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Great post!

The unnatural act of a Mother killing her young is a psychological problem that I have never seen an answer for. Maternal instincts should come against an act such as this and with such force that I just can't grasp why this happens. There must be so many under-laying problems and psychosis for a Mother to act this way. Unless they are truly a psychopath, this topic baffles me.

Wonderful site. Very well written.

David V. Baker, Ph.D., J.D.

There are 73 recorded cases historically where jurisdictions have executed women in the U.S. for infanticide since 1632 and 1633 when Jane Champion killed her children and Margaret Hatch murdered her infant daughter. Dorothy Talby is the third female execution for infanticide. The historical record is mostly silent on why women have killed their children. We do know, however, that in the early colonial period mostly poor white servant women killed their illegitimate children because of the social stigma of having a child out-of-wedlock. It was a capital offense in most colonial jurisdictions for concealing the birth or death of a child and officials executed most women in the early period for that crime since determining death was usually impossible give the science of the day. Slave women often killed their illegitimate children in reprisal to the sexual brutality waged upon them by their masters. Scholars have also shown an association between infanticide and the witchcraft craze of the 1690s. Clearly, social historians have much work to do in explaining these societal atrocities. Historically, however, most women have killed their abusive husbands and slave masters.

David V. Baker, Ph.D., J.D.

I need to correct for an earlier oversight on the first female execution for infanticide that has come to light in researching women executions recently. The earliest recorded white female execution in the United States for infanticide took place sometime in 1632 when James City County (Virginia) officials hanged June Champion; most sources refer to June Champion as “Jane” Champion. June was the wife of Percival Champion, but it appears from the historical record that June’s child was the product of an adulterous affair with William Gallopin. In June 1630, authorities indicted, convicted, and sentenced both for murdering and concealing the death of June’s infant although there is no evidence that William hanged for the child’s death

Laura James

Thanks, David, for sharing your research. I'm impressed. I had thought that the resources were limited and exhausted, and yet you've found more information to set the official record straight.

Sorry but my Englis is so bad. I think is not normal the mother's image like take caring and loving her children, on Nature isn't is Why on our tradition, jew cristian, the mother's play is too important? Really is a burden a big burden to be mothe with these ideas pressing it. On Africa sayign like similar Is necesary to take care a child all a village, really is a big true. On the other hand a lot of women didn't use anticonceptive methods by this way a bad idea. An finally the society sells an idillic mother's tale, not is true, a woman don't need to be mom to realize herself.
Is true the hormons working, the biologic clock rings, but if Everyone follow the hormnos We living in a Rude Jungle, no law, no norms.
Is as normal a mother loves children as the opposite situation.
Congratulations for your fabolous blog
and Please sorry for my English.

Hugs to Everybody


Surely a case of postpartum depression?

Maggie Taulbee

As Dorothy Talby is my ancestor, I have a few words to say: first, she was married to John Talby in Lincolnshire and had several children before coming to Salem circa 1630 and more there. I believe this had to be post-partum depression, aggravated by a husband who was later banished from the Colony for his own shiftlessness. At that time Gov. Winthrop and the local minister, who had pressed for her sentence, expressed repentance for their condemnation of her and lack of understanding. There has been, thankfully, no other incidence of "madness" in the family over the past nearly 400 years. Their son seems to have left for Rhode Island and became a sea captain. Later the family moved to Virginia, probably to escape the connection.

David V. Baker

Indeed, the historical record reveals that Dorothy Talbye was an unfortunate woman most likely struck by severe mental illness. Her’s was the earliest recorded female hanging for child murder in the Massachusetts colony in 1638. She was a poor woman who found daily survival difficult since her husband John failed to provide adequately for the family. Dorothy became deeply depressed, despondent, and increasingly disillusioned with life over the years. She began acting irrationally; she broke with the Sabbath, quarreled with neighbors and clergy, and refused to perform her household tasks “claiming that God had commanded her to eschew all domestic duties.” When church elders excommunicated Talbye, she began physically abusing John and in late 1637, the Essex County court ordered her “chained to a post for frequent laying hands on her husband to the danger of his life, and condemning the authority of the court.” Authorities publicly whipped Dorothy in July 1638 for again abusing John. Dorothy’s posture toward her husband may not have been entirely her own doing, however; John most likely contributed to Dorothy’s violent inclinations since a year later the church censured John for “much pride and unnaturalness to his wife.” Dorothy snapped in November 1638 when she claimed divine revelation commanded her to kill her husband and children. Consequently, Dorothy attacked and killed her three-year-old daughter. John was most likely Dorothy’s intended victim and would have killed him rather than her daughter had she been strong enough instead to break his neck. Charged with “the unnatural and untimely death of her daughter,” Dorothy hanged in Salem in December. Dorothy did not admit to her daughter’s murder until threatened by church elders with peine forte et dure, and even then, she never repented. To the church, her obstinacy proved Satan possessed her; Governor Winthrop believed that Satan made Dorothy delusional causing her to kill her child.

Лечение наркомании

I think every illness is caused by a person itself, even if it sounds untruethful it is true


The Talby marriage was a tortured one. After the birth of her last child, Mrs. Talby "became melancholy and possessed of delusions.

Phillip Taulbee

Some how I have managed to trace my family back to John and Dorothy, Very insightful information you all have shared.

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