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Witch-Hunting in Seventeenth-Century New England

{A Documentary History, 1638-1692}

by David D. Hall — 1991


The charge of being a witch disrupted the life of Eunice Cole for more than two decades. A resident of Hampton in present-day New Hampshire, Mrs. Cole had been in and out of the courts of Essex and Norfolk counties, Massachusetts, since the 1640s. She was tried on charges of witchcraft for the first time in 1656. It is probable that she was convicted, instead of ordering her execution, the court sentenced Mrs. Cole to imprisonment in Boston and a public whipping. She was in and out of prison for the next decade, during which time, in 1662, her aged husband William died. Eunice was charged again with witchcraft in 1673; the court criticized her, though the formal verdict was innocence. In the years before and after this trial she lived in Hampton in a destitute condition. Her third court hearing on charges of witchcraft occurred in 1680; though not indicted, she was put in prison. The depositions from 1673, which are the fullest surviving records of community suspicions, describe Eunice Cole as attempting to persuade a ten-year-old girl, Ann Smith, to live with her. This episode in particular, and Eunice Cole’s life history in general are fully analyzed in John P Demos, Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England (New York, 1982); another important account that explores the finances of the Cole family is Carol Karlsen’s in The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England (New York, 1987). Most of the documents relating to Cole’s financial circumstances are not included in this collection.

Eunice Cole complains of her care

The deposition of Thomas Coleman and Abraham Drake[:]

These deponents saith about a year and half ago they being at Robert Drake’s house at a meeting with the selectmen Eunice Cole came in to the said house and demand[ed] help of the selectmen for wood or other things and the selectmen told her she had an estate of her own and needed no help of the town[.] Whereupon Eunice answered they could help Goodman Robe being a lusty man and she Cole have none but Eun[ ] I said all could not or should not do and about two or three days after this said Robe lost a cow and a sheep very strangely and one of the men there present told Eunice Cole she should look at a hand of God in it, for withdrawing the people’s hearts from helping of her[.] Eunice Cole answered, no ’twas the devil did it.

Deposed in court September 5, 1656. Edward Rawson Secretary.

Thomas Coleman and John Redman deposed to the evidence and particularly to the word[s] should not do. September 1656 Edward Rawson Secretary.

Source: “Trials for Witchcraft in New England,” HLH.

Joanna Sleeper on a cat that afflicted Goodman Wedgewood

Joanna Sleeper aged 33 years or thereabouts testifieth that last winter was a twelve month this deponent went into Goodman Wedgewood’s to see him he being sick when I came in he was very cheer[i]ly over what he had been, and when I arose up to go away yet standing by his bedside I saw a cat come down from the plancher [Planking or platform.](of a gray color) over his bed to my best thinking and she came upon his breast: and he cried out Lord have mercy upon me the cat hath killed me, and broken my heart, and his wife asked me if that were the cat (which she showed me), and I thought the cat which I saw as aforesaid was bigger than the cat she showed me although she was like that cat for color, and it was the same evening the which Goodwife Cole was there about noon before, and farther saith not. Sworn in court September 4, 1656 Edward Rawson Secretary.

Source: Suffolk County Court Files, 2:256a (MA).

Goody Marston and Goodwife Palmer against Eunice Cole

The deposition of Goody Marston and Goodwife Susannah Palmer — who being sworn saith that Goodwife Cole said that she was sure there was a witch in the town, and she knew where he dwelt and who they are and that thirteen years ago she knew one bewitched as Goodwife Marston’s child was and she said she was sure that party was bewitched, for it told her so and it was changed from a man to an ape as Goody Marston’s child was and she had prayed this thirteen years that God would discover that witch and farther that deponent saith not. Taken upon oath before the commissioners of Hampton the 8th of the 2d month: 1656 William Fuller Henry Dow. Vera Copia per me Thomas Bradbury.

Sworn in court September 4, 1656 per Edward Rawson Secretary.

Source: MA 135:2.

