Battle of Havana – 1762

The Battle of Havana had by far the most America deaths of any battle up until that time, especially for Connecticut, but until I found family casualties in this genealogy project, I had never heard of it.

File:British fleet entering Havana.jpg

The British fleet closing in on Havana in 1762

The Battle of Havana (1762) was a military action from March to August 1762, as part of the Seven Years’ War. British forces besieged and captured the city of Havana, which at the time was an important Spanish naval base in the Caribbean, and dealt a serious blow to the Spanish navy. During the siege the British had lost 2,764 killed, wounded, captured or deserted, but by 18 October also had lost 4,708 dead from sickness. One of the most depleted brigade was transferred to North America where it lost a further 360 men within a month of his arrival.  Havana was subsequently returned to Spain under the 1763 Treaty of Paris that formally ended the war, but Spain was required to cede Florida and Minorca to Great Britain and pay the Manila Ransom. Spain received French Louisiana as a payment for intervening in the war on the side of the French and as compensation for having lost Florida.

Capt. Joseph SEXTON’s (1666 – 1742) son Charles Sexton died 16 Sep 1762 at sea on the expedition from Somers to “the Havannah”.   According to the Barbour Collection, his son Charles Jr appears to have died on the expedition a week later 25 Sep 1762.

-Two sons of Stephen GATES IV (1690 – 1782) died in October and November 1762.  A 19th Century genealogy said they died in the French and Indian War.  I was confused because the French and Indian War ended that September.  I found their unit and commanding officer and through Major General Phineas Lyman found that they were casualties of the Battle of Havana.

Azariah Gates (1725 – 1762) was a solider in the Seven Years War, Battle of Havana from 25 Mar 1762 until 14 Oct 1762 when he died, probably of Yellow Fever in Cuba.   He was in the First Connecticut Regiment under Major General Phineas Lyman, Fifth Company under Captain John Stanton.   In 1762 Lyman was sent with 2,300 men to command the colonial contingent of Lord Albemarle’s army in the capture of Havana.

Phineas Gates (1731 – 1762) was a solider in the Seven Years War, Battle of Havana from 20 Mar 1762 until he was died 30 Nov 1762, like his brother probably of Yellow Fever in  Cuba.   He served with his brother Azariah in the First Connecticut Regiment under Major General Phineas Lyman, Fifth Company under Captain John Stanton.

On 28 Jul 1762  1,400 militia from Connecticut arrived in time to aid in the defense of the batteries from the one Spanish sally. Prado gathered together a rather motley collection of 1,200 militia and threw them against the English lines. Although the opening attack was a surprise, the English recovered quickly and beat back three charges. On the 30th the engineers mining the walls finally had their charges set and blew a breach in the Morro’s walls. Albemarle’s two brothers led the English charge and they made short work of the defenders. Luis de Velasco, commander of the Morro, died defending his flag.

I counted 43 dead and 27 survivors in Azariah and Phineas’s 5th Company, 1st Connecticut Regiment from the Rolls of Connecticut men in the French and Indian War, 1755-1762, Volume 2 By Connecticut Historical Society.   Extrapolating this 61% casualty rate to the entire regiment gives 860 deaths.  I couldn’t find the actual total from this little remembered conflict.  The Connecticut Colony’s total population was 142,000 in 1760.  A similar casualty rate if applied today’s United States would equal 1.8 million deaths.  This was a lot of carnage for a fight not much in the interest of the Connecticut settlers, though maybe the commander did benefit.

William CLARK’S grandson Capt. Israel Loomis (b. 29 Sep 1715 in Lebanon – d. 2 Oct 1801 in Lebanon)  was on the 1762 pay role of  Capt. Robert Durkee’s Ninth Company, Major General Phineas Lyman’s First Connecticut Regiment

Campaign of 1762 - 1st Regiment - Rolls of Connecticut Men in the French and Indian War, 1755-1762, Volume 2  By Connecticut Historical Society

Rolls of Connecticut Men in the French and Indian War, 1755-1762, Volume 2 By Connecticut Historical Society.   As you can see on this page, the casualty rate in Israel Loomis’ group was almost 50%, mostly from malaria and yellow fever.

In 1763, Phineas Lyman went to England where he remained until 1772, endeavoring to obtain a grant of land in west Florida, a tract near Natchez (now Mississippi) being granted by royal charter in 1772. Lyman led a band of settlers to the region in 1773.

