John Foster Sr.

John FOSTER Sr. (1618 – 1687) was Alex’s 10th Grandfather; one of 2,048 in this generation of the Shaw line.

John Foster Sr. – Coat of Arms

John Foster Sr. was born in 1618 in Kingswear, Devon, England.    He came to America with Roger Conant‘s company, and settled in Salem, Massachusetts Bay. He married Mary TOMPKINS about 1649 in Salem, Mass.    After Mary died, John married her sister Martha about 1657.  John died 16 Nov 1687 in Salem, Mass. Some researchers say this was due to an accidental shooting by his friend Joseph Smalls, but actually Smalls shot Aron Read in 1670 and John gave the following deposition

Essex Deed vol iii folio 99: The deposition of John Foster Sr aged about fifty-two years saith that being with Aron Read a little before he died when Samuel Eborne asked him whether Joseph Small and he did not go forth as two brothers and he answered yea. yea.  Samuel Eborne asked him again whether there were at any time any private grudge between Joseph Small and himself, or whether the said Joseph did shoot him willfully or not.  he answered with great affection oh no, no, no  and these were the last words he spoke.  Taken upon oath 11: 9: 70 Signed Wm Hawthorne assistant
John Tompkins Jr ae twenty-five, Samuel Ebourne ae fifty-eight, Robert Pease ae forty-one, Martha Foster ae about forty-three each deposed in the same manner.   Evidently a case of “I didn’t know the gun was loaded.”

I’m perplexed about how John Foster Sr’s wife could have had thirteen children over a thirty year span from about 1647 to 1677.  John’s wife is sometimes called Mary Tompkins and other times Martha Tompkins.  Mary would have been 56 when John’s youngest son Ebenezer was born in 1677.  Martha at 14 or less would have been too young to be  John FOSTER Jr’s   mother (he was born before 1650)   My solution, which I haven’t seen elsewhere, except this chart, is that John Foster Sr. married both Mary and Martha.  Some genealogies say that Mary died in 1656 and there is six year gap between Samuel’s birth Jan 1651/52 and Benjamin’s birth 3 Jul 1658.  I’m not sure this is the right explanation, but it is the only one I can find that fits the facts.

Mary Tompkins was born in 1621 in Edlesborough, Buckinghamshire, England.  Her parents were Ralph TOMPKINS and Katherine FOSTER (or Katherine CARDWELL).  Mary died about 1656.

Martha Tompkins was born about 1636 in Salem, Mass.  Her parents were Ralph TOMPKINS and Hannah Aborne.  After John died, Martha married Richard Adams  who conveyed land to “Martha relict of John Foster deceased, my intended wife” in an Essex deed Vol III, p. 715

 Indenture Richard Adams, yeoman of Salem, and Martha Foster, relict widow of John, lately deceased.  16 Nov  1688, in consideration of a contract and covenant of marriage, etc. gives her his whole estate real personal property, etc providing if she shall have issue by him his estate shall revert to his offspring, otherwise to her children.

Martha’s date of death is often listed as 16 Nov 1688, but that is the date of the above Essex deed.  I wonder if it is coincidence that it is dated exactly one year after John Foster’s will of Nov 16 1687 which was proved Mar 14 1688.

Children of John and Martha:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Mary Foster 24 Mar 1649/50 Salem, Mass Hugh Jones
31 Dec 1672 Salem, Mass.
13 Feb 1711
2. Samuel Foster c. Jan 1651/52 Salem Sarah Steward
14 May 1676 Salem, Mass.
Margery [_?_]
19 Aug 1728 Walpole, Mass.
3. John FOSTER Jr. bapt.
3 Jun 1655 in 1st Ch Salem, Mass .
Mary STEWART (Stuard)
18 Mar 1672
Mary Cowes (Widow Pomerory)
12 Jul 1692 Salem, Mass
14 Jun 1714 Salem, Mass
4. Benjamin Foster 3 Jul 1658
Not mentioned in father’s will
5. Jonathan Foster 20 Dec 1660
28 Mar 1662
6. Jonathan Foster 22 Nov 1662
6 Nov 1667
7. Joseph Foster Oct 1664 Salem, Mass. Ann (Hannah) Trask
21 Nov 1683
Dorchester, Suffolk, Mass
8. David Foster 16 Oct 1665
Salem, Essex, Mass
Hannah Buxton
13 Jan 1687 in Salem, Essex, Mass
18 Sep 1748
Salem, Essex, Mas
9. Elizabeth Foster 22 Nov 1667 1688
10. Jonathan Foster 12 Jun 1670 Living in Boston in 1725
11. Hannah Foster 21 Jul 1672 Not mentioned in father’s will
Aft 1703?
12. Martha Foster 1674
Salem, Mass.
John Rich
25 Oct 1698
13. Ebenezer Foster 5 Aug 1677
Salem, Essex, Mass
Anna Wilkins
19 Dec 1700 Salem, Essex, Mass
23 Mar 1718
Salem, Essex, Massa

