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Rebecca (Unknown) Greensmith (abt. 1620 - 1663)

Rebecca Greensmith formerly [surname unknown] aka Mudge, Elsen
Born about in Englandmap [uncertain]
Daughter of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Wife of — married 1642 in Connecticutmap
Wife of — married 1649 in Wethersfield, Connecticutmap
Wife of — married 1654 in Hartford, Connecticutmap
Descendants descendants
Died at about age 43 in Hartford, Connecticutmap
Profile last modified | Created 15 Mar 2013 | Last significant change: 2 Jun 2023
22:04: Curt Danforth III edited the Biography for Rebecca (Unknown) Greensmith (abt.1620-1663). (Data Doctor - 971: Missing image - removed duplicate template) [Thank Curt for this]
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The Puritan Great Migration.
Rebecca (Unknown) Greensmith migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
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Rebecca (Unknown) Greensmith was executed for witchcraft in Connecticut
Rebecca's surname is unknown. She is often said to be Rebecca Steele, the daughter of George Steele of Hartford, Connecticut. This is incorrect.[1] This theory comes from the fact that George Steele named in his will his grandchildren Moses Mudge, Micah Mudge and Martha Hanison. These three were children of Jarvis Mudge, so the assumption was that Rebecca was a daughter of George Steele. However, following the execution of Rebecca and her third husband for witchcraft, the marshal was ordered to preserve the estate and to "dispose of the 2 daughters with the advice of the Assistants in Hartford." These two daughters are then identified as Hannah Elsen and Sarah Elsen in the inventory of Nathaniel Greensmith. If Rebecca had any children by Jarvis Mudge or Nathaniel Greensmith they would have been named in these court proceedings. Also, Moses Mudge was born about 1640, and Rebecca did not marry Jarvis Mudge until 1648/9. There is also no other evidence that George Steele even had a daughter Rebecca. The three grandchildren named by George Steele must have been by a another one of his daughters, and by chronology was almost certainly his daughter Mary Steele. Since Rebecca has been shown to not be a daughter of George Steele, then we have no evidence whatsoever as to her LNAB.

Rebecca was married three times: She had children by Abraham Elson, but no living children by Mudge or Greensmith.


Born: About 1620. Estimate based on her marriage about 1642 and birth of first child in 1643.


Rebecca was married three times:

  1. Abraham Elson (b 1620; d 1648); at least two children: Hannah, Sarah who made a claim to a portion of their mother's estate after her execution.[2]
  2. Jarvis Mudge (m abt 1649); he was born about 1625 in England; and died 2 Jun 1653 in New London, Connecticut. Jarvis' children Micah Mudge b 1640, Moses Mudge b. 1642 and Martha (Mudge) Hannison were children of his first wife, who was the daughter of George Steele.[1]
  3. Nathaniel Greensmith; m abt 1654 in Hartford. The two of them were found guilty of familiarity with Satan and executed 25 Jan 1662/3.[3] Court records show that their estate was to pay debts and "to dispose of the 2 daughters, wth advice of the Assistants in Hartford." These daughters were named in the inventory as Hannah and Sarah Elsen.[1] The fact that the Mudge boys were not mentioned makes it clear that they were not biological children of Rebecca, that she and Mudge, and she and Greensmith, had no living children when they were executed.


Rebecca and her last husband, Nathaniel Greensmith, on the charge of witchcraft[4] were hanged in Hartford 25 January 1662/3.

