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On this day 1647 Alse Young was hanged

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On this day 1647 Alse Young was hanged in Hartford Connecticut and thus became the first person to be executed for witchcraft in the British American colonies.

Her background remains unknown but she was said to have been the wife of John Young, a carpenter by trade who bought a small parcel of land in Windsor in 1641. She bore no son and only had a daughter, Alice Young Beamon, who would be accused of witchcraft in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts 30 years later.

Her case was similar to other cases of witchcraft where the women had no male child when the allegations were lodged, implying that they would be eligible to inherit their husbands’ estate if he passed on before them.

  1. Witchcraft became a capital offence punishable by death in the Connecticut Colony around 1642 with the punishment backed by Bible references such as: “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”.~ Exodus 22:18 and “A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood (shall be) upon them”.~Leviticus 20:27.
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