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WITCHES OF LONG ISLAND
"The Witchcraft Delusion" by John M. Taylor, Gramercy Books (1995)
states: "In 1657 at East Hampton "Goody" BIRDSALL testified
regarding the accusations of witchcraft toward "Goody" GARLICK, wife
of Joshua GARLICK. She states that while dressing flax at Goody
DAVIS's house that Goody DAVIS said that she had dressed her children
in clean linen at the island... (From this we learn that Goody DAVIS
was a resident of the island - GARDINERs Island - and had more than
one child.) Goody BIRDSALL later states that according to Goody
DAVIS, after she took her child from Goody GARLICK the child
sickened, and after five days and five nights it died. Since death
dates for all of Ffulke's identified children are recorded and none
match the 1657 date, it is reasonable to assume there was another
child, sex unidentified, that died on GARDINER's Island that year. A
source which I did not record stated that Ffulke had a child named
Jane, and without further evidence it is possible that Jane was the
child that died in 1657."
An extensive article providing much information about early eastern
Long Island and East Hampton in particular was published in the
"Collections of the New-York Historical Society for the year 1869"
(pp. 225-272). It is entitled, "GARDINER's East Hampton, Etc." and
consists of "Notes and observations on the town of East Hampton at
the east end of Long Island written by John Lyon GARDINER of the Isle
of Wight [later named 'GARDINER's Island'] in April 1798 at the
request of the Rev'd Samuel Miller of N: York." Some additional
notes on "Witchcraft in New York" are provided on p. 273. The
following is condensed from this reference.
In 1664, under the Duke of York and the subsequent Patent from Col.
Richard Nicolls, the town formerly called Maid-stone became East:
Hampton, probably due to its location to the east of Southampton.
The first settlers apparently came from Stansted in the County of
Kent in England, and perhaps from the original Maid-stone in England.
The records show that the original 35 settlers and purchasers of the
town had come from Lynn, Massachusetts and nearby towns. Those who
came were accepted into the town by vote, and some were refused based
on their unacceptable principles and laziness. The original settlers
were Puritans, and established Congregational churches. These people
were not fond of titles, and in a period of 30 years only 5 persons
had the title of "Mr.", the others preferring to be called "Goodman"
and "Goodwife", or simply "Goody".
In 1644 Southampton came under the jurisdiction of the Connecticut
Colony, and in 1648 Southold did likewise, but East Hampton remained
self-governed until 1657. For this reason Hartford was an active
partner in certain legal issues. From March,1650 when the first East
Hampton General Court was conducted until 1664 when Gov. Nicolls
took charge, 50 or 60 law cases are recorded. The General Court was
moderated by the Constable, and cases were sometimes referred to the
General Court at Hartford. In October, 1651 Ralph Dayton was the
Constable, and very likely was also Constable when the Court was
created in 1650.
With this by way of background, on March 19, 1657, the town voted to
send Thomas Baker and John Hand to Connecticut "for to bring Us under
their Government according unto the terms as Southampton is...". On
this same trip, a third person was to accompany Baker and Hand to
attend to a second bit of business: "...& alsoe to carry up Goodwife
GARLICK that she may be delivered up unto the Authoritie there for
the triall of the cause of Witchcraft which she is suspected for."
Elizabeth GARLICK called Goody GARLICK, wife of Joshua GARLICK, a
carpenter of East Hampton, had been brought before the magistrates of
that town, on suspicion of witchcraft; the examination resulted in
the order to send her for trial to the General Court at Hartford,
Connecticut, whose jurisdiction was at the same time fully
recognized. Her trial took place before a Court of Magistrates,
called for the purpose, in Hartford, on the 5th of May, 1658, and
resulted in her acquittal. Governor John Winthrop presided in the
Court. An account of the proceedings can be found in the "Historical
Magazine", vol vi. 543. A letter printed in the "Colonial Records
of Connecticut, 1636-1665", Appendix. v. pg. 572, from the copy on
file among the archives of Connecticut in the handwriting of Gov.
Winthrop, provides additional information.
Supplemental information in somewhat more detail is provided in "East
Hampton - A History & Guide" by Jason Epstein and Elizabeth Barlow.
(Random House, NY, 3rd ed., 1985; first pub. Medway Press, 1975).
A quotation from East Hampton town records reports on some of the
townspeople, one of whom, Joshua GARLICK, becomes subsequently
involved in the purportedly nefarious activities of his wife, and
another of whom, Fulke DAVIS, is the husband of a supposed victim:
"Daniel Fairfield a servant of Joshua GARLICK, Fulke DAVIS, John
DAVIS and John Hand, Jr., were brought before the three townsmen -
John Mulford, Thomas Baker and John Hand - on a charge of
masturbation, and, after extended examination and serious debate and
consultation with their Saybrook neighbors, the townsmen, not deeming
the offense worthy of loss of life or limb, determine that Fulke
DAVIS shall be placed in the pillory and receive corporal punishment,
and John DAVIS and Daniel Fairfield shall be publicly whipped, which
was done, and was witnessed by the three townsmen." It is of
interest to note that no punishment is recorded for John Hand, Jr.,
son of John Hand, a member of the governing body.
On page 33, the authors review the GARLICK matter and offer the
following background. Elizabeth, fifteen-year old daughter of Lion
and Mary GARDINER who had married the merchant Arthur HOWELL, fell
ill, perhaps of puerperal fever, following the birth of a daughter.
