An aerial view of Seville Ave. and the Eddystone Print works c. 1930
NOTE: Halloween is here and witches will appear! The only witch trial in Penna. occurred in 1683 and she was from Delaware Co. imagine that. The entire trial was preserved in the Penna. Colonial Records published in the 1850's. Margaret Mattson was found guilty of the "common fame" of being a witch but not a real one!!
WITCHES AND THEIR ART IN THIS COUNTY
A Noted Trial That Took Place Long Ago
The Witch of Ridley Creek
The record of the trial is found in Volume 1 of the Colonial Records of Pennsylvania, in which all the proceedings of the Provincial council are recorded.
The two accused persons, old women, were Swedes, Margaret Mattson, wife of Noel Mattson, and Yeshro Hendrickson, wife of Hendrick Jacobson. While both persons were called before the Council, the first only seems to have stood a regular trial. Margaret Mattson lived on a plantation owned by her husband on the Delaware River, on the west side of Crum Creek, in Ridley Township, now Delaware County. She was long known in local legends as “The Witch of Ridley Creek.”
She was first brought before the Council on December 7, 1683, no provincial court having yet been organized in the colony, when her trial was set for December 27. On that day the accused appeared in the city of Philadelphia before William Penn, his Attorney General, a grand jury of twenty-one persons, all English apparently, and a petit jury of twelve persons, one of whom Albertus Hendrickson, was a Swede. One of the Council Lassse Cock was a Swede. The grand jury brought in a true bill, reporting in the afternoon. The indictment was then read to the accused. She pleaded not guilty, the petit jury was empaneled, the trial held, the Governor charged the jury, which retired, brought in a verdict, the prisoner was discharged, and THE WHILE BUSINESS WAS CONCLUDED THAT SAME AFTERNOON SO FAR AS PENNSYLVANIA WAS CONCERNED, THE VERDICT was as follows: “GUILTY OF HAVING THE COMMON FAME OF A WITCH, BUT NOT GUILTY IN MANNER AND FORM AS SHE STANDS ENDICTED.”
ASTROLOGERS AND NECROMANCERS – In 1695 John Roman and his two sons, residing in Chichester, were reported to be students of astrology and other forbidden mysteries. The public tongue had so discussed the matter that on the tenth of the tenth month, 1695, Concord Monthly Meeting of Friends gravely announced that “the study of these sciences bring a vail over the understanding and that upon the life.” John Kingsman and William Hughes were ordered to speak to the parties, and have them to attend at the next monthly meeting. The offenders were seen and stated that if it could be shown wherein it was wrong, they would desist from further investigation in these arts. For several months the matter was before the Concord Monthly Meeting without resulting in suppressing the evil.
Extracts from the records of Concord Monthly Meeting commencing September 11, 1695, are interesting: “Some friends having a concern upon them concerning some young men who came amongst friends to their meetings and following some arts which friends thought not fit for such as profess truth to follow, viz., astrology and other sciences, as Geomancy and Cliorvmancy and Necromancy, etc. It was debated and the sense of this meeting is that the study of these sciences brings a vail over the understanding and a death upon the life.
“And in the sense of the same, friends order Philip Roman be spoken too to know whether he have dealt orderly with his two sons concerning the same art; and that his two sons bespoke to come to the next monthly meeting; “friends orders John Kingsman and William Hughes to speak to Philip Roman and his two sons to appear at the next monthly.”
CONVICTED IN COURT – The ease finally reached a stage through the report of the committee that Robert Roman was arrested, tried at Chester for practicing the black art, was fined five pounds and the following books were seized and burned; Hidon’s Temple of Wisdom, which teaches Geomancy, and Scott’s Discovery of Witchcraft and Cornelio's Agrippos teach Necromancy.”