William HOLMAN (1594 – 1653) was Alex’s 11th Great Grandfather, one of 4,096 in this generation of the Shaw line.
William Holman was born on 29 Dec 1594 in Northampton, Northamptonshire, England. His parents were William HOLMAN and Margaret HALL. He married Winifred HENCHMAN on 1 Nov 1626 in Preston Capes, Northamptonshire, England. They sailed from London England, 10 Jun 1635 on the ship Defence. They were accompanied on the journey by their 20 year old maid servant, Alice Ashbey, and their five children: Hannah (age 8), Jeremy (age 6), Mary (age 4), Sarah (age 2) and Abraham (age 3 months). William died 8 Jan 1653 in Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts.
Winifred Henchman was born 1600 in Preston Capes, Northamptonshire, England. After Williams death, Winifred earned an meager living by caring for the sick. One account said she bathe and massaged her patients, used herbs and spices and invoked the blessings of the Lord. As described below, she was accused of witchcraft and only narrowly acquitted. Winifred died 16 Oct 1671 in Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts.
They had the following children:
30 Nov 1627
All Saints, Northampton, Northamptonshire, England
|Solomon JOHNSON Jr.
|4 Jun 1685 Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts.|
29 Mar 1629
Mary (Mercy) Pratt
|30 Nov 1709
23 Feb 1631
All Saints, England
|Jan 1674 Cambridge, Mass|
13 Jan 1633
9 Apr 1657
|19 Nov 1675|
12 Feb 1635
21 Feb 1663 Hingham, Mass.
|7 Jan 1712|
|12 Apr 1663
16 Jan 1661 Cambridge, Mass
|5 Aug 1695 Billercia, Mass.|
|8.||Elizabeth Holman||19 May 1644
|Deacon Jonathan Adams
1665 Medfield, Norfolk, Mass.
William Holman came from Northamptonshire, England, and settled in Cambridge, Mass., in 1635; the record of his arrival can be found in the (NEH & GR. XIV : 315), and also in Hotten’s Lists though the two records do not agree in every particular.
From the Register we quote as follows: ” More XXth 1635. In the Desire de Lond. Pearce, and Bond for New Eng. p’r Cert. fro. ij Justices of Peace & minister of All Saintes lionian (perhaps lining) in Northapton.
Wm. Hoeman husbm. 40
Winifred Hoeman his wife 35
Alice Ashbey, maid servant 20
Hannah Hoeman 8
Jeremy Hoeman 6
Mary Hoeman 4
Sarah Hoeman 2
Abraham Hoeman 1/4,
William and Winifred’s first home was located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where three more children were born (Isaac born April 12, 1636; Seeth*2 born 1640; and Elizabeth born May 19, 1644), making a total of eight children; five girls and three boys. The family later moved to Boston, Massachusetts where they took up residency at the corner of Garden and Linnean Streets where the Botanical Gardens now stand.
21 Sep 1639 – William Holman. Bought of Gen.ad (Hadden) A house with sixe Acres of planteing Ground in the Old west field. to ye Cowe Common South east, The highway southwest, William Beetlestone northwest, the highwaye to the new west field northeast. (Cambridge Proprietory Records)
William Holman Impr. In the west End one dwellings house with Three Acr of Land more or lesse, the Land Late William Bettlestons northwest, the Comon southeast, the highwayes to the great swampe southwest and northeast.
Itm. In the Westfield three Acr more or lesse, Elizabeth Isaacke southeast, John ffissenden northwest, the highwayes to the great swampe southwest & northeast.
Lands layd out on the south sied Charles River 1662. In the sixt division, Widow Holman . . . two acres.
27 Feb 1664 and 27 Mar 1665. The order of the lotts and the number of acres, together with the interest of each person in the Cow Comon is as followeth: Widow Holman . . . Ten acc’* & two comons.
In 1659, Winifred Holman, the widow of William Holman of Cambridge, was accused of witchcraft, because of her charitable desire to cure the sick with mental and spiritual suggestions, and by the ” blessings of God “.
The Holmans lived on the Northeasterly corner of Garden and Linnean streets, and opposite them, on Sparks and Garden streets, resided the family of John Gibson, consisting of his wife Rebecca, son John and daughter Rebbecca Stearnes.
Just what was the real cause of enmity, between the two families, does not appear from the records. Rebecca, the daughter of John and Rebecca Gibson, was born about the year 1635, and was the same age as Abraham, the son of Winifred Holman. The evidence showed that if ” Abraham ware aboute she [Rebecca] was well “. It is quite within the realms of possibility, that an intended marriage between Abraham Holman and Rebecca Gibson, had been interrupted by their parents, and the lady induced to become the second wife of Charles Stearns on the 22 June 1654. Before 1657, Mrs. Stearns was afflicted with hallucinations, and became violently vindictive towards the mother and sister of Abraham Holman, making charges of witchcraft against them.
One day, Mary Holman asked why whe didn’t get some help and she answered that she had “used means by physicians and could have no help.” Mary suggested her mother could cure her “with the blessing of God.” Gibson was upset that Winifred and her daughter Mary had practiced their magical healing skills on his daughter and filed a complaint with the Constable of Cambridge.
The Gibsons, — weighed down with the sickness and distress of their daughter Rebecca, and unable to resist her repeated assertions that Winifred and her daughter Mary Holman, were the real authors of all their misery, — entered, in the year 1659, a serious complaint against them as witches, and had Mr. Thomas Danforth issue warrants for their arrest.
