Goodwife Bassett

March, 2011 by Ray Bendici
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Goodwife Bassett
Year: 1651
Town: Stratford
Outcome: Guilty, hanged

Details of Bassett's case are slim, at best. In the record of the New Haven Colony, it was recorded that, "The Governor, Mr. Cullick and Mr. Clarke are desired to go down to Stratford to keep court upon the trial of Goody Bassett for her life," in May 1651. It also says, "Because goodwife Bassett when she was condemned," which apparently means that she gave a confession, probably under extreme duress, as was the practice. Bassett was hanged in Stratford, although there's some question as to exactly where—some believe it was near the spot where the infamous Phelps Mansion stood on Elm Street (and that Goody's restless spirit was the source of the haunting), while others contend that she was hanged in the vicinity of what now is the West Broad Street exit of I-95, near Sterling Park, the Old Congregational Burying Ground and flag pole. Also in question was the name of Goody's husband; according to this discussion on ancestry.com, it may have been Robert, as A Bassett Book by Wheeler A. Bassett purports, or Thomas, as the history of Old Fairfield suggests.

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If it's any consolation, poor Goody Bassett didn't die in complete vain. She has been commemorated in Stratford at an ice cream parlor that bears her name.

 

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Comments

Submitted by JAN (not verified) on
LOOKING FOR A COPY OF A BASSETT BOOK OR HOW TO GET ONE

Submitted by joe morriss (not verified) on
Good Bassett was hung in Stratford in the previously mentioned location where today the maps still show "Gallows Brook".

Submitted by Bill B (not verified) on
I grew up in Stratford and read all I could find when I was young about Goody Bassett. I believe that in the book "The History of Stratford" it referred to the West Broad St location for her hanging. Is also believe that is where I read that there is a spot called "Witches Rock" where there are grooves in the rock from her fingernails when she was dragged to the gallows. There is a good chance that the exact spot is underneath where I-95 goes over W. Broad St. but that was just a comment that I had heard. P.S. I visited the Phelps Mansion a few times and it was pretty spooky.

Submitted by Daniel (not verified) on
hi there. my name is Danny. I was reading a comment that you had wrote about Goody Bassett. I understand that you have read all about Goody Bassett. I was Wondering if you can tell me more about it. I have grown quit a fan about witches and the history about them. I was wondering if you can tell me a little bit about Goody Bassett and her history about her being hung. please email me as soon as you can. thank you very much.

Submitted by Eric (not verified) on
I think there was a book published years ago called "the Stratford devil" which was about her.

Submitted by Debra galanek (not verified) on
My girl friend house is build on the land where phelp Mansion was,strange things still happen Today. Goody bassett still walks the grounds today.

Submitted by Kate D. (not verified) on
Goody Bassetts home was on Elm Street Stratford Ct. In 1970 The back of her property ended at the land now occupied by Shakespeare Theatre. I don't recall the year but the house was demolished and there are now a number of small houses on the property. The neighborhood kids would dare each other to go in the house. The interior resembled a ship with stairs on each side and a balcony all round the 2nd floor. The story was she was a ship captains wife who was accused of being a witch and when she died she left scratch marks on a rock.

Submitted by Carol (not verified) on
Hey, I am a descendant of goody Bassett, and have genealogy publication compiled by grandfather over the course of 30 years or thereabouts, gives information on Thomas basset, his next wife, and all the children. What I cannot find, are two daughters of my nature loving ancestor. Her friendship with the pootatck tribe, as well as the husbands' stance as freeman (not Puritan faith) probably had a lot to do with procedure. Does anyone know what happened to Sarah, the younger daughter before Bassett remarried?

Submitted by Swansea (not verified) on
Sarah Bassett was my grandmother's grandmother. She married in 1868 and died in 1931.

Submitted by Swansea (not verified) on
But now that I look at the dates, you're referring to an earlier Sarah!

Submitted by KateAkaGunner on
it's also said she haunts the Old Shakespeare Theater...i think the theater is still standing when my mom and dad were in their early 20s and my aunt was like 13 she was babysitting my older brothers on Heard Avenue...she called my mom hysterical that they come home cause Goody Bassett was in the house i wasn't born till a month after they moved from Straford to Southbury so i didnt grow up with the legend