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Esther (Dutch) Elwell (abt. 1639 - 1721)

Esther "Hester" Elwell formerly Dutch
Born about in Newport, Rhode Islandmap [uncertain]
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married 7 Jun 1658 in Gloucester, Massachusettsmap
Descendants descendants
Died at about age 82 in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusettsmap
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Profile last modified | Created 16 Nov 2010
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Esther (Dutch) Elwell was accused of witchcraft in the Salem Witch Trials

Esther Dutch was the daughter of Osmund Dutch,[1] and Grace Dutch.[2][3] She was probably born in/around Newport, Rhode Island, as Anderson has her father arriving at Newport in 1639.

Esther married Samuel Elwell on 7 Jun 1658 in Gloucester, Massachusetts.[1][4] Samuel and Esther had the following children:[2][3]

  1. Samuel, b. March 14 1659;
  2. Jacob, b. Aug. 10, 1662;
  3. Robert, b. Dec. 13, 1664;
  4. Esther, b. Aug. 15, 1667;
  5. Sarah, b. and d. in 1670;
  6. Ebenezer, b. Feb 29, 1670-1;
  7. Hannah, b. Aug 11, 1674, m. Jan 2, 1695, Joseph Gardner;
  8. Elizabeth, b. July 30, 1678;
  9. Thomas.

Esther Elwell died on 6 Sep 1721[2][3] in Gloucester, Massachusetts, aged about 82 years.[4]

Esther (Dutch) Elwell, Accused Witch aka: "Hester" - Birthdate: about 1639; Birthplace: Newport, Rhode Island; Death: 6 Sep 1721 in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts. Immediate Family: Parents - Osmond and Grace Dutch; Husband - Samuel Elwell; Children - Samuel II; Jacob; Robert; Ebenezer; Hezekiah and 6 others; Siblings - Susanna Dutch; Grace Hodgkins; William Dutch; Alice Meacham; Capt. Samuel Dutch and 2 others; half-sister of Robert Dutch.

Accused of Witchcraft

From "The Geography and Genealogy of Gloucester Witchcraft":[5]

Esther Dutch, the daughter of Osman and Grace Dutch, was born around 1639 and married Samuel Elwell in 1658. Her parents lived at the Harbor at a place known as Dutch's Slough and were rather prominent in town affairs. Samuel Elwell's father Robert was also a distinguished citizen of the town. He lived at the Harbor at first, but most of his land was on Eastern Point, and he probably ended up living there. Samuel inherited his house and most of his land when he died in 1683. Prior to that Samuel had lived across the Harbor, near the Cut, in a house belonging to Robert that went to Samuel's son Samuel when Samuel (senior) inherited his father's house. The value of Robert Elwell's estate totaled £290 10s.

Story as seen on NBC's "Who Do You Think You Are?" with Sarah Jessica Parker:

Warrant filed against her in Salem Witch Trials along with Abigail Rowe and Rebecca Dike. They were accused of witchcraft by 17 year old Betty Hubbard, and killing their neighbor Mary Fitch. (Mary Fitch actually came down with a mysterious illness.) ... Luckily, the court dissolved before their case was taken and she survived the Salem Witch Trials.

According to the "Salem Witchcraft Papers," Volume 1: On November 5, 1692, an arrest warrant was issued for Esther Elwell and two others, Abigail Roe and Rebecca Dike, for committing “wickedly and feloniously sundry acts of witchcraft upon the body of Mrs. Mary Fiche of Gloucester." Hester Dutch was taken to Ipswich on October 30, 1692 along with two others for examination on the charge of witchcraft. All were released on November 7, 1692. Hester, due to sickness and poverty was, like her mother, "a poor distressed widow for many years."[6][7][8]

Massachusetts Remediation

  1. 17 October 1710, Convictions Reversed, The General Court of Massachusetts Bay, An act, the several convictions, judgments, and attainders be, and hereby are, reversed, and declared to be null and void.[9]
  2. 17 Dec 1711, Compensation to Survivors, Governor Dudley, GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY, approved compensation to such persons as are living, and to those that legally represent them that are dead
  3. 28 Aug 1957, No Disgrace to Descendants, General Court of Massachusetts, ...such proceedings, were and are shocking, and the result of a wave of popular hysterical fear of the Devil in the community, and further declares that, as all the laws under which said proceedings...have been long since abandoned and superseded by our more civilized laws, no disgrace or cause for distress attaches to the said descendants or any of them by reason of said proceedings.[10]
  4. 31 Oct 2001, Additional Victims Included, Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives in General Court, AN ACT RELATIVE TO THE WITCHCRAFT TRIAL OF 1692, chapter 145 is hereby further amended by adding Bridget Bishop, Susannah Martin, Alice Parker, Margaret Scott and Wilmot Redd.[11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Anderson, Robert Charles, et al. The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume II, C-F, Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001. Accessed online at (requires subscription). Page 429.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Rev. Jacob Thomas Elwell, comp. and Rev. Charles Henry Pope, rev. "The Elwell Family in America: A Genealogy of Robert Elwell of Dorchester and Gloucester, Massachusetts." (Boston MA: Charles H Pope, 1899). Accessed online at or see attached images. Page 7. (NOTE: The first 10 pages (2 generations) of this book were reprinted in NEHGR 53:25-32, Jan 1899).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Davis, Walter Goodwin. "The Ancestry of Charity Haley, 1755-1800: Wife of Major Nicholas Davis of Limington, Maine." Boston, MA: Stanhope Press, 1916. Accessed online at Pages 69-70
  4. 4.0 4.1 Vital Records of Gloucester, Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849. Online database accessed 2 Aug 2018. Marriages p.202 "Elwell, Samuell [s. Robert. CT.R.], and Hester Duch, d. Osseman, June 7, 1658."; Deaths p.127 "Elwell, Esther, wid, Sept. 6, 1721, a. abt. 82 y."
  5. Drolet, Jedediah. "The Geography and Genealogy of Gloucester Witchcraft." Available for download at 11 page research paper w/sources.
  6. "The Salem Witchcraft Papers, Volume 1." Verbatim transcipts of the legal documents of the Salem witchcraft outbreak of 1692. Edited and with an introduction and index by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, revised, corrected, and augmented by Benjamin C. Ray and Tara S. Wood. Available online at
  7. Witches of Massachusetts, Legends of America website
  8. Brooks, Rebecca Beatrice, and Rebecca Beatrice Brooks. “The Accused Witches of Gloucester.” History of Massachusetts Blog, May 11, 2019.
  9. “Salem Witchcraft : with an Account of Salem Village, and a History of Opinions on Witchcraft and Kindred Subjects : Upham, Charles Wentworth, 1802-1875, Author : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming.” Internet Archive, January 1, 1970.

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Categories: Gloucester, Massachusetts | Salem Witch Trials | Accused Witches of New England | Salem, Massachusetts