Viking Day at the Tuck Museum

Our first ever Viking Day at the Tuck Museum was held on Saturday, April 26, 2014. The dreary rain kept the crowds at home, but our Vikings gave the few hardy souls who did attend a wonderful learning experience about Viking culture and weaponry that they will not soon forget.

The group responsible for the day is called Draugar Vinlands, which means “Ghosts of Vinland,” in honor of the brothers Leif and Thorwald Erikson, the intrepid Viking adventurers who sailed to Iceland, Greenland, Markland, and Vinland in the 10th century AD.Draugar Vinlands is comprised of Viking History enthusiasts dedicated to the study and implementation of the sword and shield fighting techniques of the Viking age. They are not “reenactors,” rather, they use the term “living history combatants.” The only discernible difference between them and those they strive to emulate is that their weapons are not sharp. You can learn more about this group at their website We hope they will help us make Viking Day at the Tuck Museum an annual event.


History Saved by the Bees

beehiveStephen Bachiler’s honey bees were in a tizz.

Their hive had been invaded by bees from a foreign stall, one that Bachiler had promised to deliver to John Winthrop, Jr. in Ipswich. It was a gift from Winthrop’s father in law, presumably Reverend Hugh Peters of Salem, the stepfather of Winthrop’s second wife Elizabeth Reade.

Suffering from a dearth of nectar, the “thievish” Winthrop bees “hath robbed & spoiled” Bachiler’s beehive. The raid delayed the delivery, and prompted Bachiler to write a letter to Winthrop to report the problem.

In the same letter, dated October 9, 1638, he advised Winthrop that he had found a “reasonable meet place” at Winnacunnet plantation and intended to begin its settlement the following week. “Our hope and desire,” he continued, “is to have your help & our christian friend Mr. [Simon] Bradstreet…that we may lay some foundation.”

Had it not been for the rogue bees, “as the manner of bees is,” Bachiler would have delivered them to Winthrop, and in so doing would have relayed his plans for settlement in person, depriving Hampton of some of the details of its founding.

(excerpt from my upcoming book, The Mark of Goody Cole.)

A beautiful, photographic replica of Stephen Bachiler’s letter to John Winthrop, Jr. can be viewed at the museum as part of the “Founding Hampton” exhibit.

-Cheryl Lassiter, 2013

Something Happening Here

Just over a week ago, the museum was in a flurry of activity; in the kitchen we were printing our November newsletter, in the research area we were coordinating our  membership dues notices and our 2014 member appeal letters for the annual mailing. We do one massive mailing a year to catch any address changes. Getting all 400 letters assembled with all the bits and pieces, then matching letters to corresponding address labels is quite a job even with mail merge. Once that mailing hits the post office we all breathe a sigh of relief – until next November.

Reading the November newsletter will make you tired! It contains a compilation of all the committee  reports from the October annual meeting.  The President’s letter shows  the latest rendering of the proposed addition to the museum. My letter highlights all that we did last year for the 375th year-long celebration. The Building and Grounds article has a picture of the renovated schoolhouse.  The list of all those people who volunteer in some fashion for the Society is really impressive.  (You can access all our newsletters on our website ).

Out in our workshop, volunteers worked repairing and painting the Mace skiff that was donated to the museum in September,  getting it ship-shape to be on our float in the Hampton Christmas Parade. Inside, where it is much warmer, we worked on cataloging recent acquisitions:  a collection of toys used by the Edgerly family; some antique quilts, a stunning cloak and Windsor chair from the Sanborn-Thomson family; women’s undergarments, a quilt,  daguerreotypes and books through the Smith family line; and deeds and receipts from the Mace family.

Visitors to the museum  included descendants of Stephen Bachiler and Timothy Dalton. We fielded phone calls from California from other Bachiler descendants looking for information and planning a 2014 visit.