Witch Trials

"The origins of the Hartford outbreak are obscure, but the trouble apparently began in the spring of 1662, with the possession and subsequent death of eight-year-old Elizabeth Kelly, who in her fits had cried out on her neighbor, Goodwife Ayres.  Convinced that their child had died from bewitchment, her parents demanded an investigation. Ayres was probably the first person named, but two other people, Mary and Andrew Sanford, were brought up for examination not long after. Ayres's husband, who would eventually come under suspicion himself, accused Rebecca Greensmith, who in turn supported accusations against her own husband and implicated several other Hartford residents. And so it went. The community was caught in the grip of a witchcraft fear that would eventually result in accusations against at least thirteen people, and that would take the lives of four of them.  At some point during the early period of the Hartford outbreak, Ann Cole, whom minister Increase Mather described as a "person of real Piety and Integrity," succumbed to possession. She was, He said, "taken with very strange fits, wherein her Tongue was improved by a Daemon to express things which she her self knew nothing of. In the precence of several local ministers, the demons said "that such and such persons... (who were then named and who included some of the people already accused) were consulting how they might carry on mischievous designs against her and several others..." Statements made by Cole that a number of witches were at work in the area seem to have intensified the community's desire to ferret them out. One of the women mentioned by Cole was her next-door neighbor, Rebecca Greensmith, who was already in prison awaiting trial. When Greensmith was confronted by the ministers and magistrates, she fully admitted her "familiarity with the Devil." She denied making "an express Covenant with him," but said that "at Christmass they would have a merry Meeting" and seal their bargain. She also acknowledged that "the Devil had frequently the carnal knowledge of her Body," and that she and the other accused witches "had Meetings at a place not far from her House." Greensmith was hanged in January 1663, along with her husband, who steadfastly denied his own guilt, and a Farmington woman, Mary Barnes, about whom little is known.[5] According to Mather, Ann Cole was "restored to health" after their executions."[6]
"The confessions of Mary Johnson, Mary Parsons, and Rebecca Greensmith, and the possession of Ann Cole, also show that at least some colonists (even if only confessing witches and the possessed) shared the ministers' preoccupation with the Devil's role in witchcraft. This limited acciptance of the belief in the witch's pact with Satan==as well as the rash of accusations themselves--probably owed something to the massive witch-hunts in England in 1645-47, since it was then that the covenant had first become a central focus of English witchcraft cases."[7]
"Rebecca Greensmith had been widowed twice before her marriage to Nathaniel Greensmith. Her first husband, Abraham Elsen of Wethersfield, had died intestate in 1648, leaving an estate of L99. After checking the birth dates of the Elsens' two children, three-year-old Sarah and one-year-old Hannah, the court initially left the whole estate with the widow. When Rebecca married Wethersfield's Jarvis Mudge the following year, the local magistrates sequestered the house and land Abraham Elsen had left, worth L40, stating their intention to rent it out "for the Use and Benefit of the two daughters. The family moved to New London shortly after, but Jarvis Mudge died in 1652 and Rebecca moved with Hannah and Sarah to Hartford. Since Rebecca was unable to support herself and her two daughters, the court allowed her to sell the small amount of land owned by her second husband (with whom she had had no children) "for the paying of debts and the Bettering the Childrens portyons."     Sometime prior to 1660, Rebecca married Nathaniel Greensmith. During the Hartford outbreak, Rebecca came under suspicion of witchcraft. After Nathaniel sued his wife's accuser for slander, Nathaniel himself was named. Both husband and wife were convicted and executed.       Respecting Nathaniel's L182 estate, l44 of which was claimed by the then eighteen-year-old Sarah and seventeen-year-old Hannah Elsen, the court ordered the three overseers "to preserve the estate from Waste" and to pay "any just debts," the only one recorded being the Greensmiths' jail fees. Except for allowing the overseers "to dispose of the 2 daughters," presumably to service, the magistrates postponed until the next court any decision concerning the young women's portions. First however they deducted L40 to go "to the Treasurer for the County." No reason was given for this substantial appropriation and no record of further distribution of the estate has survived."[8]
  "Rebecca Greensmith. A Hartford woman who was executed as a witch along with her husband Nathaniel during the 1662-1663 Hartford outbreak; she was accused by several of her neighbors and, according to one of the town's ministers, confessed to a lengthy list of witchcraft crimes."[9]

