|Salem Witch Trials|
The first known witch hysteria to occur in America began in 1647, possibly with the accusation of our Alse Young. Before this first wave of witch hysteria ended in 1663, at least 79 people were accused of witchcraft, about 33 were tried, and 15 were convicted and hanged. While accusations of witchery appeared in other New England states, Connecticut help the most convictions and executions.
Historians believe that Alse was born in England around 1600, and her maiden name was possibly Stokes. While it is not known when she came to America, her marriage record to John Young puts her in Windsor, Connecticut during the 1630s. John and Alse had a daughter, Alice Young Beamon, who was accused, but never executed, of witchcraft in Springfield, Massachusetts about 30 year after her mother’s execution.
Alse Young was hung in Hartford, Connecticut on 26 May 1647. There are two highly possibly locations of her execution: the first was at Gallows Hill, as it was formerly called, and is today where Trinity College now stands. The other location was at Meeting House Square where the Old State House now stands.
Throughout the rest of the seventeenth century, dozens more men and women (mostly women) were executed on convictions of witchcraft. Most executions occurred during the witch hysterias of Hartford Connecticut and later Salem, Massachusetts.
Are you a descendant of an accused/convicted witch?