Posted in History, Veteran, Violent Death | 7 Comments

Pequot War

Pequot War  1634 – 1638

Maj. John MASON (1600 – 1672) was the commanding officer in the Pequot War.   At the time, he was a victorious hero who later became  Deputy Governor of Connecticut and founded Norwich, Connecticut.  Now, he is viewed by some as a war criminal due to his responsible for the Mystic Massacre.

Capt. William HEDGE (1602 – 1670)  is favorably mentioned by a soldier in the Pequot War , who served with him, as a gentleman, of Northamptonshire, England. He was several times captain of the military company in Yarmouth and of the council of war.

26 May 1637 -Participated in the Mystic Massacre. During the Pequot War, English settlers under Captain John Mason, and Narragansett and Mohegan allies set fire to a fortified Pequot village near the Mystic River. They shot any people who tried to escape the wooden palisade fortress and killed the entire village, consisting mostly of women and children, in retaliation for previous Pequot attacks. The only Pequot survivors were warriors who had been with their sachem Sassacus in a raiding party outside the village.

The Pequot were the dominant Native American tribe in central to eastern Connecticut. They had long competed with the neighboring Mohegan and Narragansett. The Pequot eventually allied with the Dutch, while the Mohegan and others allied with the British. European population growth led to greater land demands, leading to eventual conflict with indigenous populations.

The tensions erupted into the Pequot War when a trader named John Oldham was killed and his trading ship looted by natives suspected to be Pequot. Some retaliation raids by settlers and natives alike ensued, and Pequots responded in kin.

The Connecticut towns raised a militia commanded by Captain John Mason consisting of 90 men, plus 70 Mohegan under sachems Uncas and Wequash. Twenty more men, including William Hedge, under Captain John Underhill joined him at Fort Saybrook.

The Pequot sachem Sassacus, meanwhile, gathered a few hundred warriors and set out to make another raid on Hartford, Connecticut.

At the same time, Captain Mason recruited more than 200 Narragansett and Niantic warriors to join his attack force. On the night of May 26, 1637, the forces of English and Native American attackers arrived outside the palisade-surrounded Pequot village near the Mystic River, which had only two entrances/exits. The English attempted to attack the villagers by surprise, yet met with stiff Pequot resistance. Underhill gave the order to set the village on fire and block off the exits. The Pequot were trapped inside. Those who tried climbing over the palisade were shot; anyone who succeeded in getting over was killed by the Narrangasett forces

A Brief History of the Pequot War Page 9 –
The Fire was kindled on the North East Side to windward; which did swiftly over-run the Fort, to the extream Amazement of the Enemy, and great Rejoycing of our selves. Some of them climbing to the Top of the Palizado; others of them running into the very Flames; many of them gathering to windward, lay pelting at us with their Arrows; and we repayed them with our small Shot: Others of the Stoutest issued forth, as we did guess, to the Number of Forty, who perished by the Sword.

In reference to Captain Underhill and his Parties acting in this Assault, I can only intimate as we were informed by some of themselves immediately after the Fight, Thus They Marching up to the Entrance on the South West Side, there made some Pause; a valiant, resolute Gentleman, one Mr. HEDGE, stepping towards the Gate, saying, If we may not Enter, wherefore came we hear; and immediately endeavoured to Enter; but was opposed by a sturdy Indian which did impede his Entrance: but the Indian being slain by himself and Serjeant Davis, Mr. Hedge Entred the Fort with some others; but the Fort being on Fire, the Smoak and Flames were so violent that they were constrained to desert the Fort.

Thomas CLARKE (1605 – 1697) Headed list of volunteers to act against the Pequot Indians in 1637 in Plymouth being then mentioned as of Eel River now Chiltonville.

Robert  CROSS (1613 – 1693) was one of the young men of Ipswich, seventeen in number, who saw service as soldiers in the Pequot war. The war lasted six months and the men were paid at the rate of 20s. a month.

Posted in History | 4 Comments

Great Swamp Fight

The Great Swamp Fight on December 19, 1675 was the most significant battle of King Philip’s War, what has been called the bloodiest (per capita) conflict in the history of America.  It was a critical blow to the Narragansett tribe from which they never fully recovered.  In April 1676, the Narragansett were completely defeated when the Wampanoag sachem Metacom was shot in the heart by John Alderman, a Native American soldier.  The Narragansett tribe was not recognized by the Federal Government until 1983 and today includes 2,400 members.

