Ann Foster (born Ann Alcock, 1617-December 3, 1693), was the widow of Andrew Foster. She was born and married in Andover.
She was accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials but died in prison.
She had 5 children, Andrew, Abraham, Sarah Kemp of Charlestown, the late Hannah Stone, whose husband, Hugh Stone, had killed her in a driunken rage in 1689 and was hanged, & Mary Lacey. Her daughter Mary Lacey and her granddaughter, also named Mary Lacey, were accused of witchcraft as well.
In 1692, when Joseph Ballard's wife, Elizabeth, came down a fever that baffled doctors, witchcraft was suspected and a search for the responsible witch began. Two afflicted girls of Salem village, Ann Putnam and Mary Walcott, were taken to Andover to seek out the witch, and, at the sight of Ann Foster, the girls fell into fits. and Ann, 72, was subsequently arrested and taken to Salem prison.
Ann, or Annis, came on the ship "Abigail" from London in 1635. Her mother, Ann Hooker, was a sister of Rev. Thomas Hooker, her father was Deacon George Alcock. (The Foster Genealogy (837 A.D. - 1998 A.D.) Andrew Foster or Forster, Andover Branch, Edson Foster Myer, 1999, NEHGR, p. 38.) She lived 7 years after her much older husband's death.
A careful reading of the trial transcripts reveals that Ann resisted confessing to the 'crimes' she was accused of having committed, despite being "put to the question" (i.e., tortured) multiple times over a period of days. However, her resolve broke when her daughter Mary Lacey, similarly accused of witchcraft, accused her own mother of the crime in order to save herself and her child. The transcripts reveal the anguish of a mother attempting to shield her child and grandchild by taking the burden of guilt upon herself.
Convicted, Ann died in the jail in the winter of 1693, before the trials were discredited and ended.
Ann's son, Abraham, later petitioned the authorities to clear her name ("remove the attainder") and reimburse the family for the expenses associated with her incarceration and burial.
Examination of Ann Foster, Mary Lacey, Sr., and Mary Lacey, Jr., Second Version 21st July, 1692. Before Major Gidney, Mr. Hawthorne, Mr. Corwin and Capt. Higginson.
Q. Goody Foster! you remember we have three times spoken with you, and do you now remember what you then confessed to us? -- You have been engaged in very great wickedness, and some have been left to hardness of heart to deny; but it seems that God will give you more favour than others, inasmuch as you relent. But your daughter here hath confessed some things that you did not tell us of. Your daughter was with you and Goody Carrier, when you did ride upon the stick. A. I did not know it.
Q. How long have you known your daughter to be engaged? A. I cannot tell, nor have I any knowledge of it at all.
Q. Did you see your daughter at the meeting? A. No.
Q. Your daughter said she was at the witches meeting, and that you yourself stood at a distance off and did not partake at that meeting; and you said so also; give us a relation from the beginning until now. A. I know none of their names that were there, but only Goody Carrier.
Q. Would you know their faces if you saw them? A. I cannot tell.
Q. Where there not two companies in the field at the same time? A. I remember no more. -- Mary Warren, one of the afflicted, said that Goody Carrier's shape told her, that Goody Foster had made her daughter a witch. --
Q. Do not you acknowledge that you did so about 13 years ago? A. No, and I know no more of my daughter's being a witch than what day I shall die upon.
Q. Are you willing your daughter should make a full and free confession? A. Yes.
Q. Are you willing to do so too? A. Yes.
Q. You cannot expect peace of conscience without a free confession. A. If I knew any thing more, I would speak it to the utmost. -- Goody Lacey, the daughter, called in, began thus; Oh! mother! how do you do? We have left Christ, and the devil hath gat hold of us. How shall I get rid of this evil one? I desire God to break my rocky heart that I may get the victory this time.
Q. Goody Foster! you cannot get rid of this snare, your heart and mouth is not open. A. I did not see the devil, I was praying to the Lord.
Q. What Lord? A. To God.
Q. What God do witches pray to? A. I cannot tell, the Lord help me.
Q. Goody Lacey! had you no discourse with your mother when riding? A. No, I think I had not a word.
Q. Who rid foremost on that stick to the village? A. I suppose my mother. -- Goody Foster said, that Goody Carrier was foremost --
Q. Goody Lacey! how many years ago since they were baptized? A. Three or four years ago, I suppose.
Q. Who baptized them? A. The old serpent.
Q. How did he do it? A. He dipped their heads in the water, saying, they were his and that he had power over them.
Q. Where was this? A. At Fall's river.
Q. How many were baptized that day? A. Some of the chief; I think they were six baptized.
Q. Name them. A. I think they were of the higher powers. -- Mary Lacey, the granddaughter, was brought in, and Mary Warren fell into a violent fit.
Q. How dare you come in here, and bring the devil with you to afflict these poor creatures? -- Lacey laid her hand on Warren's arm, and she recovered from her fit. --
Q. You are here accused of practising witchcraft upon Goody Ballard; which way do you do it? A. I cannot tell. Where is my mother that made me a witch, and I knew it not?
Q. Can you look upon that maid Mary Warren, and not hurt her? Look upon her in a friendly way. -- She, trying so to do, struck her down with her eyes.
Q. Do you acknowledge now you are a witch? A. Yes. Q. How long have you been a witch? A. Not above a week.
Q. Did the devil appear to you? A. Yes.
Q. In what shape? A. In the shape of a horse.
Q. What did he say to you? A. He bid me not to be afraid of any thing, and he would not bring me out, but he has proved a liar from the beginning.
Q. When was this? A. I know not; above a week.
Q. Did you set your hand to the book? A. No.
Q. Did he bid you worship him? A. Yes, he bid me also afflict persons. -- You are now in the way to obtain mercy if you will confess and repent. She said, the Lord help me.
Q. Do not you desire to be saved by Christ? A. Yes. -- Then you must confess freely what you know in this matter. She then proceeded. -- I was in bed and the devil came to me and bid me obey him and I should want for nothing, and he would not bring me out.
Q. But how long ago? A. A Little more than a year.
Q. Was that the first time? A. Yes.
Q. How long was you gone from your father, when you ran away? A. Two days.
Q. Where had you your food? A. At John Stone's.
Q. Did the Devil appear to you then, when you was abroad? A. No, but he put such thoughts in my mind as not to obey my parents.
Q. Who did the devil bid you afflict? A. Timothy Swan. Richard Carrier comes often a nights and has me to afflict persons.
Q. Where do ye go? A. To Goody Ballard's sometimes.
Q. How many of you were there at a time? A. Richard Carrier and his mother, and my mother and grandmother. -- Uponeading over the confession so far, Goody Lacey, the mother, owned this last particular.
Q. How many more witches are there in Andover? A. I know no more, but Richard Carrier.