Thursday, June 9, 2022

"Common Fame of a Witch" !! Delco Witch trial!!! Upcoming events!!


The 1724 Courthouse in Chester the oldest one in Penna. The building still stands on Ave. of the States. AKA Edgmont Ave. In the 1870's the original steeple was replaced with a large one with a clock. This picture from about 1910 shows how it looked. In the 1930's the steeple was taken down and replaced with how it originally was built.

NOTES: Need some help. Does any reader have or know where I can use a good quality overhead scanner? I have been using one in Swarthmore but it is now tied up for months. I have the opportunity to scan a number of atlases for my website and I'm looking for a scanner to do so. Please let me know.


A Noted Trial That Took Place Long Ago 

 The Witch of Ridley Creek

            Mention is often made of a trial for witchcraft in Pennsylvania, but, except the mere mention of the matter, no further information is given.  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.”

            Nine years later, 1692, Massachusetts was for a whole year shaken with most horrible trains for this imaginary offense, until no person in that colony was safe from accusation, NINETEEN PERSONS WERE HUNG and one pressed to death under heavy weights, while a great number suffered intolerable imprisonment.  The whole population became infected with a craze concerning “witchcraft,” the shame of which endures there to this day.  In this matter the sober Quaker reached a righteous conclusion much quicker than the hasty Puritan.

            SOME OF THE TESTIMONY – Henry Drystreet, attested, said he was told 20 years ago that the prisoner at the bar was a Witch and that several cows were bewitched by her; also, that James Saunderling’s mother told him that she bewitched her cow, but afterwards said it was a mistake, and that her cow should do well again, fir it was not her cow but another person’s that should die.

            Charles Ashcom attested, said that Anthony’s wife being asked why she sold her cattle, was because her mother had bewitched them having taken the witchcraft of Hendrick’s cattle, and put on their oxen; she might keep but no other cattle, and also that one night the daughter of the prisoner called him up hastily, and when he came she said there was a great light but just before, and an old woman with a knife in her hand at the bad’s feet, and therefore she cried out and desired Jno Symock to take away his calves or else she would send them to hell.

            The accused flatly denied all the allegations.

            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 Geomanycy, and Scott’s Discovery of Witchcraft and Cornelios Agrippos teach Necromancy.”


DCHPN Monthly


Happy Pride and Black Lives Matter Month!

(Also Accordian Awareness Month but sadly no events for that)

Check out all these events happening this month

Read the announcements below for important information


June Events

 Please check the websites for updated information before attending and be safe!


* Indicates a free event. Some events require pre-registration and close when full. The list includes events in the surrounding areas as well. If you have an event you would like on this list on future         e-newsletters, please submit by the end of the month to

Swarthmore Passive Retrofit Passive Tour!

Jun 09, 5:00 PM – Jun 10, 6:30 PM
Swarthmore. Register for exact address

The Swarthmore Passive Retrofit project is a 1922 mica-schist stone home, originally designed by the noted Gilded Age Philadelphia architect and office of Horace Trumbauer. $25

*Sip Behind The Scenes

Jun 09, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Log Cabin at Newlin Grist Mill, 219 Cheyney Rd, Glen Mills, PA 19342

Newlin’s unique series of informal happy hours feature a local brewery, winery, or distillery each month! Samples are free, additional drinks may be purchased. Must be 21 or older to attend. No reservations necessary.

*14th annual West Park Arts Fest 

Jun 11, 1:00 PM – Jun 12, 6:00 PM
West Fairmount Park, S Concourse Dr, Philadelphia, PA

West Park Arts Fest brings together numerous organizations and institutions from across the city to make a truly special free event in West Fairmount Park.  All ages enjoy exciting performances and engage in art making and other interactive activities on S. Concourse Drive along the Commons.

*Block Party at the Rail Park

Jun 11, 2:00 PM – Jun 12, 8:00 PM
Rail Park, 1300 Noble St, Philadelphia, PA 19123

During this free event, Noble Street will come alive with family-friendly activities, live performances, and public displays. Come out and plant, learn, ride, dance, and play with us!

