Harpswell Historical Society

Incorporated 1979

929 Harpswell Neck Road
Harpswell, Maine  04079

The Harpswell Historical Society is dedicated to the discovery, identification, collection, preservation, interpretation, and dissemination of materials relating to the history of Harpswell and its people.

Table of Contents

Historic Park 
and Museum

Links to 
related sites


Life in Harpswell Maine in the Early to Mid 1900's

The Witch of Harpswell

By the Third, Fourth and Fifth Graders at
Harpswell Islands &
West Harpswell Schools

A 1997-98 Harpswell History Project

Gladys Abby Allen
Allen's Seafood
Henry Barnes
Alice Catlin
Donald Coffin
Daniel Darling
The Dead Ship of Harpswell
Clem Dunning
Judith Howard
Harpswell Hotels
Bernard Johnson
Roy Knight & Cliff Moody
Arnold LeMay
Arnold LeMay
Becky Longley
Currier McEwen
Rob Miller
Barbara Munsey
Don Rogers
Alice Swallow
Dick Westcott
Malcolm Whidden
Ken & Marge Wille
Mary Wilson
Mary & Eleanor Wilson
The Witch Of Harpswell
Gerry York

The Witch of Harpswell

Goodwife Hannah Stover

In the 1700's a woman named Hannah became the second wife of Elkniah Stover who lived in the southern most part of Harpswell Neck. Some Harpswell people said that Goodwife Hannah Stover was a witch. She had come from Freeport and she was a Quaker. She refused to go to church at the Meeting House in Harpswell Center. Stover wasn't a good person.

When Goodwife Stover died, the men of Harpswell Neck refused to carry her coffin to the Meeting House for a Christian burial, Some of the women of the town went against their husbands' wishes. Six fisherwives carried the coffin of Hannah Stover all the way from South Harpswell to Harpswell Center.

Ezra Johnson was one of the men that had accused. Hannah Stover, He called her a “witch wife.” When the women finally reached the Meeting House, Ezra Johnson spoke out against Hannah again He said that he had a cow that had been “bewitched” an a broken seine that Hannah Stover hid caused. He said that two days before Hannah Stover died, he had been taken in his sleep to Potts Point where he was dragged up and down the sides of a ship. He accused Hannah because he said he heard her voice while this was happening.

While Ezra Johnson was still accusing Hannah of being a witch her stepdaughter, Mercy Stover, and also Goody Cole spoke up. They reminded people of Hannah Stover's kindness and the help that she gave to Harpswell people. At this time Parson Eaton took over. He said that Hannah should be buried, The men still refused to touch the coffin, so the women carried it the rest of the way and Hannah Stover was buried in the old graveyard behind the Meeting House.

“We have buried a witch!” Ezra Johnson growled.

“We have made the grave of a. saint,” Parson Eaton replied.