Witches of Massachusetts – R-S

Ephraim Stevens (1648-??) – Of Andover, Massachusetts, after Ephraim was accused of witchcraft, he was thought to have fled before he could be indicted or imprisoned.

Margaret Stevenson Scott (1615?-1692) – Though there were several others accused of witchcraft in Rowley, Massachusetts, Margaret Scott would be the only one hanged. She was born about 1615 in England, but immigrated to America somewhere along the line, as she married Benjamin Scott in 1642. The couple would have seven children, though only three would live past their childhood. They first lived in Braintree, Massachusetts, then to Cambridge, before finally settling in Rowley in 1651. Lacking the money to purchase their own land, the town donated some property to the Scotts in 1664. The very next year, Benjamin Scott was convicted of theft, but just six months later he took the Freeman’s Oath, indicating he was a church member in good standing. Just a few years later, in 1671, Benjamin Scott died, leaving an estate of only £67 and 17 shillings. Margaret, who was 56 years-old at the time of her husband’s death would soon be reduced to begging, which exposed her to accusations of witchcraft.

Another that might have made her a target was the high mortality rate of the children in her family, which often made women vulnerable to suspicion. At the time of her accusations, Margaret was in her 70s and had no family support. She was formally accused of witchcraft by Rowley’s most distinguished citizens – the Wicoms and the Nelsons. Formal charges were filed after the daughter of Captain Daniel Wicom became afflicted by witchcraft. The Nelsons helped produce witnesses, and one of the Nelsons sat on the grand jury that indicted her. Several depositions were presented before the Salem Court on September 15, 1692, four of which described the spectral image of Margaret Scott tormenting others. Some of those who were allegedly tormented were Frances Wicom, Mary Daniel, and Sarah Coleman. In the end, Margaret Scott was found guilty of witchcraft and was hanged on September 22, 1692.

 

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