Thomas Philbrick against Eunice Cole

The deposition of Thomas Philbrick[:] this deponent saith that Goodwife Cole said that if this deponent’s calves if they did eat any of her grass she wished it might poison them or choke them and one of them I never see it more and the other calf came home and died about a week after. Taken upon oath before me, Thomas Wiggin Vera Copia per me Thomas Bradbury recorder. Sworn in court September 4,1656 Edward Rawson Secretary.

Source: MA 135:2.

Thomas Moulton’s Wife and Goodwife Sleeper describe strange sounds

The deposition of Thomas Moulton’s wife and Goodwife Sleeper[:] These deponents testifieth that we being talking about Goodwife Cole, and Goodwife Marston’s child and on the sudden we heard something scrape against the boards of the window and we went out and looked about and could see nothing and then we went in again and began to talk the same also again concerning she and Goodwife Marston’s child and then we heard the scraping again and then we went out again and looked about and could see nothing, and the scraping was so loud that if a dog or a cat had done it we should have seen the marks in the boards and we could see none. The house where we were was Thomas Sleeper’s house and farther these deponents saith not. Taken upon oath before us the commissioners of Hampton the 10th 2d month 1656. Vera Col)ia per me Thomas Bradbury recorder William Fuller Henry Dow. Sworn in court September 4, 1656 Edward Rawson Secretary.

Source: MA 135:2.

Mary Coleman on words spoken in private

The deposition of Mary Coleman the wife of Thomas Coleman[:] This deponent witnesseth that Goody Cole came to her house and said that her husband had made a great complaint against this deponent to Nathaniel Boulton of some words that were spoke betwixt this deponent and her husband in their own house in private and Goody Cole did repeat the words to this deponent that she and her husband spake together which [were] words of discontent but these words were never spoken to any person neither by this deponent nor her husband as he saith and to this they will take their oaths of. Thomas Coleman also affirms that he never spake the words to any person. Sworn in court Thomas Bradbury Vera Copia per me Thomas Bradbury recorder. Sworn in court September 4, 1656 Edward Rawson Secretary.

Source: MA 135:2.

Richard Ormsby and others on what they saw when Eunice Cole was whipped

The deposition of Richard Ormsby constable of Salisbury. That being about to strip Eunice Cole to be whipped (by the judgment of the court at Salisbury) looking upon her breasts under one of her breasts (I think her left breast) I saw a blue thing like unto a teat hanging downward about three quarters of an inch long not very thick, and having a great suspicion in my mind about it (she being suspected for a witch) [I] desired the court to send some women to look of it and presently hereupon she pulled or scratched it of[f] in a violent manner, and some blood with other moistness did appear clearly to my apprehension and she said it was a sore. John Goddard doth testify that he saw her with her hand violently scratch it away. Sworn in the court at Salisbury. 12th, 2d. month 1656, Thomas Bradbury Vera Copia per me Thomas Bradbury recorder. Sworn in the court September 4, 1656.

Edward Rawson affirmed I stood by and saw the constable rip her shift down and saw the place raw and fresh blood where Good[y] Cole [ends abruptly].

The court presently stepping to her saw a place raw with some fresh blood but no appearance of any old sore: Thomas Bradbury recorder in the name of the court. Sworn in court September 4, 1656 Richard Ormsby Edward Rawson Secretary.

Also Abraham Perkins and John Redman affirmed on oath that they stood by and saw the constable tear down her shift and saw the place raw and where she had [tore?] of[f?] her teat and fresh blood come from it and saw her [ ] her hand to tear of[f] it was torn off. Sworn in court September 4, 1656 Edward Rawson Secretary.

Source: MA 135:3.

Abraham Drake blames a loss of cattle on his quarrel with Eunice Cole

The deposition of Abraham Drake[:] This deponent saith about this time twelve month my neighbor Cole lost a cow and when we had found it I and others brought the cow home to his house and he and she desired me to flea this cow, and presently after she charged me with killing her cow and said they should know that he had killed her cow for the just hand of God was upon my cattle and forthwith I lost two cattle and the latter end of summer I lost one cow more. Sworn in court Thomas Bradbury recorder. Sworn in court September 4, 1656 Edward Rawson.

