13. Three Women were convicted of being Quakers and were stripped naked, tied to a cart, and whipped in 1662
Ann Coleman, Mary Thompkins, and Alice Ambrose were Quakers. They arrived in Dover, New Hampshire, and preached about the “inner light” and the restrictions placed upon individual conscience by Puritan patriarch, and the tyranny of Puritan New England. Two years after the execution of Mary Dyer for being a Quaker, Ann, Mary, and Alice were arrested for being Quakers. Their fate was worse than death.
In the winter of 1662, the First Church in Dover told residents to find “relief against the spreading & wicked errors of the Quakers among them.” Magistrate Richard Waldren ordered that Ann, Mary, and Alice be stripped of their clothing from the waist up, tied to a cart, driven through town, and whipped a maximum of 10 times each. Their public sentence was to be repeated in 11 towns, Dover, Hampton, Salisbury, Newbury, Rowley, Ipswich, Wenhan, Linn, Boston, Roxbury, and Dedham.
Their firs public punishment took place in Dove where magistrates John and Thomas Roberts “stripped naked” the three women, tied them to a cart, and whipped. Still attached to the cart, the women were paraded through town half naked with their wounds exposed to the winter air. When the magistrates determined that their punishment in Dover was complete, the women were covered, placed into the cart, and taken to the next town of Hampton.
The constable instructed the women to remove their clothing. They refused and demanded that he “set us free.” He stripped the women, tied them to the cart, and with a reported trembling hand, whipped the women 10 times each. The women were carted around town and then returned to the wagon and taken to Salisbury over snow-covered dirt roads as their backs bled from their torn flesh.
When the cart arrived in Salisbury, Sergeant Major Robert Pike halted the whippings. A doctor treated the wounds, dressed them and then took the women into Maine where they recovered. Undeterred by their experience, Ann Coleman, Mary Thompkins, and Alice Ambrose eventually returned to Dover where they began a Quaker Meeting, of which over a third of Dover’s population joined.