, Newburyport, MA


July 23, 2013

A fashion war in the Colonies


Wife(s) of William Chandlour and Joseph Swett’s fined ten shillings for wearing a silk hood.

Agnes, wife of Deacon Knight, presented for wearing a silk hood, discharged, her husband being worth above 200. (This troubled the good deacon exceedingly, and induced him to solicit Mr. Rawson to send a letter to one of the magistrates at Salem.)

Bridget Bishop, who was the first of the accused to be executed as a witch in Salem, may be the last infamous mention of illicit fashion in Puritan New England. Her famous “scarlet paragon bodice” did not directly cause her death, but it certainly helped lure the judgmental Puritan hordes to her doorstep. Many like Bishop just would not conform, nor be controlled — it is simply not New England’s style!

A big thank-you to historian Richard Trask for outfitting the material on the way we wore!


Melissa Davenport Berry of Beverly loves all things history. Visit

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