Corporal John Foster, immigrant ancestor, was born in England according to his affidavit, dated 1670, stating his age as fifty-two years.

Foster was a farmer, though he built a bridge for the town and may also have been a carpenter or stone mason.

He resided in Salem and was the owner of considerable property in the North Fields, see my post  Division of the North Fields.  Curiously enough, the Land Grants of Salem and the Record of Deeds of Essex County show no lands of which he was the grantee, but by deeds given by him, we learn that he was possessed of upland, swamp and salt marsh on the north side of the North Field, which formerly belonged to Thomas Scudder, Senior -Essex Deeds iv.p.79; also thirty acres “near unto Ipswich River,” within the limits of Salem, formerly granted him by the town – Essex Deeds iii-p.56; also salt marshes at Royal Side and at the East Cover in the North Field – Essex Deeds, ix.p.36.

John Foster was born in England, possibly Buckinghamshire, about 1620.   Some think that he came to Massachusetts on board the Hopewell, of London in 1635, with Thomas Babb as master, it sailed about the middle of September and reached Boston in late November.  Some say John Foster, age 14, was a passenger on this ship and may have been an orphan, as it was a common practice at that time for England to rid her cities of the burden of homeless children by sending them to the colonies. His age, 14, may or may not be correct, as it was necessary for a child to be at least 14 in order to travel alone. Thus, his age may have been incorrectly listed in order to give the appearance of compliance.  However, the ship’s manifest actually shows Forten, Jo. Age 14 not Foster, John.

But, maybe he wasn’t an orphan. Perley’s book, The History of Salem, states that John Foster was the son of Katherine Tompkins, wife of Ralph Tompkins. He states that they all came to Salem to make their home, and indeed a ships record does exist that shows Ralph and Katherine Tompkins came to New England in the fall of 1635 on board the ship Truelove. Many questions persist. Why did they come on board separate ships?

The dates that Perley quotes concerning the marriage of Ralph and Katherine (1608) and John’s birth (1618-1620) seem to be accurate. The marriage of Ralph and Katherine was recorded in England, and John’s age is recorded in ship records, and land records, that verify the approximate date of his birth. John was born after Katherine married Ralph, so it doesn’t seem that John could be the child from an earlier marriage, (there are some records that indicate that Katherine Foster was a widow, when she married Ralph Tompkins.)

Perley does not identify his sources concerning the Tompkins and Foster families. Also, most records indicate that Martha Tompkins, John’s wife was the daughter of Ralph Tompkins and Katherine Foster Tompkins. It was permissable to marry a first cousin, but clearly it was not permissable to marry a half-sister. All of this seems to indicate that Katherine Foster Tompkins was not the mother to John Foster, as Perley thought. Possibly John Foster and Katherine Foster Tompkins were related in some other way. (Aunt & nephew; cousins?) The Foster Genealogy by F.C. Pierce states that Thomas Aborne was the father of Katherine Foster Tompkins. Research needs to be done on English records to try and sort this out. The Privy Council in England gave permission for people to leave England. The records of the Privy Council may prove interesting.


1657 – John Foster was paid £8 for work on the bridge. Salem Town Records (II, Essex, 185)

1664 Lot #91, 1675 Lot #82, 1700 Lot # 59,  -The Division of the North Fields was laid out before the Salem town records were begun. Most of the original lots consisted of ten acres each. See the above link for the location of John’s land.