(Midd. Co. Ct. Files) Taken from Page’s History of Cambridge, Mass., as the original could not be found.
To the Constable of Cambridge. You are required forthwith to apprehend the persons of Widow Holman and her daughter Mary, and immediately bring them before the County Court Now sitting in Charlestown, to be examined on several accusations presented, on suspicion of witchcraft; and for Witnesses John Gibson and his wife; you are forthwith to bring them away, and not suffer them to speak one with another after their knowledge of this warrant, and hereof you are not to fail at your perill.
Dat. 21 June 1659. Thomas Danforth, R.
It will be convenient that you charge some meet person to bring away the mayd first, and then you may acquaint the mother also with this warrant respecting her also.
The records of the court make no further allusion to this charge of sorcery. Doubtless the grand jury were not impressed with the evidence presented, and failed to bring in an indictment. The Holmans, however, were not satisfied to rest their side of the case, and brought suit for legal damages in an action of defamation and slander against the Gibsons and Rebecca Stearnes.
At this second trial, the evidence to support the accusations of witchcraft were very slender, the testimonies demonstrate the bigoted mental attitude of those times. The quaint simplicity of the charges were in keeping with the mode of life and learning of the early settlers, yet teeming with insidious suspicions.
In defence of her character as an honest christian women, Mrs. Holman submitted two certificates, signed by two of the deacons John Bridge and Gregory Stone, and several members of the church:
We, whose names are underwritten, we do here testify that Winifret Holman, we having been acquainted with her this many years, she being near neighbor unto us, and many times have had occasion to have dealings with her, and we have not indeed in the least measure perceived, either by words or deeds, any thing whereby we could have any grounds or reason to suspect her for witchery or any thing thereunto tending. And this is evident unto us that she is diligent in her calling, and frequents public preaching, and gives diligent attention thereunto.
John Palfrey, Mathew Bridge, Richard Eccles, ffrancis Whitmor, John Greene, Nathaniell Green, William Diksone.
We, who have here subscribed our names, do testify that we have known this Winnefret Holman, widow, this many years, but never knew any thing in her life concerning witchery. But she hath always been a diligent hearer of any attender to the word of God.
Mary Patten, Mary Hall, Jane Willows, Anna Bridge, Elizabeth Bridg, Elizabeth Green, Jeane Diksonne, Elizabeth Winship, Thomas Fox, Ellin Fox, William Towne, Martha Towne, Mary Eccles, Isobell Whittmor, John Bridge, Rebekka Wieth, Gregory Stone, Lidea Stone.
Winifred Holman lost her suit on the ground that Rebecca Stearns was sick and not responsible for what she said, but Mary Holman gained her action against John Gibson Jr.
The testimonies, which follow, were contributed by members of the staff in the Middlesex County Court, at Cambridge.
To the Constable of Cambridg or his Deputy
You are hereby required to attach the goods or in want thereof the person of John Gibson Jun’ of Cambridge and take bond of him to the value of twenty pounds with sufficient surety or suretyes for his appearance att the next County Court holden att Cambridg upon the 3 day of Aprill next, then and there to answer the complaint of Mary Holeman of Cambridge in an action of Defamation and Slaunder, and so make a true return hereof under yo’ hand. Dated this 26 of March 1659 60
By the Court Samuel Green:
(Endorsed on back)
This attachment was served upon Joh Gibson Jun’ & securiety taken for his appareance at this Court to Answer there unto according to y* teano’ there of by me Franc Moore Const
26 March 1660
To the Constable of Cambridg or his deputy
You are hereby required to attach the goods and in want thereof the persons of John Gibson of Cambridg Sen’ and his wife, and take bond of them to the value of ten pounds with sufficient Surety or Suretyes for their appearance att the next County Court holden att Cambridg upon the third day of Aprill next then and there to answer the complaint of Winnifrid Holmane of Cambridge in an action of defamation and slaunder, hereof you are to make a true return under yo’ hand, dated this 28 of March 1660
By the Court Samuel Green:
(Endorsed on back)
I have served this Attachment upon John Gibson & taken bond of him to ye value of ten pounds for his appearance at ye Court to be responsall to ye Attachment according to y8 tean’ thereof:
by me Franc Moore
Const 29 1 mo 1660
To the Constable of Cambridg or his Deputy
You are hereby required to attach the goods or in want thereof the person of Rebeckah the wife of Charles Sternes of Cambridge and take bond of her to the value of ten pounds with sufficient Surety or Suretyes for her appearance att the next County Court holden att Cambridg, upon the third day of Aprill next then and there to answer the complaint of Winnifrid Holeman of Cambridg, in an action of defamation and slaunder, hereof you are to make a true return under your hand
Dated this 28 of March 1660
By the Court Samuel Green:
(Endorsed on back)
This Attachment was served upon Rebecka Stearnes & securytie taken for her appearance at this Court to answer thereto according to the teano’ thereof
by me Franc Moore Const
The testimonies of Tho Andrews 17 years of age Daniell Andrews 16 years of age and Samuell Buck aged about 17 years do say being coming from meeting on the Lords day that they heard John Gibson say of Mary Holman that there cometh the young witch. And Daniell Andrews saith it is more then you know And John Gibson saied I am sure of it: 15 June dated 1659
Sworne in Court 4 (2) 60
as attests Th. Danforth R.