As I worked out our family genealogy, the Great Swamp Fight kept appearing again and again.  Our family seems to have an especially intimate relationship with this battle, but I’m beginning to think that every family was equally involved.  Nine direct ancestors participated, four were officers and one was killed.  27 close relatives were part of the fight of whom 6 were officers, six were killed or died of their wounds and six were wounded and survived.  Of the three small regiments involved, eleven officers were our ancestors or their children.

Navigate this Report
1. Overview
2. Background
3. The Battle

4. General Staff
5. Massachusetts Regiment
6. Plymouth Regiment
7. Connecticut Regiment

8. Joshua Tefft – the Only American Drawn & Quartered

9. Aftermath

1. Overview

King Philip’s War  was an armed conflict between Native American inhabitants of present-day southern New England and English colonists and their Native American allies in 1675–76. The war is named after the main leader of the Native American side, Metacomet, known to the English as “King Philip”.

King Phillip by Paul Revere - Illustration from the 1772 edition of Benjamin Church's The Entertaining History of King Philip's War

The war was the single greatest calamity to occur in seventeenth-century Puritan New England. In little over a year, nearly half of the region’s towns were destroyed, its economy was all but ruined, and much of its population was killed, including one-tenth of all men available for military service.  Proportionately, it was one of the bloodiest and costliest wars in the history of North America.   More than half of New England’s ninety towns were assaulted by Native American warriors.

Great Swamp Fight Compared to Today’s Population


Today’s U.S. Equivalent





Killed Great Swamp Fight



Wounded Great Swamp Fight (Many later died)



Colonists Killed and Wounded



Naragansett Warriors Killed

30 to 40

180,400 – 240,500

Naragansett Old Men, Women, Children Killed



The Great Swamp Fight Monument is in the woods three or four miles from the University of Rhode Island Campus  (Google Maps Satellite View)

The Great Swamp Fight Obelisk - In 1906 a rough granite shaft about 20 feet high was erected by the Rhode Island Society of Colonial Wars to commemorate this battle. Around the mound on which the shaft stands are four roughly squared granite markers engraved with the names of the colonies which took part in the encounter and two tablets on opposite sides of the shaft give additional data.

2. Background

In 1636, the Narragansett sachems (leaders), Canonicus and Miantonomi sold the land that became Providence to Roger Williams. During the Pequot War, the Narragansett were allied with the New England colonists. However, the brutality of the English shocked the Narragansetts, who returned home in disgust.   After the defeat of the Pequot, the Narrangansett had conflict with the Mohegans over control of the conquered Pequot land.

In 1643 the Narragansett under Miantonomi invaded what is now eastern Connecticut. The plan was to subdue the Mohegan nation and its leader Uncas. Miantonomi had between 900-1000 men under his command.  The invasion turned into a fiasco, and Miantonomi was captured and executed by Uncas’ brother. The following year, the new war leader Pessicus of the Narragansett renewed the war with the Mohegan. With each success, the number of Narragansett allies grew. The Mohegan were on the verge of defeat when the English came and saved them. The English sent troops to defend the Mohegan fort at Shantok. When the English threatened to invade Narragansett territory, Canonicus and his son Mixanno signed a peace treaty. The peace would last for the next 30 years, but the encroachment by the growing colonial population gradually began to erode any accords between natives and settlers.

In King Philip’s War, the Native Americans wanted to expel the English from New England. They waged successful attacks on settlements in Massachusetts and Connecticut, but Rhode Island was spared at the beginning as the Narragansett remained officially neutral.

The United Colonies of New England declared war against the Narragansett Indians on November 2, 1675, charging them, among other things, with “relieving and succouring Wampanoag women and children and wounded men” and not delivering them to the English, and also because they “did in a very reproachful and blasphemous manner, triumph and rejoice” over the English defeat at Hadley. They voted to raise a thousand soldiers to be sent against the Narragansetts unless their sachems gave up the fugitive Wampanoags.

On 2 Nov 1675, General Josiah Winslow led a combined force of over 1000 colonial militia including about 150 Pequot and Mohegan Indians against the Narragansett tribe living around Narragansett Bay.

