Categories: Belief, Crime and Punishment, Hartford, Law, Wethersfield, Windsor

Alse Young Executed for Witchcraft – Today in History: May 26

An English woodcut of a Witch
An English woodcut from the cover of A Most Certain, Strange, and True Discovery of a Witch, etc printed by John Hammond, 1643

On May 26, 1647, Alse Young of Windsor was the first person on record to be executed for witchcraft in the 13 colonies. Young was hanged at the Meeting House Square in Hartford, now the site of the Old State House. Alse Young was not the only person in Connecticut executed for the crime of witchcraft. Mary Johnson of Wethersfield was executed after allegedly confessing to entering into a compact with the devil, and Joan and John Carrington, also of Wethersfield, were executed in 1651.

In 1642 witchcraft was punishable by death in Connecticut, and it was last listed as a capital crime in 1715.

LEARN MORE

Websites

“Witches and Witchcraft: The First Person Executed in the Colonies.” Connecticut Judicial Branch Law Libraries, 2016. Link.

Documents

Grant, Matthew. “Matthew Grant Diary,” 1637–1654. Connecticut State Library, State Archives. Link.
“Research Guide to Colonial Witchcraft Trial Materials.” Connecticut State Library, 2016. Link.

Books

Burr, George Lincoln, ed. Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases, 1648-1706. New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1914. Link.
Woodward, Walter William. “The Magus as Mediator: Witchcraft, Alchemy, and Authority in the Connecticut Witch-Hunt of the 1660s.” In Prospero’s America: John Winthrop, Jr., Alchemy, and the Creation of New England Culture, 1606-1676. Chapel Hill, NC: Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture by the University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
Taylor, John M. The Witchcraft Delusion in Colonial Connecticut, 1647-1697. New York, NY: Grafton Press, 1908. Link.
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