Source: MA 135:3.

Eunice Cole calls someone a whore

To the constable of Hampton — Also you are to give notice to William Cole to bring his wife to the said court to answer a presentment against her for unseemly speeches in saying to Hulda Hussie where is your mother Mingay that whore: she is a bed with your father that whore master: And for witnesses the wife of Jasper Blake and Alexander Denum. Dated the 19th day of the 12th month 1660.

Source: Norfolk County Court Papers, 18b (EI); paper 16 is essentially a duplicate and is not included here.

The court grants Eunice Cole’s petition for release from prison

In answer to the petitions of Eunice Cole, the inhabitants of Hampton, as also the petition of William Salter, all in relation to the said Eunice Cole, the court do order, that the said Eunice Cole pay what is due on arrears to the keeper, and be released the prison, on condition that she depart, within one month after her release, out of this jurisdiction, and not to return again on penalty of her former sentence being executed against her. October 8, 1662.

Source: Mass. Bay Recs., 4, pt. 2, p. 70.

Eunice Cole is released and required to depart

In answer to the petition of Eunice Cole, it is ordered, that she may have her liberty upon her security to depart from and abide out or this jurisdiction, according to the former favor of this court. May 3, 1665.

Source: Mass. Bay Recs., 4, pt. 2, p. 149.

A New Trial (1673): Eunice Cole has enticed Ann Smith

The deposition of Ann Huggins aged about 14 years[:] This deponent testifieth that as she and this other girl was a coming by the place where Goody Cole lives she came out of her house and asked this Ann Smith to live with her, and she said that there was a gentle man within [who] would give her some plums and the girl not being willing to go with her she laid hold on her to pull to her and then this deponent said that she should go about her business for she had nothing to do with her: and Goody Cole said that she would ask her mother if she would let her live with her, and farther this deponent saith not. Given the 12:8 month 1672 before me Samuel Dalton Commissioner.

Source: MA 135:4.

Sarah Clifford on Eunice Cole’s enticing of Ann Smith

The deposition of Sarah Clifford aged about thirty years[:] This deponent testifieth that she heard Ann Smith cry and she going out found this Ann in the orchard with her mouth bloody and blood on the Paths, and this deponent asked her several questions and asked her how she came so: and Ann answered she knew not how and after she came into the house those that were with her asked her whether that she knew any body and by what they did perceive she knew none there and after this deponent took her in her arms and carried her into another house, and then the child told her that there came a old woman into the garden with a blue coat and a blue cap and a blue apron and a white neck cloth and took this girl as she told us up by the hand and carried her into the orchard and threw her under a pearmain tree, and she was asked to live with this old woman and she said if she would live with her she would give her a baby and some plums, and the girl told her that she would not, and then this old woman said that she would kill her if she could, and then the old woman took up a stone and struck her on the head, and when she had so done she turned into a little dog and run upon this pearmain tree, and so then she was like an eagle: and further this deponent saith that this girl as we thought [was] very ill on the last sixth day at night, and we asked her what she ailed and the girl complained of cats and she said that she was pricked with pins. Sworn the 12: 8 month 1672 before me Samuel Dalton Commissioner.

Source: MA 135:5.

Ann Smith on her enticement by Eunice Cole

The deposition of Ann Smith about the age of 9 years[:] This deponent testifieth that when she was in the cabbage yard that there came a woman to her in a blue coat and a blue cap and a blue apron, and a white neckcloth, and the woman took her by the hand and carried her into the orchard under the pearmain tree, and there she took up a stone and knocked her on the head, then she turned into a little dog and run upon the tree then she flew away like an eagle, and farther this deponent saith that if she came again she would kill her, and at another time since that, she sitting in the corner that there came a thing like a grey cat and spake to her and said to her that if she would come to her on the very day she would give her fine things and further this deponent saith not. Ann Smith affirmed to this above written the 12: 8 month 1672; before me Samuel Dalton.

Source: MA 135:6.