Witchcraft in Connecticut

See History of American Women Rebecca Greensmith


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Harris, Gale Ion. "Jarvis Mudge and John Henryson Families of Connecticut" in The American Genealogist vol. 81 (2006): pages 18-30. Cites Records of the Particular Court. Connecticut Hist Soc. Colls. 22:258 and Manwaring: Conn Probate Records 1:121-22
  2. noted in the record after execution, Hanna and Sarah Elson claimed part of Rebecca's estate: (page 339)
  3. Court, pgs 258, 265.
  4. Court, pgs 257-258
  5. Court, pg. 259
  6. Carol F. Karlsen, The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England, 1987, pp 24-25
  7. Karlsen, Page 27
  8. Karlsen, Page 112-113
  9. Karlsen, Appendix page 261

See also: [much of the following might better be suited for a freespace page about Connecticut's witchcraft history]

  • Records of the Particular Court of Connecticut, 1639-1663. United States: Connecticut historical society, 1928.
  • Hartford's Witches from the Colonial History of Hartford
  • John M. Taylor, The Witchcraft Delusion in Colonial Connecticut, date? publisher? page? by John M. Taylor: "Alse Young of Windsor was the first unhappy victim, but the court records give us no information concerning her trial. On the cover of Mathew Grant's Diary, Dr. J. Hammond Trumbull discovered the record "May 26. 47 Alse Young was hanged." This supplies the blank in Winthrop's History: "One --of Windsor arraigned and executed at Hartford for a witch."1 So far as known, this was the first execution for witchcraft in New England. The next victim was Mary Johnson of Wethersfield. In 1646, she had been sentenced to be whipped for theft, probably at 'Hartford, which was to be repeated a month later at Wethersfield. -On her own confession, she was indicted by a jury December 7, 1648, as guilty of "familiarity with the Deuill." Mather says, "Her confession was attended with such convictive circumstances that it could not be slighted."2 She confessed, he says, that she had murdered a child, and committed other faults of licentiousness. For some months before her execution, she was imprisoned at Hartford, under the care of William Ruscoe. A son was born to her while there. Nathaniel Ruscoe, the jailor's son, agreed with her before her death to bring up and educate the child, which agreement was afterward sanctioned by the court. The jailor was paid 96 10s. for twenty-four weeks' charges to June 6, 1650, from which fact it is inferred that she was executed on that date. Rev. Samuel Stone ministered to her while in prison, and it is said that she became a penitent woman. She was evidently a poor, misguided creature, who accounted for her fault according to the superstition of the age.??After the execution of John and Joan Carrington of Wethersfield in 1651, and Lydia Gilbert of Windsor in 1654, a witchcraft tragedy was enacted among Hartford residents. It is one story and has been written and published by Dr. Charles J. Hoadly.3
  • Annie Eliot Trumbull, in The Hartford Courant, Dec. 3, 1904; Winthrop's History, II: 374.?2 Mather's Magnolia, Bk. VI, pp. 71-78.?3 "A Case of Witchcraft in Hartford" in Connecticut Magazine, Nov., 1899, pp. 557-561: Nine persons were involved, largely through the statements of Rebecca Greensmith. She had been the wife of Abraham Elsen of Wethersfield, who died in 1648. Then she married Jarvis Mudge, and was a widow when she married the unfortunate Nathaniel Greensmith. Those who were implicated constituted a group of local acquaintances, some of whom had a repute for misdemeanors or immorality. Their names were Nathaniel and Rebecca Greensmith; Elizabeth, the wife of Richard Seager; Andrew Sanford and Mary his wife; William Ayres and his wife; Judith Varlett and James Walkley.
Of Rebecca Greensmith, Rev. John Whiting wrote to Increase Mather that she was " a lewd, ignorant and considerably aged woman." Her husband had twice been convicted of theft. The court had once censured him for lying. Elizabeth Seager left a record of shameless crime, being guilty of blasphemy and adultery. These were the leaders. The others kept such company. One night they had a merry-making, under a tree on the green near Rebecca Greensmith's house. James Walkley, Goodwife Ayres and Goody Seager were present. They all danced and had a bottle of sack. Other nocturnal gatherings were held. Suspicions were awakened in the neighborhood.
Nathaniel Greensmith had a small home-lot, house and barn, recently purchased. It was located just south of our present Barnard Park, on which green the dance of the witches was doubtless held.1 Complaint had been made to the town that he had set his barn on common land. James Walkley had a house-lot on the north side of the road from George Steele's to the South Meadow. Sanford and Ayres apparently lived on North Main Street. The crisis came in the spring of 1662, with the accusations of a young daughter of John Kelley, uttered in the delirium of sickness. The child died. Immediately, the neighborhood was busy with reports that she had been bewitched unto death. The magistrates examined several of those accused. Nathaniel Greensmith then sued William Ayres for slandering his wife. She and her husband were soon arrested. The, defendent Ayres, his wife, and James Walkley, took refuge in flight. Ann, the daughter of John Cole, had strange fits about that time.
