey, all of whom were accused along with Disborough and Clawson of afflicting Katharine Branch.  The court doesn’t agree to indict these three, but it does issue a proclamation asking that anyone who has evidence to give against any of them should come to the court and testify.

After this, Martha Henry and Ann Hardy are appointed by the court to make a second examination of the bodies of Clawson and Disborough as a check on the examination conducted by a committee of women the previous day.  They report back that they found nothing on Clawson that wasn’t found during the search conducted on May 28, when she was initially questioned, which found nothing but a wart on her arm.  As for Disborough, they report that the growth found on May 28 is still there but a bit smaller and that there is another small growth not found then.

After the search and report, the presentation of evidence by the prosecutor, James Bennett, begins.  Many of the depositions collected by the various magistrates in the area over the months since the initial examinations of Clawson and Disborough are presented and sworn to by the deponents.  These contain various stories about Kate Branch’s recent fits, suspicious past encounters with the two women, and other incidents relating to the accusations.  All are in support of the prosecution; although some depositions were taken that cast doubt on Kate’s reliability, Bennett has no reason to introduce them.

Massachusetts: The Court of Oyer and Terminer meets in Salem Town.  The grand jury considers the evidence against Sarah Buckley that was not presented the previous day, and issues an indictment against her.  It also hears the similar evidence against her daughter Mary Witheridge, and indicts her as well.

The next case to come before the grand jury is that of Margaret Scott of Rowley.  Scott has long been suspected of witchcraft by her neighbors, and most of the testimony against her comes from them.  The grand jury finds this convincing, and indicts her.  Her trial follows immediately, and results in a quick conviction.

New Mexico: Early in the morning the old man who arrived the previous day at Pecos Pueblo with a message from the governor of that pueblo to Diego de Vargas, governor of New Mexico, leaves with Vargas’s return message saying that he would wait at the pueblo until the governor and his people came there.  While Vargas is waiting for the governor to arrive, one of the local women recently taken prisoner offers to go and deliver the message herself, since the old man would travel slowly and take a long time to deliver it.  She says she will leave her mother and daughter, also prisoners, at the pueblo as guarantees of her intent to return, and further says that the governor is her father and a reasonable man who will be amenable to Vargas’s message.

Vargas accepts the woman’s offer and gives her a rosary.  He sends four of his Indian allies with her as guards, to go as far as she wants them to.

At 11:00 am she returns, saying she went through the nearby mountains but didn’t see anyone from the pueblo and was afraid to go any further, even with the Indian guards.  Vargas therefore orders two of his officers to take a squad of twelve soldiers to escort her as far as she wishes.  They go a considerable distance along the river until they see tracks of the local Indians, at which point the woman asks the soldiers to return to the pueblo so that the Indians will not see them and run away.  They do, and arrive back at Pecos around 5:00 pm.  They report what happened to Vargas.

Soon after the soldiers’ return, the woman returns as well.  She reports that she looked carefully for the Indians but was unable to find them.  Immediately after this, a young man from Pecos arrives at the pueblo and greets Vargas, who receives him kindly and gives him a rosary.  Vargas tells him to transmit the message he has already sent with the three old men whom he met earlier, that the people of Pecos should return and make peace with him, and that they are in no danger.  He shows the young man the prisoners at the pueblo, who are happy and safe.  The young man then leaves, promising to deliver the message.

Later, some of the Indian allies and Spanish soldiers bring to the pueblo three women, two of whom appear to Vargas to be over 100 years old, and Francisco de Anaya Almazán, a young Spanish man who says he has been a captive in Pecos since the revolt of 1680, when his father was killed.

Around the same time, one of the Keres Indians whom Vargas has brought from El Paso as allies asks for permission to go to the mesas around Santa Ana Pueblo, where the people of that pueblo are said to be living after abandoning it, along with the people of the nearby Pueblo of Zia.  Since Vargas knows this man and knows that he has a wife in El Paso, he trusts him and grants him permission to make the journey and inform the Keres pueblos of his good intentions.  He gives him a rosary to wear as a sign that he is on a mission for the Spanish and a letter with a cross on it, along with another rosary, to present to the governor of Santa Ana, Antonio Malacate.  He also sends Malacate the message that he and his people have nothing to fear and should come down and meet him at Santo Domingo Pueblo.

Published in: on September 25, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (2)  

September 24 (September 14, o.s.)