Witnesses against Eunice Cole

The names of such witnesses as gave testimony against Eunice Cole last Salisbury Court: 2 month 1673[:]
viz. Abraham Perkins senior and Mary his wife
Abraham Drake and Alexander Dummer
Bridget Clifford and Sarah Clifford
and John Mason and Ann Smith of Salisbury Ephraim [ ].

At Boston there was information given at court that Mistress Pearson the wife of Mr. George Pearson [and] the wife of Captain Edward Huchinson could evidence that which was very material against her.

Source: MA 135:7.

Mary Perkins on Eunice Cole’s animal familiar

The deposition of Mary Perkins the wife [of] Abraham Perkins senior who saith that many years since one Sabbath day when Mr. Dalton was preaching this deponent saw a small creature about the bigness of a mouse fall out of the [ ] of Eunice Cole and fall into her lap it being of [ ] color and as soon as it was in her lap it ran away and Four words] startled at it took up her [ ] and went away [tear?] another place in a fright and Eunice Cole [ ing] it draw off [ ] together and to [ ] at it; and this deponent further testifieth that at another time being appointed [two or three words] by Captain Wiggins to search Eunice Cole she found a strange place in her legs being a conjunction of blue veins [blot] were [ ] with blood and [ ] met together where was a strange [ ] of all these [ ] as the deponent did judge. Sworn the 7: the 2 month 1673 before me Samuel Dalton Commissioner.

Source: MA 135:8.

The court orders Eunice Cole to jail to await trial

At the County Court held at Salisbury April 29, 1673
Second Session.

The court upon the hearing of the evidences against Eunice Cole now presented; and consideration of former things against her, do judge that she shall be committed to Boston Goal there to be kept in order to her further trial[.] And the constable of Hampton is ordered by this court to carry down Eunice Cole by the first opportunity to Boston Goaler: to be secured according to the court’s order.

This is a true copie as attests Thomas Bradbury recorder.

The grand jury presentment

The presentment of the grand jury of Norfolk, at Hampton 1672: October the 9th[:] We present Eunice Cole widow for enticing Ann Smith to come to live with her; from John Clifford senior who hath the charge of her by her father: witness John Clifford senior and Anne Huggins and Ann Smith: Vera Copia per me Thomas Bradbury recorder.

Source: MA 135:9.

Brigit Clifford describes the enticing of Ann Smith

The deposition of Brigit Clifford aged about 56 years who saith that the last summer when she sent Ann Smith into the cabbage yard she see her go into the cabbage yard and some [time] after my daughter Sarah said that she heard her cry in the orchard and this deponent wondering how she came there when she came crying out of the orchard I asked her what she ailed and she said she knew not but as she came she spake these words she will knock me on the head she will kill me, and the child crying out in this manner my daughter Sarah took her up and carried her into her house which was near mine: and when she had laid her in the cradle the child related to us two that when she was in the cabbage yard there came an old woman to her in a blue coat and a blue cap and a blue apron and a white neckcloth and took her up and carried her under the pearmain tree and told her that if she would live with her she would give her a baby and some plums and the child said she told her that she would not live with her: then said she the old woman struck me on the head with a stone and then she turned into a little dog and run up the tree and then flew away like an eagle and further this deponent saith that the sixth day at night before Hampton Court last she sitting in the chimney corner the said Ann Smith fixing her eyes into the other corner she perceived that her color or countenance changed and by and by she cried out I won’t change and this deponent asked her what she ailed she being very well before she said that there was a thing in the corner like a grey cat which spoke to her and said that if she would come to her upon the very day she would give her fine things: and upon that she said she would not, and immediately she was taken very ill and continued in a strange fit until 2 of the clock in the morning and would shriek out and say there is the cat do you not see her, mother, and she said she doth prick me she doth wring me and so she continued till one or two of the clock the
next morning in this strange fit. Brigit Clifford under oath to all above written the 21: 6 month 1675 before me Samuel Dalton Commissioner.

Source: MA 135:11.

