from “Little Stories of Old New England”
By William D. Cram

Hampton Union & Rockingham County Gazette, Thursday, March 10, 1938

If the Hampton voters at the coming town meeting acknowledge by adoption of article 16 of the town warrant, that an error was made when in 1656 Eunice (Goody) Cole was found guilty of witchcraft and having familiarity with the devil, and that she is now declared to be innocent of that charge the community will have made an excellent gesture of amend.

With the further ceremony of a public funeral for the first time will her name be given respectful and kindly attention by the community at large. Concluding the ceremony, the interment will not be of the ashes of the venerable woman, but of ashes of copies of the original warrants which caused her to be subjected to the trial and ordeals which she had to endure and soil taken from three spots (1) the reputed early home where she enjoyed for a time what pleasure entered into her life, that home by “The Willows” or “The Island” as it was variously called and where the first clouds of her reputation began to gather because of the alleged wonderful quality of the water from her “enchanted well”, the water that never grew blackish on shipboard, no matter how long the voyage. (2) The reputed grave where she was buried by her frenzied fellow citizens with stake impaling her body to keep the devil from claiming and carrying off her body. (3) Her first resting place where more kindly minded people, though they were also charged with being wizards, carried her body by stealth and reinterred it with simple and heartfelt words of regret that her life had been so full of hardships and so completely devoid of open kindness and sympathy.

It is pleasant to think that there has come down along with the sorrowful tale of misery of her many years, the most unknown legend of faithful kindness of those few men of her time, bearing more easily than she the stigma of “wizard” and being in the prime of their lives, able to do many things in secret which lightened and made possible her life and without which she would have been utterly crushed. How much these men did to finally bring about the final throwing out of the witch delusion in New England may yet be known in part as old documents which have not been made public may later be published.

And while a striving is made to do justice to Eunice Cole, care should be taken that injustice is not done to those people of long ago in that little town by the place of the beautiful pines. Conditions, surroundings and modes change, but human nature never. Nurtured on much of the gloomy dogmatic, cryptic and even today, not wholly understood portions of the Old Testament with its “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” given the legal definition (even if vague) of the witch by King James continually stirred by the stories of witches and witch hunting of the old country brought over by the frequently arriving emigrants moved by the same strange laws of mob psychology, intensified by fear the townspeople of Hampton did no greater injustice than their far spread descendents of today do, nor were their acts inspired by meanness or personal animosity, but fear.

One of the things that always leaves a pleasant impression upon visitors is the willingness to show and tell about historical points of interest, and it is to be hoped that the young folks especially will be able to do this for the great number of strangers who will come to Hampton this year.

The more one knows of the historic background of the community in which he resides, of the people who have lived there and have done things which have made them noted or added luster to the name of their section, the more enjoyment they get out of the fact that they live there.

The inspiration gained from the contemplation of kindly acts and noble living adds continually to the fullness and happiness of one’s own life. Hawthorne’s “Great Stone Face” and the innumerable other narrations record the effect of fine associations with the unassuming but good.