Elizabeth Warren Philbrick

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Elizabeth Warren Philbrick (Knapp)

Birthplace: Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
Death: Died in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts
Place of Burial: Groton, Massachusetts, U.S.A
Immediate Family:

Daughter of James Knapp, I and Elizabeth Knapp
Wife of Ephraim Philbrick
Sister of James Knapp, II

Managed by: Erin Spiceland
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Elizabeth Warren Philbrick


Elizabeth Knapp was the daughter of James Knapp and Elizabeth Warren. She married Ephraim Philbrick.


As a girl, one Elizabeth Knapp was sent to the neighboring town of Lancaster to live -- perhaps as a maidservant -- with the family of Simon Willard. She moved into the household of Simon's son Rev. Samuel Willard in Groton in 1671, where in early autumn she began having fits. These fits became increasingly bizarre and alternated with coherent spells. She blamed the devil, saying that he wished to gain a new follower and accused two neighbors of being witches. [Ref, pp. 99 - 114] See John Demos's book Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England for a description. The fits must have resolved themselves as she apparently spent the rest of her life as an ordinary 17th century New England housewife.

Increase Mather [Ref, pp. 21-22] wrote in 1684:

Another thing which caused a noise in the Countrey, and wherein Satan undoubtedly had a great influence was that which happened at Groton. There was a Maid in that Town (one Elizabeth Knap) who in the Month of October, Anno 1671 was taken after a very strange manner, sometimes weeping, sometimes laughing, sometimes roaring hideously, with violent motions... Six men were scarce able to hold her in some of her fits ... a Daemon began manifestly to speak in her ... the Daemon belched forth most horrid and nefandous Blasphemies ... She cried out in one of her Fits, that a Woman (one her Neighbours) appeared to her and was the cause of her affliction...

At present time, I do not think it has been determined which Elizabeth Knapp this story is about. This Elizabeth Knapp b. 1655 had a cousin by the same name who lived and died in the same towns who was only 2 years younger than her. One researcher posited that it was the woman who married Ephraim Philbrick who was the one involved in the witchcraft story.

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Elizabeth Warren Philbrick's Timeline

April 21, 1655
Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
April 21, 1655
Age 64
Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts
June 23, 1891
Age 65
June 26, 1891
Age 65
February 3, 1993
Age 65
Groton, Massachusetts, U.S.A