This is the testimony of Elizabeth Bowers aged 25 yeares saith that she hearde Rebekka the wife of Charles Sternes say that widow Holman is a witch at which time shee was in one of her rageing fits.
Sworne in Court
4 (2) 60. as attests.
Th. Danforth R.
Elisabeah Bowers being at Goode Gipsons house about ten days since and she heard Goode Gipson say her daughter did call another woman witch and shee reproved her daughter and sayd doo you know what you say and shee answereth her mother as she sayd that it was Ms Homan she ment then Abram Holman replied to Good Gibson doth your daughter know wl she sayeth and she sayeth sometime she doth and sometime she doth not.
Sworne in Court 4 (2) 60.
as attests. Th. Danforth. R.
Elizabeth Bowers aged 25 years
Wittneseth that shee being present heard Abraham Holman ask Goody Gibson if she did not say his mother was a witch and she sayd she would not say his mother was a witch but she had cause to suppect her for her daughter had been very grevously handled and she had sene her ask very strange things. Abraham Holman and Jerimiah Holraan wittneseth the same
4 (2) 60. Sworne in Court.
as attests. Th. Danforth R.
The testimony of Abraham Holman & Mary Holman that they heard Rebeecha Stearns say: Mrs. Holman your chest is full of impes but whether shee was in her fitts, wly at Sunday service shee rageth, & is deprived of ye use of her reason, we dar not affirme to ye contrary.
Sworne in Court Anno 1659
4 (2) 60. as attests.
Th. Danforth R.
The testimony of Seth Holman is as followeth that she allso hearde Rebbekka Sternes say that Mrs. Holman is a witch and it was aboute wheate haraof — but whether shee was in one of her rageing fitts at ye tome she cannt tell.
Sworne in Court
4 (2) 60.
as attests. Th. Danforth, R.
An acusation of Charles Sternes against Mary Holman in that she cam into his house when he and his wife ware both absent and the child quiet in the creadle she medling with the child this child being a lusty, thriving child before as all our neighbors can witness and sune after this child did consume and waste away untill it dyed about 2 months after this Mary Holman did say that she would undertake to cure the child if we would put it into her hands these words were spoken to the wife of George Williams and the mother of the child Deacon Bridge and Daniel Foster will witness how the ribs of the child were bent in — being beiwed by ym and it was nearly dead.
A relation of the passages between Mrs Holman and her daughter Mary and the wife of Charles Stearnes now living in Cambridge / the first thing that makes us suspect them is that after she had 2 extraordinary strange fits which she never had the like before Mary Holman asked her why she did not get some helpe for them and she answered she could not tell what to doe she had used meanes by fisitions and could have no helpe and the sayd Mary sayd that hare mother sayd if she would put har selfe into her handes that she would undertake to cure her with the blessings of God
Our daughter telling us of it and we not suspecting them we wished her to goe to se what she would say to her / and she sayd her daughter was a prating wench and loved to prate / but yet she did prescribe some herbs to her that she should use in the springe.
After this my daughters child grew ill and Mary Holman coming in often asked her what her child ayled and she sayd morover that her mother and she take notice of it that the child declined ever since the 3d of January and will till it come to the grave but if you will put it into my hands I will undertake to cure it.
I cured one at Malden that had the reckets and if you will take a fooles counsell you may if you will not choase / she sayd also the child fell away in the lower part and yet she did not see the child opned she sayd also that Mrs Mecheles child had the reckets and it was easy to be seen for the face did shine but since Mrs Metchell sent to Lynn for a skillful woman to look on it and she could not se no such thinge.
After this Mary Holman borrowed a sclit of her and when she brought it home the child was asleep in the cradle and a boyc a rocking it and the mother of the child was gone for water and the boy sayd that Mary Holman came to the child as it was asleep and took it by the nose and made the blood come and set it a crying that the mother heard it and before she came in Mary was gone out over the still.
When she came in and saw the child in such a case she chood the boy for making the child cry and he sayd it was Mary Holman that did it and went away as fast as she could After this she was taken with her ordinary fits 2 nights and 2 days and was pretty well again and senseble one day and then she was taken with a strange raving and mavulus unquiet night and day for the space of 3 or 4 days and nights together and took no rest and it was observed that all this time Mrs Holman was walking along by her rayles stooping down and picking of the ground along as she went and both of them walking up and down and tooe and agayne that it was taken notice of by many and all this time she raged could not be quiet till the last day of the week in the after noone thay were gone both from home and then she was quiet and was fast asleepe till they cam home and sudenly she sprunge up out of har sleepe and cryed out with such rage agaynst Mrs Holman that she was a witch and that she must be hanged her mother being amased she went out and se her a coming towards the house and the nearer she came the more she raged and so she continued all night and in the morning Mary Holman cam in for fyer as as she did every morning and sometimes twice in a day as soone as she came in she cryed out on her that she was a witch so that we could not still her till my wife shooved her out of doors and then thay were out Mary asked my wife what har daughter ayled and sayd that she was a quiet woman another being by my wife answered she thought she was bewitched then sayd Mary Holman my mother sayd that she was not light headed nor har head did not ache but she continued so still and crying out to her mother and sayd Mrs Holman she was working wickedness on the lords day with that my wife looked out and saw Mrs Holman a pecking by the rayles as she did of other dayes
When folkes ware gone to meeting about halfe an hour after 2 of the clock she went to meeting yt is Mrs Holman and by that time she got to meeting as we gesed she lay still about halfe an hour and then fell asleep and of a suden she flinges up and cryed out of Mrs Holman my wife not thinking thay had been come from meeting looked out and sawe her at home Anon after Mary Holman cam to the house and sayd to my wife your daughter had a sleepe had she not And she answered her why do you aske and she sayd becase she sleept yesterday afore this time and so she did but how she should come to know it we canot tell for thay ware both times from horn on the second day in the morning Mary came for fyer and she cryed out on her as before and contineued raging allmost all that day on the 3 day Mary Holman was a cuminge agayne for fyer and my wife prayed me that if I sawe her cum that I would not let her come in and so I did I met with her at the still with a bright scilet in her hand and she asked me how my daughter did and I sayd she is not well and I asked her whether she went with that and she sayd for fyer but I tould har she should not have none here but bad hare goe to some other house / upon wich we tooke notice that that day she was very quiet and thire was such a sudden alteration to admiration to all that saw it and so continued but after she was more sensible of her weakness.
