Sea captain saved defendant in 1703 witchcraft case

“On July 25, 1703, Thomas Bouthier filed a legal complaint… that Susannah Evans of Currituck, not having the fear of God before her eyes, but being led by the instigation of the devil, did devilishly and maliciously bewitch, with the assistance of the devil, afflict the body of [his wife] Deborah Bouthier with mortal pains that caused her death….

“Cornelius Jones, a well-known sea captain, served as foreman of the grand jury. Captain Jones had been well informed of the atrocities in Salem, Mass., during his travels to the New England colonies. He convinced the jurors to dismiss the charges of witchcraft. His political motive was to avoid the hysteria that had occurred in Salem [in 1692]. Even though Susannah was found not guilty, it was reported the townsfolk continued to keep their distance from her….”

— From “The Magic of Words: North Carolina’s First Witch Trial” by Hope Thompson at Candid Slice (Oct. 20, 2013)

Kevin Cherry points out John Lawson’s mention of another early — earlier? — witchcraft prosecution.


OUR slavery? What about YOUR witch trials?

“The day after [John] Brown’s execution in Virginia, [the Raleigh Register] warned Virginia governor Henry Wise to burn the gallows, lest some enterprising man remove it and ship it north, since ‘The Yankees have no objection to mingling money-making with their grief.’  The idea of memorial services and ‘mock funerals’ rumored in the North irritated the same editor enough to make him suggest that if Northerners were looking for public entertainment, ‘It is a pity they haven’t a witch or two to drown or burn’…

“Angered by [Massachusetts Rep.] Horace Mann’s comments condemning  slavery, [Rep. Abraham Venable of North Carolina] lashed out: ‘Let him blush when he speaks of the sins and crimes of any people on earth… no southern calendar of crime can afford such cases as the Salem murders.’ ”

— From “The Specter of Salem: Remembering the Witch Trials in Nineteenth-Century America” (2008) by  Gretchen A. Adams