Nov 1, 2023
Witchcraft accusations began in Connecticut in May, 1647, with the trial and execution of Alice Young of Windsor, 45 years before the better-known witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts. Connecticut had witchcraft accusation outbreaks in the early 1660s in Hartford and again in Fairfield in 1692, with criminal trials ending in 1697. In colonial Connecticut, dozens of women, and some men associated with them, were accused of witchcraft. The colony hanged eleven people.
In May, 2023, Connecticut’s General Assembly moved to clear the names of all those accused of witchcraft in the state and issue an apology. State lawmakers, descendants of the accused, and local historians organized to present testimony and pass a resolution declaring the accused innocent. House Joint Resolution 34, "Resolution Concerning Certain Witchcraft Convictions In Colonial Connecticut," passed 376 years after the state put Alice Young to death.
Today, Dr. Kathy Hermes talks with Beth Caruso about the history of witchcraft and the exoneration project, and with Sarah Morin about newly discovered evidence that accusations of witchcraft continued well into the 1700s in Connecticut.
Beth Caruso is a Windsor author who writes historical novels, including her novel One of Windsor about Alice Young, and has published original research about the Connecticut witch trials. She and Katherine Hermes are the authors of “Between God and Satan: Thomas Thornton, Witch-Hunting, and Religious Mission in the English Atlantic World, 1647–1693.” Connecticut History Review 61, no. 2 (2022): 42-82.
Sarah J. Morin is a project archivist at the Connecticut State Library. She has processed institutional and manuscript collections at the Connecticut State Library, the University of Connecticut, and two historical societies in Massachusetts
Kathy Hermes is the publisher of Connecticut Explored and professor emerita in history at Central Connecticut State University.
Subscribe to Connecticut Explored, the magazine of Connecticut history, at https://simplecirc.com/subscribe/connecticut-explored
Fresh episodes of Grating the Nutmeg are brought to you every two weeks with support from our listeners. Did you know that you can make a monthly donation to Grating the Nutmeg by setting it up once on our website? You can help us continue to produce the podcast by donating directly to Grating the Nutmeg on the Connecticut Explored website at ctexplored.org Click the donate button at the top and then look for the Grating the Nutmeg donation link at the bottom. Donations in any amount are greatly appreciated. Thank you!
This episode of Grating the Nutmeg was produced by Kathy Hermes and engineered by Patrick O’Sullivan at https://www.highwattagemedia.com/
Join us in two weeks for our next episode of Grating the Nutmeg, the podcast of Connecticut history.