(Mrs. Henry) Lake,
executed as a witch
- by Alice Marie Beard
In about 1651, near modern-day Boston, a
mother of five lost her baby to death. After her baby
died, she imagined she saw the baby. Because of that, she
was accused and convicted of being a witch, and she was
executed. The claim in the town of Dorchester, MA, was
that the devil was coming to her in the form of her
deceased, beloved child. Records are scant, but they show
she had an opportunity to recant her story on the day of
her execution and possibly to save her life. She did not
recant her story, but she said she knew why God was
punishing her: She had engaged in sex prior to marriage,
become pregnant, and attempted a self-abortion. Hollywood
has missed a good story; Alice Lake's story is a classic.
She was ruled by two strong, womanly pulls -- guilt and
In the early part of the 20th century, Alice had a
descendant who was a medical doctor who spent many years
researching her story and trying to track her
descendants. This man described Alice's story best:
|Here is a
penitent, broken hearted, submissive woman,
laying bare the greatest secret of her bosom,
asking forgiveness; yet the damnable tactics of
the fanatical Christian Church string her up like
a miserable tramp.
There is a manuscript on
the 'net that considers the sexual implications of the
"witch charges." It is not writing intended for
children, but in light of that fact that Alice Lake
confessed sexual "crimes" in what may have been
a confession attempting to save her life, the point of
view of the article is worth considering. CLICK HERE for "Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Woman to
Live: The Reasons Behind the Hiding of Women's Sexuality
During the Witchcraze." (Author: Shantell Powell.)
I spent the better part of six months trying to figure
out Alice's story, and in the end I had no definite
answers. The records of her trial are lost; Alice can be
seen only in traces and reflections. There is no known
record of her from when she still lived. The first the
records show she lived was after she was dead, when the
townsmen were trying to figure out what to do with
Alice's children since she was dead and her husband had
fled. Like most of the women accused of witchcraft, Alice
was not well off financially; in today's world, she and
her husband would be described as "poor, working
class." She was a married woman with at least five
children, all presumably fathered by her only known
husband, Henry Lake. In 1651, those children would have
been a girl about ten, a boy about seven, a boy about
five, a child about three who likely was a boy, and an
infant. Alice's year of birth is unknown, but because of
the ages of her children, she was likely about 30. Like
most working class women of the time, she would have
worked from sun up till sun down, and likely even after
sun down by the light of the hearth fire and by the light
of candles she had likely made. She had no conveniences
and two little children who would still have been soiling
themselves. If she had siblings, parents, or other
relatives where she was living, no researcher to date has
found them. She carried with her the Puritanical guilt of
having had sexual intercourse before marriage, a guilt
further complicated because she became pregnant before
marriage. Then her youngest baby died.
After her baby died, she told people she saw the baby.
Maybe she did. Others who have not been judged insane or
witches have claimed to see dead people: Look at the
Christian religion. Or, maybe she grieved so much that
her mind allowed her to imagine that she saw her baby to
ease her grief. Or, maybe she knew she did not see her
baby, but claimed she did so as to have something to hold
onto. As painful as the death of a loved one is, most
recognize a mother's loss of her baby as a special loss.
In Alice's case, that grief was compounded because --
while she had lost her youngest baby to a death she did
not want -- she knew she had attempted to cause death to
one of her other children by attempting an abortion.
[From the earliest comment about this self-attempted
abortion, it appears she did not succeed with the
The Reverend John Hale had been a young boy when Alice
was executed. He went on to graduate from Harvard and
became a minister. He supported the witch trials until
the witch hunters came after his pregnant wife, the last
woman accused of witchcraft in Salem in Nov. 1692. The
Rev. Hale wrote the following in 1697:
suffered on that account some time after was a
Dorchester Woman. And upon the day of her
Execution Mr. Thompson Minister at Brantry, and
J.P. her former Master took pains with her to
bring her to repentance And she utterly denyed
her guilt of Witchcraft; yet justifyed God for
bringing her to that punishment: For she had when
a single woman played the harlot, and being with
Child used means to destroy the fruit of her body
to conceal her sin & shame, and although she
did not effect it, yet she was a Murderer in the
sight of God for her endeavours, and showed great
penitency for that sin; but owned nothing of the
crime laid to her charge.
This woman faced death,
and still she would not say she had not seen her dead
baby. Perhaps admitting her child had died was more than
she could live with, even tho her only hope of living was
to admit that she knew her baby was dead, and even if she
had only pretended to see the baby because her grief was
so profound. Or, perhaps her baby could not go on to the
spirit world without a mother. How would the Hollywood
types answer this question?
Three of Alice's children reached
maturity and had children themselves. Her son David
married the widow Sarah Cornell, born Sarah Earle.
Sarah's first husband had been convicted and executed for
the murder of his own mother; the "evidence"
against this man was that -- after his mother was dead
and buried -- a man had a dream in which the dead woman
said her son had killed her. That man was Thomas Cornell,
an ancestor of the man who endowed Cornell University,
and -- as irony would have it -- also an ancestor of Lizzie Borden. [Lizzie
is remembered in the ditty, "Lizzie Borden took an
ax. Gave her father forty whacks." Unlike her
unfortunate ancestor accused of killing a parent, Lizzie
walked away a free woman after the trial for killing her
father and step-mother.]
(research by Alice Marie
BOSTON, City of: Fourth Report
of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston,
1880, 1896, City Printers.
[English modernized for easier reading-----amb]
"12th day of the 11th month, 1651 [Jan. 12, 1652]
... It is agreed between the select men and brother
TOLMAN that he shall take Henry LAKE's child to keep it
until it come to 21 years of age and therefore to have 26
pounds and to give security to the town and to teach it
to read and write and when it is capable if he lives the
said brother Tolman to teach it his trade. Further agreed
if it dies within 2 months, brother Tolman is to return
21 pounds. If die at one year's end, brother
Tolman is to return 18 pounds; if within 2 years, he is
to return 11 pounds; if it die before 3 years be expired,
then he is to return 5 pounds."
[NOTE: Thus, for the first 3 years,
Tolman would get 21 pounds, but for the last 13 to 15
years, Tolman would get only 5 pounds; fortunately for
brother Tolman's finances, this child died when he did.]
"An account of the rates gathered in the year 1651
for the Use of the towne of Dorchester: ...Disbursed as
followeth ... to Alce POPE for LAKE's child 3 pounds and
14 [smaller money units.]"
Page 308: [continuation of accounting for 1651]
"more for LAKE's child"
"2nd day of the 9th month, 1652 [Nov. 2, 1652]"
+"paid to Lawrence SMITH for charges about Alex LAKE
children, 4 pounds."
+"to John POPE's wife about Alex LAKE's children, 10
pounds and 8 [smaller money units]."
+"paid to Mr. GLOUER 1 pound that he laid out about
H. LAKE's children."
+"paid and to be paid to Thomas TOLMAN for the
bringing up of Henry LAKE's child according
to the covenant recorded, the sum of 26 pounds."
BOSTON, City of: Report of the Record
Commissioners of the City of Boston, Containing
Dorchester Births, Marriages, and Deaths To the End of
1825, City Printers, 1890.
[L.D.S. film #0014748]
Dorchester Deaths; year, 1678; Alice LAKE, died October
20th; Thomas LAKE, died Oct. 27th. [This Alice Lake was
the wife of Thomas, Henry's brother.]
BURR, George L. [editor]: Narratives of the
Witchcraft Cases 1648-1706, 1914, Scribner's.
[Collection of old essays, collected and edited by Burr,
a professor of medieval history at Cornell University.]
Quoting John HALE's "A Modest Enquiry into the
Nature of Witchcraft," 1702, [one of Burr's selected
Pages 408 & 409:
"Another that suffered on that account some time
after, was a Dorchester Woman [in a note Burr makes it
clear that Hale was speaking of Henry LAKE's wife]. And
upon the day of her Execution Mr. THOMPSON, Minister at
Brantry [Burr notes, Braintree, MA], and J.P. [Burr
notes, probably John PHILLIPS of Dorchester according to
Farmer**] her former Master took pains with her to bring
her to repentance. And she utterly denyed her guilt of
Witchcraft: yet justified God for bringing her to that
punishment: for she had when a single woman played the
harlot, and being with Child used means to destroy the
fruit of her body to conceal her sin and shame, and
although she did not effect it, yet she was a Murderer in
the sight of God for her endeavours, and shewed great
penitency for that sin; but owned nothing of the crime
laid to her charge."
Page 409-410, note:
"In Hale's account there seems some confusion with
the case of Mary Parsons." . . . "And two or
three [women accused as witches] of Springfield, one of
which confessed; and she said the occasion of her
familiarity with Satan was this: She had lost a Child and
was exceedingly discontented at it and longed; Oh that
she might see her Child again! And at last the Devil in
likeness of her Child came to her bed side and talked
with her, and asked to come into the bed to her that
night and several nights after, and so entred into
covenant with Satan and became a Witch." . . .
"This was the case of Mary Parsons and her husband
Hugh, whom she accused (1651). See Drake, Annals of
Witchcraft, pp.64-72, and especially the appended
papers of Hugh Parson's case, pp.219-258. The originals
of these papers are now in the New York Public Library.
