Hampton's Tuck Museum and New Hampshire's only convicted witch – Hampton, New Hampshire - Atlas Obscura
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Hampton, New Hampshire

Hampton's Tuck Museum and New Hampshire's only convicted witch

The sad, exploited, life of Eunice Cole and a set of ashes on a shelf. 

Eunice “Goody” Cole is the only woman in New Hampshire to be convicted of witchcraft. It was a precursor to the hysteria that would engulf nearby Salem, Massachusetts in 1692.

Cole was convicted of witchcraft in Hampton, New Hampshire, and sent to a Boston prison cell in 1656. While imprisoned, Cole’s husband died. During this time she was also stripped of her citizenship.

After her time was served in the prison, Cole was released into the care of the Hampton residents. They were to bring her food, or help her with other daily tasks. In 1680, it is reported that Cole died. She was in her 80s.

Various accounts of local history state that her body was buried on her property, other accounts say her corpse was thrown into a shallow grave, or ditch. All accounts state that a stake was driven through her heart and a horse shoe was attached to said stake to prevent any further wrong doings postmortem. In any case, her body has never been uncovered.

John Greenleaf Whittier, the poet most famous as the author of Snow-Bound, took the Goody Cole legend and expanded it using her as the cause of a very real shipwreck off of Hampton’s coast in The Wreck of the Rivermouth. Cole also appeared in The Changeling.

In 1938, in an effort to drum up some attention to the coastal town, The Society in Hampton for the Apprehension of Those Falsely Accusing Eunice ‘Goody’ Cole of Having Had Familiarity With the Devil took it upon themselves to reinstate Cole’s citizenship. Copies of Cole’s court records were symbolically burnt at the ceremony. The ashes of the documents were to be buried beneath a planned memorial stone for Eunice Cole, but one of the area’s worst hurricanes hit that year and the plans for the memorial were forgotten. Sightings of a mysterious elderly woman started to occur.

Then in 1963, Harold Fernald, a Hampton resident, teacher, and part-time police officer, took it upon himself to erect a stone of the supposed location of Cole’s property. The stone is a sculpted, unmarked, boulder on the historic town green.

The ashes still sit in Tuck Museum.

Know Before You Go

From I-95 North take Exit 1 Seabrook, New Hampshire. Merge onto NH-107 South. Turn left onto US-1 North/Lafayette Road. At 3.7 miles, turn right onto Park Avenue.
I-95 South Take exit 2 to merge onto NH-101 East/State Route 101 East. Exit onto US-1 South/Lafayette Road toward Hampton/Seabrook.
Slight left to merge onto US-1 N/Lafayette Rd toward NH-101/I-95 N/Exeter/Hampton/Hampton Beach. Turn right onto Park Avenue and the museum will be on left.