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Complaint against John Evans by Sarah Smith

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(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Sarah Smith was a young woman when she married Martin Smith, a widower aged about 42. He brought her to Deerfield, Massachusetts, in 1693 where he had lived since 1674. In October of 1693 he was seized by Native Americans, tribe unknown and taken to Canada. His wife continued living in the south part of the town, an area known as Wapping. The Native American raids meant that a permanent guard was appointed. On the night of July 31, 1694 John Evans, a longtime resident of the town, forty years old and married, stopped by Sarah's home on his way home from his watch duty. There he raped her; it was only stopped when the guards who had relieved him came to investigate the disturbance. Five days later she swore a charge against Evans. Oddly, given that this was a Puritan community, Evans was never arrested or excommunicated. But Evans had a wife and children to support and they would have become wards of the town if he had been publicly disgraced. Sarah eventually moved into a nearby home with another couple. Three years later she became involved with one of the soldiers, became pregnant and bore the child in secret. The child died and she was convicted and hung for its murder. The Rev. John Williams<!--ObjectID=538-->, the town leader, preached a famous sermon about her just before her execution.


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