Nathaniel Willet, 1698
Nathaniel Willet was a member of the jury that in 1662 found a husband and wife guilty of charges of witchcraft and sent them to the gallows.
Witchcraft was a capital crime under Connecticut Colony law. Those accused were placed on trial conducted by colony officials. After presentation of testimony and evidence supporting or contradicting the charge, the verdict was rendered.
The first person known to have been executed in North America on charges of witchcraft was Alice Young of Windsor, who was hanged in May of 1647 in Hartford. Another seven women – and men – would be convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to be hanged in the Connecticut Colony by 1663, when the trials and executions ended.
Nathaniel Willet is one of several men interred in the Ancient Burying Ground who were involved in prosecution of accused witches or had other connections to the cases. Where the bodies of individuals executed for witchcraft were buried is unknown.
Learn more about the stories of people buried at the Ancient Burying Ground:
- Reverend Thomas Hooker and Government by the Consent of the People
- Nathaniel Willet and his role in Connecticut’s Witchcraft Trials
- Governor William Leete – Connecticut and New Haven Became One
- John Allyn, securing the Royal Charter and the Charter Oak
- Elizabeth Willson from Hartford as a successful Colonial Business And Commercial Center
- Col. Nathan Payson and Dr. Eliakim Fish, who served in the military in several Colonial Conflicts
- Richard Bernham and Ebenezer Watson in Connecticut’s Run-Up To Rebellion
- Captain Pownal Deming and Moses Dunbar – opposing roles in the American Revolution
- Jeremiah Wadsworth – Creating A New State And Nation
- Learn more about the People of Diverse Races and Ethnic Heritages found at the Ancient Burying Ground