Memorial Service for Connecticut’s Witch Trial Victims 5.26.2017

A Beautiful, Non-Denominational, Memorial Service for Connecticut’s Witch Trial Victims Will Be Held On Friday, May 26th, 6:00 PM at Northwest Park, Windsor, Connecticut. All Are Welcome!

Witch Hanging

On the anniversary of America’s first witch hanging a commemorative ceremony has been planned to honor all eleven of Connecticut’s witch trial victims. The event will acknowledge the 370th Anniversary of the hanging of Alice Young, the first person hanged for witchcraft in New England and to learn about the resolution that cleared the names of Alice Young and Lydia Gilbert both of Windsor on February 6, 2017. This non-denominational memorial service is open to anyone who is interested is honoring the lives of Connecticut’s eleven witch-hanging victims. Two of the organizers, Tony Griego and author Katherine Basto are seasoned organizers of a previous memorial. They are joined by author Beth Caruso. Both authors will be on hand for signing and sales of their books pertaining to Connecticut witch trials. The organizers hope to raise funding for a memorial plaque for the witch-hanging victims as well as funding for a scholarship fund for Alice Young and Lydia Gilbert.

The event is being held in Windsor’s Northwest Park at the large pavilion, which is behind the Connecticut Valley Agricultural Museum. Public parking is in the park’s main lot and handicap and senior parking is next to the Nature Center in the park’s campus area. There will be signs pointing to the gathering. Kindly refrain from bringing alcohol or drugs. Light refreshments available for suggested donation of $5 or more. Learn more by visiting CT WITCH Memorial Facebook page, the Days to the Gallows Facebook page or the One of Windsor Facebook page as well as the website

Excerpt from The Inmates Of Willard 1870 to 1900,
A Genealogy Resource by Linda S. Stuhler, 2011, Page xvi.

“On May 9, 1992, the Town of Danvers, Massachusetts, acknowledged and took responsibility for the mistakes of their ancestors by presenting a beautiful granite memorial to the people of the state and the country in honor of the twenty villagers unjustly executed at The Salem Witch Trials which took place between February 1692 and May 1693. ‘The Memorial serves as a reminder that each generation must confront intolerance and ‘witch hunts’ with integrity, clear vision and courage.’ Forty-five years earlier between 1647 and 1663, the settlement at Hartford, Connecticut, also held witch trials that resulted in the hangings of at least ten innocent villagers, one of whom was my eighth great-grandmother, Rebecca Greensmith. The Connecticut Witch Trials are dreadful examples of our country’s dark past that shows us how a secluded community made up of a particular group of people, persecuted, labeled, and punished other members of society simply because they didn’t like or understand them. Rev. John Whiting, minister of the First Church in Hartford stated that Rebecca was ‘a lewd, ignorant and considerably aged woman.’ In another place, in another rime, would Rebecca, who was unjustly accused without counsel, have been labeled insane? Would she have been a candidate for an insane asylum in 1880 or a nursing home in 2012? Were she and her friends simply dancing and enjoying a bottle of sack? Was it the isolation and strict rules of conformity that drove this community to insanity? I don’t think I would be out of line in suggesting that all the players in this tragic story of indifference were suffering from religious excitement which was listed as a cause of insanity at the Willard State Hospital as late as 1900.

I have read that the state of Connecticut will not grant posthumous pardons or exonerate the people unjustly accused of witchcraft, nor will they officially acknowledge the mistakes of their ancestors. Will New York State lead by example and end the disgrace of anonymous, unmarked graves by releasing the names and burial locations of our ancestors in a unified, digital database available to the public on the internet? Will they allow descendents to obtain the medical records and photographs of their loved one? Will New York remain as blind and indifferent as the state of Connecticut? The Salem and Hartford executions are grim reminders of the fear, ignorance, and intolerance that permeated America’s past, not dissimilar from what happened at long-closed insane asylums. Innocent people were unjustly singled out in shame because they were feared and misunderstood for being different. In both cases, these people were ultimately removed from society and erased from History.”

My 8th Great-Grandmother – The Witch of Hartford, Connecticut – 7.19.2012.






4 thoughts on “Memorial Service for Connecticut’s Witch Trial Victims 5.26.2017

  1. Rebecca is my witch, too! Thank you for sharing this. I’m currently putting my application together for the witches lineage society – and come to find out that the national president is also from Rebecca! We need a reunion so all of us can meet. Rob


  2. Anyone associated with Willard needs to read the book titled” The Lives They Left Behind”. It is a detailed account of the lives of seven Willard patients. The state of New York had to have given permission to research the records and publish this book. The state refuses to answer questions about why these two authors were given access to Willard records yet I cannot access my grandmother’s records because they are sealed.


    • Hi Donald, Thank you for sharing. We all have tried. Supposedly, the NYS Office of Mental Health is allowing the graves in Willard Cemetery to be marked but obtaining the medical records is forbidden. I guess you never read my book or this blog before because these two issues is what it is all about. Good Luck! -Lin


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