Mary Botsford (1643 - c.1688) MP

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Birthplace: Of, Milford, New Haven, CT
Death: Died in Witch, , Hartford, CT
Managed by: Janet Palo-Jackson, (c)
Last Updated:

About Mary Botsford

all the following from: https://sites.google.com/site/mercierbeaucoup/Home/witchhunts-1

"Mary Sanford, Hartford, CT, 1662 Mary was the wife of Andrew Sanford. They married around 1640 and lived in Hartford, New Haven, CT. Their son, Andrew Sanford, Jr. b 11 Nov 1640, married Mary Botsford.

    In 1661-62, a witchcraft "epidemic" swept through the Hartford area in Connecticut.  After all was said and done, thirteen people had stood trial, with at least four people being executed for witchcraft.  One of the executed was our ancestor, '''Mary Sanford'''.

Andrew, Sr, was indicted first... (or was it junior? .. editor)

    6 June 1662 "Andrew Sanford, thou art here indicted by the name of Andrew Sanford for not having the fear 
   of God before thine eyes thou hast entertained familiarity with Satan the grand enemy of God and mankind 
   and by his help hast acted things in a preternatural way beyond the course of nature to the great prejudice of
    the comforts of several members of this commonwealth for which according to the law of God and
     established law of this colony thou deservest to die. 
    The jury return they cannot agree [.] Some find indictment against Sanford the rest strongly suspect."  

Because of a mixed jury he was acquitted.

A week after Andrew's indictment, his wife Mary was also indicted...

    13 June 1662 "Mary Sanford, thou art here indicted by the name of Mary Sanford the wife of Andrew Sanford
    for not having the fear of God before thine eyes thou hast entertained familiarity with Satan the grand enemy
    of God and mankind and by his help hast acted and also has come to the knowledge of secrets in a
    preternatural way beyond the ordinary course of nature to the great disturbance of several members of this
    commonwealth for which according to the law of God and the established law of this colony thou deservest
    to die. 
    Verdict. Respecting Mary Sanford the prisoner at the bar the jury find her guilty of the indictment."

Mary was found guilty and sentenced to death. Although there is no further reference to her execution, it is believed that she was hung soon after her trial.

Rebecca Greensmith, a local woman in Hartford, gave testimony when she was accused. This testimony was crucial to the trials of 9 other community members. In her confession she claimed that the others were complicit in her crime: she claimed that her husband must have been assisted by Satan when he brought home logs that she believed were too heavy for him to have lifted alone. She had also seen a fox come near her husband on two occasions. She claimed to make these statements about here husband because:

     "I speak all this out of love to my husbands soule and it is much against my will that I am now necessitate to
      speake agaynst my husband, I desire that ye Lord would open his heart to owne and speak ye trueth."

Rebecca claimed that with the others she had participated in festivities under a tree on the green near her home and they had "danced, and had a bottle of sack". During her confession she also stated that she and Satan would celebrate their covenant at "Christmass". The Puritan Ministers - who believed that Christmas was a pagan celebration - took this as more proof that Satan was involved in this case. "

• see also: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nyterry/towns/hartford/hartwitches.html (search on Mary) "After the execution of John and Joan Carrington of Wethersfield in 1651, and Lydia Gilbert of Windsor in 1654, a witchcraft tragedy was enacted among Hartford residents. It is one story and has been written and published by Dr. Charles J. Hoadly.3 1 Annie Eliot Trumbull, in The Hartford Courant, Dec. 3, 1904; Winthrop's History, II: 374. 2 Mather's Magnolia, Bk. VI, pp. 71-78. 3 "A Case of Witchcraft in Hartford" in Connecticut Magazine, Nov., 1899, pp. 557-561. Nine persons were involved, largely through the statements of Rebecca Greensmith. She had been the wife of Abraham Elsen of Wethersfield, who died in 1648. Then she married Jarvis Mudge, and was a widow when she married the unfortunate Nathaniel Greensmith. Those who were implicated constituted a group of local acquaintances, some of whom had a repute for misdemeanors or immorality. Their names were Nathaniel and Rebecca Greensmith; Elizabeth, the wife of Richard Seager; Andrew Sanford and Mary his wife; William Ayres and his wife; Judith Varlett and James Walkley.

Of Rebecca Greensmith, Rev. John Whiting wrote to Increase Mather that she was " a lewd, ignorant and considerably aged woman." Her husband had twice been convicted of theft. The court had once censured him for lying. Elizabeth Seager left a record of shameless crime, being guilty of blasphemy and adultery. These were the leaders. The others kept such company. One night they had a merry-making, under a tree on the green near Rebecca Greensmith's house. James Walkley, Goodwife Ayres and Goody Seager were present. They all danced and had a bottle of sack. Other nocturnal gatherings were held. Suspicions were awakened in the neighborhood.

