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John Godfrey's Epidemic In New England

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During the 1600s witchcraft, had become a large epidemic in New England. Women were the focus when it came to a person being accused of witchcraft. Men cannot be left out of this epidemic. There were a handful of men who were accused. Most of the men who were accused were either married to a female who had been accused of witchcraft. The men who were accused could also have had a relationship with an accused woman, it did not have to be marriage. The statement above is what makes John Godfrey’s case unique. Godfrey was never married, nor had any relationship with an accused witch. This paper will cover why he was accused, yet never convicted of being a witch. Was he accused because of a social construct within his community that needed a relationship…show more content…
Family relationships could define a person. If a husband had a bad relationship with his wife, this could then lead to a target on both their backs. If a person was part of a well-known family, this could place them into a high social position or in a low social position. Relationships between neighbors was also an important aspect. If one disliked a neighbor or had fights with neighbors. This could then turn into someone being accused of witchcraft when anything unfortunate happened. For Godfrey, there is no strong evidence of any family or relationships with anyone. John Godfrey landed in the new community of Newbury, Massachusetts in August 1660. When looking at the records it is hard to find anything about his travels or why he came. There are no records of him traveling with family or a wife. All that is known is, Godfrey landed in New England alone. This causes Godfrey to be an outsider. During this time in history is not something you want to be. This can cause a lot of people to aim at you when unfortunate things start to…show more content…
Occupation reflected on who and what type of person someone was. Occupation reflected the social position on the residents of a community. Most women were mothers raising multiple children, this was their occupation. Men on the other hand, would work in shops, farms, markets etc. Young boys held occupations too, such as herdsmen. Godfrey earned his wages by working as a herdsman (Hall 115). This type of work was not for a young boy, but nor was it for an old man. (Demos 37). Records show, for most of Godfrey’s life he moved from place to place working as a herdsman. This type of work was not seen as low society type of work, but it was not seen as upper class type of work either. For someone like Godfrey to work in this field for the time he did, that is when the community starts to view this type of work as being odd. Godfrey moved from home to home, picking up work where he could. As said before he had no family, today he would be considered a drifter. Godfrey was somewhat of a trouble maker and a drunk (Hall 116). He found himself in court and jail multiple times throughout his time in New England (Hall 115). Some years he was in court and jail multiple times within the same year. (Demos
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