CRIME AND FATE OF SARAH SMITH.
Daniel Belding & Martin Smith, being new returned out of captivity, their
heads, together wt Ratable estate was on there hands at ye date of ye present
meeting, were freed from Town charges ye year 1688.
Among the prisoners sent home from Canada under the treaty was Martin Smith,
who was taken in 1693. A sorrowful tragedy awaited him. His wife was in prison
at Springfield, about to be tried for murder. Little is known of the Smiths,
beyond what is found on the court records. Judd thinks they came from New Jersey.
Martin received several grants of land here, among the first settlers. The first
mention we find of his name is on the court record at Northampton: "May
31, 1674, Martin Smith, a resident of Pocumtuck, was fined 20 s for trying to
kiss the wife of Jedediah Strong, on the street." Aug. 4th, 1694, Sarah
Smith enters a complaint against John Evans of Deerfield, for "attempting
to force an unclean act upon her." Two young soldiers of the night watch
were witnesses to the act, which was at her house, "ten rods south of the
south gate of the fort." I find no action under this complaint. In the
assault of Feb. 29th, 1704, Martin Smith was "smothered in a seller,"
with the family of John Hawks, Jr. No children of Martin and Sarah are known.
The crime and fate of Sarah appear in the following record:--
At a meeting of the Council in Boston, Aug. 8, 1698--Upon information given
by His Majesty's Justices in the County of Hampshire, that one Sarah Smith lies
in prison for murdering her bastard child. * * * Ordered and appointed that
a Court of Assize and General Gaol Delivery be held and kept at Springfield
within said county of Hampshire by the Justices, upon Thursday, the eighteenth
of the present month of August for the trial of said Sarah Smith.
Pursuant to this order three justices, Wait Winthrop, Elisha Cooke, and Samuel
Sewall, escorted by a guard of twenty-six troopers, went up to Springfield and
held a court. Sarah Smith was indicted by a grand jury of sixteen men, John
Holyoke, foreman, and charged that,--
on Tuesday the eleventh day of January in the year of our Lord God one thousand
six hundred and ninety-seven--8 betwixt the hours of one and five a clock afternoon
of the same day at Deerfield * * * in the dwelling house of Daniel Wells * *
* by the providence of God one female bastard child did bring forth alive *
* * being led by the instigation of the devil, between the hours of one and
seven o'clock afternoon of the same day, withholding her natural