EAST HAMPTON - In the 1600s, some 30 years before the witch hunt in Salem, East Hampton villagers were making their own accusations about one woman, Goody Garlick.
According to village historian Hugh King, in 1657, a woman named Elizabeth Gardiner Howel claims she was being killed by witch right after she gave birth. Hours after the claims or hallucinations, King says that Howel passed. This prompted the women of East Hampton to turn against Goody Garlick, a mid-wife and herbalist in the village, according to King.
“All these other women in town, coming forward, claiming that Goody Garlick was a witch,” says King.
He adds that one woman even started to link upsetting events to Goody Garlick, including several baby deaths.
Once the evidence was gathered, a trial was held. Connecticut Gov. John Winthrop Jr., however, delivered a ruling of not guilty. According to King, Goody Garlick and her husband stayed in East Hampton and prospered. Approximately 30 years after Goody Garlick’s trial, women in Salem facing similar accusations were executed by hanging.