14 Apr 1669 – John Foster to Nathaniel Putnam. Thirty acres of land “formerly granted to me by the town of Salem, to be laid out within the limits of Salem, near to Ipswich River.” Essex Deeds, vol. iii, p. 187:

18 Apr 1672 –  Be it known, etc., that I John Foster, Sr., of Salem, sc., for divers good causes especially the natural affection and fatherly care and love to my son John Foster, a parcel of upland, swamp, and salt marsh, north side of the north field, having the land of Thomas Robbins on the west down to the river, that is on the north side of said field. Martha, wife of John, Sr., yields her dower. Essex Deeds, vol. IV, p. 155:

25 Mar 1678 – John Foster, Sr., husbandman of Salem, to my son, Samuel, three acres in North Field, on north neck, as by some so called, part of land bought of Thomas Scudder, bounded by lands of my son John, upon the western side by Thomas Robbins. Witnesses: John Waters, John Foster, John Foster, Martha Foster, Richard Croad. Essex Deeds, vol. IV, pp. 610-12:

Note:    A husbandman is a class used in England and the early colonies. It means that he owned his own land and was a farmer, but that he was not a freeman and could not vote. It is mentioned in the town records in 1657 that he was paid £8 for work done on the bridge, so it is possible that he also did carpentry, or stonework.

1676 – John was in King Phillip’s War under Capt. William Turner at North Hampton, Ma.

25 Mar 1678 – As requested by English Crown, the Oath of Allegiance to England is to be taken by every male inhabitant over 16 years of age. John Foster, Sr., John Foster, Jr., and Samuel Foster were ordered to appear. – General Court Records

Jun 1680 – Petition to local court requesting that meeting house be enlarged and signed by a large number of the inhabitants of Salem, including John Foster, Sr. and John Foster, Jr.

24 May 1682. – He was Freeman of Ipswich, Mass.

16 Mar 1685 – John Small, aged about sixty-eight years, and John Foster, Sr., aged about sixty-seven years, testified that to their knowledge Deacon John Orne had possessed the lot thirty-five or six years etc. Sworn by John Foster, ” etc. would mean he was born in 1618. They further testified that they had been inhabitants and had dwelt in the North field about thirty-six years and had constantly attended the proprietors annual meetings. [Research of Julie Foster Van Camp, Foster family researcher]
“Salem Quarterly Reports, Records and Files,1685”; p. 439

Dec 1687 or early 1688 – John died due to an accidental shooting by Joseph Small.

John’s will was dated November 16th,1687 and was probated in Boston on March 14th, 1688


Boston Probate Court, Wills 10, p. 266, file 1625: The last will and testament of John Foster, Sr., of Salem; dated Nov. 16, 1687: probated at Boston, Suffolk County, March 14, 1688.

I, John Foster Senior, of Salem, etc., – make this my last will and testament. I give unto my eldest son John Foster ye land where he now dwelleth which formerly I gave him. I give him forty shillings to be paid by my Executor within seven years after my decease. Unto my son Samuel the piece of land which lies before his door containing about an acre and a half bounded with a path on one side a swamp on ye other and (John?) Waters land and said Samuel’s land on ye other two sides. Unto David Foster my son, all that my homestead viz: my dwelling house and about five acres of land more or less. Unto my other three sons, viz: Joseph, Jonathan, and Ebenezer, all ye rest of my land in ye north field and marshes and meadow in ye same with ye marsh at Royal Side after my wife’s decease or after her marriage provided they pay unto their three sisters, Mary, Elizabeth and Martha four pounds in pay a piece in five years after they come to enjoy all above said land which is to be equally divided both as to quantity and quality, all wares excepting ye third of ye two pieces of marsh at ye great cove given my son by his Grandfather which I hereby confirm. To my said three daughters, twenty shillings apiece. To my wife all my movables and stock and what shall remain att her decease shall be equally divided among the children. I appoint my wife and son David Executors.

Signed John Foster Senior
In presence of us, Steph Sewall, James Seymonds, Steven Small.
Who made oath at Ipswich March 14, 1687/88.

Inventory of the estate of John Foster, Sen’r late deceased, taken Jan’y 19, 1687/88 by Isaac Cooke and Steven Small.
Amount, £136: 18: 0. Debts due said estate 12: 11: 2.
This inventory exhibited by Martha Foster ye widdow of ye said John Foster and David Foster his some Executors of his Will ye 4th day of April 1688.

Questionable Children

Many genealogies of John Foster and Martha Tompkins include three early children Thomas, Edward and Bartholomew Foster.   I don’t think they belong. John and Martha married in America. They lived in different towns and are not mentioned in John’s will

I also think 1621 is too early for Martha’s birthday as she would have been 56 years old when Ebenezer was born .

Thomas Foster was born in 1642.  He died in 1685 New London, CT

Edward Foster was born in 1645 Kingswear, Devon, England.  He married Elizabeth Harris 20 JUN 1670 Middletown, CT .  Edward died 14 JUN 1712 Guilford, CT.  Edward’s wife Elizabeth Harris was born  1649 Middletown, CT. Her parents were William Harris and Edith Bly. Elizabeth died 7 OCT 1736 Middletown, CT.

Bartholomew Foster was born 1646 Kingswear, Devon, England He married Hannah Very 9 NOV 1668 5 DEC 1689 Gloucester, Essex, Mass.  Bartolomew’s wife Hannah Very was born 31 MAR 1652 Gloucester, Essex, Mass. Her parents were Thomas Very and Hannah Giles. Thomas was a fisherman of Gloucester, where he appeared before 1650. He and Hannah Gyles were married by Deputy Governor Endicott. Thomas owned several lots of land in Gloucester, and resided at the Harbor.


John and Martha had thirteen children, and at least nine survived until adulthood. Their children were baptized and their births recorded at First Church in Salem, a Puritan Congregational Church. When John Foster, Jr. was baptized, it was written “John, son of Sister Foster”. No mention was made of John, Sr. in the church records, although he was alive at this time. This leads me to believe that John, Sr. may not have been a church member in good standing.

1. John FOSTER Jr. (See his page)

2. Mary Foster

Mary’s husband Hugh Jones was born 1635 in Wincanton, Somerset, England. His parents were Robert Jones and Elizabeth Soane. He first married 26 Jun 1660 in Salem, Essex, Mass to Hannah Tompkins (21 Dec 1641 in Salem – 10 May 1672 in Salem).  He had seven children with Hannah and four more with Mary. Hugh died in 1688 in Salem, Essex, Mass.

Hugh Jones, progenitor of the particular Jones family herein treated, was born about 1635, came to New England about 1650 and settled in Salem, Mass.,where he resided the rest of his life and died about 1688. The following deposition secured presumably to establish a claim to some property in England affords authentic particulars of his origin and emigration: “These Presents are to certifie unto whom it may concerne that wee Thomas Cromwell and John Cromwell whoe have beene long inhabitants here in the towne of salem,in ye countie of Essex, heare in New England, doe testifie that wee have known Hugh Joanes, as one coming from England in ye same ship with us into the contry above thirty yeares agoe. (and as we understood abord Mr. Stratton’s ship) that he came from Wincanton and was servant to Mr. Robert Gutch :and his sister and Elizabeth Due and Margaret White and James Abbott and John Vining as wee understood came from the same place: and the same Hugh Joanes that came along with us into ye contry is now liveing. Taken upon the coroporall oathes of ye sd Thomas and John Cromwell in court at Salem the 27 of June 1682.And also ye sd Hugh Joanes then personally appeared in Court being in health. Attestes Hillard Veren, Clerk” (Essex Co.Deeds,Vol vi,fol 28.)

“An inventory of the estate of Hugh Jones was returned in Dec 1688, with an additional inventory in Nov 1690. (Essex Institute Hist. Coll., vol. iv, p. 44.)”  “The record of the decease of Hugh Jones has not been found, but it may be surmised that he came to a mysterious end, as, during the Salem witchcraft trials in 1692, Elizabeth Booth deposed that the uneasy ghosts of four murdered persons appeared to her; and that ‘the spectre of Hugh Jones assured her that Mrs. Elizabeth Proctor (daughter-in-law of our ancestor John PROCTOR) killed him because he had a poght of syder of her which he had not paid her for.’ (Essex Institute Hist. Coll., vol. ii, p. 198.)”

