Witches of Massachusetts – C

Thomas Carrier, Jr. (1682-1739) – The son of Thomas and Martha Allen Carrier of Andover, Thomas, Jr. and his siblings would be examined after their mother was arrested for witchcraft on May 28, 1692. All four children would confess to witchcraft and be imprisoned. Just a week later, their mother, Martha Allen Carrier, was hanged on August 19, 1692. The children would later be released. He would grow up to marry Susanna Johnson of Andover on June 19, 1705. He died on July 18, 1739.

Hannah Carroll – Married to Nathaniel Carroll, a warrant was issued on September 10, 1692, for Hannah Carroll and Sarah Cole for having afflicted William Brage, the son of Henry Brage. Of Salem Towne, the two women were arrested, but nothing more is known of them.

Bethiah Pearson Carter (1645-??) – Bethiah Pearson was born in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1645, and as a child, she and her sister had thought themselves bewitched by the healer Ann Holland Bassett Burt, the grandmother of accused witch Elizabeth Bassett Proctor. She grew up to marry Captain Joseph Carter Jr., with whom she would have seven children. Her husband died in about 1690. Not long afterward, she became the target of gossip, perhaps because her own marriage was not a happy one. On May 8, 1692, the widow, Bethia Carter of Woburn, and her daughter of the same name were arrested for witchcraft upon the complaint of Sargeant Thomas Putnam, Jr. and his cousin, Constable John Putnam. Along the Carter women, the complaint also alleged that Ann Farrar Sears, also of Woburn, and Sarah Dustin of Reading were suspected of having afflicted Ann Putnam, Jr., Mercy Lewis, and Mary Walcott. The women were brought in, but Bethiah Carter, Jr. was not jailed with the rest, having been released shortly after she was examined. Bethiah Pearson Carter, Sr. was imprisoned

Bethiah Carter, Jr. (1671-??) – On May 8, 1692, 21-year-old Bethia Carter of Woburn, and mother of the same name, were arrested for witchcraft upon the complaint of Sargeant Thomas Putnam, Jr. and his cousin, Constable John Putnam, which alleged that they had afflicted Ann Putnam, Jr., Mercy Lewis, and Mary Walcott. After being examined Bethiah Carter, Jr. was set free, but her mother would be imprisoned until December 1692.

Elizabeth Walker Cary (1650-1722) – Born to Captain Augustine and Hannah Walker in about 1650, Elizabeth grew up to marry Captain Nathaniel Cary on July 9, 1674, in Lanchashire, Massachusetts. Settling in Charlestown, the couple would eventually have at least five children. Despite that fact that her husband was a man of some influence, or, perhaps because of it, Elizabeth was accused of witchcraft. A complaint was sworn out against her on May 28, 1692, by Thomas Putnam and Benjamin Hutchinson of Salem Village accusing Elizabeth of having afflicted Mary Walcott, Abigail Williams and Mercy Lewis. She was examined the next day, where John Indian also was a witness against her and the “touch test” was utilized with several of the “afflicted girls” who were falling into fits during the proceedings. When the examination was over, Elizabeth was jailed in the Boston Prison. On June 1st, while Marry Warren was testifying against Bridget Playfer Bishop, she would also accuse Elizabeth’s husband, Captain Nathaniel Cary, but, nothing apparently came of the accusation.

Captain Cary later obtained a writ to have Elizabeth moved to the Cambridge prison, which was closer to their home. Knowing that she would never get a fair trial in Salem, he also tried very hard to have the proceedings moved to his district; but, was unsuccessful. With no more legal options, Captain Cary helped Elizabeth to escape from the Cambridge prison, going first to Rhode Island and then to New York. Afterwards, some of Captain Cary’s goods were seized by the sheriff and he was arrested, but, after just a half a day, he was dismissed. Elizabeth would return to Charlestown after the witch frenzy had come to an end. She died on August 30, 1722. Her husband outlived her by eight years, dying in Charlestown on July 18, 1730.

Rebecca Addington Chamberlain (1625?-1692) – Born to Isaac and Ann Leverett Addington of Billerica, Massachusetts in about 1625, Rebecca grew up to marry William Chamberlain on January 4, 1646 in Roxbury, Massachusetts. The couple would have 13 children. She died at the Cambridge prison at age of about 67 on September 26, 1692. Though no court records exist regarding a warrant for her arrest, most historians believe that she was in prison for suspicion of witchcraft.

Rachel Haffield Clinton (1629-95) – The best known of those accused of witchcraft in Ipswich, Massachusetts, Rachel was born to Richard and Martha Haffield, in Suffolk County, England, in 1629. Her father was previously married to a woman named Judith Watson and the couple had two children. Richard Haffield was a wealthy man, who after his first wife died, married Martha Mansfield, who was below his social station. This caused problems for Martha, who had earlier worked as a maid and resented the higher social standing of Richard’s first wife and let it be known in many ways, including showing great animosity toward the two children from his previous marriage.

In the spring of 1635, the Haffield family emigrated to New England with their five daughters. Just five years later, her father died in 1639 and her mother rented out sections of their property to tenants. Over the years the Haffield family fortune dwindled and Rachel’s mother’s mental condition deteriorated and she would later be deemed to be mentally insane. It was in this turbulent environment that Rachel grew up. In about 1665, when Rachel was 36 years-old, she married Lawrence Clinton, a man 14 years her junior. Just six years later, she accused him of not providing her with regular maintenance and he was sentenced to prison until he “hath paid her 40 shillings for times past”. In the meantime, Rachel was ordered “to entertain him as her husband when he comes to her”. Further legal problems presented themselves in September 1676 when the court convicted Mary Greeley, a maidservant, of “committing fornication with Lawrence Clinton”. Sometime later, Rachel petitioned for divorce but, before it was granted, she herself was imprisoned for pursuing an extra-marital affair with a man named John Ford. Both were jailed on “suspicion of uncleanliness and other evil practices”. After they were released, the relationship ended and Rachel renewed her efforts to obtain a divorce from Lawrence Clinton. Though not yet divorced, her husband married again and had children. Whether they were ever legally divorced is unknown.

At this point, Rachel was forced to beg for money to support herself and before long, allegations of witchcraft were made against her. At the end of March 1692 she was arrested for witchcraft. In the examinations, several people testified against her, including a girl named Mary Fuller who would say that Rachel had caused the death of a neighbor simply by passing her by;  Thomas Boreman, who described an incident in the Ipswich meeting-house where “Some women of worth and quality” had accused Rachel of “hunching them with her elbow.” Boreman would further say that Rachel was able to shape-shift into creatures including a dog and a turtle. She was also accused of stealing items by supernatural means. Rachel was indicted and imprisoned for months. In 1693, she was finally released after a court-ordered reprieve. She died destitute in Ipswich just two years later.

2 thoughts on “Witches of Massachusetts – C”

  1. She is not an AfricanAmerican enslaved woman from Barbados. She is “Joanna” an 18th century AfroSurinamese enslaved mulatto woman, abt 15 years old, as illustrated in John Stedman’s bestselling Narrative about his five year’s in Suriname, first printed in 1796.

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