Connecticut: A special Court of Oyer and Terminer is convened at Stamford with Governor Robert Treat as its chief justice.  The court appoints Lieutenant James Bennett as prosecutor for the witchcraft cases against Elizabeth Clawson and Mercy Disborough, with Mr. Eliphalet Hill to assist him.  Bennett presents the evidence against Clawson and Disborough to the grand jury, which finds it convincing and issues indictments.  Both women plead not guilty and agree to a trial by jury.

The court appoints a committee of women to search the bodies of the Clawson and Disborough for signs of witchcraft.  After the search, the committee reports finding suspicious growths near the genitals of both women, a dark red one on Clawson and a smaller pale one on Disborough, but they stop short of saying that these are definitely witches’ teats, only confirming that they are “more than is common to women.”

Massachusetts: The Court of Oyer and Terminer meets in Salem Town.  The grand jury hears further evidence against Samuel Wardwell, who confessed to witchcraft on September 1 but retracted his confession on September 13.  In addition to the confession, the evidence includes statements by various afflicted persons and other confessors implicating Wardwell in spectral torments.  The grand jury accepts this evidence along with the retracted confession, and issues two indictments against Wardwell.  His trial by the petty jury follows immediately, with the same evidence presented against him along with testimony by other witnesses indicating that he has a history of fortune-telling, and he is easily convicted.

After Wardwell’s trial, the grand jury considers the case of Mary Lacey Sr.  Since, like her mother, Ann Foster, she confessed, the grand jury has no trouble indicting her on the basis of her confession and the spectral evidence of afflicted persons.  Her trial and that of her mother follow.  Both result in guilty verdicts.

The grand jury next considers the case of Wilmot Reed of Marblehead.  The evidence against her mainly consists of testimony from the afflicted girls of Salem Village about her afflicting them, along with testimony by Ambrose Gale, Charity Pitman and Sarah Dodd of Marblehead about an incident about five years earlier when a Mrs. Sims suspected Reed’s servant Martha Lawrence of having stolen some linen from her.  When she confronted Reed about it and threatened to go to Salem and get a warrant from John Hathorne, one of the magistrates, Reed angrily said that she wished Sims might never urinate or defecate again.  Soon afterward, the witnesses allege, Sims was striken with “the dry belly-ache,” which lasted for the remainder of her stay in Massachusetts.  This evidence is convincing to the grand jury, which readily issues two indictments against Reed.  At her trial, immediately afterward, the same evidence is presented and the petty jury finds it convincing as well, finding her guilty.

The grand jury next hears evidence against Sarah Buckley, who was initially questioned on May 18.  Mary Walcott, one of the afflicted girls of Salem Village, testifies that on the day of her examination Buckley tormented her, Abigail Williams, Mercy Lewis and Ann Putnam.  Elizabeth Hubbard testifies that Buckley never afflicted her, but that she did see her afflict Mary Walcott and Ann Putnam.  There is more evidence against Buckley, but as it is getting late the court adjourns for the day to continue the next day.

New Mexico: Some of Governor Vargas’s Indian allies come to his campsite at Pecos Pueblo after reconnoitering the area.  They bring with them three prisoners, women from Pecos.  All three of the women greet the governor by saying “Praise be the blessed sacrament” in perfect Spanish.  One of them is nursing a child and tells the governor that they left the pueblo when the Spanish arrived because their men did and they were afraid to stay behind alone.  Vargas tells them through an interpreter that they are in no danger and may return to their houses.  They are pleased to hear this.

Later, around 6:00 pm, an old Indian man arrives at Pecos.  Through the interpreters Vargas asks where he has been, to which he replies that he was hiding in the fields around the pueblo.  Vargas says that the people of the pueblo shouldn’t have left, since they are in no danger from him, and the man replies that the older people didn’t want to leave but the younger people made them.  He says he brings a message from the governor of the pueblo that he his in the process of gathering his people and that he will bring them to the pueblo when they are all together.  Since the old man is very tired, Vargas lets him spend the night at the pueblo, and asks him to leave early in the morning to tell the governor of Pecos that Vargas is waiting for him at the pueblo.  He gives the man a rosary as a gesture of peace and speaks to him kindly to allay any fears he may have.

Published in: on September 24, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (2)  

September 23 (September 13, o.s.)