Christmas came early with the delivery of our new color printer/copier/scanner.  This machine gives us the ability to do so many projects in-house and pulls us into the digital age. We have relied on hand-me down copiers for as long as I have been at the museum (25 years!). Now we can print our own newsletters, posters and brochures, scan oversize documents and use its OCR (optical character recognition)  capabilities.  It is thanks in part to  a donation in memory of  Olga Casassa and Hazel Simonds by the Casassa family that we were able to purchase this equipment. We waved a fond farewell as  the old copier was rolled out the door.

No two days at the Tuck Museum are ever the same. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

FAQs about Goody Cole

by Cheryl Lassiter

Goodwife Unise Cole (c. 1600-1680) is a legendary figure throughout the seacoast towns of New Hampshire. She lived in Hampton, New Hampshire when it was still a town of the Massachusetts Bay colony. Married to a man much older than herself, childless, ill-tempered and shrewd, she was a bane to her neighbors. Over a 35-year period they repeatedly complained of her behavior and three times accused her of witchcraft. She was place under bond, fined, set in the stocks, whipped at least twice, and held in the Boston prison on and off for years. After her husband died, the court took her house and land and made her a ward of the town, which constantly sought to have her returned to prison. Some of her problems may have stemmed from her childlessness, as each fresh round of witchcraft accusations involved children in some way.  As the prosecutor in her 1673 trial noted, “It was her design formerly to insinuate herself into young ones.“

1. What was Goody Cole’s birth name and when/where was she born?
We’ll never know the answers to these questions with absolute certainty, but, based on my discoveries in the records of St. Dunstan’s Anglican Church, Stepney, Middlesex, England, her birth name was Giles. Unise may have been born in County Sussex in 1597 (female Geales), Norfolk in 1597 (unknown Gyles), Devon in 1598 (female Giles), Lancashire in 1601 (unknown Gyles), or none of these.

2. When did she marry William Cole?
Of the more than 100 marriages of Englishmen named William Cole between 1600-1636, only one of them had a bride with the unusual name of Eunice, or, as the parish priest wrote it, “Eunica.” This woman married William Cole at St. Dunstan’s on February 2, 1634/5. Note that the image below says “1634.” But that was back in the day when March 1 was the first day of the new year, and February was the twelveth month. Hence the modern notation, “1634/5.”

St. Dunstan's marriage record image

3. Why do you spell Goody Cole’s first name with a “U” – as in Unise?
“Unise” was how Samuel Dalton, the Hampton justice, always spelled her name. Also, on the only document known to bear her personal mark, the scribe spelled her name as “Unice.” Close enough!

4. How many times was Unise accused of witchcraft?
During her heyday, probably once a day by her long-suffering neighbors! Officially, she was indicted by a court of law three times: in 1656, 1673, and 1680.

5. Was Goody Cole hanged?
Just like today, sentences of death were a big deal in the 17th century. Only the court in Boston could pass such a sentence, and only after a jury had found the accused person guilty of a capital crime. Witchcraft, of course, was a hanging crime, and in May 1656, just months before Goody Cole’s first trial, Mistress Ann Hibbins of Boston was found guilty of witchcraft (on the flimsiest of evidence). She was hanged the following month.

Since Unise was sentenced to corporal punishment and imprisonment, we might conclude that she was not convicted of the crime at her first trial. Some historians think that the magistrates’ shocking decision to execute the obviously innocent Ann Hibbins caused the people to think twice, and as a result those who were accused after her were treated less harshly. However, during the same period Quakers received brutal treatment at the hands of the Puritans: cut off ears, slit noses, tongues bored with hot irons…besides the usual whippings and hangings at the Boston gallows. And what about the three Quaker woman who were whipped through the towns three months after Unise’s 1656 trial, half-naked, tied to the “cart’s tayle” (Hampton has the infamy of having been one of those towns)? To say that overt brutality shocked the populace into handing out lesser punishments doesn’t quite ring true…unless anything short of death was then considered “lesser punishment.”

Some records from Unise’s 1656 trial no longer exist, so we will never know what verdict the jury handed down. My current opinion is that she was convicted, punished, and imprisoned for a lesser crime – yet, they did find the damning witch-marks on her body, which always makes me wonder, why wasn’t she put to death for a witch? I’m keeping my mind open on the subject.