The court appoints persons to prepare the case

Whereas the County Court last held at Salisbury did commit Eunice Cole to Boston Goal until she might come to her trial at the Court of Assistants for having familiarity with the devil as in the court’s mittimus [A warrant delivering someone into custody.] doth more fully appear but it being omitted by the court to appoint any meet person to prepare the evidences and present testimony to the Court of Assistants, we underwritten have thought meet by the advice of some of our honored magistrates to appoint our trusty and much esteemed friends Mr. John Sherborn or Mr. Ware to be employed as a trustee in the behalf of the country to prepare all the evidences relating to the said case and to present them to the next Court of Assistants and to manage and improve the same, and to implead the said Eunice so far as the honorable Court of Assistants think so meet to employ him or them in that affair to which we set our hands the 22th of August 1673: Samuel Dalton.

Source: MA 135:12.

Robert Smith on Eunice Cole’s complaints about her supplies and problems with his bread

The deposition of Robert Smith constable of Hampton in the year 1672 who saith that the last year when he was constable he having order from the selectmen to supply Eunice Cole with provisions, and did attending to what supply the town brought in to him, and the said Eunice Cole would be often finding fault with him about her provision and complaining that it was not so good as was brought in to him and [upon?] a time when I was going to mill she asked him if he did grind rye to which I or my wife answered her that they did [not: crossed out?] usually grind English with their Indian in the summer time and when that grist was ground we could never make any bread of the English meal at home but it would stink and prove loathsome before it was 24 hours old and would corrupt in spots like rotten cheese, and if we did bake it over again it would be as bad as it was and stink in the same manner, and upon this we baked some Indian bread with our neighbor Goodwife Wedgwood and the Indian bread proved good but the English that was baked with it at the same time did stink and prove loathsome as before[.] The next day after it was baked, and being suspicious that Goody Cole had enchanted our oven we took of the same meal and the same yeast and carried it to our daughter Page and our daughter Page made us some bread of it and it lasted six or seven days and was sweet and good as any other bread use [d] to be, and after this we baked of the same meal again at home and it would stink and corrupt as soon as ever it was cold and prove[d] so loathsome from time to time that we were faint to give it to the swine and to the dog and further these deponents testify viz. Robert Smith and Susan his wife that one night there was such a loathsome stink in the room where they lay that the said Goody Smith could not endure her bed but thought she should have been poisoned and it was the same kind of stink that the bread had before and she was faint to rise in the night and desire
her husband to go to prayer to drive away the devil and he rising went to prayer and after that the stink was gone so that they were not troubled with it and the same evening they had baked an Indian loaf of bread which did stink on the outside as the English had done before, and after this they carried meal to their daughter Page’s again and she made them bread and then that bread proved naught and did stink like the other and the bread which their daughter Page baked with it proved naught likewise that these deponents were at such great straits they dare not bake with anybody for fear of spoiling their bread. Deposed by Robert Smith and Susan his wife the 29 6 month 1673 before me Samuel Dalton Commissioner.

Source: MA 135:13.

The Court summarizes actions concerning Eunice Cole

In the case of Eunice Cole

1. Take out a warrant from the secretary for Jonathan Thing and for Mrs. Pearson and for Captain Hutchinson’s wife.

2. Take out of the records of the Court of Assistants a copy of the evidence of Richard Ormsby constable of Salisbury and Samuel Winslow’s evidence concerning her pulling off her teat at Salisbury when she was going to be whipped which doth concur with Ephraim Winslow’s evidence now in the case.

Thirdly. Concerning the evidence of Alice Perkins and Alice Dunsten if it be objected that it is old evidence it may be such unfounded that though it speaks of what was done many years since yet it was never brought in against her before: Secondly. When she was examined about it at Salisbury Court last being demanded who she spake to she said that she spake to God in prayer: which answer was inconsistent with truth, because they testified that she went up and down the house and clapped the door after her which was not a prayer [gesture?]. Thirdly. The voice that spake to her was strange-like and speaking out of the earth, which showeth that if her God answered her it was the devil as appears John 29:4: As one that hath a familiar, spirit out of the ground.