Nathaniel Greensmith had a small home-lot, house and barn, recently purchased. It was located just south of our present Barnard Park, on which green the dance of the witches was doubtless held.1 Complaint had been made to the town that he had set his barn on common land. James Walkley had a house-lot on the north side of the road from George Steele's to the South Meadow. Sanford and Ayres apparently lived on North Main Street. The crisis came in the spring of 1662, with the accusations of a young daughter of John Kelley, uttered in the delirium of sickness. The child died. Immediately, the neighborhood was busy with reports that she had been bewitched unto death. The magistrates examined several of those accused. Nathaniel Greensmith then sued William Ayres for slandering his wife. She and her husband were soon arrested. The, defendent Ayres, his wife, and James Walkley, took refuge in flight. Ann, the daughter of John Cole, had strange fits about that time. "

exoneration: (modern day) http://cga.ct.gov/2008/JUDdata/Tmy/2008SJ-00026-R000320-Adelaide%20J.%20Avery-TMY.PDF

and furthermore: http://www.csanford.com/Genealogy/EnglishSanfords.html (chock-full of Briticisms) rah-thur.. tis a pity... in which we read: "17. Andrew SANFORD of Milford (Ezechiell-3, Thomas-2, Richard-1) was born on 11 Nov 1617 in Stansted. He died on 6 Sep 1684 at the age of 66 in Milford, New Haven, Connecticut, USA. After sailing to New England in 1632 (or perhaps a few years later), Andrew Sanford settled in Hartford, CT., with his uncle Andrew Warner.

    The first record of him is in Hartford  in 1651. His residence was on what is now lot 74 on Burr St. On May 21, 1657, he was made Freeman and was Chimney Viewer in June, 1662.     It is very likely that he was in Hartford and married as early as 1638 and the first two children born soon thereafter. The records state that Mary, his second child, was of marriageable age in 1667.
    "He and wife certainly got into serious trouble in Hartford. They were both indicted for witchcraft or for holding public meetings other than those prescribed by the elders or for dealings with 'Sathan.' The records show that he was 'accused' June 6, 1662, and very soon after tried in court by a jury; that the verdict of the jury was, 'some thought guilty, some strongly suspected,' result, a disagreement.
    "It further appears that '''the wife Mary''' was indicted June 13, 1662, and soon tried, whether with her husband has not been learned. The verdict in her case, it is certain, was 'Guilty,' which of course, meant execution. The actual record of the execution has not been found, but it is morally certain that she was executed. John M. Taylor in his 'Witchcraft Delusion in Colonial Connecticut' states that she was executed. In the preparation of that work, as he states, in a letter to Mr. F. A. Sanford, No. 303 in this family, of Nov. 14, 1910, (to whom the author is indebted for assistance in this matter), he (Taylor) had access to the notes of the late Dr. Charles J. Hoadley who made an exhaustive research some years since on the subject of witchcraft. His vol. of memoranda is now held by Mr. George E. Hoadley of New Haven. For trial of Mrs. Sanford see pg. 151. Andrew's trial will be found in the same volume. See also records of 'Particular Court' vol. 2, pg. 174-5, on file in office of Secretary of State and State Librarian, Hartford, Ct.
  About 1667 he removed to Milford, where he remarried.  We can understand that after the execution of his wife staying in Hartford became increasingly unpleasant; we might wonder why it took him five years to make the move to Milford, where by that time his brother Thomas was well established.  It may have taken some time to be sure that a better life awaited him in Milford and to settle his affairs and make the move.  Perhaps his brothers Robert and Nathaniel, also settled in Hartford, provided what comfort they could, so that he could bear to stay on in Hartford even with the upsetting memories of neighbors who had participated in the condemnation of his wife.
    A recent article (1910) in the New England Historical Magazine refers to the Sanfords of Hartford CT., as being ''''''All Quakers.' In and under Hartford Colonial law Quakers were classed as and with heretics. Quite a good many Quakers and Heretics were executed in New England in Colonial times. So we need not look upon the case of Mary Sanford as a strange one.'''
    "On going to Milford in 1667 he and his second wife accepted the situation and joined the Church, Mar. 4, 1671."
    From "Families of Early Milford Connecticut," Compiled by Susan Woodruff Abbott, Reprinted for Clearfield Company, Inc. by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, Maryland 1996:

Andrew SANFORD and Mary ___ were married in 1643 in Hartford, CT. Mary ___ was born about 1620 in England. She died hanged for witchcraft (=Quakerism?) on 13 Jun 1662 at the age of 42 in Hartford, Connecticut, USA. (Andrew Sr. married a Mary, last name UNKnown. To confuse genealogists, his son married another Mary, Mary Botsford. Some genealogists have confused the two Andrews and decided that Andrew Sr.'s wife was in fact Mary Botsford. It took me a while to untangle this confusion. -- CBS)"

view all 18

Mary Botsford's Timeline

1643
May 21, 1643
Of, Milford, New Haven, CT
1645
December, 1645
Age 2
Milford, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America
1668
November 16, 1668
Age 25
New Haven, New Haven Co., CT
1670
February 19, 1670
Age 26
Milford, New Haven, Connecticut
1673
July 13, 1673
Age 30
Milford, New Haven, CT
1677
May 6, 1677
Age 33
1679
July 1, 1679
Age 36
Milford, New Haven, CT, USA
1683
July 11, 1683
Age 40
1688
January, 1688
Age 44
Witch, , Hartford, CT
1688
Age 44