September 20 (September 10, o.s.)

Connecticut: Edward Jessop appears before the magistrates in Fairfield and testifies about an incident the previous winter when he dined at the house of Thomas and Mercy Disborough.  He says that the pig that was being roasted for dinner looked normal on the spit, but when it was brought to the table he thought it looked odd, like it had no skin on it, although the light was good.  When Thomas Disborough began to cut into the pig, however, it looked normal again, and Jessop ate some so as not to offend his hosts, although he was a bit perturbed by the apparent change.  Later in the meal, Mercy Disborough and another guest, Isaac Sherwood, got into an argument about a particular biblical verse.  Jessop sided with Sherwood in the dispute.  To settle the dispute, Goodwife Disborough brought out a bible and gave it to Jessop to read the verse in question.  Although the light was good and the type was large, Jessop found that he was unable to even see the text when it was right in front of him.  When Goodwife Disborough took the book back and began flipping through the pages, however, Jessop could read it just fine even though it was much further away.

On his way home from this dinner, Jessop came to Compo Creek, which seemed unusually high.  He went to a place on the bank where there was a canoe he knew about and habitually used to cross when the water was high, but when he tried to pull out the canoe he could only lift up one end and no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t push it into the creek.  He therefore decided to ride around to another place where the crossing was easier, but on his way he found that he couldn’t keep his horse on the road.  The horse kept going off into the bushes, with the result that it took Jessop most of the night to get home even though the distance was only about two miles.

Massachusetts: The Court of Oyer and Terminer meets in Salem Town.  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 persons and confessors, with the key witness being Mary Warren, the confessor who initially named Pudeator as a witch on May 12.  She testifies that Pudeator’s specter admitted to her that she had killed her husband and his first wife, as well as the wife of John Best.  Best himself also testifies against Pudeator, saying that during her extended illness his wife would often say that Pudeator was attacking her spectrally and wouldn’t rest until she was dead.  Best’s son, also named John, confirms his father’s story in his own testimony.  Pudeator has little in the way of a positive defense to offer, and she is easily convicted.  After the conviction she petitions the judges to spare her life and reject the testimony of John Best, since he is a known liar and has in the past been publicly whipped for his falsehoods.  The judges are unmoved.

After Pudeator’s trial the grand jury considers the case of the confessor Abigail Hobbs.  Given the considerable detail of her various confessions, the jury has no trouble issuing indictments against her.  The next case the grand jury considers, however, that of Rebecca Jacobs, is considerably more complicated.  Jacobs, whose father-in-law George Jacobs was executed for witchcraft on August 19, has confessed to witchcraft, but her mother, Rebecca Fox, testifies that her daughter has been “broken and distracted in her mind” for over twelve years, which she and others are prepared to swear to at any trial that may come about, and that the court should consider this in looking at her case.  The grand jury does indeed consider this special circumstance in evaluating Jacobs’s confession, and only indicts her for one count of bewitching one of the afflicted girls, without issuing an indictment for the more serious charge of signing a covenant with the Devil.

After the grand jury issues its indictments, the court adjourns without conducting any more trials, to reconvene on September 13.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas wakes up in the morning and finds himself ill, which prevents him from departing as planned on his expedition to Pecos Pueblo.  While he is at his campsite in the morning waiting for Luis Picurí to arrive with his men, a soldier named Francisco Márquez comes to him and reports that he has found the bronze cannon that was left behind in Santa Fe when the Spanish left during the revolt in 1680.  Vargas’s troops have been looking for it in the location where it was left, but Márquez reports that he found it elsewhere, suggesting that the Indians moved it to make use of it themselves.  This is also suggested by the fact that the priming hole in the chamber seems to have burst, because it is plugged and a new priming hole has been drilled.  After inspecting the cannon and finding these alterations, Vargas gives Márquez a reward for finding it and thanks him.  He decides to take the cannon, which is still perfectly usable, on his campaign to Pecos.

Shortly after Vargas receives the cannon, Luis Picurí arrives at the campsite with his brother Lorenzo and his retinue of warriors.  Vargas receives them warmly and offers them chocolate, which they drink with him and the expedition’s priests.  Since Vargas is sick and it is getting pretty late, he tells Picurí that the expedition to Pecos will leave the next day after mass, and that he and his men can go rest, which they do.

A little before noon Roque Madrid comes to Vargas and reports to him that the Tewa Indians under Picurí’s command who have been out reconnoitering the area have reporting seeing twenty tracks of the Keres Indians from Santo Domingo Pueblo, who are allies of Pecos and enemies of the Tewas.  In response to this information, Picurí warned Madrid that the Spanish should be careful and keep an eye on their horses and asked for a Spanish force to guard his own livestock.  Vargas, upon hearing this, issues an order informing his troops to take extra precautions to guard the horses from any nighttime attack or ambush.

Published in: on September 20, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on September 20 (September 10, o.s.)  
%d bloggers like this: