Skip to main content

Pride Of Ancestry

May 2024
1min read


John Demos’ article “Entertaining Satan” (August/September, 1978), brought forth a note of startled delight from reader Frederic D. H. Gilbert of Briarcliff Manor, New York: “Imagine my astonishment on opening A MERICAN H ERITAGE to be confronted with the account of my seven-times-great grandmother, Lydia Gilbert, late of Windsor, Connecticut. …” It was the early Gilbert who in 1654 was accused of conspiring with the devil in such a way as to cause one Thomas Alien’s musket to go off and shoot to death one Henry Stiles during a militia drill. For this presumed murder by proxy, the unfortunate “witch” Gilbert was sentenced to death and summarily executed. “This is pretty potent witchcraft,” seven-times-great grandson Gilbert goes on to declare, “to kill a man with another man’s gun without ever being anywhere near the place where it happened. One cannot help but be a little proud of an ancestor who could wangle a job out of Satan like that!”

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this magazine of trusted historical writing, now in its 75th year, and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.

Donate