Fourthly. Concerning the evidence of Ann Smith Ann Huggins Brigit and Sarah Clifford: the sum of what they testify is that Eunice Cole did appear to the said Ann Smith in sundry forms sometimes like a woman then like a dog and afterward like an eagle and lastly like [a] grey cat and all tending to entice her to live with her: and it was her design formed to insinuate herself into young ones as was testified by Ruth Roby when she was upon her last trial how many ways and in how many forms she did appear to her and that have been her [ ] from time to time which caused John Clifford to complain of her to the grand jury for enticing away of a child which was committed to his jurisdiction.

Fifthly. The [concurrence?] of the evidence of Mary Perkins senior and that of Elizabeth Shaw and the wife of Jacob Perkins[:] the first testifieth that she found a place in her leg which was provable where she had been sucked by imps or the like, the second testifieth that they heard the whining of puppies or such like under her coats as though she had a desire to suck.

Source: MA 135:15.

Presentment by the grand jury

We the grand jury for the Massachusetts jurisdiction in New England do present and indict Eunice Cole of Hampton [now] widow for not having the fear of God before her eyes and being instigated by the devil did on the 24th of November in the year 1662 and since [entered] into covenant with the devil and then and since have had familiarity with the devil contrary to the peace of our sovereign [and Lord] the King his crown and dignity the law of God and of this jurisdiction. [endorsed:] We find this bill thus far that she had had familiarity with the devil and put her upon further trial. William Alford in the name of the rest of the jury.

Source: MA 135:16.

The Court orders the jailkeeper to hold Eunice Cole

To William Saltern goalkeeper of Boston prison: you are hereby required in his Majesty’s name by order of the County Court held at Salisbury the 29th of April 1673 by adjournment to take into your custody the body of Eunice Cole and there safely to keep her until she come to a legal trial upon suspicion of having familiarity with the devil, as appears by former and latter evidence, and hereof you are not to fail at your peril.,Dated May 1, 1673 by the court Thomas Bradbury recorder.

Source: Suffolk County Court Files, 13:1228 (MA).

Abraham Perkins on hearing voices at Eunice Cole’s

Abraham Perkins senior testifieth that when William Gifford now constable the night before that he carried Eunice Cole down to Boston this deponent being one of the selectmen desired to carry a pair of knitting pins to Eunice Cole and when I came there I heard a discoursing in her house and hearkening I heard the voice of Eunice Cole and a great hollow voice answer her and the said Eunice seemed to rant and to be displeased with something finding fault and the said hollow voice spake to her again in a strange and unworldly manner but I could not understand any sentence but as if one had spoken out of the earth or in some hollow vessel it being an astonishing voice that answered her: and I being much amazed to hear th[at] voice: I went and called Abraham Drake and Alexander Dummer and we three went to her house and heartened and heard the said Eunice Cole speak and the said strange voice answer her divers times, and the said Eunice Cole went up and down in the house and cl[atter]ed the door to and again and spake as she went and the said voice made her answer in a strange manner as is above said and there was the shimmering of a red color in the chimney corner and upon that we went and informed Mr. Dalton of what we had heard and seen and so we went to her house again and [torn] and asked who it was that did talk to her and she said that there was nobody there and we asked her if there had been nobody with her that night and she said no there had been nobody that night and we asked her who it was that she spake to and discoursed with and she answered that she did not talk to anybody. Abraham Perkins senior and Alexander Dummer made oath to this as above written the 7 [torn] 1673 before me Samuel Dalton Commissioner.

Source: Suffolk County Court Files, 13:1228 (MA).

Ephraim Winslow on seeing Eunice Cole whipped

The deposition of Ephraim Winslow who sayeth that at that time when Goodwife Cole was whipped at Salisbury in Captain Higgins’s time Richard Ormsby being constable as he was taking off her clothes when she was naked about her, breasts Richard Ormsby spake after this manner is there no good woman will come hither — she turning her about from the magistrates and did take hold of something about her breast and with her fingers did wring off something and it did bleed and drop blood I saw it when she was a whipping so bled there and her breast was ill-colored as it had been beaten black and blueish[.] Some years after in Captain Higgins’s time I saw her whipped at Hampton by John Huggins and I did take good notice of her breast and then it was not of that color but there as the other or the rest of her body that was naked: farther when she pulled it of[f] her breast she said it was an old sore. Sworn before the court held at Salisbury April 29, 1673 second session: Thomas Bradbury recorder. Sworn in Cambridge September 3, 1673 attest Edward Rawson Secretary.

