Thursday, October 31, 2013

Frances Alcock Hutchins (1612-1694) - Accused Haverhill Witch

I couldn't think of a better day to dance this family skeleton out of the closet. 

Frances (Alcock) Hutchins, daughter of George & Anna (Hooker) Alcock, was born in England around 1612. She left Southhampton, England on the ship Bevis in May 1636 as a servant to Richard Drummer. During her voyage, Frances worked with another servant, John Hutchins. They married the following year and raise a large family in Newbury & Haverhill, Massachusetts. 

Passengers on the Bevis, May 1638

                                  Passengers of the Bevis 1638

At the age of 80, Frances was accused of practicing witchcraft by Timothy Snow, Ann Putham Jr., and Mary Walcott. Justice Dudley Bradstreet issued an arrest warrant on August 18, 1692 and Frances was picked up by Constable William Starling the next day. She would soon be transported to Salem and be reunited with her 76 year old sister, Mary (Alcock) Foster, who had been detained in the Salem Dungeon since July 15. 

                                          Transcription of Warrant

On December 3rd of 1692, Mary died while waiting to be hanged as a confessed witch. Perhaps fearing that his mother might die before receiving a trial, Samuel Hutchins, along with his brother in law, Joseph Kingsberry, offered a 200 pound bond on the 21st to High Sheriff George Corwin in Salem for her freedom.

Recognizance for Francis Hutchins

Memorandum --
That on the Twenty one Day of Decemb'r: Anno'qe D[mbar ] : one Thousand Six hundred Ninty & two in the: fourth year of the Reigne of our Sovereigne Lord & Lady William & Mary by the Grace of God of England &c. King & Queen Defenders of the faith &c: Personally came and Appeared before me George Corwin High Shirriffe for the County of Essex of the Province of the Massathutets Bay in New England -- Samuel Hutchens of Haverell and Jospeh Kingsbury of Haverell afores'd Husbandman and Acknowledged themselves Indebted Unto our Sovereigne Lord & Lady the King & Queen or the Survivors of them their Heires & Successors: in the Summe of two hundred pounds to beleaved one their Goods & Chattles Lands & Tenements for the Use of our Sovereigne Lord & Lady the King & Queen or the Successors of them if Default be made in the Performance of the Condition Underwritten

Videllisitt --
The condition of the above written Recognizance is Such That Whereas francess Hutchens Widdow of Haverell afores'd is Suspected of and Accused of Committing Divers Acts of Witchcrafts If therefore the Said frances Hutchens afores'd: Shall & do make her Personall Appearance before the Justices of our Sovereigne Lord & Lady the King & Queen at the Next Court of Assize of Oyer & Terminer Next Generall Goal Delivery to be held for & within the County of Essex afores'd; to answar what shall be objected ag't: her on their Maj'tes: behalfe Refering to the Witchcrafts & to do & Receive that by w'ch said Court shall be then and there Injoyned & not Darpart without Licence Then the said Recognizance to be Void: or Else to abide in full force & Vertue In Wittness wherof the: above Named Persons Sam'll: Hutchings & Joseph Kingsberry have hereunto sett our hands & seales this Twenty first Day of December in the Year of our Lord one Thousand six hundred Ninty & two, and in the fourth year of their Maj'ties Reigne
*Thomas Beadle
*Joshua Conant
*Jno Gyles 1692
           *Samuel Huchins
           *Joseph Kingsberry 

Recognizance for Frances Hutchins

After 124 days in a cold dungeon, Frances was free on bond until the end of the witchcraft hysteria in the summer of 1693. She died the following year on April 5.


Source of Salem documentation photos and transcription
  • Ray, Benjamin. Warrant for Arrest of Frances Hutchins and Ruth Wilford. 2002. Photograph. 29 Oct 2013.
  • Ray, Benjamin. Recognizance for Francis Hutchins  2002. 29 Oct 2013.

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