The jury in her second trial in 1673 found her not “legally guilty,” but by God they vehemently suspected her of having had “familiarity with the Devil.” And back to Hampton she went, free as a bird.

In 1680, Unise died before they could hold a trial.

6. What witch-marks did they find on Unise?
In 1656 Unise was whipped. As the constable stripped off her blouse to whip her, below her left breast he saw a suspicious-looking “teat.” A jury of women was hastily assembled to inspect the rest of her body. They discovered a place on her legs that was a conjunction of veins all matted together. Sounds like varicose veins, doesn’t it? The “teat” must have been a supernumerary nipple, which is more common than you think…google Mark Wahlberg, he has one. Unfortunately for people like Unise Cole, such naturally-occurring imperfections were signs of witchery in the 17th century.

7. How many years did Unise spend in prison? How many times was she whipped?
During the quarter century encompassing 1656 – 1680, she spent about 13 years in the Boston prison. She was whipped at least two, and perhaps three, times. The first time was at Salisbury in 1656, the second (supposed) time at Boston in 1657, and the third time at Hampton, probably in 1661. Since we’re on the subject of corporal punishment, she was also set in the stocks for 1/2 hour at Hampton in 1645.

8. Did Unise Cole have children?
No. But wouldn’t it be fun to write a story in which she bears the bastard child of Hampton minister John Wheelwright? In the TV version, the child resurrects in the 21st century to save the town from his immortal, evil mother who wreaks revenge in the modern day on the town that did her wrong. Move over Vampire Diaries and Sleepy Hollow, FX here I come!

9. Did Unise Cole live in a shack near the Hampton river?
No. Near as I can tell, the 19th-century poet John Greenleaf Whittier was the first to place her at the riverbank in his poem, Wreck of Rivermouth.  The dull fact is that Unise lived in the center of the village, somewhere near the meeting house, probably on the town’s alms lot.

10. Did Unise have a magic well near the river?
No. That appears to be a 1938 creation of the Goody Cole Society, made up for the 300th anniversary celebration of Hampton’s founding. I’ve written a special section at the end of my upcoming book, The Mark of Goody Cole, about their role in the tercentenary, culminating in the symbolic burning of Unise’s “ashes” (copies of the old trial documents) on Goody Cole Day. By the way, those ashes are on display in their original container at the Tuck Museum. Go see ‘em, and while you’re there, visit the new marker next to the iconic Goody Cole rock on the museum green. The marker was placed through the efforts of musician Robert McClung and unveiled at the close of the 375th celebration in August 2013.

11. When did Goody Cole die?
October 24, 1680. By law, the town clerk was obliged to record all births, deaths, and marriages in the town records. Henry Dow (my favorite Hampton Puritan!) was the clerk at the time. He kept pretty good records…except in Unise’s case. While the vital statistics of the other townspeople were written down in neat columns, Henry scribbled the notice of Unise’s death on a page of Norfolk County tax rates. He also wrote it in his coded journal, shown below (Henry Dow’s diary (photocopy), Hampton Historical Society Archives).


12. Did they drive a stake through her heart when they buried her?
No. In the 17th-18th centuries, by law those persons who committed suicide were buried by the highway with a stake in the grave to alert all who passed by of the profound sin of self-murder. I have theories that 1) this was the genesis of the modern method of destroying once-and-for-all the evil undead, and 2) that Unise may have committed suicide shortly after she was arrested for the third time on charges of witchcraft.

Cheryl Lassiter

Gilded Troches

None of the intrepid men and women who originally settled Hampton were born in America, so to get here, at one time or another they had to cross the Atlantic in a small, leaky, rat-infested wooden ship. If they were anything like modern humans, they would have seriously demanded their money back, and nearly all of them would have suffered from bouts of seasickness during their three-month voyage from England.

In July 1638, the English writer John Josselyn arrived in Boston aboard the New Supply, alias the Nicholas of London, a 300-ton ship carrying its Master, Robert Taylor, 48 sailors, and an original contingent of 164 passengers (some died at sea from smallpox and consumption). As writers will do, Josselyn kept a diary of the voyage. He later chronicled a second voyage, and in 1674 published both in a work titled An Account of Two Voyages to New England.

