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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Published in: on September 29, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on September 29 (September 19, o.s.)  
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