Others, from the Suffolk court file, are printed in the N.E.
Hist. and Gen. Register," XXXV, 152-153.]
[**NOTE: Another researcher, Benjamin Lake Noyes,
surmised that "J.P." was John POPE, husband of
Pages 408 & 409, note:
Burr quotes Nathaniel Mather as writing on Dec. 31, 1684,
to his brother Increase talking about Alice LAKE;
"H. LAKE's wife, of Dorchester, whom the devil drew
in by appearing to her in the likenes, and acting the
part of a child of hers then lately dead, on whom her
heart was much set." BURR notes his source as
"The Mather Papers."
[NOTE: The immigrant MATHER was Richard, born 1596. He
had sons Timothy, born 1628; Nathaniel, born 1630;
Joseph, born 1634; Eleazer, born 1637 in Dorchester; and
Increase, born 1639 in Dorchester. Increase's son was
Cotton MATHER, born about 1662 in Boston. Oddly, Cotton
Mather's second wife was named Anna LAKE; there is no
known or suspected relationship.]
BUTTS, Francis Banister: The Butts
Family of Rhode Island: a Genealogy and Biography,
1891; 88-page typed manuscript handwritten
additions made in 1953 by Mrs. Edward S. Moulton.
[L.D.S. film #1454560, item #41]
This is a detailed list of the descendants of Thomas
BUTTS and his wife Elizabeth. Thomas BUTTS' wife
Elizabeth was Elizabeth LAKE, daughter of
Alice-the-executed. Author wrote name "Idiho."
Mrs. Moulton wrote by hand "Idido signed a deed 26
Nov 1709 as Highdidah."
COLKET, Merredith B.: Founders of Early American
Families: Emigrants from Europe 1607-1657, 1975,
published by the General Court of the Order of Founders
and Patriots of America as a Contribution to the
Bicentennial of the U.S.A., Cleveland, Ohio.
"LAKE, Henry: Dorchester, Mass., 1651; Portsmouth,
RI, 1651; Dartmouth, Mass.; died after 21 Feb 1672/73.
Wife executed for witchcraft. Sources: Wilbour's Little
Compton, 1967; The American Genealogist,
12:17 (desc.) and 19:225 (note). Believed to
have left numerous progeny."
DEMOS, John Putnam: Entertaining Satan:
Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England, 1982,
Oxford University Press.
"It is significant, moreover, that many children of
accused witches went on to useful even successful lives.
Thus, ... David LAKE, the younger son of Alice (convicted
and executed at Dorchester in 1651) was a leading man in
the town of Little Compton, Rhode Island." [source
indicated: G. Andrews Moriarty's The Early Rhode
Island Lakes, in The American Genealogist,
"Alice LAKE of Dorchester was reportedly enticed
into witchcraft 'by the devil...appearing to her in the
likeness, and acting the part, of a child of hers then
dead, on whom her heart was much set." [Here, Demos
is quoting Burr quoting Nathaniel Mather's 1684 letter to
his brother Increase Mather.]
"The process of dispersal is a little easier to
follow for the family of Alice LAKE, convicted and
executed at Dorchester in about 1650. Her husband Henry
moved away at once; his name appears regularly in the
records of Portsmouth, RI, beginning in April 1651.
Meanwhile the four LAKE children, all less than ten years
old, remained in Dorchester. One, probably the youngest,
was 'bound out' by the town meeting to a local family for
a 'consideration' of 26 pounds--and was dead within two
years. The other three were also placed in (separate)
Dorchester households. At this point their trail becomes
badly obscured. (One was living as a servant to an
uncle--still in Dorchester--in 1659.) Later, having
reached adulthood, the same three were found in Rhode
Island--and then in Plymouth Colony, where their father
had removed by 1673. It appears, therefore, that the
family was eventually reunited, some two decades after
the event that had broken it apart."
[NOTE:: The uncle alluded to was likely Thomas LAKE,
[sources cited are Burr quoting Mather's letter to his
brother; Fourth Report of City of Boston;
and Moriarty's Early Rhode Island Lakes.]
FOX, Sandford J.: Science and Justice: the
Massachusetts Witchcraft Trials, 1968.
Page 43: (footnote)
"... Nevins, Salem Village, p. 254 ...
gives 'a partial list of persons accused whether
convicted or not.' There are 126 names on the list. The
following names were omitted: 19 who were executed; Giles
Corey, who was pressed to death for failure to plead; 8
who were convicted but released when the prosecutions
ceased ceased on September 22, 1693; and two who were
convicted and died in prison--a total of 30. Volume 135
of the Massachusetts Archives, pp. 1-6,
lists 91 names of persons accused of witchcraft from 1656
to 1750, including those executed. No attempt has been
made to reconcile the Archives' list with Nevins.
"The colonists seem to have adhered quite closely to
the injunction of [Henricus] Institoris and [James]
Sprenger in their [15th century book] Malleus
the first test for the presence of witchcraft in these
cases was the verdict of the physicians." [See also Malleus Maleficarum at wikipedia. Henricus Institoris was an aka
for Heinrich Kramer.]
"As to those who were executed as witches, the
question of whether the defense [of insanity] might have
been useful to them had it been in some way presented in
their behalf involves more than the usual difficulties of
such historically precarious speculation. The unfortunate
fact is that we have no record at all of executions
before 1692 on which to make a judgment. ... As to Mrs.
LAKE and Mrs. KENDAL, there is virtually no information
at all except Reverend Hale's statement that both denied
their guilt to the end."
HALE, John, Rev.: A Modest Enquiry into the
Nature of Witchcraft, written 1697, first
published 1702, reprinted 1973, York Mail-Print, Inc.,
"Sect. 4. Several persons have been Charged with and
suffered for the Crime of Witchcraft in the Governments
of the Massachusetts, New Haven, or Stratford and
Connecticut, from the year 1646 to the year 1692.
"Sect. 5. The first was a Woman of Charlestown,
Anno. 1647. or 48. She was suspected partly because that
after some angry words passing between her & her
Neighours, some mischief befel such Neighbours in their
Creatures, or the like: partly because some things
supposed to be bewitched, or have a Charm upon them,
being burned, she came to the fire[?] and seemed
concerned. The day of her Execution, I went in company of
some Neighbours, who took great pains to bring her to
confession & repentance. But she constantly professed
her self innocent of that crime: Then one prayed her to
consider if God did not bring this punishment upon her
for some other crime, and asked, if she had not been
guilty of Stealing many years ago; she answered, she had
stolen something, but it was long since, and she had
repented of it, and there was Grace enough in Christ to
pardon that long agoe; but as for Witchcraft she was
wholly fre from it, and so she said unto her Death.
"Sect. 6. Another that suffered on that account some
time after, was a Dorchester Woman. And upon the day of
her Execution Mr. Thompson Minister at Brantry, and J.P.
her former Master took pains with her to bring her to
repentance And she utterly denyed her guilt of
Witchcraft; yet justifyed God for bringing her to that
punishment: for she had when a single woman played the
harlot, and being with Child used means to destroy the
fruit of her body to conceal her sin & shame, and
although she did not effect it, yet she was a Murderer in
the sight of God for her endeavours, and showed great
penitency for that sin; but owned nothing of the crime
laid to her charge."
[chapter 1, sect. 7] "There was another Executed, of
Boston Anno 1656 for that crime. And two or three of
Springfield, one of which confessed; and said the
occasion of her familiarity with Satan was this: She had
lost a Child and was exceedingly discontented at it, and
longed; Oh that she might see her Child again! And at
last the Devil in likeness of her Child came to her bed
side and talked with her, and asked to come into the bed
to her, and she received it into the bed to her that
night and several nights after, and so entred into a
covenant with Satan and became a Witch. This was the only
confessor in these times in this Government."
[chapter 1, sect. 9] "But it is not my purpose to
give a full refation [recitation] of all that have
suffered for that Sin, or of all the particulars charged
upon them, which proably is now impossible, many
witnessing Viva voce, those particulars which
were not fully recorded. But that I chiefly intend is to
shew the principles formerly acted upon in Convicting of
that Crime: which were such as these."
Page iv-ix: [from the introduction]
"The author of A Modest Enquiry was
born June 3, 1636, in Charlestown, Massachusetts, being
the eldest child of Robert and Joanna Hale. ... John Hale
studied divinity at Harvard and graduated at the age of
21 with the class of 1657. He was admitted to full
membership in the Charlestown church the following year.
... Rev. Hale's knowledge of incidents involving
suspected witchcraft predated the 1692 Salem Village
outbreak by some 44 years. In 1648 Margaret Jones of
Charlestown was the first person in New England to be
accused and executed for being a witch. Hale, who knew of
Jones, was then a lad of 12 years living in Charlestown;
and he recounts in his 1702 book that 'The day of her
Execution, I went in company of some Neighbors, who took
great pains to bring her to confession & repentance.'
[p. 17, quoted above] ... In November 1692, rumors began
to circulate that Hale's pregnant wife, Sarah, was about
to be accused. ... Apparently this factor was the final
proof for Hale that the proceedings had gone too far. ...
Sarah Hale died May 20, 1695, at the age of 41, ... Rev.
Hale died May 15, 1700."
MORIARTY, G. Andrews: Additions and
Corrections to Austin's Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode
Island, published January 1943 in The
American Genealogist, Vol. XIX, No. 3.
[NOTE: Moriarty was incorrect is his guess that Alice's
husband was of the Lake family of Chidwall. While it is
an error perpertuated far and wide, it is an error. Henry
and Alice are presumed to be from England, but no more
than that is known. ...amb]
"Henry and [his brother] Thomas were probably
members of the LAKE family of Chidwall, County
Lancashire, near Liverpool [England], in which family the
names of David and Thomas predominate. They evidently
emigrated to Dorchester, Mass., in the Lancashire group,
which came with the Rev. Richard Mather."
[NOTE: According to Grolier Encyclopedia,
church authorities in England suspended Richard Mather in
1633; he left for the Massachusetts Bay Colony two years
after his suspension.]
"BUTTS, Thomas. Married Elizabeth, daughter of Henry
LAKE of Dorchester, Mass, and Plymouth, R.I.:
"BUTTS, Zaccheus. Married about 1693 to Sarah,
daughter of Thomas and Sarah (EARLE)
CORNELL. Zaccheus died before 21 Aug. 1712, and his widow
married 2ndly, 25 Aug. 1712, John COLE of Swansea. She
died 16 Jan. 1748/9."
"BUTTS, Moses. Married about 1695 to Alice, daughter
of Thomas LAKE of Dartmouth, who was born 6 Dec.
MORIARTY, G. Andrews: The Early
Rhode Island LAKEs, published July 1935 in The
American Genealogist and New Haven Genealogical Magazine,
Vol. XII, No. 1, pp. 17-24.
"The family probably originated in or about
Chidwall, a parish near Liverpool in Lancashire. In the
early seventeenth century, a family of LAKEs was residing
there in which the names of Henry, David and Thomas, all
characteristic of the Rhode Island family, predominated.
... That they belonged to this family is rendered still
more likely by the fact that they settled in Dorchester,
Massachusetts, where there was a considerable group of
Lancashire men." Moriarty shows Thomas and Henry of
Dorchester as brothers. Of Thomas, he says, "Thomas
LAKE of Dorchester, Mass. Born in or about 1608. Died at
Dorchester, Mass., on 27 Oct. 1678. Married Alice ______,
who died on 20 Oct. 1678, aged 80 years. [cites N.E.
Register, IV, 107] Their gravestones are in the
old burial ground at Dorchester. .... His will, which was
made between his wife's death and his own death, shows
that he had no children. He left his estate to his
brother Henry LAKE, and to Henry's children, with the
proviso that Thomas was to have a larger share than the
other children." Of Henry, Moriarty says,
"Henry LAKE of Dorchester, Mass., Portsmouth and
Warwick, R.I., and Dartmouth, Plymouth Colony. Born about
1610. Died after 21 Feb 1672/73. Married Alice ______.
His wife was one of the earliest victims of witchcraft
mania in New England. Mr. Hale in his Modest
Inquiry, referring to witches, mentions 'another
that suffered on that account sometime after' (i.e.,
after Margaret Jones of Charlestown, who was executed 4
June 1648) was a Dorchester woman.' Nathaniel Mather,
minister at Dublin, Ireland, writing to his brother,
Increase, under date of 31 Dec. 1684, with reference to
the latter's book, 'Remarkable Providences,' says: 'Why
did you not put in the story of Mrs. Hibbins witchcrafts
and the discovery thereof: and also of H. LAKE's wife, of
Dorchester, whom, as I have heard, the Devil deceived by
appearing to her in the likeness, and acting the part of
a child of hers then lately dead on whom her heart was
much set.' [cites N. E. Register, XXIV,
384, footnote] As Nathaniel Mather left New England prior
to 23 March 1650/51, she must have been executed after 4
June 1648 and before [23 March 1650/51]. The Dorchester
town records, under date of 12 (11) 1651, state that it
was agreed with 'brother TOLMAN' to take care of Henry
Lake's child and to keep it until it is eight years old
for which he was to have 26 pounds. .... On 27 (10) 1653,
Thomas TOLMAN owed the town money for Thomas Lake's child
dead within two years." [NOTE: This was an editing
error in the Moriarty article; it was Henry's child.]
"Thomas LAKE [Henry & Alice's son] ... was
brought up in the family of his uncle, Thomas LAKE of
Dorchester. ... He was a soldier under Capt. Benjamin
CHURCH in Philip's War, as was his brother David. ... On
1 Nov 1676, Plymouth Colony granted 100 acres at
Puncatest (Tiverton) to David and Thomas LAKE for their
services in Philip's War, of which David was to have 60
acres (Plymouth Col. Rec.). This land was afterwards
included in the bounds of the Pocasset purchase, with the
result that a bitter dispute arose between the Lakes and
the Pocasset proprietors."
NOYES, Benjamin Lake, M.D.: Private
journals, 12 volumes, prepared about 1907-1920.
[These are unpublished journals prepared by Dr. Noyes who
did enormous research and analysis on Alice Lake and her
[L.D.S. microfilm #0928213, items 1-10, and L.D.S.
microfilm #0404232, items 1-2]
Volume IV: page 7:
Dr. Noyes makes the supposition that Alice-the-executed
was the daughter of Alice POPE from a marriage Alice POPE
had before she married John POPE. Dr. Noyes also makes
the guess that the "J.P." referred to in HALE's
"Modest Enquiry" was John POPE. He suggests
that Alice would have been referred to as a servant in
the home of John POPE if she had been his step-daughter.
In his supposition, both John POPE and his wife Alice had
been married previously, and Alice entered the marriage
to John POPE with the daughter Alice who was from a
Volume IV :
Dr. Noyes describes having found "on a lone page,
isolated in the back of a thin book in the Mass. Archives
entitled 'The Book wherein is contained the several ...
transactions ... of the counsill beginning the first of
August 1650 to 1656.' The ninth leaf from the end (last
page) of the book has this solitary record:
'15: May 1651: The Gov & Magistrate agreed and
determined there should be a quarter courte held at
Boston the 10th of June next for the tryall of the
Volume IV :
Dr. Noyes interpretation of the various writings is that
it was Alice who was executed because she imagined that
she saw her dead baby, and that it was Alice who was
approached on the day of her execution by the minister
Mr. Thompson (Noyes says William Thompson) and by J.P.
(Noyes says on page 7 it was John POPE), and that it was
Alice who told Mr. Thompson and J.P. that she wasn't a
witch but that God was punishing her for her sins prior
to marriage. Dr. Noyes' evaluation of what happened to
Alice is as follows:
"Here is a penitent, broken hearted, submissive
woman, laying bare the
greatest secret of her bosom, asking forgiveness; yet the
of the fanatical Christian Church strings her up like a
Volume IV, page 8:
"the first volume of Dorchester's Vital Records
[was] consumed in 1657 by the Millet fire."
POPE, Charles Henry: The Pioneers of
[L.D.S. microfilm #0924405, item 1]
"LAKE, Thomas, husbandsman, Dorchester, adm. chh. 20
(9) 1640, freeman June 2, 1641, propr., town officer.
Wife Alice d. Oct. 20, 1678, age 70. His [God's] kinsman
and servant, Thomas LAKE, called before the church 19
(12) 1659. He d. Oct 27, 1678, age 80. Will probated 14
Nov. 1678, bequethed to thechurch a piece of plate for
the Lord's table; to his brother Henry LAKE and his
children; to one of them, his cousin [nephew] Thomas L.
[LAKE]; to the overseers of the will."
SAVAGE, James: Genealogical Dictionary of the
First Settlers of New England Showing Three Generations
of Those Who Came Before May, 1692, on the Basis of
FARMER's Register, Vol III, 1884, reprinted by
Genealogical Publishing Co. 1981.
[FARMER was John FARMER who wrote Genealogy
[L.D.S. fiche 6,019,972; vol. 3, fiche 1]
"LAKE, Henry, Salem 1649, a currier, perhaps the
same who was of Dorchester 1658, brother of Thomas of the
same [of Dorchester]."
"LAKE, Thomas, Dorchester, freeman 2 June 1641, d.
27 Oct. 1678; his wife Alice who was ten years older, had
died 7 days before. Often the name was writ, yet probably
not by him, LIKE or LEAKE. His will, made after death of
his wife, names no children but gives his property to his
brother Henry, and equal shares to the children of
brother Henry except that [Henry's son] Thomas should
have 3 pounds more."
"LAKE, William, Salem 1665, a cooper, perhaps son of
Henry [of Dorchester], allowed in 1674 to sell beer and
cider, as was his widow Ann in 1681. [NOTE from Alice
Beard: No indication has been found to suggest that this
William LAKE was the son of Henry. If Henry's will or
estate settlement could be found, it might shed more
SHURTLEFF, Nathaniel: Records of the Governor and
Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England,
Volumes I, II, and III, first published 1853-1854,
reprinted 1968, AMS Press, New York, NY.
[from 23 February 1628 thru 10 December 1641]
[from 18 May 1642 thru 17 October 1649]
"30th of the 8th Month, 1644 [30 October]. ...
Thomas LAKE his note for 1. 3. 8d, [is] accepted for 5L
from Mr. Ginner."
[14 May 1645]
"It is ordered ... Thomas LAKE shall take a true
inventory of [the] goods in the ship Rainbowe, &
belonging to her, & safely bestowe [them] in some
sellar, together with the sailes & other moveables in
the said ship... ."
"The Corte desire the course which hath bene taken
in England for discovery of witches, by watching them a
certeine time. It is ordered, that the best & surest
way may forthwith be put in practice, to begin this night
if it may be, being the 18th of the 3d month [May 18th],
& that the husband may be confined to a private
roome, & be also then watched." [Date was
really May 10th but was misread; dates before & after
are May 10th. Most likely this was in referrence to
Margaret JONES and her husband Thomas JONES of
Charlestown, MA; she was convicted and executed; he was
indicted but not tried.---Alice Beard]
[from 29 May 1644 thru 6 May 1657]
[13 May 1648]
"This Court beinge desireows that the same course
which hath ben taken in England for the discouvery of
witches, by watchinge, may also be taken here with the
witch now in question, & therefore doe order that a
strict watch be set about her every night, & that her
husband be confined to a privat roome, & watched
also." [This is the entry also recorded in Volume
[19 Oct. 1649]
"... and Mr. Thomas LAKE are by the Courte, and with
consent of the partyes, chosen and appointed
commissioners to regulate, auditt, and finally to
determine all the accompts from the beginning of the
world to this day betwixt Mr. Sampson Lane and Mr.
Richard Cutts... ." [There are also other mentions
of Thomas LAKE in business arrangments with the colony;
none offer any further information of interest to this
[22 May 1651]
"Mary PARSONS, of Springfeild, having two bills of
inditement framed agaynst her, the one for havinge
familyarity with the devill as a witch, to which she
pleaded not guilty, & not suffycyent evidence
appearing to prove the same, she was aquited of
witchcraft. The second inditement was for wilfully &
most wickedly murderinge her owne child, who which shee
pleaded guilty, confest the fact, &, accordinge to
her deserts, was condemned to dy."
[22 May 1651]
"This Court, takeinge into consideration how farre
Sathan prevayles amongst us in respect of witchcrafts, as
also by drawing away some from the truth to the
profession & practise of straunge opinions, &
also consideringe the state & condition of England,
Ireland, & Scotland, & the great thinges now in
hand there, conceive it necessary that there be a day of
humiliation throughout our jurisdiction in all the
churches, & doe therefore desire & order, that
the eighteenth day of the fowrth month shalbe set apart
for that end & purpose, & that the deputs of the
severall townes give notice to the severall elders of
theire churches of the Courts desire herein." [That
is to say, June 18, 1651, was a day sit aside as a day of
"humiliation" because of
[The next entry after 22 May 1651 is for 14 October 1651;
almost five months with no info; the one before 22 May
1651 was 7 May 1651, and before that 15 Oct 1650.
Sometime between Oct. 1650 and Oct. 1651 is the most
likely time for Alice LAKE's execution.]
[27 May 1652]
"The Magistrates not consenting to the verdict of
the jury in PARSONS case, the cause coming legally to the
Generall Court for issue, the Court, on perusallof the
evidences brought in against him for witchcraft, doe
judge that he is not legally guilty of witchcraft, &
so not to dy by our law" [In other words, Mr.
Parsons' conviction was reversed by the judges.---Alice
VIRKUS, Frederick Adams: The Compendium of
American Genealogy, volume VI, 1937, reprinted
1987, Baltimore, by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.
"LAKE, Henry: from England between 1645-1649, to
Salem, Mass.; removed to Dorchester, Mass."
WEISMAN, Richard : Witchcraft, Magic, &
Religion in 17th-Century Massachusetts, 1984,
Univ. of Massachusetts Press, Amherst. [sociologist at
York Univ. in Toronto]
"In two of the cases--those of Anna EDMUNDS and Mrs.
LAKE--it would appear that the accuser quite blatantly
exploited the suspect to avert legal reprisal for a
serious crime. In both cases, the principal accusers
charged the suspect with the murder of a child by
witchcraft and were themselves later held accountable for
the nonmysterious grounds of child neglect." [NOTE
from Alice Beard: This appears to be an error of Weisman;
in fact, his own appendix, which he cites as the source
for the above, says that Anna EDMUNDS and Mrs. KENDAL
were the two women whose accusers were suspected of or
charged with the deaths supposedly blamed on EDMUNDS and
KENDAL. Mrs. KENDAL is number 18 in his chart on page
196; Mrs. LAKE is number 19; thus it would appear that
the above two sentences really have nothing to do with
Mrs. LAKE. It was an editing error; Weisman should have
said "Anna EDMUNDS and Mrs. KENDAL."]
"Two of the other cases--those of Mrs. LAKE in 1650
and Mrs. KENDAL in 1651--also eventuated in convictions
and executions. The loss of original court records
precludes any further assessment of these
Page 196-197 [chart]:
"Mrs. H. LAKE, Dorchester, Case tried in 1650.
Probably executed in Boston. Source: Thomas Hutchinson, The
Witchcraft Delusion of 1692, p. 384, n.4 [found in New
England Historical & Genealogical Register 24,
1820, pp 380-92]; John Hale, A Modest Enquiry
into the Nature of Witchcraft, 1702, p.17; G.
Lincoln Burr, Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases
1648-1706, pp.408-9, n.4."
WILBOUR, Benjamin Franklin: Notes on Little
Compton, 1970, The Little Compton Historical
The inside front cover shows a map of Little Compton, RI,
with the following words:
"This land was allotted to the first Proprietors of
Little Compton at Duxbury, 1673-1694.
.... The original [of the map was] made by Otis Wilbour,
town clerk about 1850."
The map shows the outline of Little Compton, divided into
rectangles representing land lots owned by different
people. Each rectangle is labeled with a man's name.
Among the names listed are David LAKE, Thomas POPE, and
John IRISH. David LAKE and John IRISH owned small lots
side-by-side. Thomas POPE and John IRISH owned several
lots; in two instances their lots are side-by-side, and
in a 3rd instance, their lots are quite close. Other
surnames appearing include CHURCH, WILCOX, COLE, and
The following books or articles have
yet to be found and examined to see if they have
information pertinent to the study of the Alice Lake
BANKS, Charles E.: The Planters
of the Commonwealth, (a study of the emigrants
and emigration in colonial times: to which are added
lists of passengers to Boston and to the Bay Colony; the
ships which brought them; their English homes; and the
places of their settlement in Massachusetts 1620-1640),
(available thru NEHGS; F/67/Bl9)
BANKS, Charles E.: The Winthrop Fleet of 1630,
(an account of the vessels, the voyage, the passengers
and their English homes, from original authorities),
(available thru NEHGS; F/67/B21)
HUTCHINSON, Governor Thomas: The
Witchcraft Delusion of 1692, from an unpublished
manuscript (an early draft of his History of
Massachusetts) with notes by William Frederick
Poole, in New England Historical &
Genealogical Register 24, October 1870; pages
(available thru NEHGS; BF/1576/H8)
MATHER, Cotton: Magnalia Christi Americana,
POPE, Charles H.: A History of the Dorchester
Pope Family, 1634-1888, with Sketches of Other Popes in
England and America and Notes Upon Several Intermarrying
(available thru NEHGS; CS/71/P826/1888)
WILBOUR, Benjamin Franklin: Little Compton
Families, 1967, Little Compton Historical
[Notes on Little Compton is a different
The following records were examined on
LDS film and found to have no information of value for
a) Records of the First Church at Dorchester in New
England, 1636-1734; 1971 copy of a 1891 transcription by
G. H. ELLIS; LDS film 0833385
b) Church records, 1636-1845, from First Church,
Dorchester; microfilm of original records, includes
index;LDS film 0856696, item #1
a) Town Clerk's vital records, Dorchester, 1631-1869,
indexes included; births, publishments, marriages,
deaths; LDS film 0740996
b) Town clerk's records of birth, death, and marriage,
Salem, MA, 1644-1870, v. 1-2, B; LDS film 0877447, items
c) Original records of births, marriages, and deaths
Essex Co., MA, 1636-1691; LDS film 0877432, item 2
a) Collection of old Suffolk County Court records,
1647-1828; collection put together by by GREENOUGH;
includes index; LDS film 0902795, item #1
b) County court files, 1629-1797; microfilm of original
+ Files index, A-Sea, 1629-1795; LDS film 0909870
+ Files index, I-Z, 1629-1729; LDS film 0909873
+ Calendar index, cases #1-1015, 1629-1670; LDS film
+ Index to the calendar index, Ip-Moa, 1629-1700; LDS
a) Dorchester Town records, 1632-1870:
+ Original, 1632-1722; LDS film 0478174
+ Original, 1651-1740; LDS film 0478176
+ Index to town record; LDS film 0478177
b) Annals of the town of Dorchester, written 1750; LDS
film 0897269, item #3
by Alice Marie Beard.
Research by Alice Marie Beard.
No commercial rights are implied or granted.
Do not duplicate. Do not "lift." Links are