Source: Suffolk County Court Files, 13: 1228 (MA).

John Mason was cursed by Eunice Cole and fell sick

The deposition of John Mason aged about 20 years who saith that being upon the watch the last summer one Sabbath day at night coming near the house of Eunice Cole where she dwelleth, and hearing of her mutter in the house I went to the door with James Bunse and the said Eunice Cole called me devil and said she would split out my brains and the next day I took sick and lay sick about a fortnight after[.] Sworn the 7:2 mo 1673 before me Samuel Dalton Commissioner.

Source: Suffolk County Court Files, 13:1228 (MA).

Elizabeth Pearson on refusing Eunice Cole and falling sick

Elizabeth Pearson aged about thirty [corner torn] testifieth and sayeth that: I laying in of [corner torn] Sisters Nanneys and my nurse came and to[ld] [me?] old Goodwife Cole of Hampton desired [corner torn] and the women that was in the chamber was not [corner torn] she should come up [tear] nurse told me that she gave this answer that I was not willing she should come up that night or the next I fell into an ague and fever and the child was taken sick in an unusual manner and at six weeks’ end died and further sayeth not. Deposed in court September 5, 1673 the prisoner at the bar as attests Edward Rawson Secretary.

Source: Suffolk County Court Files, 13:1228 (MA).

Hopestill Austin on Goody Cole and a woman newly delivered

The deposition of Hopestill Austin aged twenty-nine years or thereabout saith that about seven year ago: living in the house of Mrs. Nanneye: did see Goody Cole at the said Mrs. Nanneye’s house: where the said Goody Cole hearing that Mrs. Pearson was lately brought to bed in the said house: had a desire to go see the said Mrs. Pearson and her little one; whereupon Mrs. Pearson’s nurse replied that her mistress was not very well: and did not desire any more company: But she the said Goody Cole pressed to go up the stairs: but this deponent pulled her down again, saying that she should not go up: whereupon the said Goody Cole replied that it had been better she had gone up: so went away muttering; what she said this deponent cannot tell: but in a very little time both Mrs. Pearson and her child was taken very ill; and in a very sad manner: whereof the child died; Goody Cole said is there gentle folk above: this deponent said, gentle or simple you shall not go up: whereupon she went away muttering as abovesaid and further saith not. Deposed in court September 5, 1673 the prisoner at the bar. Edward Rawson Secretary.

Source: Suffolk County Court Files, 13:1228 (MA).

Jonathan Thing and the strange appearances of Eunice Cole

Jonathan Thing aged about 56 years testifieth that about 16 or 17 years ago I going in the street at Hampton I saw one that I did judge was Eunice Cole about 20 rod: behind or in a triangle sideways of me and in a short time sooner than any man could possibly go it I saw her as I did judge was she about 20 rods or more before me upon that I went apace wondering at the thing and when I came to her as I did judge was she I talked with her and found her to be Eunice Cole[.] Also about that time coming out of my gate I saw nobody nor there was nobody near: as I could see and presently she the said Eunice Cole was before me looking into the house among my cattle, I asked her what she did there[?] She answered what is that to you, sawsbox, I hastened to come up to her and she seemed as it were to swim away I could not catch her[.] I then being strong and in health I followed her 20 or about 30 rod. Sworn to in court September 5, 1673 the prisoner at the bar. Edward Rawson Secretary.

Source: Suffolk County Court Files, 13:1228 (MA).

Abraham Perkins Sen. confirms the testimony of Goodman Ormsby

The deposition of Abraham Perkins senior age 60[.]