Some things were forgotten / that my daughter before she was taken with her fits put a pair of stockings to her and she kept them a great while and upon the last day of the week at night she sent them home / and she wore them on the Sabbath and that night she had her fits being free from them a great while before and as was sayd before when she had had them 2 dayes and 2 nights she fell into this Strang condition as before mentioned and all this time she cryed out of Mrs Holman and her daughter Mary that thay ware witches and thay must be found out and sayd you must not suffer a witch to live and she sayd Mr Danford was chosen a magestrate to find out Mrs Holman / and when my wife went to give hare sum refreshing she would not take it in she was so troubled with Mrs Holman that she must be found out That my wife told her that she would git the magestrate to find her out and it was taken notice of by my wife and others that her countenance was changed and did eate
Thus she lay taking on agaynst Mrs Holman and Mary to all that came to her that thay ware witches and must be hanged and so she told them to their faces and could not be settled and many times she flung up with such rage and cryed out with exeding earniestnes that Mrs Holman was at the rayles let me goe out and I will show you her and it was so for my wife and others looked out and saw her theare it semed to us very Strang for it was not posible that she could see her for she was kept so close on her bed and a couvring hanging before her and another before the window
The first great trouble that she had she was afrighted wit Satan and thought that she saw him stand by the beds side so that she cryed out with a lowd voice all night to the lord for help saying lord helpe me lord help me that she was heard a great way of The second great trouble she had she was likewise troubled with Satan appearing to her that she was set of a great trembling that she shook the bed she lay on and striving mightly with her body and fighting with her hands that 2 men ware fayn to hold her we asked her why she fought so and she sayd she fought with the devil / and ever and anon she called out of Mrs Holman and would have her sent for and one that sat by sayd what would you say to her and she sayd I will tell har that she is a witch / we then not suspecting her so to be we reproved her and wished her not to say so but the more we forbade her the more violent she was in so calling har and crying out of Mrs Holmans black chest and Mrs Holmans oake but what she ment by them we cannot tell but this last time she was troubled with Mrs Holman and her daughter Mary and concerning the child it does decline an fall away dayly according to Maryes words and yet we cannot perceive that it is sick at all but will suck and eat / and in the time of the mothers trouble the child is set quite crooked in the body which before was a straight thriving child / also it was taken notice of that in the time of my daughters trouble that hare hands ware set crooked that her husband could not git them open
(Endorsement on back)
These thinges that are written in thes papers I doe not present them as accusations but as considerations to the Court The last winter before this I was afflected with Mrs Holmans hens I could not keep them out of my barn from destroying my corn I being much troubled at it spake of it to my wife and she said it may be the poor woman cannot keep them at home I being thus afflected with them I flunge a stone at one of them and killed it and layd it upon a hovell that stood upon the common when my wife saw it she sent to Mrs Holmans to see if it were one of hers and her daughter fetched it home and after that they troubled me no more though thay went abroad still which we wondered at being so constantly there every day before after this my wife had a brood of chickens of fifteen which were like to doe well . . . and did thrive for the space of one fortnight and then they were taken with fits thay would turn their heads upward and turn round many times and run about the house as if thay were mald and sometimes picking towards the ground but not touch the ground and sometimes thay would be prety well and eat their meat but thay dyed 2 and 2 at a time till thay came to 4
Likewise Mrs Holman had a white cocke that went a grasing about the common every day in the summer time between the pond and the houses without any hens with him and we taking notice of him asked Mary Holman wherefor that cocke went so alone and she said that the hens did not care for him nor he cared not for them and she said moreover that he was 7 years old then we asked her why they would keep him and she sayd she could not tell her mother would keep him and soon after that we saw him no more
Also there was a bird that was taken notice of not only of us but of some others such a one as neither they nor we ever sawe before it was all milk white save only a little gray on the wings my sunn being tould of such a bird did looke to see if he could see it and did see it and threw stones at it but could not hit it although it ware very near him and when it rose up it did fly to Mrs Holmans house so likewise when those that sawe it first flung stone … at it would always fly thether and sometimes they sayd thay sawe it fly into the house thay had taken notice of it a week before we did and wh . . . sunne and I went to mend up the fence that was before my daughters house . . . bird was skipping about the rayles my sunne sayd here is the divilishest bird that ever I saw in my life and I asked him why he did say so and he sayd I never threw half so often at a bird in his life but he did hit it but but this I cannot hit and he flunge again at it but could not hit it and we both of us see it fly to Mrs Holmans house the same day my son and other persons saw it again and thay hunted it about and flung stones at it and it flying thether again one of them called out saying the bird was gone home and two of them resolved the next day to get their guns and see if thay could shoot it Mrs Holman came out of her house and looked on them and in liklyhood heard what thay sayd for they were near the house but since that time the bird have not been seen in this time my daughter Starnes going out of her house within evening saw this bird under her house sid she thought at first it had been a cat but she going towards it percived it was a white bird and it did fly along by the house sid and so away to Mrs Holmans it was sene another evening when it was tooe late for burds to be abroade betwin my daughters house and the rayles.
My wife have been much troubled with her wheel when she have set herself to spin for the necessity of her family sometimes she could not make no work of it she thought at first it might be out of kilter and we both used what means we could with it but it was never the better but was fayne to set it away and go about some other work and when she took it again it would go very well and thus it was very ofen and sometimes when she could make no work with it she would set it away and not so much as unband it and take it again and not alter it at all and it would goe very well one time amongst the rest she set herself to work and was much troubled that she could make no work of it she begun to fear that there might be something that might be the cause of it she set her wheel away and went out and found Mary Holman at the oake turning round and when she saw my wife she ketched up up a chippe and that caused her to fear that it might be by their meanes another time she was a spinning and as it was wonte so it did agayne that she was so affected with it that she could have cryed and sitting still with hare wheel be for har saying thus to har selfe lord thou hast comanded me to labour but I am hindered good lord if there by any hand of sattan in it prevent it with sum other words and went to spinning agayne.
And it went as well as ever at another time when my daughter was not very well my wife went out and saw Mary Holman siting on her knees at a holle of water she took up water in a dish and held it up a prety haith and drained it into another thing my wife went presently to her daughter and found her crying so immoderatly that the tears fell so fast from her eyes that my wife was fayne to stand and wipe them from of her face with her apron and her mother asked her wherefor she cryed and she sayd she could not tell but she sayd she could not forbeare concerning what our daughter have sene and felte in the time of her afflection she can declare if she be called to it
Awhile after we were at the Court she had another raging fit wherein she was carred with rage agaynst her parents and her brothers and sisters and we disered one of our bretherin to pray with her and she raged at him and had him get him home or she would throw something at his head and she was so outragous that we ware fayn to tye her hands and she cryed out and sayd a snake stunge her under her arms and when she was out of her distemper she sayd she sawe a thing like a greate snake cym into the house with a thing like a turtle upon the backe and came upon the bed to her and another time when one of our elders was at prayer she barked like a dog and though we held her mouth close with our hands yet she would speak saying that Mrs Holman and Mary Holman were witches and bewitched her and her child and sometimes she cryed out agaynst blood that it cryed and that it stuncke and we had her hold her peace but she sayd she must speake and conceianc must speak and at last she sayd there was a hoale of blood by the credell and there was many prayers made for her and it pleased God that suddenly she came out of it and was ravished at the sight of thinges how thay apered to her ever thay did before har mother being gone out she followed har and sayd mother I am well but she could not believe har but she sayd goe to work and she went about her work and she told her mother that she felt something come out of her at that presant and the next day she looked out of her window and saw Mary Holman rumning about as if she ware catching a bird and presantly she was taken sick almost struck dead as she thought and her mother gat her to bed and gave her something to refresh her and then she tould her this
The next night after being in her senses she called to her husband and said that Mrs Holman was here & she rose out of her bed and followed her to the window and then she told her husband that she was at the gate but he could not see her the next night after she cryed out and said her back was broake and felt as if a sword had ben thrust into her back and the next night the child was taken very sick.
A litle while after this Mr Danford came by and asked how the child did and we prayed him to come in and se it and he saw how crooked it was and how it was pined away and sayd he thought it could not live long but the child did eat well and suck well and yet wasted away as Mrs Holman said it would do. The next day being the Lords day Mrs. Holman stayed at home in the forenoon and were folks were going to meeting she saw Mrs. Holman Dnt thire house fits took her looking upon her 2 or 3 hours togither her mother observing of them and thire cariges as was not at other times but before her fites she was persuaded that mischief was at hand, and she begged prayers of har neybours and wished har husband to pray hard and that night she had 5 or 6 fites.
The 3 day after she was pretty well and went about her work till towards night that Mrs Holman cam out and sat down upon her knees to howe and continued upon her knees bowing near 2 hours as we conceive as soon as she begun to how the woman begun to be ill and was fayne to go to bed and begun to be distempered and when it was almost night her mother went to see what she had done and could not se no hole at all more then in any other place and she saw both of them stand in thire musterd when it was to dark to work and in the next morning thay were at the same place howing as long, and all that night and 2 or 3 nights after she could not sleepe but lay cring out that Mrs Holmans impes ware byting of her feete that she dirst not put them downe and when she was out of her beed we could not kepe har from Mrs Holmans but would goe thether and tell her that she had impes in a blacke chest
And this has been observed that when Mrs Holman and har daughter were gone abroad that she was prety quiet and would eat her meat and when they came home she was distempered again and thus it was always when she was in her trouble It pleased God to move some of the church set a day apart to seeke God for her in her distemper and it pleased God to release her the next day and was well a prety while but since she had another. fit but more modrate then before / befor which we sawe two strange the one was digging a hole . sand in a dish the one was cloase by her rayles and the other was she having a greate heap of sand at her door she begun to carry it away in a great dish my wife going out in the morning
…. . saw Mrs Holman carrying sand called to me to see her and sayd she was persuaded our daughter was sicke / presently har son Abraham spake to her and she went in then my wife went to se har daughter and she had a fit and when Abraham was gone out wit his carte the ould woman cam out to caring sand and presently upon it she had another fit
And while she continued carrying sand her husband and her mother stood looking on hare till she went in and she kepte in all day and all that time Mrs Holman kept in she had no fit while it was dark and then her fits came agayne after this she fell into her distemper agayne but more moderate and slept well in the nights but she was afflected with fear and pain frighting out of her sleep twice in the night by Mrs Holman cuming in to har as she say or by some other thing by her meanes and this contineued 3 or 4 nights after she was in har perfecte senses she was so hurte in har body at those times that she was affrayd that she should be made to miscarry but in the daytime she felt no payne at all. Concarning the child it was badly handled as creadable witneses can make it appeare how the ribbes were bent in and the breast ript up, and sum of our creetures being strangly afflected and strangly transported and thus it have been for a long time sumtim upon on and sumtim upon another
Another time my wife observing Mrs Holman doing som strange thinge my wife was much troubled for feare her daughter would be distracted on the 2 day night she had har ordinary fits and the next day she lay sicke all day when Mrs Holman was at home / on the wedensday and thursday Mrs Holman went abroade and then she was well and aboute her work on the next day of a suden she begun to be distempered and lay downe and har mother looked out and saw Mrs Holman doing as was sayd before and was sturred up to seke the Lord that if she be a working of wickednes that the Lord would be pleased to prevent har and presently Mrs Holman went away and of a suden she found such a change that she caled to har mother and sayd she was well and was freed from any further distemper at that time.
And this we have observed all alonge when she was in her distemper if Mrs Holman did but goe from home she Lords day one of was Presantly m bar right mynd and if her Sonne Abraham ware aboute home she was well but if he ware from home and his mother cum home she presantly fall into har distemper agayne and this was observed that most parte of the last summer that one of them and sumtimes both kepte at home of the Lordes dayes This also have ben observed that the ould woman have ben sene to goe out toward night into swampes and by wayes: exam . . . why shee goeth out at night to swamps & high wayes
This winter time they have kept in we have ben well but the first time Mrs Holman went to meeting being of a lecture day she stood by our daughter looking on har very often and at night she had her fites and sine one of them will stand by her looking on her whereupon she is taken so sicke that she can scarce sit on her seat and so it was with the child upon her looking on it it would groane as if it would die presently
Another time Mrs Holman was seene going towards one of our neighbores house within her owe fence towards night it rained a pretty pase and walked two or three times close by the rayles as near the house as she could not having any thing to do that We that Sawe her Could Derceive she stoood still and and when she sawe us she returned home and she was without any hatte on har heade and presantly house mother & upon it the woman was taken so sicke that she sent for har har husband to cum to har for this look on ym . . ——
there is 2 or 3 wittneses
The last fits she had were her ordinary fits for manner but more then ordinary for contineuanc formerly she had them one or tooe nights but now thay contineued almost a weeke together but her other distemper did not follow through mearcy bar sences contineued unless it was when she was affeighted by Sattan appearing to har sum tims in one shape and sumtimes in another And this was observed that thes frites ware when Mrs Holman cam out of har house to doe sumthing in har loofte and when she went in agayne she was quieat and well my self e my wife and sunne can wit tries this Her going barfoot to y” meetings ware on evry day in a cold winter day or on horse backe —
Elisabeth Bowers being at the court this afternoone and hering that passage about powering the water out of a dish into another thing shee think shee is bound to speak to give lite to the court and jury shee had thought to speake here in court But shee was taken off But that which shee can say is shee have heard Mary Homan and her mother complayne for want of water and being so under suspertion shee could not well tell how to goe to a neaybors house for water least any thing should be made of her to some they sayd they weare faynt to get water any way with a dish her well being frossen up to the mude and to this purpose she spake and they sayd they could be content to cary a payle of water from my house home which was neer halfe a mile
Concerning the cocke which is the first we tooke notis of and what Mary sayd of it both my selfe my wife and my sunne can wittnes that she sayd it was 7 years ould and it went alone allwaye witout hennes when we sawe it and she sayd he cared not for the hennes nor the henes for him and we asked har why she kept it then and she sayd she could not tell har mother would kepe him and soone after this we sawe him no more
John Gibson Seaner
John Gibson Juner
The wife of Charles Stearnes being in a great distemper so as we ware fayne to hould her down in her bed and she would not be quiet but we must send for Mrs Holman and we persuaded her to be quiet and we asked her what she would say to her and she sayd she would say that she is a witch and we sayd you must not say so but she continued so saying this was when we had not the least suspicion that way this our selves and many of our neibours can wittnes also she cryed out of Mrs Holmans blacke chest and Mrs Holmans oake
The next fit was an extreame raging and continued so from thursday at night to saterday towards night then she tooke a little rest but when night came she fell into a rage agian all that night and the next day till the after noone while folkes were gone to meeting and then she lay quietly and fell asleep till folkes cam home and then she flung up in a rage cring out that Mrs Holman and M Holman ware divilishest witches then Mary was asleep when Holman came in a sayd how do your daughter thay ware not at she have ben asleep have she not and my wife home sayd why doe you aske and she sayd becase she slept yeeterday afore this time This Sabboth morning Mary Holman came in for fyer as she did every morning while her trouble was upon her my daughter fell a raging at her as before was named my wife bad har goe out and sayd I wonder you will cum thether seing she rages so at you and when she had shued har out Mary Holman sayd what ayle your daughter she use to be a quiet woman and my wife sayd one sayd he was per uaded she was bewitched or she is posesed with an evell spirit then Mary Holman sayd that har mother sayd she is not light headed nor har head doe not ake
Benjeman Crackbone Rebak Gibson
These words ware spoken on the lordes day morning before Mr Chansy cam at har and owned at Charlestown Court also we found this for a truth that although she were long in her distemper and very grevous yet so sone as she was out of them her head was well and did not ache as her selfe can witness.
