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May 13, 1648, Plymouth: Miss Margaret Jones of Charlestown is
found guilty of witchcraft and is sentenced to be hanged
October 27, 1659, Boston: Quakers William Robinson and Marmaduke
Stevenson are publicly hanged and their bodies thrown into an open pit
for preaching “Quakerism” in Boston
June 1, 1660, Boston: Boston hangs Quaker Mary Dyer for entering
1661: Connecticut hangs 10 people for “familiarity with
1661: Maryland kills a “little old woman” and throws
her corpse into the sea to calm a storm
1692, Salem: From March to October, Salem hangs 19 men and women
for witchcraft. One man, Giles Corey, is “pressed” to death
by a stone because he refused to speak to the charge of witchcraft.
1618, Jamestown: Governor decrees that those who miss church
will be jailed “lying neck and heels in the Corps of Gard ye night
following and be a slave ye week following.”
1632, Plymouth: Colony enacts a law punishing adultery with death.
1639, Plymouth: A woman found guilty of adultery is publicly
whipped, then dragged through the streets of Plymouth and forced to wear
the letters “AD” on her left sleeve. She is notified that
if she removes the letters from her clothing, her face will be burned
with a hot iron.
1639, Massachusetts: General Court of Massachusetts enacts law
forbidding the drinking of toasts and the wearing of “immoderate
great breeches.” It amends the law of 1632 reducing the penalty
for adultery from death to branding.
July 1651, Boston: Baptists Dr. John Clarke and Obediah Holmes
are arrested in Lynn, Mass., for holding services in a private home. Clarke
is imprisoned, Holmes is publicly whipped.
October 1697, Massachusetts enacts law punishing atheism by whipping
and boring through the tongue with a hot iron
1624, Plymouth: Puritan minister John Lyford, sent by the English
sponsors of the colony, is accused of Anglican bias and banished from
1636: Roger Williams, Puritan pastor at Salem and Plymouth, is
convicted of heresy and banished from Massachusetts for his belief that
church and state should be separate
November 16, 1637, Massachusetts: Mrs. Anne Hutchinson is banished
from Massachusetts for opposing Puritan laws mandating, among other items,
church attendance and “reverence toward ministers”
July 14, 1638: Rev. John Wheelwright, a clergyman in Boston and
Braintree, is banished from Massachusetts for supporting Anne Hutchinson's
ideas on civil freedom and tolerance Wheelwright and 36 male followers
establish the settlement of Exeter, New Hampshire.
May 26, 1647, Massachusetts: Massachusetts law bars Catholic
priests from entering Massachusetts. Penalty for first offense is banishment.
Penalty for second offense is death.
July 1656, Boston: Quakers Mary Fisher and Ann Austin enter Boston
and are strip searched, jailed, and banished because of their religion
May 27, 1668, Massachusetts: Baptists Thomas Gold, William Turner,
and John Farnum are exiled from Massachusetts because of their religion
…and many more…