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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Witch, Be Gone!

By Michael Mauro DeBonis
Copyright @2018 All rights reserved by the author


Leave our village and take to the woods!
Dance the cauldron round, under blackest hoods!

Chant to the stars! Sing well for bats!
Make your wishes known to cats…

We trust you not, in ghastly crowds.
You wear midnight fog for all your shrouds.

And you throw your spells, cast on winds.
They make a mystery of human minds.

But, up to Heaven, we haul our hearts,
we are not privy to the evil arts.

You all should leave, with the rising sun…
for shades and their voices are from light gone.

Rhymes whispered by lips cold and old,
never measure up to their mold.

Awhile, they linger in air, thick and dumb,
‘til their vapors settle and then are none.

Michael Mauro DeBonis, October 31st, 2018     


About the Poet:Michael Mauro DeBonis is a poet and a historian from Long Island, NY. A graduate of both Suffolk County Community College and SUNY Stony Brook (B.A. English), Michael’s work first appeared in The Village Beacon Record and The Brookhaven Times Newspapers. Michael’s latest work may be found in the New York History Review(poetry and prose) and the New York History Blog (prose only). Mr. DeBonis is dedicated to studying and to learning the amazing history of the great State of New York.

The Crazy Case of “Witch, Be Gone!”

By Michael Mauro DeBonis
Copyright @2018 All rights reserved by the author


In the year 1658, at the south fork of Long Island, there was a small fishing and farming settlement called Easthampton. Settled by English Puritans in the mid-1600’s, by way of New England, it was governed by a small group of village aldermen, which was headed by Lord Lion Gardiner, a former British military engineer, who faithfully served English King Charles 1st, during the Pequot War, (1636-1638). Gardiner was the wealthiest man in the town of East Hampton (as it is spelt today) and he became the principal magistrate of the English colony shortly after the Pequot War ended. He also purchased an island (named after him) at Suffolk County’s east end at this same time. Although East Hampton was directly and legally connected to Connecticut during these days, Gardiner’s Island was given a private charter, which made it entirely independent from both Connecticut and New York Colonies. Lord Gardiner and all his heirs were hence only subject to the English monarchy.

One of Lion Gardiner’s tenant farmers, Faulke Davis, witnessed the certification to Gardiner’s land deed to purchase Gardiner’s Island in 1639. Davis was a very hard working and rugged Puritan, allegedly from Wales, but he sailed to Connecticut at roughly the same point in history as his employer (1636), Lion Gardiner. The illiterate Davis thus tended to Lord Gardiner’s gardens on the Lord’s island manor, before purchasing his own land in East and South Hampton, a few years later.

But, whereas Lion Gardiner was honorable, sagacious, patient and open-minded, Faulke was impulsive, irritable and untrustworthy. Faulke left Gardiner’s Island with his then-wife “Goody” (for Good-wife) Davis for East Hampton in the early 1640’s, where he purchased some land he would use for cultivation. By 1654, East Hampton town records indicate that Faulke was found guilty (along with his son and their neighbor) for an act of public lewdness. Davis was placed in the village pillory for several days as a result of his crime by an East Hampton tribunal.