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Colonial New England

Colonial New England

Colonial New England Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

About 95 percent of all known witchcraft accusations and over 90 percent of executions for witchcraft in the British North American colonies occurred in New England.9

The ratio of English people in England to English colonists in North America was approximately twenty to one in 1700. In 1750, it was only three to one.10

Some 334 people were accused of witchcraft and 35 executed in New England between 1620 and 1725. Approximately 78 percent of the accused were women.11

Colonial women were typically pregnant or nursing about half of the time between the ages of 20 and 40.12

The expression "chairman of the board" derives from the main room of a typical New England dwelling in the colonial period. The dining table, known as "the board," consisted of a few rough-hewn planks. When they ate, the family stood around the board or sat on benches or stools, and the father sat in the only chair—hence he was called "the chair man."13

After the Salem witch trials, Puritan theology underwent a subtle shift in which eternal damnation was less frequently linked to the devil's possession of one's soul. God's wrath was still a fearful phenomenon, but congregants were cautioned not to believe that the "devil lurked around every corner."14

In order to procure the "flowing tresses" so much in fashion in eighteenth century Europe and America, colonial women employed an early version of the curling iron: a metal handle that split into two rods with small discs at each end. A lock of hair was cleaned and then wrapped around the rod and held over a candle just long enough for the curl to set, but not burn.15

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