  • Conn. Col. Rec., II: 91; Original Distribution, pp. 268, 269: Her examination by the ministers, Samuel Hooker of Farmington, Samuel Stone, Joseph Haynes and John Whiting of Hartford, only increased the mystery and augmented the excitement. On June 6th, Andrew Sanford was indicted for witchcraft. The jury disagreed. I A week later, Mary Sanford was indicted and found guilty. This action furthered the ultimate indictment of Nathaniel and Rebecca Greensmith, which occurred December 30, 1662. They were both found guilty.' The woman's testimony implicated her associates. On January 6th, Mary Barnes of Farmington was indicted, and was also found guilty. The tragic scenes, which closed this horrible episode of our local history, can be all too clearly imagined. Mary Sanford was convicted first, and was not long detained in jail. Like some weird spectre of the spirit world, she disappeared. Goodwife Barnes was confined three weeks, for which Daniel Garret, the jailkeeper, was allowed 21s., to be paid by Goodman Barnes. The jailor was also allowed 6s. a week for keeping Nathaniel and Rebecca Greensmith, to be paid out of his estate. His inventory states that he was executed January 25, 1662-3.2 Hutchinson quotes the diary of Goffe, the regicide, under the date January 20th, as saying "three witches were condemned at Hartford." The indictment reads: "Nathaniel Greensmith, thou art here indicted by the name of Nathaniel Greensmith for not having the feare of God before thine eyes; thou hast entertained familiarity with Satan, the grand Enemy of God and Mankind, and by his help hast acted things in a preter naturall way beyond human abilities in a naturall course, for which according to ye Law of God and ye established laws of this Commonwealth thou deserveth to die." The form of the information, used in the Superior Court for many years, assigned all crimes to the instigation of the Devil. The magistrates at this trial were as follows: Mr. [Mathew] Allyn, moderator, Mr. [Samuel] Wyllys, Mr. [Richard] Treat, Mr. [Henry] Woolcot, Danll Clark, See., Mr. Jo. Allyn. The jury were: Edw. Griswold, Walter Ffiler, Ensign [Nicholas] Olmstead, Samll Boreman, Good-[Gregory] Winterton, John Cowles, Samll Marshall, Samll Hale, Nathanill Willet, John Hart, John Wadsworth, Robert Webster. The execution of criminals then devolved upon the Marshal, who was Jonathan Gilbert. One of the accused is said to have seen this worthy official in a dream, which seemed to presage the end. He was the first of three appointed to settle Greensmith's estate. Jonathan Gilbert succeeded Thomas Stanton in this office, and was followed by George Grave.??2 January 25th was a Sabbath, and we can not think the execution would have occurred on that day. Perhaps the court met on the 20th and they were executed on the 23rd, the latter date being incorrectly copied.
On this date the Particular Court met. He also says of Rebecca Greensmith: "Upon this confeffion the was executed, and two more of the company were condemned at the same time."1 The scene was doubtless accompanied by the public sensation, common to such occasions in England. It was the last time any witches were hung in Connecticut, and forty years before the excitement over the Salem witchcraft.
Elizabeth Seager was indicted on the same day with Mary Barnes, and twice later. In 1665 she was convicted, but the Court of Assistants found a way to release her, after a year's imprisonment. it seems probable that the witches were executed outside of the town-plot, on the road from the Cow Pasture into the Country. There the gallows of early times was located. On March 10, 1711-12, John Read sold to John Olcott a tract of about seven acres, bounded south on the "highway leading out of Hartford town towards Symsbury," now Albany Avenue. It is described in the deed as "near the houfe lately built by Joseph Butler, near where the Gallows used to stand." 2 The place is near enough identified as on the north side of the avenue, on the east end of the present Goodwin lot. There, a large elm tree on a rise of ground might well memorialize the place where this tragedy of Hartford's early history was enacted.??The usual place of punishment for minor offenses was in the meeting-house yard. Near the church were the stocks, the pillory and the whipping-post. The stocks was a timber frame in the holes of which the feet, or feet and hands of criminals, were confined. In the pillory, the head and hands were held, the victim being often compelled to stand. To the whipping-post the criminal was fastened while the lash was applied. All these punishments were very common. It was not so much the pain as the disgrace that was depended on for correction. On lecture day, just before the ringing of the first bell, the criminal was put in the stocks or pillory, where the congregation could see him. The passer-by sometimes railed at him, and the children pointed their fingers at him. An old writer says, "The jeers of a theatre, the pillory and the whipping-post are very near akin."
1 Hutchinson's History, II: 17.?2 Hartford Land Records, 2:228