Several abandoned Narragansett Indian villages were found and burned as the militia marched through the cold winter around Narragansett Bay.  The forces of the United Colonies under Governor Winslow marched across Rhode Island and on December 14 attacked the village of the Squaw Sachem Matantuck near Wickford and burned 150 wigwams, killing seven Indians and taking nine prisoners. The Narragansetts then began a guerrilla warfare, sniping Colonial troops wherever occasion offered. The tribe had retreated to a large fort in the center of a swamp near Kingston, Rhode Island.

A fort in the Great Swamp had been built by the Narragansett Sachem, Canonchet, as a place of refuge. Because of its location on a small island of dry land in the midst of a great swamp, he no doubt considered it impregnable. The massive fort occupied about 5 acres of land. It was, however, only partially completed and consisted of “pallisadoes stuck upright in a hedge of about a rod in thickness.” Two fallen trees formed natural bridges which were the only entrances and the principal one was guarded by a block house. Inside the fort the stores, harvests and accumulated wealth of the Narragansetts had been brought and there asylum had been offered the aged and infirm and the women and children of the Wampanoags of King Philip.

The building of such a defensive structure gives credence to the argument that the Narragansett never intended aggressive actions, thus the colonist’s preemptive attack may have been unwarranted and overzealous.

On the night of December 15 the Indians surrounded Jireh Bull’s large stone house on Tower Hill and massacred all but two of the occupants. The smoldering ruins of the house were found by English scouts the next day. It is possible that the Indians had learned of a plan for the Connecticut contingent to join the other forces at this house and had destroyed it in order to handicap the colonies. Three days later the two English forces joined at Pettaquamscutt and planned to attack the Indians the next day.

3. The Battle

Ordinarily the swamp was practically impenetrable, as it is to this day, but due to the severe December weather the marshy ground had frozen and the English soldiers gained easy access to the island. The Indian outposts retreated into the fort where they were followed by the English. The terrible battle which then began took place amidst ice, snow, under brush and fallen trees.

It had been at 5 AM that the white soldiers had formed up after their night in the cold snow without blankets, and set out toward this Narragansett stronghold. They had arrived at the edge of the Great Swamp, an area around , at about 1 PM. The Massachusetts troops in the lead were fired upon by a small band of native Americans and pursued without waiting for orders. As the natives retreated they came along across the frozen swamp to the entrance of the fort, which was on an island of sorts standing above the swamp, and consisted of a triple palisade of logs twelve feet high. There were small blockhouses at intervals above this palisade. Inside, the main village sheltered about 3,000 men, women, and children.

The Massachusetts troops had been enticed to arrive at precisely the strongest section of the palisade where, however, there was a gap for which no gate had yet been built. Across this gap the natives had placed a tree trunk breast height, as a barrier to check any charge, and just above the gap was a blockhouse. Without waiting for the Plymouth and Connecticut companies, the Massachusetts soldiers charged the opening and swarmed over the barrier.  Of the Massachusetts troops Capts. Mosely and Davenport led the van and came first upon the Indians, and immediately opened fire upon them,  Five company commanders were killed in the charge but the troops managed to remain for a period inside the fort before falling back into the swamp.

The Massachusetts men, now joined by Plymouth, gathered themselves for a second charge. Meanwhile, Major Treat led his Connecticut troops round to the back of the fort where the palisade had not been finished. Here and there the posts were spaced apart and protected only by a tangled mass of limbs and brush. The men charged up a bank under heavy fire and forced their way past the palisade. As they gained a foothold inside, the second charge at the gap also forced an entrance and the battle raged through the Indian village.

Great Swamp Fight Painting

It was a fight without quarter on either side, and was still raging at sunset when Winslow ordered the wooden lodges put to the torch. The flames, whipped by the winds of the driving snowstorm, spread quickly, burning 600 wigwams in the crowded fort. The “shrieks and cries of the women and children, the yelling of the warriors, exhibited a most horrible and appalling scene, so that it greatly moved some of the soldiers. They were in much doubt and they afterwards seriously inquired whether burning their enemies alive could be consistent with humanity and the benevolent principle of the gospel,” says one early account.

Winslow decided that the army had to fall back to the shelter of Smith’s Trading Post in Coccumscossoc (Wickford), where some resupply ships might have arrived. The English gathered their wounded, the worst being placed on horseback, and fell back toward Wickford. It would not be until 2 AM that the leading units would stumble into the town. Some, losing their way, would not get shelter until 7 AM.

