Witchcraft


John GODFREY – 2nd great grandfather of brothers Caleb and Joseph FULKERSON – was accused of witchcraft in Haverhill in 1659, more than 30 years before the famous Salem witchcraft trials, by James DAVIS Sr. and his son Ephraim DAVIS. He was accused again in 1662, and a third time in 1665. Each time he was acquitted. Yet another accusation of witchcraft surfaced in 1680, this time involving John but focusing on a Rachel FULLER, their neighbor in Hampton, New Hampshire:
We, whose names are underwritten, being called by authority to view a dead child of John Godfrey's, being about a year old upon the 13th of July, 1680, which was suspected to be murdered, we find grounds of suspicion that the said child was murdered by witchcraft; first, in part by what we saw by the dead corpse; second, something we perceived by the party suspected, which was then present, and was examined by authority; and third, by what was said by the witness.
The names of the jury of inquest:
Tho. Marston Willyam Marston Foreman, Hen. Roby Abraham Drake
Abraham Perkens Anthony Taylor John Smith Tho. Levet
Aratus Levet Gershom Elkens Hen. Derbond John Sanborne
This true list was given in upon oath the 13th of July, 1680, before me,
Samuel Dutton, of the Council.


John Fuller owns himself to stand bound in the sum of one hundred pounds unto the Treasurer of the Province of New Hampshire, that Rachel, his wife, shall appear before the authority of this Province in New Hampshire, to answer to what shall be charged against her in point of witchcraft, and that she shall abide the order of the court, and not depart without license, and shall appear whenever she is called.
Owned before me, 14th July, 1680,
Christopher Lux,
Samuel Dutton, of the Council.


The deposition of Mary Godfrey, the wife of John Godfrey, and of Sarah Godfrey, her daughter, aged about 16 years.

These deponents saith that about three weeks or a month ago, the same day that Mr. Buff went through the town, these deponents took care to save some of the sick child's urine, to show it to Mr. Buff; and they could not save it, for, though we put a pewter dish under the child, yet all its water ran on the floor; and Sarah Godfrey took some embers out of the fire and threw them upon the child's water; and by and by Rachel Fuller came in and looked very strangely, bending, daubed her face with molasses, as she judged it, so as that she had almost daubed up one of her eyes, and the molasses ready to drop off her face; and she sat down by Goody Godfrey, who had the sick child in her lap, and took the child by the hand; and Goodwife Godfrey, being afraid to see her come in in that manner, put her hand off from the child and wrapt the child's hand in her apron.
  Then the said Rachel Fuller turned her about, and smote the back of her hands together sundry times, and spat in the fire. Then she, having herbs in her hands, stood and rubbed them in her hand and strewed them about the hearth by the fire. Then she sat her down again, and said, Woman, the child will be well! and then went out of the door. Then she went behind the house; and Mehitable Godfrey told her mother that Goody Fuller was acting strangely. Then the said Mary Godfrey and Sarah, looking out, saw Rachel Fuller standing with her face towards the house, and beat herself with her arms, as men do in winter to heat their hands, and this she did three times; and stooping down and gathering something off the ground in the interim between the beating of herself, and then she went home.
Sworn the 14th of July, 1680, before me.
Owned in Court of Hampton, the 7th Sept., 1680, by the deponent.
Elias Stileman, Sect.


The deposition of Elizabeth Denham and Mary Godfrey, who saith that we, being in discourse with Rachel Fuller, she told us how those that were witches did so go abroad a night, they did lay their husbands and children asleep, and she said Rachel Fuller told us of several persons that she reckoned for witches and wizzards in this town, to the number of 7 or 8. She said eight women and two men, some of whom she expressed by name, as Eunice Cole, Benjamin Evans' wife and her daughters, Goodwife Coulter and here daughter Prescott, and Goodwife Towle, and one that is now dead.
Sworn the 14th July, 1680, before me,
Samuel Dutton, of the Council.


Mary Godfrey, the wife of John Godfrey, further saith, that the next day after that Rachel Fuller had been there with her face daubed with molasses, the children told their mother that Rachel Fuller had told them that if they did lay sweet bags under the threshold, it would keep a witch from coming in; and, said one of the girls' mother, I will try, and she laid bags under the threshold of the back door all the way and half way of the breadth of the fore door, and soon after Rachel Fuller came to the house, and she always had formerly come in at the back door, which is next her house, but now she went about to the fore door, and, though the door stood open, yet she crowded in on that side where the bags lay not, and rubbed her back against the post so as that she rubbed off her hat, and then she sat her down and made ugly faces, and nestled about, and would have looked on the child, but I not suffering her, she went out rubbing against the post of the door as she came in, and beat off her hat again, and I never saw her in the house since; and I do further testify that while she was in the house she looked under the door where the bags lay. Mehitable Godfrey, aged about 12 years, affirms to the truth hereof.
Sworn the 14th July, 1680, before me,
Sam'l Dutton, of the Council.


The deposition of Nathaniel Smith, aged about twenty years, who saith, That he, going to the house of John Fuller, as he was coming home with his herd, and the said Fuller's wife asked him what news there was in the town, and the said Smith said he knew none, and then she told him that the other night there was a great route at Goodman Roby's; this was at the first time when Doctor Reed was at this town; and the said Rachel Fuller told me that they had pulled Doctor Reed out of the bed, and with an enchanted bridle did intend to lead a jaunt, and he got her by the coat, but could not hold her, and I asked her who it was, and she turned from me, and, as I thought, did laugh.
Sworn the 14th July, 1680, before me.
Samuel Dutton, of the Council.


The deposition of John Godfrey, aged about 48 years, and his wife, aged about 36 years, who saith that Rachel Fuller, coming into our house about 8 or 9 o'clock in the day, and sitting down by my wife, my wife having the child that was ill in her lap. The child being exceedingly ill, and the said Fuller seeing my wife much troubled and grieved, Rachel Fuller said that this would be the worse day with the child, -- to-morrow it will be well. And the said Fuller took the child by the hand, and my wife snatched the hand from her and wrapt it in her apron. Mary Godfrey, the wife of John Godfrey, further saith that, at the same time, I, seeing the said Fuller patting the child's hand, drew the child's hand from her; and then she said Rachel Fuller arose from the place where she did sit, and turned her back to my husband, and did smite the back side of her hands together, and did spit in the fire.
Sworn the 14th July, 1680, before me:
Samuel Dutton, of the Council.

Sworn by the deponent in court at Hampton, 7th Sept., 1680.
Elias Stileman, Sect.


The deposition of Elizabeth Denham, who saith that, about three weeks since, I was at John Fuller's house, and there, she and I being speaking about John Godfrey's child that was then ill, Rachel Fuller was then very inquisitive to know of me what I thought ailed the child; and after I told her what I thought, she still continued asking me what I thought was the matter with the child; and she then kept calling her own child Moses, after the name of the sick child.
Sworn the 14th July, 1680, before me,
Samuel Dutton, of the Council.

The deponent, in court held in Hampton, 7th Sept., 1680, appeared and owned the above testimony.
Elias Stileman, Sect.
"

  In the end, the investigation of Rachel FULLER was dropped, apparently determining there was no evidence she murdered the child or used witchcraft toward that end.


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