On her deathbed she became possessed of the notion that she had been
bewitched. Several persons testified under oath to that effect,
including Samuel Parsons, who said he had heard Elizabeth say to her
husband, Arthur, 'Love, I am very ill of my head and fear I shall
have the fever.' Whereupon she went to bed, according to Parsons,
and suckled her child."
The following are excerpts of testimony given at the trial of Goody
GARLICK from "The Witchcraft Delusion" by John M. Taylor, Gramercy
Books,1995, pp.119-121, and provide a more in-depth perspective.
In 1657, when East Hampton, Long Island, was within the jurisdiction
of New York, becoming a few months later a part of Connecticut, two
persons came over from GARDINER's Island and settled in the colony,
Joshua GARLICK and Elizabeth his wife, who were servants of the
famous engineer and colonist Lion GARDINER. Stories of Elizabeth's
practice of witchcraft and other black arts followed her, and despite
her attendance at church she fell under suspicion, and was arrested,
and held by the magistrates for trial after hearing various
witnesses. Credulity offers no better illustrations than those which
fell from the lips of some of the witnesses in this case.
Goodwife HOWELL (Elizabeth GARDINER), during her illness which
hastened the arrest of Goody GARLICK, "tuned a psalm and screeched
out several times together very grievously," and cried "a witch! a
witch! now are you come to torter me because I spoke two or three
words against you," and also said, she saw a black thing at the beds
featte, that GARLICK was double-tongued, pinched her with pins, and
stood by the bed ready to tear her in pieces. And William Russell,
in a fit of insomnia or indigestion, before daybreak, "heard a very
doleful noyse on ye backside of ye fire, like ye noyse of a great
stone thrown down among a heap of stones."
Goody BIRDSALL "declared y't she was in the house of Goody SIMONS
when Goody Bishop came into the house with ye dockweed and between
Goody DAVIS and Goody SIMONS they burned the herbs. Farther, she
said y't formerly dressing flax at Goody DAVIS's house, Goody DAVIS
saith y't she had dressed her children in clean linen at the island,
and Goody GARLICK came in and said, 'How pretty the child doth look,'
and so soon as she had spoken Goody GARLICK said, 'the child is not
well, for it groaneth,' and Goody DAVIS said her heart did rise, and
Goody DAVIS said, when she took the child from Goody GARLICK, she
said she saw death in the face of it, & her child sickened presently
upon it, and lay five daies and 5 nights and never opened the eyes
nor cried till it died. Also she saith as she dothe remember Goody
DAVIS told her upon some difference between Mr. GARDINER or some of
his family, Goodman GARLICK gave out some threatening speeches, &
suddenly after Mr. GARDINER had an ox legge broke upon Ram Island.
Moreover Goody DAVIS said that Goody GARLICK was a naughtie woman."
Goody EDWARDS testified: "Y't as Goody GARLICK owned, she sent to
her daughter for a little best milk and she had some and presently
after, her daughters milk went away as she thought and as she
remembers the child sickened about y't time." Goody Hand deposed
that "she had heard Goody DAVIS say that she hoped Goody GARLICK
would not come to East Hampton, because, she said, Goody GARLICK was
naughty, and there had many sad things befallen y'm at the Island, as
about ye child, and ye ox, as Goody BIRDSALL have declared, as also
the negro child she said was taken away, as I understood by her
words, in a strange manner, and also of a ram y't was dead, and this
fell out quickly one after another, and also of a sow y't was fat and
lustie and died. She said they did burn some of the sow's tale and
presently Goody GARLICK did come in."
According to the Epstein & Barlow account, the "town was in an
uproar. Goody EDWARDS testified that Goody GARLICK had been a wet
nurse to some of the village babies and that these unfortunate
children had subsequently sickened and died. Goody BIRDSALL said
that the child of Goody DAVIS, a fellow servingwoman on GARDINER's
Island and the wife of one of the convicted masturbators, died as
soon as Goody GARLICK had held it in her arms, and Goody DAVIS
corroborated this, adding that Goody GARLICK was 'a naughty woman.'
Lion GARDINER, trying to counter these attacks, set the record
straight about Goody DAVIS's baby. He said that the child had died
because Goody DAVIS had starved it by becoming wet nurse to an Indian
child 'for lucre of a little wampum.'
"Goody BIRDSALL and Goody EDWARDS both testified under oath that they
had seen a pin being taken out of Elizabeth's mouth. Joshua GARLICK,
on his wife's behalf, entered a defamation suit against Goody DAVIS."
The settlers held a town meeting, and wisely questioning whether they
had legal authority to hold a trial in a capital case, they appointed
a committee to go "unto Keniticut to carry up Goodwife GARLICK yt she
may be delivered up unto the authoritie there for the trial of the
cause of witchcraft which she is suspected for." She was charged
with "causing the sickness of infants and the death of cattle, the
torments of prickling pain and the blasts of atmosphere by droughts
and unseasonable frosts on growing corn." The General Court of
Connecticut took jurisdiction of the case, a trial of Goody GARLICK
was held. Through Lion GARDINER's intervention on her behalf, the
trial resulted in her acquittal, and she was sent back to East
Hampton, to what end is not told in the records of the day.
Joshua GARLICK was fined £30 for his wife's misdeeds. Elizabeth, the
daughter of Elizabeth GARDINER HOWELL, the "victim", was raised by
her father, Arthur HOWELL and was favored by her grandparents, Lion
and Mary GARDINER.
Thanks to: Stuart Hotchkiss who is a descendant of DAVIS. You can reach
him at firstname.lastname@example.org
11 Ocober 2002
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