Witches In Winnsboro? There's a History in the County

At least four people were put on trial and accused of being witches and warlocks.

Winnsboro, SC (WLTX) - Inside of the Fairfield County Museum you'll find antiques, paintings and even a few scary stories.

“It was a rural community. This was in the frontier years of the 1790s," Pelham Lyles said.

At least four people were put on trial and accused of being witches and warlocks, but urban legend has taken hold of the truth.

"There was not a witch hung at the courthouse," Lyles said.

Lyles is the museum director.

"Phillip Edward Pearson who was a doctor. He was a learned man, kept record and knew some of the people who had been involved in this incident,” she said.

In a letter to Thomas Cooper, Pearson wrote, "In the year 1792..a court composed of witch-doctors, was held at the house of a Mr. Thomas Hill, five miles below Winnsboro. Four persons were tried, found guilty and punished by stripes and burning their feet at a bark fire, so that the soles came off."

"Then there's one account of seeing the old woman with the marks of the whip on her shoulders," Lyles said.

That woman was Mary Ingleman and records show that she lived in a home not far from where Lake Monticello sits now and was at least 70 years old.

"Mary Ingleman was more than likely of German descent probably with a heavy accent, maybe a wart on her nose and maybe practiced with herbs,” she said. “It was easy to blame somebody for the crop going wrong or the animal dying, the livestock dying or whatever."

Records show that Ingleman later sued the people who tortured her, but some of the people skipped town before having to pay.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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