The next fit she did not ly by it but went up and and we could not kepe her from Mrs Holmans and she would tell her that she could not sleep for har cockes and and har cats but she came suddenly out of it she have been so afflected with a cocke and cattes that in the day time she could not endure to see neither cock nor cat The next fit which and towards her house was before the commencment Mrs Holman and her daughter came out and stood looking upon my daughter near 2 hours together and that night she had 5 or 6 fits being very well before witness to this
The next Thursday after in the after noon she cam towards my daughters house in har own ground and sat downe on har knees and howed an hour or 2 together and suddenly she was fayn to leave har work and ly downe on the bed and sent for her mother and so grew into her distemper and could not rest all night in the morning as soon as we were up we saw her one while a hewing and Mary another while and then she begun to talke saying Mrs Holmans impes lay at har feet all night that she could not sleepe for them
witnes for it John Gibson Sener
John Gibson Juner
That Mrs Holman did apper upon the common sometimes in on sute of aparrell and sometimes in another 4 times in lesse than an after noone picking about the common she changed har habbets in a short tim
witness Joh Gibson Sener
John Gibson Juner
That in my daughters great troubl she cryed out of Mrs Holmans being at the rayles when she was in her bed and a covering hanged befor her at such times Mrs Holman was sene standing neare her own rayles w°h is her owne grounds wittnes Rebecka Gibson
Martha Belsher and the Marshalls
That when my daughter was in her distemper if Mrs Holman and har daughter went from home she would be quiet and sumtimes go to worke but as soon as thay cam home agayne she was distempered
witness John Gibson Sener
for our creturs one of my oxen taken wit Strang fits at 4 severall times and my dogge strangly handled so as we have not knowen the like and my wifes chickings and our yeare ould calfe strangely handled as we can all wittnes
Concerning the chickings the last that was taken thus strangly my wife bad on of our children through it into the fyer and did so and we went to our gate and saw Mrs Holman when she rose from husking she turned looking upon our house rise from stripin of corne and walked about and as sone as it was burnt she sat downe agayne That Mrs Holman and har daughter Mary did ordinaryly kepe at home sometimes on and sometimes both this last summer on the lordes dayes we can all witness
That Mrs Holman have been seen going into swam pes and by wayes towards evening
witness John Gibson Sener
John Gibson Jenner
Concerning the childs growing as if it would dy presantly upon Mrs Holmans looking on it / the grandmother and the mother can wittnes at meeting /
and them that sat by can wittness how she did groane
That we ware so constantly afflected with Mrs Holmans henes every day and after kiling one of them we ware troubled with them no more although thay went a broad as before we all can wittness
Concerning the bird the strangeness of it and being abroad at such times as is not usall for birds to be abroad and alwayes when scared up and flying to Mrs Holmans house and that we could never se it since
wittnesnes John Gibson Sener Rebeck Gibson
Charles Starnes Reback Starnes John Gibson Juner
Steven Franses John Franses
Jno. Gibson Sen’. Rebecca Sternes •1 4 — (2) 1660
Rebeccak Gibson Charles Sternes > Sworne in Court to y* re
Jno. Gipson Jun’ Steven Frances ) spective evidences
as attests Th. Danforth R.
Endorsed on back
Concerning the carriages of thes papers if thay had not thay ben such as we have not sen by any other nor by themselves at other times and if we had not alwayes sene what folowed constantly upon us we durst not have presented them to the magistrates but being so long aquainted with them that we could tell what we myght suddinly looke for and found it so without fayle as we can wittnes
At a Coun Court held at Cambridge.
Aprill 3th 1660.
Winifred Holman pt. agst Jno. Gibson sen’ & his wife, in an accon of deffamaccon, the Jury haveing heard their respective pleas & evidences p’sented in ye case, do bring in y’ verdict finding for the deffts. costs of Court fiften shill. & ten pence.
At a Coun Court held at Cambridge.
Aprill 3th 1660.
Winifred Holman pt. agst Rebecca the wife of Charles Sternes defft in an accon of deffamaccon. The Jury haveing heard their respective pleas & evidences p’sented in the case, & it appearing to the Court that ye defft. was by Gods hand deprived of her naturall reason when shee expressed those words charged on her, do bring in their Verdict finding for the defft. costs of Court. Eight Shill. & foure pence.