Connecticut: Mrs. Sarah Bates appears before the magistrates in Stamford to testify about an incident shortly after Daniel Westcott’s servant Katharine Branch began to have strange fits.  The Westcotts asked Bates, who has some medical knowledge, to come to their house to look at the girl.  When she arrived, Kate was lying on the bed, and it seemed to Bates that her illness likely had a natural cause.  She therefore advised the Westcotts to burn feathers under her nose, a well-known remedy for fainting spells, and when they did she seemed to improve a bit.  When Bates left the house that night, Kate seemed to be doing better, and she expected her condition to improve by the morning.

In the morning, however, Daniel Westcott came to Bates and asked her to come see the girl again, and when she arrived Kate seemed to be in considerably worse shape, lying on the bed apparently senseless with her eyes half open.  She did, however, have a normal pulse.  Abigail Westcott, Daniel’s wife, asked Bates to bleed the girl’s foot in the hope that it might help, and when Bates replied that she doubted any bleeding could be done in her present condition she insisted until Bates acquiesced and agreed to at least do a test bleeding.  When everything is set up for the bleeding, however, Kate suddenly cried out, and when she was asked why she said that she didn’t want to be bled because it would hurt.  Upon being assured that it would be no more than a pinprick she agreed to do it and put her foot out over the side of the bed, but the way she suddenly perked up from her near-comatose state as soon as something potentially painful was mentioned made Bates quite suspicious.  After the bleeding was done without much immediate effect, Kate lay still on the bed for a short time, then suddenly cried out.  Abigail Westcott was startled by this and cried out that the girl was bewitched, and Bates saw Kate turn her head away from the people into her pillow and laugh.

Mary Lockwood, who was present at the time of the bleeding, confirms the accuracy of Bates’s account of the events of that day, but cannot say anything about her account of the previous night.

Massachusetts: The Court of Oyer and Terminer meets in Salem Town.  The first order of business is the case of Ann Foster, who confessed to witchcraft beginning on July 15.  Since she confessed, the grand jury has no trouble indicting her based on the ample evidence against her just in her own statements.  The grand jury also hears the evidence against Samuel Wardwell, primarily based on his own confession on September 1, but when he appears before the court he recants and says that while he did confess, he was lying when he did so, and that since he will now be executed no matter what he says, he might as well tell the truth.  The court then adjourns for the day with the expectation of hearing more evidence against Wardwell the next day.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas’s expedition saddles up at dawn after one of the expedition’s priests, Miguel Muñiz, grants absolution to both Vargas and his soldiers.  They then proceed on their way to Pecos Pueblo, preparing to attack it if necessary.

Shortly after the expedition departs, they come across the tracks of two Indians on horseback, who seem to have come out from the pueblo either during the night or very early in the morning.  The tracks lead back to Pecos, which the Spanish troops see as they come over a hill.  Vargas orders Roque Madrid to take one squadron of men with him to prepare to besiege it, and he sends the reinforcements that recently arrived from Nueva Vizcaya to accompany him.  The rest of the troops will stay with him to complete the siege.

As the soldiers approach the pueblo, they see two columns of smoke coming out from it, indicating that it is still inhabited.  Some of the expedition’s scouts, however, soon arrive and report that the people have abandoned the site and are leaving on horseback.  Vargas orders that any enemy soldiers encountered on horseback be unhorsed, captured and killed.  The expedition then proceeds at a full gallop toward the pueblo.

When they arrive, they find it abandoned but well-provisioned.  Vargas concludes that the tracks they saw earlier were scouts who came back to warn the people of his arrival, and he orders his men to continue following the tracks leading away from the pueblo without stopping.  As the men reach the mountainous country in the surrounding area, they are forced to spread out as they look for the fleeing people of Pecos.

Vargas himself holds back and continues more slowly with his chief advisers.  One soldier he finds along the way tells him that the track the men are following is old, so he orders him to hurry to tell the men and give them his order that anyone not following a track that is clearly new return to join him.  Anyone who is following a new track should continue until they capture some prisoners, then bring them back to him.

