Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ann Smith and the Witch Trials

Ann Smith was born on February 8, 1662/63 in Hampton or Exeter, New Hampshire. She was the daughter of Nicholas Smith and his wife Ann. After her mother's death, Ann and her older brother Nathaniel were placed (fostered) in the household of William and Margery Godfrey in Hampton. The Godfreys were older, previously married and widowed, and had raised several children both from their own union and their previous ones. Nicholas Smith remarried, but never reclaimed his children. In 1671, William Godfrey died and Margery married for the third time to a neighbor. Nathaniel remained with his adoptive mother, but Ann was transferred in 1672 to another family. She was now fostered in the household of John Clifford, a very complex household as John was on his third marriage, and his wife Bridget on her second. They had children from all of their earlier unions. In 1672, the Clifford household contained thirteen people including eleven children with four different surnames. Ann Smith eventually married Israel Clifford, the son of John and his first wife Sarah. Israel was born about 1647/48 in Hampton, NH and was married to Ann Smith on March 15, 1679/80 in Hampton by Samuel Dalton. He served in King Philip's War.

While all of this is interesting, what I find most intriguing about Ann Smith is that she was an alleged victim of a witch named Goody Cole. In October of 1672, Goody Cole was arraigned for "appearing under various forms, as a woman, a dog, an eagle and a cat, to entice a young girl, named Ann Smith, to live with her." Cole had previously been jailed for 15 years for witchcraft but was acquitted of these charges. The claim was brought by Sarah Clifford nee Godfrey, wife of John Clifford the younger who lived close to his father's household. There's speculation that Cole may have reached out to Ann, seeing her as a fellow lonely soul. Or that Ann may have reached out to Goody Cole, an elderly woman who may have been nice to her, looking for a place to belong. After all, she was just one child among eleven in the Clifford household and had already been abandoned by her father and her adoptive mother.

Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England by John Putnam Demos Oxford University Press 1982, Chapter 10.

THE CLIFFORD ASSOCIATION, David Clifford, Keeywaydin, Selsfield Road, West Hoathly, W. Sussex RH194QN (01342811252) England. The Association has a database of 30,000 Clifford related people. It is sponsored by the current Lord Clifford.

Noyes/Libby/Davis, "Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire," (1939), p. 151.

How I'm related to Ann Smith and Israel Clifford - My father is Clifford Cookman, son of Kathleen Frances Forkner. She is the daughter of Harriet Letitia Clifford (born 7 Dec 1898 and Married 21 Aug 1918, both in Anderson, IN). Harriet was the daughter of Hadley Watson Clifford (Born 26 Aug 1869 in Anderson, Married 8 Dec 1891, Died 8 Oct 1857 in Anderson). Hadley was the son of Emery Watson Clifford (Born 21 Aug 1842 in Fairview Fayette Co IN; Married 11 Feb 1864; Died 10 June 1915 in Anderson). Emery was the son of Isaac Clifford (born in 1812 in Vermont; Married 21 Oct 1841). He was the son of Johnathon Clifford (Born 7 May 1769 in Rumney, Grafton, NH; Died 7 June 1836 in Fayette, IN). He was the son of John Clifford (Born 11 Sept 17 43 or 18 March 1737 in Kingston, Rockingham Co. NH; Died 1790 in Dorchester, Grafton, NH). John was the son of Isaac Clifford Sr (Born 24 May 1696 in Hampton, Rockingham, NH; died 11 Sept 1745 in Kingston, Rockingham Co., NH). Isaac was the son of Israel and Ann.

So my 8th great grandmother was a witness during the New England witch hunts.

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