At a Coun Court held at Cambridge.
Aprill 3th 1660.
Mary Holman pt. agst Jno. Gibson, Jun’ defft. in an accon of deffamaccon The jury haveing heard the case do find, for the pt. an acknowledgt to be made in Court, to sattisfaccon, or otherwise to pay 5£ five pounds, & also to pay the costs of Court, one pound five shill. & ten pence.
The defft. made his acknowledgment in Court, to sattisfaccon, being on file wth y* Juryes verdicts.
(Page’s History of Cambridge, Mass.) Concerning the case between Mary Holman, plaintive, and John Gibson jun’., defendant, we find for the plaintive that the said John Gibson shall make acknowledgement that he hath wronged and scandalously slandered Marye Holman by speeches irregularly, rashly and sudden spoken, for which he desire to be humbled and sorry for the same; and if he refuse to make this acknowledgement in the present court, that then we do enjoin John Gibson to pay to the plaintive the full sum of five pounds; and we also give the plaintive cost of court.
John Gibson junior. acknowledged in court that, whereas he is legally convicted of a slanderous speech concerning Mary Holman, he is heartily sorry for his evil thereby committed against God, and wrong done to the said Mary Holman and her friends, and doth crave forgiveness of the said Mary Holman of this trespass.
(Midd. Co. Ct. R. I : 35) At a Co. Court held at Cambridge the 5 Apr. 1653. This Court doth order that Jeremiah Holman shalbe Servt to Tho: ffox for one yeare and be alowed for his yeares service, of his said M’ Seven pound. And the Townsmen of Cambridg to order and improve the estate of Winifred Holman his moother.
(Midd. Co. Ct. R. III : 8) Admstraccdn is granted to Jeremiah Holman and Abram Holman, vpon th* estate of their mother Winifred Holman deced, by Daniel Gookin Esq’ and Thomas Danforth Record’. 21 Oct. 1671.
(p. 17) An inventory of the Estate of Winifred Holman, widow, was presented in Court, & left on file attested by Jeremiah Holman her sonne and Admstrato’. Co. Court held at Charlestown. 19 Dec. 1671.
(Midd. III : 318) 23 Oct. 1671. An inventory of ye Goods of Winifred Holman of Cambridge widdow, late deceased by Jer. Holman. Valued at £62.09.7. Included the House & three Acrs of land . . . , three Acrs of Land in Westfield, two Acrs & half in . . . pond, one Acr of Salt Marsh, one Acr & half on ye fresh swamp, on ye south side Charles river in ye neere Division two Acrs for ye Far Division ten Acrs. Dated 20 Dec. 1671.
1. Hannah HOLMAN (See Solomon JOHNSON Jr.‘s page)
2. Jeremiah Holman
Jeremiah’s first wife Susannah [__?__] was born xx.
Jeremiah’s second wife Mercy Pratt was born 1642 in Plymouth, Plymouth, Mass. Her parents were Phineas Pratt and Mary Priest. Mercy died 1703 in Cambridge, Middlesex, Mass
Purchased land from his brother-in-law Solomon Johnson Jr
Midd. Deed III : 325) Solomon Johnson of Sudbury, Co. Midd., Junr., sells to Jeremiah Holman of Cambridge one moyty or halfe of land granted by my father Solomon Johnson Senr. called the new grant, 37th lot. Signed by markes of Solomon Johnson Junr. & Hannah Johnson 3 June 1664. In presence of Willia Bordman, Samuel Goffe. Ack. by both 23 June 1664. Rec. 25 Apr. 1666.
4. Sarah Holman
Sarah’s husband Samuel Parker was born about 1630 in England. Samuel died 31 Dec 1678 in Dedham, Norfolk, Mass.
5. Abraham Holman
Abraham’s wife Sarah Petts was born 29 Dec 1641 in Hingham, Plymouth, Mass. Her parents were Edmond Pitts and Ann Cooke. Sarah died 1714 in Hingham, Plymouth, Mass.
7. Seeth Holman
Seeth’s husband Thomas Ross was born 1630 in Scotland. Thomas died 20 Mar 1695 in Billerica, Middlesex, Mass.
8. Elizabeth Holman
Elizabeth’s husband Deacon Jonathan Adams was born 1614 in Barton St David, Somerset, England. His parents were Henry Adams and Edith Squire. Jonathan died 28 Jul 1690 in Braintree, Norfolk, Mass.
The history of Peter Parker and Sarah Ruggles of Roxbury, Mass. and their
Ancestry of Charles Stinson Pillsbury and John Sargent Pillsbury (1938) By Holman, Mary Lovering, 1868-1947; Pillsbury, Helen Pendleton Winston, 1878-1957
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Thank you for this detailed report on my ancestors (descendant of daughter Sarah Holman-Parker). I had previously come across a recap of the case, adbidged from “The History of Peter Parker” but it was lacking the excerpts. Also, I appreciate your informatiion concerning William Holman (marriage site/year, name of parents).
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These are my ancestors. I am going to Boston next week and wondered if you knew where the graves are located.
I don’t think their graves are still in existence, but you can see where William Holman’s Cambridge home was on Garden and Linnaean Street now on the Harvard Campus.
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