Vargas soon hears a shot in the distance, and shortly thereafter the soldier he sent off to deliver his orders returns, coming down a mountain with an old Indian woman as a prisoner.  Vargas questions her through the interpreter Pedro Hidalgo, and she says that the younger people of Pecos fled six days earlier, as soon as they received the news that the Spanish had arrived in Santa Fe, and that they wouldn’t let the older people who stayed behind come down and make peace with the newcomers as they wanted.  Soon, another soldier arrives with another prisoner, an old man who is naked.  Vargas has the Indian woman he just spoke to give him one of the hides she is carrying, with which he covers himself.  He then questions him through the interpreter, and gets the same story the woman told him.  Vargas tells him that he has come not to punish the rebel Indians but to forgive them and bring them back to Christianity and Spanish authority, and that he should tell the people to come back and that he will receive them peacefully and protect their houses and fields.  As a gesture of his sincerity, he gives the man a rosary, and to ensure that he won’t be bothered by the widely dispersed Spanish troops on his way to deliver the message, he has him make a large cross which he signs and tells him to carry and show to any soldiers who stop him.  The man is quite pleased with Vargas’s friendliness, and duly leaves to deliver the message.  Vargas says he will wait at the pueblo for the people to return.

Over the course of the day, more and more soldiers return to the governor bringing prisoners they have found, all of whom are women, children, and old men.  By the time the whole expedition regroups at Pecos, there are 27 prisoners in all.

In the afternoon, an old man arrives at the pueblo carrying the cross Vargas sent with the other old man.  The governor greets him warmly, and he tells the same story that the prisoners have: that the young people abandoned the pueblo six days before, leaving the young and old to fend for themselves if they didn’t leave as well, and that those who stayed fled when the two scouts on horseback informed them of the Spanish advance.  He also says that the old man Vargas sent out with the cross is in fact the governor of Pecos, and that he sends a message that it will take a while for him to collect his people, who are widely scattered.  Vargas gives the man a rosary and tells him to return to the governor and tell him that he will be waiting at the pueblo all of the following day, and that he and his people should come there as soon as they can.  Although, as the man can clearly see, Vargas and his men have moved into the houses at the pueblo, Vargas tells him to assure the governor that they return them to their owners as soon as they come back, and that they are not averse to sleeping outside, which they did while they were camped at Santa Fe.  He also tells him that he has come to reconcile the people of Pecos with his new allies and their recent enemies, the Tewas, who have come with him.  The man is pleased with Vargas’s treatment of him and leaves, promising to deliver the message to the governor.

Published in: on September 23, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (1)  

September 22 (September 12, o.s.)

Connecticut: Daniel Westcott appears before the commissioners in Stamford and testifies about a history of quarrels between his family and Elizabeth Clawson, whom his servant Katharine Branch has accused of bewitching her.  He says the problems began a few years back when his wife Abigail made an arrangement with Clawson to do an exchange of labor, but gave her three quarters of a pound of wool to spin rather than the agreed-upon half a pound.  Daniel Westcott weighed the wool and confronted Clawson with the discrepancy, after which point, he says, she seized upon any pretext to argue and quarrel with him and his wife.  Soon afterwards, the Westcotts’ eldest daughter Johanna began to scream at night and point to a mysterious sow she saw that no one else could see.  This continued for about three weeks, until Johanna was sent to Fairfield and her troubles stopped.

Abigail Westcott also testifies to the commissioners about several incidents between her and Elizabeth Clawson, including one time when Clawson threw stones at her and others when she upbraided her for her fine clothes.  The Westcotts’ Indian slave boy testifies as well about a time when Kate Branch was in a fit and he held her hands, during which time a string mysteriously appeared around her neck.  Abigail Westcott confirms that she saw the marks of the string on Kate’s neck after her husband cut it off.

Also appearing before the commissioners is Thomas Penoyer, who gives some further details about the incident described by Mary Newman on June 30 in which her sheep died mysteriously after a quarrel with Elizabeth Clawson.  He says it took place about four years back, before he went to England.  He also mentions another incident between Newman and Clawson the next summer after he returned, when Clawson confronted Newman about Newman’s daughter stealing fruit from the Clawsons’ land.

Jamaica: The Council meets to review the government’s accounts.  There is a balance of 390 pounds.

New Mexico: As Governor Vargas, camped at an arroyo near Galisteo Pueblo, is saddling up before dawn for his planned attack on Pecos Pueblo, he hears two shots ring out in the distance.  Since he has ordered his own men not to shoot, he realizes that the shots are probably the customary signal of an approaching squad of troops indicating to a camp that they are arriving to carry out an order.  Sure enough, shortly afterward Juan Páez Hurtado arrives with six men and reports to the governor that he arrived at Santa Fe the previous evening after leaving El Paso on September 5 with the fifty reinforcements sent from Nueva Vizcaya, and has continued on as per the instructions left for him at the Santa Fe campsite.  He says that the rest of his men will arrive by the afternoon.  Vargas therefore orders that the attack on Pecos be postponed until the next day, so that the whole force can go together.