Josselyn was well-acquainted with seasickness, as it affected both him and his fellow passengers. In An Account, he offered a remedy for the dreaded affliction, which he advised emigrants to prepare before setting out on their journey to the New World.

While he agreed that “Conserve of Wormwood is very proper to prevent or take away Sea sickness,” he preferred Troches (lozenges) made by using a recipe that included gilding the finished lozenge with edible gold. Almost four hundred years later, the main ingredients of the cure, cinnamon and ginger, are still widely used for stomach upset associated with motion sickness.

First make paste of Sugar and Gum-Dragagant [tracacanth] mixed together, then mix therewith a reasonable quantitie of the powder of Cinnamon and Ginger, and if you please a little Musk also, and make it up into Roules of several fashions, which you may gild, of this when you are troubled in your Stomach, take and eat a quantity according to discretion.

(Gilded Troches, never leave England for America without them!)

–Cheryl Lassiter

The Vikings are Coming! (Again)

Another fascinating visitor at the Tuck Museum! Mark Svertunas of Exeter, NH is a Viking enthusiast who says he is intrigued by Thorvald’s Rock, Hampton’s famous granite boulder supposedly inscribed with Viking runes, which was moved to the museum grounds in 1989 to protect it from souvenir seekers.  He expressed no doubt that Vikings sailed far down the Atlantic coast and explored its many rivers over 1000 years ago. When time allows, he intends to build and sail a smaller replica of a Viking ship.

Mark and compatriots (not shown) will don their Viking gear and personae to join us on the museum grounds during the 375th weekend in August. They’ll demonstrate what Vikings wore into battle and how they fought. Courtesy of a finely-honed sword, watermelons will be savagely sacrificed (for eating, of course). The photo gallery captures Mark’s first visit to the museum.

contributed by Cheryl Lassiter

Paranormal Investigation at the Tuck

IMG_0025Visiting investigators Brendan and Paul from D.A.R. T. Paranormal at the Tuck. They even brought toys!

And yes, they did detect some interesting paranormal phenomena, especially in the Military Room and also in the Clothingdart toys Room upstairs…

On the (Photo) Trail of Goody Cole

On the trail of Goodwife Eunice Cole, photographer Jennifer Smith-Mayo of Northport, Maine recently paid a visit to the Tuck Museum to photograph the museum’s collection of Goody Cole memorabilia. The photos will appear in a chapter on Goody Cole in the upcoming  book, “Myths and Mysteries of New Hampshire,” penned by her husband Matthew Mayo, to be published by Globe Pequot Press in 2014.

You can see Jennifer’s other work at her website, Matthew’s website is The staff at the Tuck Museum look forward to reading his take on the “Witch of Hampton.”


The Case of the Stolen Turnips

by Cheryl Lassiter

An event in the early life of Hampton

In the latter part of 1670 John Fuller rode up to check on his ‘plantation,’ only to discover that someone had pilfered “about twenty bushels” of his turnip crop. Fuller and his partner in the patch, John Hancock, were appalled. Hancock swore that if they could prove who did it, the “taker of them” would be prosecuted. From the local gossip Hancock had heard that Nathaniel Weare had owned up to taking away part of the turnips, “which if he could prove it he would prosecute the said Weare and make him pay well for them.”

FHL FILM877462 Gove Weare Case 1 1673

Gove’s 1673 Appeal

According to the testimony of John and Martha Cass, now living on the farm they had purchased from Rev. John Wheelwright in 1664, Nathaniel Weare admitted that he had “accidentally” come across Fuller’s turnip patch, and “seeing turnips so late in the year he did take about a bushel and a half.”  If the ground hadn’t been so hard, he said, he “might [have] took a few more.” When John asked Nathaniel if he had had permission to take the turnips, he replied “No,” but his “sister Cox told him that she did suppose he might have some.” And, he said, he had made it right by reimbursing the turnip patch proprietors with a slab of pork.

