From Click Americana
Anne Hibbins was not popular in her Boston community in the mid-1600s. There was her privilege, her demanding standards, and her penchant for speaking her mind.
When Hibbins’ husband died in 1654, she became vulnerable—on June 19, 1656, she was hanged for being a witch. It would be some 35 years before rampant accusations of witchcraft consumed the nearby town of Salem, but Hibbins’ conviction would lay bare the vulnerability of women in patriarchal New England of the 1600s. It was later said that Hibbins “was hanged for a witch, only for having more wit than her neighbors.”
“Traditionally, witchcraft was considered a ‘working class crime,’” says Emerson Baker, a historian at Salem State University and author of A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience. “That is, most of the accused were the poorer members of society. And, when wealthy and prominent people were accused, they usually were found not guilty. Anne Hibbins was the first high-status New Englander to be executed for witchcraft.”
Learn more about the trials that led to Anne Hibbins’ conviction and hanging on History.com’s This Wealthy Woman Was Hanged as a Witch for Speaking Her Mind.
Marie Laveau (1794–1881) was a Louisiana Creole: descended from the colonial white settlers, black slaves and free people of color of southern Louisiana. For several decades this ‘Voodoo Queen’ held New Orleans spellbound. She staged ceremonies in which participants became possessed by loas (Voodoo spirits); she dispensed charms and potions, even saving several condemned men from the gallows; told fortunes and healed the sick.
She became a hairdresser to create economic stability for herself and her family. Through interaction with her Black clients who were house servants, she was exposed to personal information about her wealthy White clients, who often sought her counsel. Laveau used this information to give informed counsel to the people who sought advice from her concerning their personal affairs. Many wealthy and politically affluent individuals, both White and Black, paid Laveau for personal advice, intervention in some situations, and protection against any evil energy that might have been placed against them.
She allegedly lived at 1020 St. Ann Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter. The original home was demolished in 1903, but the new home was built on the original foundation. The location is registered as a historical landmark.
Interested in other locations you can visit where famous witches lived or were accused? Check out Owlocation’s 6 Real Witches’ Houses and Cottages You Can Visit.