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Nathaniel Greensmith lived in Hartford, south of the little river, in 1661-62, on a lot of about twenty acres, hith a house and a barn. He also had other holdings "neer Podunk," and "on ye highway leading to Farmington."

He was thrifty by divergent and economical methods, since he is credited in the records of the time with stealing a bushel and a half of wheat, of stealing a hoe, and of lying to the court, and of battery.

In one way or another he accumulated quite a property for those days, since the inventory of it filed in the Hartford Probate Office, January 25, 1662, after his execution, carried an appraisal of £137. 14. 1d. - including "2 bibles," "a sword," "a resthead," and a "drachm. cup" - all indicating that Nathaniel judiciously mingled his theology and patriotism, his recreation and refreshment, with his everyday practical affairs and opportunities.

But he made one adventure that was most unprofitable. In an evil hour he took to wife Rebecca, relict of Abraham Elson, and also relect of Jarvis Mudge, and of whom so good a man as the Rev. John Whiting, minister of the First Church in Hartford - afterward first pastor of the Second Church - said that she was "a lewd, ignorant and considerably aged woman."

This triple combination of personal qualities soon elicited the criticism and animosity of the community, and Nathaniel and Rebecca fell under the most fatal of all suspicions of that day, that of being possessed by the evil one.

Gossip and rumor about these unpopular neighbors culminated in a formal complaint, and December 30, 1662, at a court held at Hartford, both the Greensmiths were separatley indicted in the same formal charge.

"Nathaniel Greensmith thou art here indicted by the name of Nathaniel Greensmith for not having the fear of God before thine eyes, thou has entertained faimiliarity with Satan, the grand enemy of God and mankind - and by his help hast acted things in a preternatural way beyon human abilities in a natural course for which according to the law of God and the established law of this commonwealth thou deservest to die."

While Rebecca was in prison under suspicion, she was interviewed by two ministers, Revs. Haynes and Whiting, as to the charges of Ann Cole - a next door neighbor - which were written down by them, all of which, and more, she confessed to be true before the ocurt.