Given Weare’s prominence as a large landowner in Hampton, the turnip theft may never have seen the inside of a courtroom except for Edward Gove, himself a large landowner, who publicly accused Weare of being a thief. When Gove confronted him with the charge, Weare said, “You fool, you loggerheadedly, boby-headed ass, get you about your business.”

To which Gove replied, “How came I to be your tomfool loggerhead?”

Weare then did what any adult male Puritan in his position would do: he hit Gove with a stick. Apparently sorry for his violent outburst, in an act of contrition he fell upon his knees twice. Gove taunted him by saying, “Get up again like a lubber,” while helping Weare to his feet.

When Gove refused to retract his accusation of thievery, Weare accused him of “reproachful speeches and assaulting carriage.” Nathaniel Clark of Newbury and Henry Palmer met Gove at Henry Roby’s tavern in Hampton to persuade him to come to an out-of-court agreement with Weare. Both Clark and Palmer testified that Gove did not believe Weare had intended theft in the taking of the turnips. Yet Gove refused to drop the matter. Weare had broken the 8th commandment (thou shalt not steal), which was contrary to Law.

“It will be an encouragement to others to go on in such wicked courses, contrary to Christianity and civility,” Gove explained. “For it is easy making an excuse for the theft if after the thing be like to be proved against the person.”  Translation: Weare only confessed because he had been caught.

Two plus years later, on October 8, 1672 and April 8, 1673, the courts at Hampton and Salisbury heard Weare’s case against Gove, including depositions and testimony of several witnesses: Nathaniel Boulter, John Huggins, Caleb Perkins, William Fuller, Sr., John Stevens, and Anthony Stanyan. Gove was also charged with having killed a hawk on the Lord’s day. The jury at Salisbury brought in a verdict of guilty on all counts.

Gove then made his appeal to the Court of Assistants in Boston, saying that ‘Your appellant apprehends himself much disadvantaged” because the jury foreman had remarked that if Gove came to trial he “would warrant I should suffer.” Gove also asserted that he had broken no law in calling Nathaniel Weare a thief…because it had been William Fuller who reported that Weare had taken the turnips from John Fuller’s field. Why then, was it Gove and not Fuller who was charged? In answering his own question he said,”Indeed [it was] better for Fuller to lose his turnips than for he that took them disorderly to lose his friend…as some have said.”

As these things often go with old court documents, the final resolution is unknown. Gove’s appeal did at least make it to the clerk of the Court of Assistants, since the extant case documents are filed with the Suffolk County (Mass) Court Files. Nathaniel Weare was never brought to court for stealing the turnips.

In 1684 Edward Gove was made famous by his attempt–while under the influence of “ardent spirits” and a lack of sleep–at rebellion against the government. Believing it was being run by those who kiss the Pope’s ring, he determined to overthrow the current regime. Riding from Hampton to Exeter with his son and a servant, Gove passed by the house of Nathaniel Weare, now a magistrate. Weare came out and tried to stop Gove from his mission, without success. Gove rode on, had his “rebellion” (mainly riding through the towns shouting like a maniac), and was summarily arrested in Hampton.  He was put on trial and convicted of high treason, the punishment for which was “that he should be drawn to the place of execution, and there be hanged by the neck and cut down alive, and that his entrails be taken out and burnt before his face, and his head cut off, and his body divided into four quarters and his head and quarters disposed of at the king’s pleasure.” Lucky for him, he was sent instead to England to take residence in the Tower of London, and, after three years and some letters acknowledging his acts of stupidity, he was released and allowed to come home.

Nathaniel Weare, whose reputation as a turnip patch plunderer hadn’t impeded his rise to the top of provincial politics, also made a trip to England in 1684. He had been entrusted to carry the petition from the New Hampshire men to the King, asking for relief from Cranfield’s money-grubbing schemes. While he was at it, he purloined the Hampton town records, taking them to Boston to keep them out of the hands of Cranfield.

>Link to the Hampton Historical Society home page<