New England’s Other Witch Hunt
Available until April 15, 2015 ~ On January 18, KHS board member Dick Lindsey recorded Walt Woodward’s enthusiastically received talk on “New England’s Other Witch Hunt”. Woodward, CT’s State Historian, came through the ice and rain to describe the fierce witch prosecutions that took place in the 17th century. Woodward has kindly given us permission to make this video available until April 15, 2015, so if you missed the event, this is your chance to see it.
The Other Witch Hunt: a talk by the Connecticut State Historian
In another of its continuing Sunday Series presentations, KHS hosted Walt Woodward, the Connecticut state historian, who gave a presentation on Sunday Jan. 18, 2015, on witch hunts that happened in Connecticut. Over 50 people attended this lively talk.
Not many people know that Connecticut was New England’s most determined witch prosecutor – even fiercer than Salem. The record is terrible: The first person hanged for witchcraft in New England came from Windsor, and, for a time, every Connecticut woman indicted for witchcraft was convicted and hanged.
Walt Woodward animated this extraordinary, but neglected episode in a lecture that began with the Protestant Reformation and continued through the Hartford Witch hunt of the 1660’s – a nightmare of trials and executions that preceded Salem by a generation. Woodward told how Connecticut’s Governor John Winthrop, Jr. played a role in ending executions for witchcraft 30 years before they even began at Salem.
The state witch hunt was a tale of misogyny and public panic. Woodward discussed the early witch hunts, and explained why almost everyone in the 1600s feared witchcraft. Woodward said, “As Connecticut’s State Historian, I am honored to play a part in keeping our stories alive and vital — especially neglected ones, like the witch hunts.”
Kent’s own Seger family was caught up in the madness. Elizabeth Moody Seger was accused of witchcraft three times. It is documented on the family’s web site onsegermountain.org/witchcraft