*Juneteenth Make & Take Flag Activity

Jun 12, 1:00 PM – Jun 13, 5:00 PM
South Yard, Christ Church, 20 N American St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Juneteenth is the oldest national celebration to commemorate the ending of enslavement in the United States. The flag's symbols are a testament to the legacy of slavery and freedom in the Lone Star State. Together, we’ll make our own flags just in time for the holiday.

Walking Tour of the Paoli Battlefield

Jun 12, 1:30 PM – Jun 13, 3:30 PM
Malvern Arts, 146 Channing Ave, Malvern, PA 19355

Learn what happened here on the night of September 20, 1777 that led to this battle being called the “Paoli Massacre”. Answers to your many questions await you on this walking tour of the battlefield. $20

*Poor Richard’s Women: Deborah Read Franklin and the Other Women Behind the Founding Father

Jun 13, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Zoom- registration required

A vivid portrait of the women who loved, nurtured, and defended America’s famous scientist and founding father. Poor Richard’s Women reveals the long-neglected voices of the women Ben loved and lost during his lifelong struggle between passion and prudence. 

Liberty to Go to See

Jun 15, 7:00 PM – Jun 18, 4:00 PM
Cliveden, 6401 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19144

An outdoor play and accompanying activities will not only explore how each character pursues liberty for themselves but asks visitors to examine what freedom and liberty mean historically and today. $18-20. Various times.

Philadelphia High Performance Historic Rehab Project for Healthcare Non-Profit

Jun 16, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
West Philly. Register for details.

This project is a gut renovation of a historic commercial building in West Philadelphia. Originally designed and built for The Bell Telephone company, it has survived and was added to the National Register of Historic Buildings in 2002. $25 non-members, free GBU members

*Abolition of Slavery in Darby

Jun 17, 3:00 PM – Jun 18, 5:00 PM
Darby Library, 1001 Main St, Darby, PA 19023

Juneteenth Program by Harold Finigan, lecture with slides and a question and answer time at the end.

*County-wide Juneteenth Events

Jun 17, 5:00 PM – Jun 18, 7:00 PM
Various locations and dates:

6/17, 5-10, Upper Chichester- Twin Oaks
6/18, 9 am, Darby Boro Admin
12-6, Chester City Memorial Park
2-7, Lansdowne Landing Park
Music, vendors, ceremonies, fun for all ages!

Cinema in the Cemetery: Glory

Jun 17, 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Laurel Hill Cemetery, 3822 Ridge Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19132

In honor of Juneteenth and the many Civil War connections at our cemeteries, June’s feature film will be Glory directed by Edward Zwick and presented in conjunction with the Philadelphia Film Society. $10-20

*Public Archaeology Day

Jun 18, 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Newlin Grist Mill, 219 Cheyney Rd, Glen Mills, PA 19342

Excavations are conducted under the leadership of resident archaeologist Keith Doms with assistance from members of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology and volunteers from the community. 

Family Day at the Museum: BBQ and Ice Cream Social

Jun 18, 4:00 PM – Jun 19, 7:00 PM
Rose Valley Museum and Thunderbird Lodge, 41 Rose Valley Rd, Media, PA 19063

Come enjoy a picnic on the Museum grounds. Pig roast and hot dogs, various sides, and Franklin Fountain ice cream to top it all off. Soda and adult beverages available. The Museum will be open for basic viewing by all. $25/$10 donation. Reg by 6/15

*Juneteenth Festival

Jun 19, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Rose Tree Park, Rose Tree Park, Upper Providence Township, PA 19063

The celebration will feature live music, artistic performances from local schools, vendors, food, and more. There is also a ceremony at 9 am at The Delaware County Veterans Memorial located at 4599 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, PA.

*Living History Sunday

Jun 19, 1:00 PM – Jun 20, 4:00 PM
Thomas Massey House, 469 Lawrence Rd, Broomall, PA 19008

Join us for Living History Sunday! The Thomas Massey House will be open on Sunday, June 19th from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. for tours and living history demonstrations, including baking and blacksmithing. Free admission and fun for all ages!

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