Among Cromwell’s Children
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In 1688, in South Boston, the oldest daughter of John Goodwin, a bricklayer, accused her laundress, an Irish Catholic girl, of stealing some linens. The laundress’s elderly Irish mother, Mary Glover, interfered robustly in her daughter’s defense. No sooner had this argument occurred than the children of the devoutly Puritan Goodwin family were besieged with distempers, “tortured everywhere in a manner very grievous,” as Cotton Mather described it. Suspicion of witchcraft soon descended upon Mary Glover who, brought before the magistrates and tested, was at a loss to say the Lord’s Prayer correctly in English though she could provide most of the Pater Noster in Latin. As was typical in such prosecutions, an abundance of evidence and accusatory testimony was mounted against her. She spoke only Irish in her defense at court and was summarily convicted and hanged in what might stand, a few years before the Salem trials, as a signal moment in Irish American history in New England, a harbinger of troublesome times to come.1
KeywordsProtestant Church Irish Immigration Irish Parent Irish Contribution Catholic Clergy
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