The Witch of Hampton
New Englanders in the seventeenth century feared the devil above all else. They believed that natural disasters were caused by a person who was possessed by Old Nick. If their crops failed, if a cow went dry, or if an epidemic struck, they blamed someone in the community, usually an eccentric old person.
William and Eunice Cole first came to New Hampshire as indentured servants from London, England in 1638. They became part of a new colony at Exeter that was being established under the leadership of Reverend John Wheelwright. In 1640, the Coles decided to move to the settlement at nearby Hampton. Wheelwright moved from Exeter to Wells, Maine, but was ousted from there and made a bid for control of Hampton. That left the Coles back under the jurisdiction of the leader they had previously abandoned.