To prepare for the attack, Vargas sends some of the Indian allies he acquired in Santa Fe to scout around and see if the people of Pecos or their Apaches alllies are anywhere around.  One of the scouts, named Nicolás, returns late in the day to tell the governor that he saw tracks left by two Apaches who came to scout out the camp the previous night.  He also reports that he and two other scouts found a horse that the Apaches apparently left behind because it was tired.  Vargas rewards him and his companions by granting them joint ownership of the horse.

At around 5:00 pm, Vargas orders the camp to depart to move a bit closer to Pecos in preparation for the attack.  Around 9:00 pm, the troops reach a flat area surrounding a mountain that the scouts say is the closest place the group can get to Pecos without being seen.  Vargas therefore calls a halt and orders camp to be made, with the soldiers to be ready for a dawn attack on the pueblo.

Published in: on September 22, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on September 22 (September 12, o.s.)  

September 21 (September 11, o.s.)

Massachusetts: Samuel Parris, minister in Salem Village, gives two sermons, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, about the recent convictions of six people by the Court of Oyer and Terminer convened in Salem Town to try witchcraft cases.  One of the six is Martha Corey, a member of the Salem Village church.  Parris’s sermons paint the conspiracy of witches under Satan’s command as part of a broader demonic attack on New England that also includes the quite physical war with the French and their Indian allies.  While gathered at the meetinghouse for the sabbath service, the congregation votes to excommunicate Martha Corey.

New Mexico: In the morning Luis Picurí, leader of the confederation of Tewa and Tiwa Pueblos centered on Santa Fe, arrives at Governor Vargas’s campsite at Santa Fe along with his brother Lorenzo, governor of Picuris Pueblo, Domingo, who played a key role in negotiating the surrender of Santa Fe to Vargas on September 13, and the rest of his key advisors and military leaders.  They have come to accompany Vargas on his planned expedition to their enemies at Pecos Pueblo, with the goal of either negotiating an alliance or attacking and defeating the people of Pecos.  Also arriving at the camp are many Indians from the local Pueblos who have not yet been absolved of their sin in rebelling against the Spanish in 1680.

Miguel Muñiz, one of the Franciscan missionaries accompanying Vargas’s reconquest expedition, grants absolution to the wayward Indians, and Cristóbal Alonso Barroso, another of the missionaries, then conducts a mass, which Vargas attends along with his newly absolved allies. When it is over Vargas tells the Indians through an interpreter that they should be very happy to hear a mass again after going without for so long.  He then invites the leaders to breakfast with himself and the priests, and they eat and drink chocolate together.

After breakfast, the expedition mounts up and departs for Pecos, leaving between 8:00 am and 9:00 am.  Just before leaving Vargas writes a letter to Juan Páez Hurtado, whom he left in charge of the additional fifty soldiers expected from Nueva Vizcaya who had not arrived at El Paso as of August 21, when Vargas left to lead the main body of the reconquest expedition.  In it he expresses his disappointment that the troops didn’t arrive in time to help him with the reconquest of Santa Fe and describes his success in taking the town without their help.  He also indicates that he has gone on his expedition to Pecos via Galisteo Pueblo, and that the additional troops should follow his tracks and meet him on his way if they arrive soon.  He leaves the letter with a soldier at the campsite in Santa Fe to be received by Páez whenever he arrives with the reinforcements.

The troops with Vargas march continuously until they reach Galisteo Pueblo, where Vargas calls a halt and sends two Indian scouts ahead to reconnoiter the Pueblo and see if there are any enemy Indians there and if there is any water in the water holes.  They return to report that there are neither enemies nor water at the Pueblo.  Vargas then orders that camp be made for the night in an arroyo within sight of Galisteo, and that the men be prepared to depart at the rising of the morning star to continue on to Pecos.

At sunset Páez and six of the soldiers from Nueva Vizcaya under his command arrive at the campsite in Santa Fe and receive Vargas’s letter.  As the letter orders, they keep going toward Galisteo to meet up with the expedition to Pecos.

Published in: on September 21, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on September 21 (September 11, o.s.)