Monday, January 09, 2006

Boswell: Friends of accused witch

An abstract from Charles County, Maryland, Land Records, 1790-1796:

"The complaint of Elizabeth Stewart, widow of James Stewart, and daughter to John Brooke, of CC, decd. Elizabeth Stewart complains that some evil minded person or persons have set forth that she, sd Elizabeth, is a witch, and that some years ago, she bewitched a man and caused his land to be barren, and that she could make all the land barren that she walked on, if she thought proper so to do. She is much distressed by those reports, thinking that it may be prejudicial to her children's character after her death. She now lives in VA, from whence those wicked reports have taken their rise. She, being willing to leave her character on record at her death, she applied to us to say all we know about how she led her life from her youth to his day, Dec 1, 1792."

Ten individuals, including Matthew BOSWELL and other family members, testified to knowing Elizabeth STEWART for about forty years and claimed they "never heard that she was accused of being a witch, nor accused of any misbehavior, during the time she lived in Maryland."

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Chris said...

If only Elizabeth had known that being an accused witch would make her much more interesting to her descendants.

I have a couple of ancestors who were executed at Salem, and I know more about them than about any of the other Colonial females in my tree. Getting hanged was the best thing that could have happened to them — genealogically speaking, of course.

Anonymous said...

Any idea which Matthew Boswell? There were several running around in that time period - Mac

Dave said...

Mac, my guess would be Matthew Sr. (son of John Boswell and Sarah Harris) or Matthew Jr. (son of Matthew Sr.) based on the date of the record. That being said, I don't have enough data about the whole family to rule out other Matthews that may have been cousins to those in my line.

I'm focusing on whatever Charles County and Maryland resources my library has. Considering I'm near St. Louis, the selection for that region isn't overwhelming, but I'm so far pleased to be finding this much.

Are you related to the family?