1665 & 1668
Ralph and Mary Hall were brought before a Jury on suspicion of witchcraft at the Court of Assizes held in New York on October 2, 1665.
The Prisoners being brought to the Barr by Allard Anthony, Sheriffe of New Yorke,
This following Indictmt was read, first against Ralph Hall and then agst Mary his wife, vizt.
The Constable and Overseers of the Towne of Seatallcott, in the East Riding of Yorkshire upon Long Island, Do Present for our Soveraigne Lord the King, That Ralph Hall of Seatallcott aforesaid, upon the 25th day of December, being Christmas day last was Twelve Monthes, in the 15th yeare of the Raigne of our Soveraigne Lord, Charles the Second, by the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith etc, and severall other dayes and times since that day, by some detestable and wicked Arts, commonly called Witchcraft and Sorcery, did (as is suspected) maliciously and feloniously, practice and Exercise at the said towne of Seatalcott in the East Riding of Yorkshire on Long Island aforesaid, on the Person of George Wood, late of the same place, by wch wicked and detestable Arts, the said George Wood (as is suspected) most dangerously and mortally sickned and languished, And not long after by the aforesaid wicked and detestable Arts, the said George Wood (as is likewise suspected) dyed.
Moreover, The Constable and overseers of the said Towne of Seatalcott, in the East Riding of Yorkshire upon Long Island aforesaid, do further Present for our Soveraigne Lord the King, That some while after the death of the aforesaid George Wood, The said Ralph Hall did (as is suspected) divers times by the like wicked and detestable Arts, commonly called Witchcraft and Sorcery, Maliciously and feloniously practise and Exercise at the said Towne of Seatalcott, in the East Riding of Yorkshire upon Long Island aforesaid, on the Person of an Infant Childe of Ann Rogers, widdow of the aforesaid George Wood deceased, by wh wicked and detestable Arts, the said Infant Chide (as is suspected) most dangerously and mortally sickned and languished, and not long after by the said Wicked and detestable Arts (as is likewise suspected) dyed, And so the said Constable and Overseers do Present, That the said George Wood, and the sd Infante sd Chide by the wayes and meanes aforesaid, most wickedly maliciously and feloniously were (as is suspected) murdered by the said Ralph Hall at the times and places aforesaid, agst the Peace of Our Soveraigne Lord the King and against the Laws of this Government in such Cases Provided.
The like Indictmt was read, against Mary the wife of Ralph Hall.
There upon, severall Depositions, accusing the Prisonrs of the fact for which they were endicted were read, but no witnesse appeared to give Testimony in Court viva voce.
Then the Clarke calling upon Ralph Hall, bad him hold up his hand, and read as followes.
Ralph Hall thou standest here indicted, for that having not the feare of God before thine eyes, Thou did’st upon the 25th day of December, being Christmas day last was 12 Moneths, and at sev’all other times since, as is suspected, by some wicked and detestable Arts, commonly called witchcraft and Sorcery, maliciously and feloniously practice and Exercise, upon the Bodyes of George Wood, and an Infant Childe of Ann Rogers, by which said Arts, the said George Wood and the Infant Childe (as is suspected) most dangerously and mortally fell sick, and languisht unto death. Ralph Hall, what dost thou say for thyselle, art thou guilty, or not guilty/
Mary the wife of Ralph Hall was called upon in like manner.
They both Pleaded not guilty and threw themselves to bee Tryed by God and the Country. Where upon, their Case was referr’d to the [Grand] Jury, who brought in to the Court, this following verdict vizt.
Wee having seriously considered the Case committed to our Charge, against the Prisoxirs at the Barr, and having well weighed the Evidence, wee finde that there are some suspitions by the Evidence, of what the woman is Charged with, but nothing considerable of value to take away her life. But in reference to the man wee finde nothing considerable to charge him with.
The Court there upon, gave this sentence, That the man should bee bound Body and Goods for his wives Apperance, at the next Sessions, and so on from Sessions to Sessions as long as they stay wthin this Government, In the meane while, to bee of their good Behavior. So they were return’d into the Sheriffs Custody, and upon Entring into a Recognizance, according to the Sentence of the Court, they were released.
[RELEASE Executed Governor Richard Nichol in 1668]
A Release to Ralph Hall and Mary his wtfe from the Recognizance they entred into at the Assizes.
These Are to Certify all whom it may Concerne That Ralph Hall and Mary his wife (at present living upon Great Minifords Island) are hereby released and acquitted from any and all Recognizances, bonds of appearance or othr obligations-entred into by them or either of them for the peace or good behavior upon account of any accusation or Indictemt upon suspition of Witch Craft brought into the Cort of Assizes against them in the year 1665. There haveving beene no direct proofes nor furthr prosecucion of them or eithr of them since.-Given undr my hand at Fort James in New Yorke this 2lth day of August 1668.
George Lincoln Burr, ed., Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases 1648-1706 (New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1914) Hanover Historical Texts Project, https://history.hanover.edu/texts/nyhah.html