#OTD in 1688 – Goodwife ‘Goody’ Ann Glover is hanged in Boston, Massachusetts, accused of witchcraft.

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

The last woman to be hanged in Boston as a witch was Goodwife ‘Goody’ Ann Glover, an Irish laundress. This North End resident was wildly accused in 1688 of practicing witchcraft by the infamous Reverend Coton Mather, pastor of the old North Church. Her Puritan accusers were caught up in a witch mania that was part of the rigid Puritanism of the time, attaching supernatural causes to things they couldn’t explain, especially medical conditions.

Glover was an Irish slave, sold to Barbados by Englishman Oliver Cromwell, during the occupation of Ireland in the 1650s. Persecuted for his own religious beliefs, her husband died there. By 1680 she and her daughter were settled in Boston, employed as housekeepers by John Goodwin. In the summer of 1688, four of the five Goodwin children fell ill. Their doctor concluded “nothing but a hellish Witchcraft could be the origin of these maladies.” Martha, the…

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