<i> (Note. Increase Mather regarded this confession as convictive a proof of real witchcraft as most single cases he had know.)</i>

THE MINISTERS' ACCOUNT -<I> Promise to Satan - A merry Christmas meeting - Stone's lecture - Haynes' plea - The dear Devil - The corvine guest - Sexual delusions</i>

"She forthwith and freely confessed those things to be true, that she (and other persons named in the discourse) had familiarity with the devil. Being asked whether she had made an express covenant with him, she answered she had not, only as she promised to go with him when he called (which she had accordingly done several times). But that the devil told her that at Christmas they would have a merry meeting, and then the covenant should be drawn and subscribed. Thereupon the fore-mentioned Mr. Stone (being then in court) with much weight and earnestness laid forth the exceeding heinousness and hazard of that dreadful sin; and therewith solemnly took notice (upon the occasion given) of the devil's loving Christmas.

"A person at the same time present being desired the next day more particularly to enquire of her about her guilt, it was accordingly done, to whom she acknowledged that though when Mr. Haynes began to read she could have torn him inm pieces, and was so much resolved as might be to deny her guilt (as she had done before) yet after he had read awhile, she was as if her flesh had been pulled from her bones, (such was her expression,) and so could not deny any longer. She also declared that the devil first appeared to her in the form of a deer or fawn, skipping about her, wherewith she was not much affrighted but by degrees he contrived talk with her; and that their meetings were frequently at such a place, (near her own house;) that some of the company came in one shape and some in antoher, and one in particular in the shape of a crow came flying to them. Amongst other things she owned that the devil had frequent use of her body."

Had Rebecca been contyent with purging her own conscience, she alone would have met the fate she had invoked, and probably deserved; but out of "love" to her husband's soul" she made an accusation against him, which of itself secured his conviction of the same offense, with the same dire penalty.

The Greensmiths were conficted and sentenced to suffer death. In January, 1662, they were hung on "Gallows Hill," on the bluff a little north of where Trinity College now stands- "a logical location" one most learned in the traditions and history of Hartford calls it - as it afforded an excellent view of the execution to a large crowd on the meadows to the west, a hanging being then a popular spectacle and entertainment.

<b>'<u>The Witchcraft Delusion in Colonial Connecticut, 1647-1697</u>'<b> By John Metcalf Taylor

posted 2 Apr 2013 by Homer Hopper   [thank Homer]
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Comments: 16

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I continue to believe that the conclusion that Rebecca was not the daughter of George and Margery Steele and the mother of Martha Hanison (Henderson) ignores one very possible hypothesis. This is that Rebecca, as George and Margery's daughter, at a young age had an illicit affair the result of which was the birth of a baby girl, named Martha. (Such a happening would be consistent with the character and behavior of Rebecca later in life and certainly by the time she was found guilty of witchcraft.) Because of the strong Puritan beliefs of the Steele family, George and Margery found this outcome to be unacceptable, took action to ban Rebecca from the family and took Martha under their care and sponsorship as their grandchild and member of their immediate family. Consistent with this, the Steele family would have done all in their power to exorcise any reference to a daughter, Rebecca.

While I cannot prove this hypothesis, I suggest that it is sufficiently consistent with known facts that it cannot be rejected out of hand.

posted by Dennis Henderson
Hmmm. This argument is as old as the hills. Perhaps it would be better to look at this way: there is NO evidence that Rebecca was the daughter of George Steele or any other Steele so it way past time to change the "formerly" name. It is very, very troubling that so many people see this and think there is some substance to the notion that Rebecca was somehow a "Steele". If, somehow, someone thinks there might be a connection it would be better to change the Name at birth to "Unknown" and put the arguments for/against the proposition that she is a daughter of George Steel in the body of the biography.
posted on Steele-1811 (merged) by Michael Spencer
I agree Michael. I read the TAG article and expanded the explanation on this profile. I am going to disconnect the incorrect parents. Someone will need to change her LNAB to Unknown.
posted on Steele-1811 (merged) by Joe Cochoit
I dropped this because someone was arguing the point (emails) but because of the recent change, I am going to bring this back up. Rebecca was not the daughter of George Steele. Neither Anderson or Jacobus before him allows for a daughter Rebecca. The Mudge children mentioned in Georges will were not hers, they belonged to a different d/o George, either Mary or Margaret.