Elizabeth Booth age 18 or thereabouts testifieth

 that one the 8 of June hugh Joanes Apered unto me & told me that Elesebeth procter Kiled him be Cause he had a poght of sider of her which he had not paid her for

The 8 of June Elesebeth Shaw apeared unto me & told me that Elesebeth proctor & John wilard Kiled Her Because she did not use those doctors she Advised her too

that one the 8 of June the wife of John fulton Apered unto me & told me that Elesebeth proctor Kiled her Because she would not give her Aples when she sent for sum

that one the 8 of June Doc’r Zerubabel Endecot Apered unto me & told me Elesebeth proctor Kiled him because they difered in their judgments a bout thomas veries wife & lickwis the saide Elesebeth proctor would have kiled doct Endecots wife but Cold not But lamed her a Good while

Hugh may have testified twice in the witch trials because we also find this passage in The Salem Witchcraft Papers,Vol 3.  John Willard, was one of the people executed for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, during the Salem witch trials of 1692. He was hanged on Gallows Hill on August 19.

At the time of the first allegations of witchcraft Willard was serving as a constable in the village of Salem and his duties included bringing the accused before the court. Soon, however, he began to doubt the truth of the accusations and in May 1692 he refused to make any more arrests. In retaliation Ann Putnam and others accused him of witchcraft, and of murdering thirteen citizens.

Verbatim Transcripts of the Legal Documents of the Salem Witchcraft Outbreak of 1692…….

 Susannah Sheldon v. John Willard

The 9’th of may 1692 this #[this] Is the first to bee Read the testimony of Susanah Shelton Aged 18’ten yers or there About testifieth And saith the day of the date hereof I sawe at natt Ingersons house the Apparitions of thes 4 persons William Shaws first wife, the widdow Cooke, gooman Jons And his Child [Goodman Hugh Jones and his child] And Among these Came the Apparition of John Willard to whome these 4 said you have murdered us these 4 haveing said thus to willard thay turned As Red As blood And turning About to look on mee they turned As pale as deth these 4 desiered mee to tell Mr. hathorn willard hering them pulled out a knife saying If I did hee would Cut my throate the second to be Read

3. Samuel Foster

Samuel’s first wife Sarah Steward was born 1656 in Salem, Essex, Mass.  Sarah died 1690 in Salem, Essex, Mass.  Samuel and Sarah had seven children.

Samuel’s second Margery [_?_] was born was born 1667 in Salem, Essex, Mass.  Samuel and Margery had ten children.

7. Joseph Foster

Joseph lived in Salem until 1704, when he moved to Dorchester, Massachusetts.  There is confusion whether Joseph married Anne or Hannah Trask.  Hannah Trask was born 7 Jun 1668 in Salem, Essex, Mass. Her parents were William Trask and Ann Putnam.    After Joseph died, she married 15 May 1702 in Salem, Essex, Mass to Isaac Brooks. Hannah died 10 Feb 1728 in Stoneham, Middlesex, Mass.

Anne Trask was born 14 Apr 1654.  Her parents were Henry Trask and Mary Southwick.  She first married Robert Wilson.  After her second husband’s death, she left Dorchester and went to Rhode Island with her children.

8. David Foster

David’s wife Hannah Buxton was born 27 Jan 1666 in Salem, Essex, Mass. Her parents were Anthony Buxton and Elizabeth [__?__]. Hannah died 18 Nov 1732 in Middletown, Connecticut.

1700 Lot #60 -The Division of the North Fields was laid out before the Salem town records were begun. Most of the original lots consisted of ten acres each. See the above link for the location of David’s land.

10. Jonathan Foster

Jonathan was a cordwainer and was living in Boston in 1725.

11. Hannah Foster

Hannah was admitted to church Jan 30, 1703, but not mentioned in her father’s will.

12. Martha Foster

Salem Witch Trial records state that Martha’s husband John De Rich (DeRich, Rich or Derrick) was sixteen when he testified in 1692 meaning that he was born about 1676.  Other records say he was born 25 Jul 1668.  His parents were Micheal De Rich (1645 – 1692) and Mary Bassett (1657 – ).  His maternal grandfather was the Lynn Quaker, William Bassett Sr.  John died in 1711

On 23 May 1692 the conspirators filed a complaint against John’s mother, Mary De Rich, Benjamin Proctor, and Sarah Pease. They accused them of ‘sundry acts of witchcraft by them committed on the bodies of Mary Warren, Abigail Williams, Elizabeth Hubbard, whereby great hurt is done them, therefore craves justice.'”

On May 23, 1692 “Lt. Mathaniell Ingersall and Thomas Rayment both of Salem Village yeoman Complained on behalfe of theire Majest’s, against Benjamin procter the son of John Procter of Salem Farmes, and Mary Derich the wife of Michall Derich and daughter of William Basset of Lyn and _____ Pease the wife of Robert Pease of Salem weaver for Sundry acts of Witchcraft by them Committed on the bodys of Mary Warren Abigaile Williams and Eliz Hubbard &c of Salem Village, whereby great hurt is donne them therefore Craves justice.” On the same day a warrant for arrest was issued. “To the Marshall of Essex or dept or Constables in Salem. You are in theire Majest’s names hereby required to apprehend and forthwith bring before us Benjamin procter the son of John Procter of Salem farmes and Mary Derich the wife of mic’l Derich of Salem farmes husbandman, and Sarah pease the wife of Robert Pease of Salem Weaver who all stand charged of having Committed Sundry acts of Witchcraft on the Bodys of Mary Warren Abigail Williams and Eliz. Hubbert of Salem Village whereby great hurt is donne them In order to theire examination Relating the abovesaid premises and hereof you are not to faile Dated Salem May the 23’d. 1692.” Singed by John Hathorne, Johnathan Corwin. George Herrick, Marshall of Essex, appointed John Putnam to be his deputy to serve this warrant.

A separate arrest warrant was made out the same day for Sarah Pease for acts of witchcraft against Mary Warren. “I heave aprehended the parson mensioned within this warrant and heave broghte hir,” signed by Peter Osgood Constable in Salem May the 23: 1692.

They were questioned the same day, though no notes still survive and several prisoners were ordered transferred to Boston.  Mary ESTEY, Susannah Roots, Sarah Basset, Abigail Somes, Mary DeRich, Benjamin Proctor and Mrs., Elizabeth Cary.  and While Mary was in prison in Boston, John’s father Michael died.  Mary was later transferred to Salem jail.  Some genealogies state that Mary died 19 Aug 1692 – Salem, Essex, Mass, but she doesn’t appear in lists of the victims and other genealogies say she died 10 Feb 1701 – Marblehead, Essex, Mass or after 1712.

That summer with his mother in jail and his father dead, John  accused his aunt  Elizabeth Proctor (Our ancestor John PROCTER’s daughter-in-law) and many other victims of the Salem Witch Trials.   His mother Mary Basset DeRich was Elizabeth Basset Procter’s sister.  John at that time was apparently only about 16 years of age and intimidated, but never a member of the original conspirators. In fact, he may well have been imprisoned himself after his mother, Mary.

John’s Testimony Aug 4 1692 Against Elizabeth Procter, John ProctorGeorge Jacobs, Sarah Pease, Alice Parker, Philip English

John Doritch aged 16 years or thereabouts Testifieth and Saith. That John Small and his wife Anne both deceased and formerly of the Towne of Salem doth both appear to this Deponent and told him that they would tare him to peices if he did not goe and Declare to Mr. Harthorne that George Jacobs senior: Did kill them: and likewise that Mary Warren‘s mother did appeare to this Deponent this day with a white man and told him that goodwife Parker [Alice Parker] and Oliver did kill her: and Likewise Core Procter and his wife: Sarah Procter Joseph Procter and John Procter did all afflict this deponent and do continually every day sense he hath began to be afflicted: and would have him this deponent to sett his hand to a Booke but this deponent told them he would not: Likewise Phillip English and his wife Mary doth appear to this deponent and afflict him and all the aboves’d persons Thretten to tare this Deponent in peices if he doth not Signe to a Booke: Likewise Goodwife Pease and Hobs and her daughter Abigail doth Afflict him and thretten the same: and Likewise a woman appeares to this Deponent who lives at Boston at the Uper end of the Towne whose name is Mary: she goes in black clothes hath: but one Eye: with a Crooked Neck and she saith there is none in Boston like her, she did afflict this deponent but saith she will not any more, nor tell him her name. – Jurat all relating to the prisoner at the Barr.

The testimoney of John derich Agged bout 16 yeares testifieth and saith that somtim in May last paste: Gorge Jacobs sin’r Cam to me and bid me goe to my wife and tell her that she muste send me some money: and he bid me that I should not Eate any of his Cheires: and divers times sence he hath bine in prissone he hath afflicted me several ways by pinching and by sraching and bitting and told me that if I would not Sett mi hand to his boocke he would destroye me and lead me in to the water and would have drowned me and natheinnil Wattere tooke me out of the water and the prisoner Knockt me downe with his stafe: the 3 day of this instant Augst: and while I was writting mi testimoney he told me that he did not Care for that writting and told me that he had bin a wizard this fortie yeares
Jurat in Curia

also Sary pese afliceth me at several times she Came to me af the fast day last at Salam She pinched me then and i have not sene har sencs –

“Trial of George Jacobs August 5, 1692” – By Tompkins Matteson 1855

The painting above was created by Thompkins H. Matteson in 1855, and is based on the accounts of George Jacobs’ granddaughter.  On the left of the painting is William Stoughton, who was the chief magistrate and went on to be a Governor thrice in Massachusetts. George’s principal accuser was his own granddaughter, who was accusing George in order to save her own life. Jacobs’ daughter-in-law is the woman standing who is being held back. She was thought to be mentally ill. The judge who is leading the accusation is thought to be an ancestor of Nathaniel HawthorneJohn Hathorne, who holds a book and points at George’s granddaughter as if challenging her to substantiate her earlier written statements. George is in the front left with his arms outstretched.  In the foreground are a girl and boy who are having fits allegedly caused by Jacobs’ wizardry. The boy may be John DeRich and the girl may be Jacobs’ servant Sarah Churchill or a principal accuser Ann Putnam, Jr.

John Also Testified Against Giles Corey.

DeRich claimed Corey participated in “the sacriment” at a gathering of witches.

“gils Cory…told me that he wanted som platers for he was gowen to afeast…he took the platers and cared them a way being gown a bout half a oure with them…”. A deposition by Elizabeth Booth stated “there appeared to us a grate number of wicthes as neare as we could tell about fifty thirteen of which we knew:who did Receive the sacriment in our right amongst whicth we saw Giles Cory who brought to us bread and wine urging us to pertake thereof: but because we Refused he did most greviously afflect and torment us: and we beleve in our hearts that Giles Cory is a wizzard…”

Essex County Archives, Salem — Witchcraft Vol. 2, Page 43 )  John DeRich v. Giles Corey and Sarah Pease)

The testomeny of John derech Eaged about sixten years testefieth and sayeth that gils Cory also Came to me and aflicted me this 5 of September as wel be fore as after he al so Came a bout the 20 of oges and told me that he wanted som platers for he was gowen to afeast he told me that he had a good mind to ask my dame but he sayd that she wouled not let him have them so he took the platers and cared them a way being gown a bout half a oure with them then he brot them a gaine gowen a way and sayd no thing

Giles Corey (1611 – 19 Sep 1692) was a prosperous farmer and full member of the church in early colonial America who died under judicial torture during the Salem witch trials. Corey refused to enter a plea, and was crushed to death by stone weights in an attempt to force him to do so. According to the law at the time, a person who refused to plead could not be tried. To avoid persons cheating justice, the legal remedy for refusing to plead was “peine forte et dure“. In this process the prisoner is stripped naked, with a heavy board laid on their body. Then rocks or boulders are laid on the plank of wood. This was the process of being pressed.

After two days, Giles was asked three times to plead innocent or guilty to witchcraft. Each time he replied, “More weight.” More and more rocks were piled on him, and the Sheriff from time to time would stand on the boulders staring down at Corey’s bulging eyes.

Three mouthfuls of bread and water were fed to the old man during his many hours of pain. Finally, Giles Corey cried out “More weight!” and died.  Since Corey refused to plead, he died in full possession of his estate, which would otherwise have been forfeited to the government. It passed on to his two sons-in-law, in accordance to his will.

13. Ebenezer Foster

Ebenezer’s wife Anna Wilkins was born 31 Oct 1681 in Salem, Essex, Mass. Her parents were Benjamin Wilkins and Priscilla Baxter. Anna died 5 Jun 1773 in Middleton, Essex, Mass.


Foster genealogy, Part 2 By Frederick Clifton Pierce – Mary DeRich Original Witch Trial Documents Giles Corey Original Witch Trial Documents

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  6. Pingback: John Proctor | Miner Descent

  7. Pingback: Witch Trials – Accusers | Miner Descent

  8. Pingback: Ralph Tompkins | Miner Descent

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  10. Pingback: Passages | Miner Descent

  11. Pingback: Robert Pease – The Former | Miner Descent

  12. Pingback: Division of North Field – Salem, Mass | Miner Descent

  13. Pingback: Artistic Works and Representation | Miner Descent

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