"It might be, too, that a witch, like old Mistress Hibbins, the bitter-tempered widow of the magistrate, was to die upon the gallows"
Execution of Ann Hibbins
Public DomainExecution of Ann Hibbins - Credit: Frank Thayer Merril

William Hibbins had been a powerful merchant who, in his role as assistant governor had decreed the execution of Margaret Jones, the first person to be killed as a witch. Two years after his death, his widow Ann was to undergo an identical fate. There is no known evidence regarding the charges made against her, and it seems that her main offence was being too quarrelsome and eccentric for her neighbors’ taste. Though the magistrates deemed her innocent, public opinion prevailed and she was executed on 19th June 1656, almost four decades before the infamous witch trials began.