This deponent witnesseth that divers [cases times?] being at Salisbury Court when Eunice Cole had her trial when Goodman Ormsby was constable and saw her teat plucked off as h e saith and myself saw the blood run down where the said constable saw the teat and called others to see it and at the same time Eunice Cole being whipped the next night after as Goodman Ormsby was in bed as he saith something like a cat leaped upon his face and very much changed him[.] The next morning coming to court Captain Wiggins asked him how his face came to be so scared he said something in the night came and scared him and told the court all the story and they all wondered at it[.] And further saith that about nine or ten years ago he had several of his lambs lying dead Eunice Cole coming by and would hem and when the deponent looking up said what do you there and she would say it is so and shall be so do what you will. Also about the same time he had 3 or 4 swine a fatting that at first they fed on the corn well but after a time would eat no corn meal pease or [else?] but [ ] [ ] which I killed them and being opening of them myself and wife found the[re] nothing but [ ] in them [ ][ ][ ] Goody Eunice Cole coming by [ ] [ ] [ ] said it must be so it shall be so do what you will[.] And further saith that his wife and family was present [and] heard th[ese] words of [ ] etc. Deposed in court September 5, 1673 attests Edward Rawson Secretary.

Source: Suffolk County Court Files, 13:1228 (MA).

Elizabeth Shaw on Eunice Cole’s animal familiars

The deposition of Elizabeth Shaw the wife of Joseph Shaw who saith that the latter end of the last summer the same day that the wife of Joseph Dow was brought to bed of her last child being the Sabbath day that the same day in the afternoon this deponent being in the same seat [Elizabeth Shaw was sitting in a “seat” (probably a bench) reserved for women.] where Eunice Cole did sit: and Mr. Cotton [Seaborn Cotton, minister of Hampton, New Hampshire.]being at prayer this deponent did hear a noise like to the whining of puppies when they have a mind to suck and this deponent sitting next to Eunice Cole did to her best discerning judge that the noise of whining was under the said Eunice and the said Eunice being sitting in the seat this deponent hearing such a noise for some time together did turn her head and look on Eunice Cole and then the said Eunice did stir herself or nestle a little as she sat and I heard no more of the noise of whining which I had heard before and this deponent looked diligently about in the seat to see that there were any dog but could see none nor any other creature that should make such a noise there being nobody in the seat at that time but — Eunice Cole and this deponent and the wife of Jacob Perkins and after that this deponent had turned her head from Eunice Cole she turned to the wife of the said Jacob Perkins and she was stooping to look towards Eunice Cole and she smiled on this deponent whereby I considered that she might also hear the noise as I did. Sworn the 28: 1 month 1673 before me Samuel Dalton Commissioner.

Source: Suffolk County Court Files, 13:1228 (MA).

Mary Perkins on Eunice Cole’s animal familiars

Mary Perkins the wife of Jacob Perkins doth testify that she did hear the same noise above mentioned when Eunice Cole went by her into the seat and at that time when she smiled on Goody Shaw and [I] could see no creature in or about the seat [smudged] make such a noise. Sworn the 8: 2 month 1673 upon oath in open [court] before me Samuel Dalton Commissioner September 5, 1673 the prisoner [ I Elizabeth Shaw only present at the bar. Edward Rawson Secretary.

Source: Suffolk County Court Files, 13:1228 (MA).

Verdict of not guilty yet suspicious

In the case of Eunice Cole now prisoner at the bar not legally guilty according to indictment but just ground of vehement suspicion of her having had familiarity with the devil. Jonas Clarke in the name of the rest. [1673]

Source: Dow, Hist. Hampton, 1, p. 80.

Another imprisonment and ambiguous verdict

Eunice Cole of Hampton being by authority committed to prison on suspicion of being a witch and upon examination of testimonies the court vehemently suspects her so to be but not full proof is sentenced and confined to imprisonment and to be kept in durance until this court take further order with a lock to be kept on her leg. In [the] meanwhile the selectmen of Hampton to take care, to provide for her as formerly that she may be relieved. September, 7, 1680.

Source:N.H. Ct. Becs., 1, p. 368.