Objections to disconnecting her and changing name to Unknown and removing Mudge children?

posted on Steele-1811 (merged) by Anne B
Anne, I apologize if I revived an old dispute, I didn't realize and you can certainly remove myt contribution, if you want. Are Anderson and Jacobus without error or ommission? I thought George's will would be proof enough but I can certaily be wrong. The list Anderson gives has a 6 year gap between children James and Elizabeth where Rebecca would easily fit. Anderson refers to Jacobus in saying he believed that Jarvis Mudge or his wife, later married to Elsen, was likely related to George Steele. This opens the door for Jacobus to acknowledge that there may have been an unnamed daughter, if he was questioned further. Anderson went on to say that the will of Elizabeth Steele Watts makes it clear Martha was not her daughter or of her brother James and that Martha must be the daughter of one of the other children. Also, "Since the land owned by Richard Steele reverted to his father George Steele, it would seem that Richard died unmarried and without children." That leaves Martha, Micah and Moses needing to be placed. Where do you suggest they belong that would have more evidence than Rebecca? Again, feel free to remove my contribution.
posted on Steele-1811 (merged) by Connie Mack
I realize Connie you were just making the bio agree with the data. And it is long past time I came back to this. It is clear from the probate records for Rebecca after she was executed for witchcraft that she had only two children, Hanna and Sarah Elsen. And George has two other daughters, Mary and Margaret, who potentially could be married to Jarvis Mudge. Mary, because of timing, is thought to be the more likely. I'm working to update the profiles
posted on Steele-1811 (merged) by Anne B
I don't recall seeing probate for Rebecca, only for Nathaniel Greensmith and one of those records said they were "to dispose of the 2 daughters". I assume that meant Rebecca's two daughters but does this mean there absolutely weren't any other children left orphaned? Might they have been left out of the probate record of her husband if they were already taken care of by their grandparents? They seemed more concerned with getting their court and jailing fees than taking care of any children.
posted on Steele-1811 (merged) by Connie Mack
The daughters are mentioned in Nathaniel's probate. When the court disposed of the assets had the boys been Rebecca's they would have legally come into a share.
posted on Steele-1811 (merged) by Anne B
Anne, I have disconnected the parents with an explanation in the bio. Please change her name to Unknown. It is time.
posted on Steele-1811 (merged) by Joe Cochoit
Taken care of , thanks for the reminder.
posted by Anne B
This alone is a weak argument. It was common for men to retain custody of the children until the mid 20th century when the maternal preference concept was born. A divorced woman was far more likely to not have her children in her care than to have them.

Also, its relevant that the will was executed in 1663 after Rebecca was publicly humiliated and killed as a witch.

posted by Valerie Thomason
edited by Valerie Thomason
Valerie, can you elaborate? What is a weak argument? I am not even sure which side of the discussion you are on.
posted by Joe Cochoit
Much detail about Rebecca Greensmith's "Confession" at this source (in Chapter 5 section) with accounts excerpted from "Remarkable Providences" by Increase Mather :

posted on Steele-1811 (merged) by R Adams
Only the Elsen children were children of Rebecca. Her maiden name is Unknown. She wasn't the daughter fo George Steel. Objections to this major change.
posted on Steele-1811 (merged) by Anne B
I'm reading a 2006 article let me absorb it before merge
posted on Steele-1811 (merged) by Anne B
This profile contains a lot of information about witchcraft in Connecticut, more generally; perhaps there is already a freespace page for this to which this could be moved?
posted on Steele-1811 (merged) by Jillaine Smith

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Categories: Death by Hanging | Accused Witches of New England | Puritan Great Migration