About Hannah Matson Davis
Hannah Matson is thought to have been the great-granddaughter of the accused in the only witchcraft trial ever held in Pennsylvania. Margaret Mattson of Chester Co, Pennsylvania was tried in the year 1683. She was found guilty of having the common fame of a witch but was acquitted of actually being one.
Her husband, Nils, arrived in New Sweden in 1654 and took up land along the Delaware and Schuykill Rivers. After his wife's trial, he moved into New Jersey. His son, John, apparently had a son, John, who moved into Upper Marion, Pennsylvania in 1712. John the younger is thought to have been Hannah's father.
Ben M. Angel notes:
Martha's extended family lists Hannah's paternal line as:
- John Matson (c1673-1748) and Hanna (m. c1703)
- John Matson (b. c1633) and Mary (m. 1663)
- Nils Matson and Margaret (m. 1623)
This would seem to be a match, but Arthur Davis III maintains that John Matson's father was Matts Hansson, stating that the Swedish patronymic method of naming applied (Mattson being son of Matt, Hansson being son of Hans, etc.). The Matsons would be leftovers from the New Sweden colony of 1638-1655, and with John the Elder being born in a Swedish society, and John the Younger in an English society, the change in style of assigning a last name during John the Elder's life would make sense.
Genforum's discussions on the Matson family had some interesting messages as well:
From the thread "The Matson Witch Project" by Ann Blocker:
Hmm. . . I see rumor and misinformation on the family site about the Pennsylvania Witch trial.
I have the total text of the indictment, the trial and her testimony, names of the jurors and the witnesses. William Penn was present and conducted the trial which I am told was about Matson's Ford and the old Swedish settlement, not just witchcraft.
William Penn had just arrived in October the year before on the good ship Welcome, King Charles II having named the land for his father, the gift of the land resolving a large debt, with the Duke of York as the go-between (later King James II). It was many years before Salem.
Summary: The Prisoner denyeth all things and saith that ye Witnesses speake only by hear say. After wch ye Govr (William Penn) gave the jury their Charge concerning ye Prisoner at ye Barr.
The jury went forth, and upon their Returne brought her in Guilty of haveing the Comon fame of a witch, but not guilty in manner and forme as Shee stands Indicted.
My favorite part is the testimony which we paraphrase in our family -- "I never even got out of my own Canoo."
The indictment was on December 7, 1683 and the trial was held on December 27, 1683. Anyone who wants the full text can email me a fax number. It is in my Matson books 3:174+
I'll post the information on Neals/Neels/Nihls Matson separately. Have ship, list, age, status, origin, etc. The Swedes (who according to the Ships's log were mostly Finns) not only had the prime crossings and lands (the current Philadelphia Airport +), but had good relationships with the Indians when the Quakers arrived, having been given the land. For those trying to sort out the various groups of English, Scotch, Swedish, Finnish Matsons, including the Peyton/Matsons and the Harrison/Matsons, Margaret (also spelled Margarit) group, according to the Swedish Museum, was still naming in the Scandinavian traditions. Thus, a Matson would be the son of Matt, etc.
So it is Neels Matson and probably his son, Anthony Neelson (son of Neels -- where is Leslie Nielson when we need him?) who put up the Recognizance bond for the release of Margaret. Hendrick Jacobson also posts a bond at the indictment for Yeshro Hendrickson and Jacob Hendrickson (son of Hendrick) puts up the Recognizance bond for his wife.
Both husbands are guaranteeing the good behavior of their wives for six months. (They never had to get out of the Canoo.) email@example.com
From the thread "Question re: Margaret Matson (PA 1680's)" by Elaine Matson Reschke
John Matson, Sr., father of Morris, was my 5th grt grandfather. There is speculation that his father was Nils Mattson whose wife was the Margaret accused of being a witch. Nils may have been related to us through marriage, but not blood line. The story is in Peter Stebbins Craig's "The 1693 Census of the Swedes on the Delaware" pg 69. William Penn exonerated her even though the jury declared her guilty.
The short of it is, convicted witch Margaret Mattson is probably not a direct ancestor of Hannah Matson Davis.
From Martha's Extended Family page on Hannah Davis: http://www.martisgenes.info/p314.htm#i3797
- F, b. say 1713, d. 1812
- Father* John Matson b. s 1673?, d. 2 Mar 1748
- Mother* Hanna (?)
- Birth* Hannah Matson was born say 1713. She was the daughter of John Matson and Hanna (?).
- Marriage* She married Charles Davies on 9 February 1733 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.
- Death* Hannah died in 1812 in Chatham County, North Carolina, .
- Charles Davies b. c 1706, d. s 1771
- 1. Thomas Davis+ b. 16 Mar 1734, d. c 1789
- 2. John Davis+ b. 28 Nov 1735, d. 21 Nov 1806
- 3. Elizabeth Davis+ b. 12 Feb 1738, d. 24 Jul 1835
- 4. Sarah Davis+ b. 1739, d. 2 Feb 1813
- 5. Mary Davis+ b. s 1742, d. 1822
- 6. Hannah Davis+ b. 14 May 1744, d. 28 Aug 1829
- 7. Tamar Davis+ b. 11 Jun 1749, d. 25 Aug 1829
- 8. Abigail Davis+ b. 14 Jul 1751, d. c 1798
1. [S186] Eleanor M. Davis, Davis: A Quaker Family, Charles Davies, the Immigrant, to Pennsylvania about 1725, from there to North Carolina, His Wife, Hannah Matson, and Their Descendants, p. 11.
2. [S968] World Family Tree Volume 22, tree 347.
3. [S1048] World Family Tree Volume 62, tree 1166.
4. [S186] Eleanor M. Davis, Davis: A Quaker Family, Charles Davies, the Immigrant, to Pennsylvania about 1725, from there to North Carolina, His Wife, Hannah Matson, and Their Descendants.
Hannah Matson Davis's Timeline
Chester, Chester County, Province of Pennsylvania
January 16, 1734
Chester County, Province of Pennsylvania
April 14, 1734
Chester County, Province of Pennsylvania
September 28, 1735
Goshen, Chester County, Province of Pennsylvania
December 12, 1737
Newton, Chester County, Province of Pennsylvania
Chatham County, Province of North Carolina
May 14, 1744
Alamance, NC, USA
April 11, 1749
Chester County, Province of Pennsylvania, (Present USA)