September 17 (September 7, o.s.)

Connecticut: Sarah Kecham appears before the magistrates in Stamford and testifies about an occasion when she was at Daniel Westcott’s house when his servant girl Katharine Branch was in one of her fits.  She asked Westcott and Thomas Austin, who was also there, how Kate was, and they said she had had new fits since she went riding.  Kecham, suspicious about all this, asked Kate to go riding again, and she did.  While she was riding around, Kecham asked her if the horse had a name, and she called out that his name was Jack.  Kecham then asked her to sing, and she did, in both English and French.  Austin then said that he knew she was bewitched, to which Kecham replied that she didn’t believe it, because she didn’t believe there were any witches in Stamford.  Austin then said that he was sure she was bewitched, and that he had heard that if one held a sword over a bewitched person’s head they would laugh themselves to death.  Kate having returned from riding, he took a sword and held it over her head and she began laughing maniacally.  Kecham, unimpressed, pointed out that Kate had heard them talking about the sword thing.  Westcott then gave a signal to Austin to hold the sword over Kate’s head again so that she wouldn’t know it was there.  He did, and she didn’t laugh at all or show any other change in her expression.  John Bates, who was present at the time, testifies to the truth of Kecham’s story.  Kecham also testifies that she has heard Westcott say he can talk Kate out of her fits whenever he pleases.

Massachusetts: The Court of Oyer and Terminer meets in Salem Town to consider the extensive backlog of witchcraft cases.  The first to face the grand jury is Alice Parker.  Unusually, most of the spectral evidence given against her by the afflicted girls involves attacks made the previous night, rather than at her initial examination or before.  It is nonetheless convincing enough to the grand jury for it to issue an indictment.

Parker’s trial follows immediately.  In addition to the spectral evidence offered to the grand jury, the prosecution includes a great deal of testimony by neighbors of hers about suspicious interactions dating back as far as 1684, and the jury has no trouble coming to a verdict of guilty.

After Parker’s trial, the grand jury hears evidence against Ann Pudeator, who, like Parker, was first accused by Mary Warren in her confession on May 12.  The grand jury issues an indictment, but the court adjourns for the day without conducting another trial.

Meanwhile, several Andover women who have recently been accused of witchcraft are summoned to the Andover meetinghouse.  When they arrive, the afflicted persons who have accused them are there, as is the minister, who leads the group in a prayer.  The accused women are then blindfolded, and their hands are placed on the afflicted persons, who immediately come out of their fits and declare that they are well, and that the women who have cured them by touching them are the ones who afflicted them.  On the basis of this evidence and a warrant, the women are suddenly seized by the authorities and taken to Salem for questioning.  This is all very surprising and distressing for the women involved.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas and the leaders of his reconquest expedition go in the morning to the Santa Fe plaza to attend a mass conducted by Miguel Muñiz, one of the Franciscan missionaries who accompanied the expedition.  The mass is held on the patio of the fortress on the plaza and it is translated into Tewa for the benefit of the Indians living there by Pedro Hidalgo, one of the expedition’s interpreters.  As part of the ceremony Muñiz gives a sermon emphasizing the importance of baptism and encouraging the Indians to bring their children who were born since the 1680 uprising to be baptized.  After the mass is over, Muñiz and the two other Franciscans begin to baptize the children of the people.  They and various other members of the expedition serve as godfathers.  José, the leader of the Indians of Santa Fe, asks Governor Vargas to be godfather to his three daughters, an honor which the governor readily agrees to.  Vargas also serves as godfather to six infants.  In all, 122 children are baptized.  After the baptisms are complete, the governor and his entourage return to their camp.

Around 4:00 pm Lorenzo, the governor of Picuris Pueblo and the brother of Luis Picurí, the leader of all the pueblos who met with Vargas on September 16, arrives at Vargas’s campsite.  Vargas receives him with the same courtesy and hospitality he gave his brother.  He promises to leave him in his position as governor of Picuris and to assist him with whatever he needs.  Alonso García, one of the expedition’s soldiers, translates Vargas’s statements into Tiwa, the language spoken at Picuris, so that Lorenzo can understand them.

Lorenzo is pleased by Vargas’s kindness and offers to aid him in battle against the Pueblos of Pecos, Jemez, San Felipe and Santo Domingo if his attempts to pacify them are unsuccessful.  He says, as did his brother, that those pueblos have allied with the Faraón Apaches against Picuris and the Tewa pueblos.  He also asks Vargas’s permission for his men to come to the campsite the next day to trade, to which Vargas agrees.  Vargas gives him a horse and he reciprocates with some animal hides, for which Vargas thanks him, then leaves.

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Published in: on September 17, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (1)  

One Comment

  1. […] The first order of business is the trial of Ann Pudeator, who was indicted by the grand jury on September 7.  The prosecution’s case against her revolves largely around the testimony of the afflicted […]


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