It was a Sunday evening, the 30th of March 1656, the night that Old Goodwife Walford turned into a cat. This was according to the testimony of a Susannah Trimmings of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, who was walking home that night when she was confronted by Jane Walford. "Lend me a pound of cotton" she demanded, to which Susannah refused. First verbally threatened by Walford, she was then "struck as with a clap of fire", before the witch vanished by the water side "in the shape of a cat". This was Mrs. Trimming's testimony, under oath, at court on 18 April 1656. Her husband, Oliver, also testified, saying that his wife returned home in a sad condition and could not speak, as if something in her throat prevented her from doing so. She finally was able to speak "Lord have mercy upon me, this wicked woman will kill me". In court weeks later, she still complained of being ill.
Jane Walford was brought into this court in June 1656 along with son Jeremiah (likely the witness who said he was at Goodman Walford's home, with his wife being there the entire night). Several others entered court, including John and Agnes Puddington, who relayed the story of a yellow cat that would follow the wife of W. Evans all day. One day, Mrs Evans visited the Puddington home, and the yellow cat arrived that evening. John attempted to shoot it, but his gun failed to work. Two other cats joined the party and then "the yellow one vanished away on the plain ground", the other two also taking off.
Another testimony came from Nicholas Rowe, who claimed Jane Walford visited his bedroom on two occasions following her being accused and, without saying a word, placed her hand on his chest, causing him great pain and making him unable to speak. Mr. Rowe (or Roe) was no stranger to the courts - he and his wife Elizabeth had been in Dover court back on the 3rd of October (3rd of 8th month) 1648, being sued for slander, as the wife had accused Jane Walford of being a witch [NH State Papers Vol 40, pg 38]. Mrs. Row had been found guilty in that case, and was ordered to publicly announce at public meetings in Dover and Strawbery Banke that she had done Jane wrong. This Elizabeth Roe actually had several cases against her on this court date for slander and other ill speech which resulted in a public whipping verdict.
The 1656 Trimmings case was dropped, with Jane being discharged from the court on 7 May 1657 [NH State Papers Vol 40 pg 129]. She would return again (now a widow), on 28 June 1670 [Vol 40, pg 258], when she charged Robert Couch for slander, after he called her a witch. She won this one as well.
JANE, the wife of THOMAS WALFORD, was my 10th Great Grandmother.