The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005
British North American Colonies
Witchcraze! Persecution of Witches
Witch-hunting did not start in 1690 at Salem Village. Salem was the site of neither the first nor the last executions for witchcraft in British North America. At least 100 British settlers were charged with or convicted of witchcraft before 1690. Those convicted of witchcraft in the British colonies were, like those convicted in England, typically executed by hanging.
1628: A Puritan militia in Quincy, Massachusetts suppresses May Day celebrations including dancing, drinking, and a May Pole.
Witchcraft was against the law in each of the original thirteen colonies. Crimes included astrology, fortune-telling and what are described as “magick arts.”
1642: First Connecticut laws against witchcraft are passed.
May 1647: Alice Young is hanged as a witch in Connecticut, the first person executed for witchcraft in British North America.
1648: Margaret Jones, midwife, healer, and the first person executed for witchcraft in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, was hanged in Boston on June 15th.
1662: Witches are executed in Providence, Rhode Island.
1662: Ann Cole of Connecticut claims to be possessed by demons. During a fit, she accuses two women of witchcraft. One of them, Rebecca Greensmith, confesses to belonging to a coven and consorting with Satan. She is executed, as is her husband although he protested his innocence until the end. Following Rebecca’s death, at least nine other people are arrested, suspected of belonging to her alleged coven. Most of these people were executed by hanging: trial records are unclear about exactly how many died. However, witch trials and executions continue in Connecticut until 1697.