Continuing with Witch Season…
This is Ann Hibbins. Ann was a wealthy widow, her second husband (her first husband passed away at a fairly young age), William Hibbins, was a successful merchant and deputy to the General Court in Boston, MA. He also became the assistant to the governor in 1643. His successor, Humphrey Atherton, led the campaign to execute Ann for witchcraft after William passed away.
In 1640, Ann hired a group of carpenters to work on her home. They overcharged her and she called them out on it, and took them to court. She won the suit, but was immediately deemed “abrasive” and quickly excommunicated when she refused to apologize. WHAT? The church and courts began gathering “evidence” that she was a witch.
Two things make this a very unusual event: 1. She was of a high, social status- these type of accusations rarely went against someone like her, and 2. No record of any evidence used to convict her exists. Nothing.
She had a few supporters who retracted their statements after she was convicted. COWARDS. One of those supporters was John Norton, a prominent minister, who said (in private of course) that Ann was “hanged for a witch only for having more wit than her neighbors”.
The whole story is atrocious. She was tried and convicted and on June 19th, 1656, she was executed in Boston for her so-called crimes.
Many believe that Hibbins was the inspiration behind the character Mistress Hibbins in Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.