Elizabeth Garlick - Notable Women Ancestors
Elizabeth Garlick

Elizabeth, possibly maiden name Blanchard, was married to Joshua Garlick, a farmer who had once worked for Lion Gardiner, the most prominent citizen of East Hampton, Long Island. As the "Goodwife" Garlick, Elizabeth, then in her 50's, was tried, in February, 1657/8, at East Hampton for witchcraft, but was fortunate enough to escape with her life. She was charged with bewitching Elizabeth, wife of Arthur Howell and daughter of Lion Gardiner, who had died in a state of hysteria. The case, including depositions, takes up several pages in the printed records of East Hampton.

The case began on a Friday in early February when 16-year-old Elizabeth Howell became delirious with fever and raved that she saw "a black thing at the bed's feet," and cried out, "A witch! A witch! Now you are come to torture me because I spoke two or three words against you. In the morning you will come fawning...." By Sunday evening, the young woman lay dead and Goody Garlick found herself accused of causing this death by witchcraft.

On Saturday, Elizabeth Howell's mother, Mary, left her own sickbed to attend her daughter. Elizabeth told her, "Oh, mother, mother, I am bewitched." Mary reported that daughter saw "Goody Garlick in the further corner and a black thing at the hither corner, both at the feet of the bed." On this night also, Elizabeth told Goody Simons, a neighbor who was staying there, that Goody Garlick "..is.a double-tongued woman. Did you not see her last night stand by the bedside ready to pull me in pieces? And she pricked me with pins."

The local magistrates held hearings for three weeks and took 13 depositions from witnesses. Most of the depositions contained hearsay testimony of one Goody Davis, who did not testify herself. Through others, Goody Davis accused Goody Garlick of causing the death of her own child. As the testimony grew, it became evident that the chief accuser was Goody Davis who blamed Goody Garlick for a variety of unexplained events and personal hardships.

Goody Birdsall's deposition included hearsay testimony from Goody Davis that "Goody Garlick said the child is not well for it groaneth and Goody Davis said her heart did rise and Goody Davis said when she took the child from Goody Garlick she said she saw death in the face of it. And her child sickened presently upon it and lay five days and five nights and never opened the eyes nor cried till it died." Richard Stratton's deposition said that Goody Davis had thought her child to be "bewitched and she said she did not know of any one on the island that cold do it unless it were Goody Garlick."

While the father of Elizabeth Howell, Lion Gardiner himself did not testify, his word carried weight and "it is creditably reported by a local Authority, that Mrs. Garlick had been employed in the Family of Capt. Lyon Gardiner, and that another Woman in the same Employ had accused Mrs. Garlick of causing the Death of her Child; while, according to Capt. Gardiner, the Woman who had been a Witness against Mrs. Garlick, had taken an Indian Child to nurse, and starved her own Child to Death for the Sake of the Pay she was to receive for supporting the Indian Child."

On his wife's behalf, Joshua Garlick entered a defamation suit against Goody Davis: "Joshua Garlick in the behalf of his wife have entered an action of defamation upon the case against the wife of Falk Davis;" but there is no record of this suit ever being tried.

The Annals of Witchcraft in New England reports that, "..... Mrs. Garlicke was brought before the Town Court on Suspicion of Witchcraft, and a Number of Witnesses were examined in Support of the Charge. The Magistrates after hearing the Testimony, and not being skilled in the Science of Demonology, concluded to send the Accused to the General Court of Connecticut, in which the occult Doctrine would probably be more safely applied. Goodwife Garlicke was accordingly sent to Hartford, and the General Court took the following Action upon her Case at the May Term, 1658. Easthampton was then within the Jurisdiction of the Colony of Connecticut, having been formally "annexed" at this Court."

The indictment against Elizabeth Garlick read: "Thou art indicted by the name of Elizabeth Garlick the wife of Joshua Garlick of East Hampton, that not having the fear of God before thine eyes thou has enteretained familiarity with Satan the great enemy of God and mankind and by his help since the year 1650 hath done works above the course of nature to the loss of lives of several persons (with several other sorceries) and in particular the wife of Arthur Howell of East Hampton, for which both according to the laws of God and the establish law of this commonwealth thou deservest to die."

The jury found Goody Garlick not guilty, and "the Court returned the Woman, and in a Letter signified to the Town Authorities, that they had duly considered the Case of Goodwife Garlicke, having......passed a legall tryall therevpon; wherevpon, tho there did not appeare sufficient Evidence to proue her guilty, yet we cannot but well approue and commend the Christian Care and Prudence of those in Authority with you, in searching into yt Case. Also we thinke good to certify, that it is desired and expected, by this Court, that you should carry neighbourly and peaceably, without just Offence to Jos. Garlicke and his Wife, and that they should doe the like to you. And ye Charge, we conceive and advise, may be justly borne as followeth: That Jos. Garlick should beare ye Charge of his Wives Dyet and Ward at Home, with ye Charge of her Tranceportation Hither and returne Home; that your Towne should beare all theire owne Charges at Home, and the Charge of theire Messengers and Witnesses in bringinge the Case to Tryall here and theire returne Home. The Court being content to put ye Charge of the Tryall here, vpon ye Countrys Account.

Joshua Garlick died March 7, 1700. Elizabeth's date of death has not been found.

Elizabeth has often been confused in references with her daughther-in-law, another Elizabeth who married her son, Joshua, Jr., who died in 1677 at age 35. This Elizabeth married secondly, John Parsons on May 21, 1679 and thirdly in 1694 for the last time, John Fish.


  • Annals of Witchcraft in New England by Samuel G. Drake, Ayer Co. Publishers, Inc., Salem, NH

  • Historical & Genealogical Miscellany, Early Settlers of New Jersey & their Descendants by John E. Stillwell, Vol. III, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, MD, 1970

  • Colonial Families of Cape May County, New Jersey by F. Edward Wright, Family Line Publications, Westminster, MD, 1998

  • Entertaining Satan by John Putnam Demons, Oxford University Press, New York, 1982

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