In the book, Escaping Salem by Richard Godbeer, many strange events happen in Stamford, Connecticut that cannot be explained. A seventeen year old maidservant named Katherine Branch has several ﬁts that she claims to be the result of witchcraft. Many neighbors that have witnessed these ﬁts think otherwise. Witches in the seventeenth century were mostly thought to be women, and Katherine says that these women are indeed witches. Escaping Salem contains a lot of information about seventeenth century New England and the role of women in society, and how the Enlightenment thought played a role in the Stamford witch trials. In the seventeenth century, New England communities were very close-nit. The residents came from English decent that identified with the Puritan faith. Most people living in these communities believed that helping one another was very necessary. In the book, Mr. and Mrs. Wescot needed rest because of the lack of sleep they received from watching over their possessed maidservant. Many neighbors followed this belief and watched over Katherine for them while they rested and tended to many other things. The resident’s lives were revolved around Christianity, and they believed that helping their neighbors was a very Christian thing to do. They joined each other in studies about Christianity and protected each other and themselves from sin. On chosen days, most of the residents would go to the town meetinghouse for the church services. The meetinghouse was a building made of timber that served as a church and a place for all town meetings and court sessions. The town houses were built around or near the meetinghouse. The houses were timber framed with a stone chimney in the center. They contained four rooms with almost no storage space and little privacy. For food, residents would
farm on strips of land that surrounded the town. They shared this land because most residents could not afford their own land for farming. It was not unusual for New...
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