Elizabeth Kendall

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Elizabeth Kendall (unknown)

Also Known As: "Goody", "widow of Samuel Holly", "not Elizabeth Cogan"
Birthplace: perhaps of Shoreditch, London, Middlesex , England (United Kingdom)
Death: between 1647 and 1651 (43-56)
Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony (Hanged as a witch )
Immediate Family:

Daughter of NN and NN NN
Wife of Samuel Holly and John Kendall
Mother of John Holly

Occupation: Immigrant. Perhaps executed for witchcraft.
Immigration Year: 1635
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Elizabeth Kendall

Elizabeth's second marriage was to John Kendall and she was executed as a witch.

Elizabeth Cogan [SIC] was born in Somerset [SIC] about 1599. She married Samuel Holly (1593-1643) in England in 1618 and came to America in about 1635 with her husband and children including her oldest son John Galen Holly (1618-1681) . Samuel Holly died in 1643 leaving his wife Elizabeth and children, the youngest of which was probably about 10 years old. In 1644, Elizabeth married John Kendall (1608-1661).

Disputed Origins

A previous version of this profile claimed, citing an online family tree, that she was the daughter of Philobert Cogan and Ann Marshall. While that couple did have a daughter Elizabeth, she m1 ____ Gibson; m2 Gov. John Endicott. See her profile for source details. Therefore, THIS Elizabeth has been disconnected from those parents.

Witchcraft accusation

From https://www.ancestry.it/boards/thread.aspx?mv=flat&m=1148&p=surname...

According to David D. Hall's book, Witch-Hunting in Seventeenth Century New England, A Documentary History 1638-1693, pp. 24-25, "The only report of this case is John Hale's in A Modest Enquiry (1702). No one has yet been able to identify Elizabeth Kendall or to date her execution, which took place sometime between 1647 and 1651."

This is the text from Hale, with Hall's footnotes:

A woman is wrongfully blamed for a child's death

Another suffering in this kind was a woman of Cambridge, against whom a principal evidence was a Watertown nurse, who testified, that the said Kendall (so was the accused called) did bewitch to death a child of Goodman Genings (1) of Watertown; for the said Kendall did make much of the child, and then the child was well, but quickly changed its color and died in a few hours after. The court took this evidence among others, the said Genings not knowing of it. But after Kendall was executed (who also (2) denied her guilt to the death), Mr. Richard Brown (3) knowing and hoping better things of Kendall, asked said Genings if they suspected her to bewitch their child, they answered no. But they judged the true cause of the child's death to be thus, viz. the nurse had the night before carried out the child and kept it abroad in the cold a long time, when the red gum was come out upon it, and the cold had struck in the red gum, and this they judged the cause of the child's death. And that said Kendall did come in that day and make much of the child, apprehended no wrong to come to the child by her. After this the nurse was put into prison for adultery, and there delivered of her base child, and Mr. Brown went to her and told her, It was just with God to leave her to this wickedness, as a punishment for her murdering Goody Kendall by her false witness bearing. But the nurse died in prison, and so the matter was not farther inquired into.

  • (1) Or Jennings.
  • (2) John Hale's "also" refers to Mrs. Lake and Mary Johnson.
  • (3) A deputy to the General Court from Watertown, Massachusetts.

Source: Hale, A Modest Enquiry, pp. 18-19.

Death and legacy

From https://everyleafhasastory.com/2017/05/02/samuel-holly-and-elizabet...

There is debate as to when she was executed. Some think as early as 1645 up to 1650. Considering that her son John sold 19 acres of land in 1645 and was then found in Stamford, CT by 1647, I would think that it is 1645. He received everything when his mom died. I have found no indication how she was executed and many sources say she was hung. It seemed to be the preferred method in America. There was a Gallows Hill in Cambridge, MA that has been renamed Avon Hill. It is thought that Elizabeth was the first person executed there. Elizabeth is listed in The Associated Daughters of Early American Witches which is a National Society. She is part of the Historical tour in Cambridge when they walk by Winthrop Park which is a border of the jailhouse where Elizabeth was held. Finally, her grandchildren, Increase Holly and Hannah Hait (Holly), signed a letter on 4 June 1692 in Stamford, CT attesting to the good character of a woman being accused of being a witch. She was subsequently released. Increase was born in 1643, so although he may not have memories of his grandma, he may have heard stories which helped form his opinion.

I do not know where Samuel or Elizabeth are buried but most likely in the Old Burying Ground, Cambridge, MA. It was established in 1635 but the oldest stone there in 1653.


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Elizabeth Kendall's Timeline

London, Middlesex , England
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Age 48
Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony