Skip to Main Content

Witchcraft in Connecticut: About

Witchcraft in Connecticut


Witchcraft in Connecticut: The Panic of the 17th Century

The history of witchcraft and witchcraft trials in America has traditionally centered on the Salem Witch trials in 1692. Historians have focused on a variety of causes for these trials. Their historical popularity remains undiminished. However, what most people do not realize is prior to the famous Salem Witch hunt in 1692, there was an earlier witch hunt primarily focused in the Connecticut River Valley. This witch hunt resulted in at least eleven persons tried, convicted and presumably executed or dying in prison beginning in 1647 and ending in 1663. Continue reading from Ross, Before Salem: Witch Hunting in the Connecticut River Valley 1647-1663, 5

Unlike the witchcraft trials that spun out of control in Salem, the trials that took place in Fairfield at the same time proceeded with caution. The colony's leaders were careful about what kinds of evidence could be used to render a guilty verdict, and committed to ensuring that the accused received due process of law. In the final chapter of Connecticut's witchcraft proceedings, two women were tried for witchcraft, but neither was executed. Continue reading from Crane, Accused: Fairfield's Witchcraft Trials, 2

News and Articles from our Databases

Executions for Witchcraft (21 July 1851). Hartford Daily Courant 1840-1887. (Proquest)

Kranhold, Kathryn. Guilty of Witchcraft (1994, Oct 30). Hartford Courant. (Proquest)

Cavanaugh, Ray. Where was the First Woman Condemned for Witchcraft? Not in Salem. (2017, Oct 26). The New York Times. (Proquest)

Simmons, D.J. Sink or Swim? The Curious History of Witches in Westport (2019, Oct 25). Westport News. (Newsbank)

From the Collection

Link to Accused: Fairfield's Witchcraft Trials by Jakob Crane in the Catalog
Link to Before Salem: Witch Hunting in the Connecticut River Valley 1647-1663 by Richard S Ross III in the Catalog
Link to Connecticut Witch Trials by Cynthia Wolfe Boynton in Freading
Link to Witchcraft Trials of Connecticut by RG Tomlinson in the Catalog
Link to The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare in the Catalog
Link to Westport News Database
Link to Joel Davis Local History Center Resource Guide
Link to Microfilm Collection Resource Guide