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The Modern Guide to The Thing Before Preppy

Saturday, May 27, 2023

BBC: Connecticut 'witches' exonerated by Senate lawmakers

Many news outlets, including the BBC, reported that 'Connecticut 'witches' have been exonerated by Senate lawmakers.' (

The witches exonerated, including some of our direct ancestors, were:

  • Alice Young in 1647
  • Mary Johnson in 1648
  • Joan Carrington in 1651
  • John Carrington in 1651
  • Goodwife Bassett in 1651
  • Goodwife Knapp in 1653
  • Lydia Gilbert in 1654
  • Mary Sanford in 1662
  • Nathaniel Greensmith in 1663
  • Rebecca Greensmith in 1663
  • Mary Barnes in 1663

Wrote the Wethersfield Historical Society:

Connecticut’s 17th-century witch trials have long been overshadowed by the more numerous and better publicized proceedings in Salem, Massachusetts. But Connecticut’s were among the first such trials in New England, preceding Salem’s by four decades. And Mary Johnson’s 1648 confession of witchcraft in Wethersfield was the first of its kind in the colonies. 
One senator, Rob Sampson, who voted against exonerating Connecticut citizens of the crime of witchcraft (a capital crime in cases when including having a relationship with or entertaining Satan) said, according to the AP, "I don't want to see bills that rightfully or wrongfully attempt to paint America as a bad place with a bad history."


  1. “ One senator, Rob Sampson”. While you are trying to sound virtuously patriotic, there is nothing more un-American than choosing to ignore our mistakes and the enlightenment possible from the examination.

    1. I really appreciate how you worded that. That's all I've got to say.

  2. BBC - "Last year, then-First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon offered a formal apology to 4,000 Scots, mostly women, who were accused of witchcraft between 1563 and 1736. About 2,500 of them had been executed."

    "Witch hunts took place in many countries during that period, but academics say Scotland's execution rate was five times the European average. Confessions were regularly secured under torture, with those condemned strangled and burned at the stake."

    The vast majority of Scots have no knowledge whatsoever of that appalling slaughter of innocent women. We studied "The Crucible" and the Salem witch trials but our history teachers ignored our own witch trials and executions. Formal apologies (the usual MO of insincere, virtue-signalling politicians) are totally worthless to the tragic victims of religious hysteria. Scotland's religious establishment, typically, have remained silent on the issue.

  3. On another note what interests me as a resident of Branford CT, is that: Branford's founding took place in 1644. Nearly half of the settlers were among disaffected church members from Wethersfield; New Haven Colony heard their plea to move from Wethersfield.. I have often wondered, although no one I know has ever drawn a direct connection, if the early witchcraft accusations in Wethersfield had anything to do with the founding of Branford. There don't seem to be any full enough records, but it is a puzzlement.

    1. Interesting. I've seen a study of the Witch hysteria in Salem that's been analyzed as one side of town accusing folks on the other side of town. The poorer farmers accusing the wealthier merchant class during hard times. I wonder if similar things were afoot in Wethersfield.

  4. I respectfully disagree with the senator.

  5. People actually voted for him !?


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