Early settlement planIn the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the role of midwife came with its own perils.  In 1637 Jane Hawkins, the wife of Richard Hawkins, found herself in trouble after helping Mary Dyer deliver a “monster” stillborn child.  The deformed baby was considered a sign of God’s punishment for the way Anne Hutchinson and her followers were criticizing the ministers.   According to Massachusetts Governor John Winthrop, “the midwife, presently after this discovery (of the deformed fetus) went out of the jurisdiction; and indeed it was time for her to be gone, for it was know, that she used to give young women oil of mandrakes and other stuff to cause conception; and she grew into great suspicion to be a witch, for it was credibly reported, that, when she gave any medicines (for she practiced physic), if she did believe, she could help her.  (Winthrop’s Journal April 1638).

Like Anne Hutchinson, Jane was expelled from the Bay Colony spring of 1638.  “Jane Hawkins, the wife of Richard Hawkins, had liberty till the beginning of the third month, called May, and the magistrates (if she did not depart before) to dispose of her; and in the meantime she is not to meddle in surgery, or physic, drinks, plasters, or oils nor to question matters of religion, except with the elders’ satisfaction.  (Massachusetts Bay Records p.224).

Bay colony records show that Jane had to be expelled again in 1641, so she must have tried to go back to Boston.  We do know that her son Job Hawkins continued to live in Portsmouth.

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