The retreating Indians were driven from the woods about the fort, leaving the English a complete, though costly, victory. They had lost five captains and 20 men and had some 150 wounded that must be carried back to a house some ten miles distant. To the terrors of the battle and fire were added the bitter cold and blinding snow of a New England blizzard through which the English toiled back to Cocumcussa. The hardships of that march took a toll of 30 or 40 more lives. The Indians reported a loss of 40 fighting men and one sachem killed and some 300 old men, women and children burned alive in the wigwams.

Many of the warriors and their families escaped into the frozen swamp. Facing a winter with little food and shelter, the whole surviving Narragansett tribe was forced out of quasi-neutrality some had tried to maintain in the on-going war and joined the fight alongside Philip. The colonists lost many of their officers in this assault and about 70 of their men were killed and nearly 150 more wounded. The dead and wounded colonial militiamen were evacuated to the settlements on Aquidneck Island in Narragansett Bay where they were buried or cared for by many of the Rhode Island colonists until they could return to their homes.

Great Swamp Fight 1906 Map - Rhode Island Society of Colonial Wars' Record of the Unveiling of the Monument Commemorating the Great Swamp Fight, - The site of the Narragansett fort is marked with a red X

A portion of the high ground had been enclosed, and from a careful comparison of the most reliable accounts, it seems that the fortifications were well planned.  Mr. Hubbard says: “The Fort was raised upon a Kind of Island of five or six acres of rising Land in the midst of a swamp; the sides of it were made of Palisadoes set upright, the which was compassed about with a Hedg of almost a rod Thickness.” A contemporary writer says: “In the midst of the Swamp was a Piece of firm Land, of about three or four Acres, whereon the Indians had built a kind of Fort, being palisadoed round, and within that a clay Wall, as also felled down abundance of Trees to lay quite round the said Fort, but they had not quite finished the said Work.” It is evident from these, the only detailed accounts, and from some casual references, that the works were rude and incomplete, but would have been almost impregnable to the colonial troops had not the swamp been frozen.

At the corners and exposed portions, rude block-houses and flankers had been built, from which a raking fire could be poured upon any attacking force. Either by chance, or the skill of Peter, their Indian guide, the English seem to have come upon a point of the fort where the Indians did not expect them. Mr. Church, in relating the circumstances of Capt. Gardiner’s death, says that he was shot from that side “next the upland where the English entered the swamp.” The place where he fell was at the “east end of the fort.” The tradition that the English approached the swamp by the rising land in front of the “Judge Marchant” house, thus seems confirmed. This “upland” lies about north of the battlefield.

Posted in History | Tagged | 52 Comments

Witch Trials – Jury

Our ancestors, noted below by Bold CAPITALS, played every role in the 17th Century Witch Trials: Accused, Accuser, Witness, Neighbor, Jury and the Law.  Seeing all their stories together, shows that the witch trials weren’t an isolated incident.  Since all the players were family, the message I get is that everyone in their society was responsible for what happened.

1. Victims
2. Accusers
3. Witnesses
4. Supporters and Neighbors
5. Constabulary
6. Jury

It is generally accepted that the Salem trials were one of the defining moments that changed American jurisprudence from the English system of “guilty, ’til proven innocent” to the current American system of “innocent until proven guilty”. In addition, the jury pool in trials was changed from “church-members only” to “all those who have property” in an act which was passed by the General Court on 25 Nov 1692. Finally, these cases caused Americans to take their first steps away from what we now know as “cruel & unusual punishment” when trying to get someone to confess. It had been a staple of the English legal system, but after 1692 even Cotton Mather urged judges to use “Crosse and Swift Questions” rather than physical torture to gain the truth. These were three significant changes to the nascent American legal system. In May of 1693, Governor Phips pardoned the remaining accused of witchcraft.

William Stoughton (1631 – July 7, 1701) was the grandson of our ancestor Rev. Thomas STOUGHTON.  He was a colonial magistrate and admininstrator in the Province of Massachusetts Bay.


William Stoughton c. 1700

Stoughton was in charge of what have come to be known as the Salem Witch Trials, first as the Chief Justice of the Special Court of Oyer and Terminer in 1692, and then as the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Judicature in 1693. In these trials he controversially accepted spectral evidence (based on supposed demonic visions). Unlike other magistrates, he never admitted to the possibility that his acceptance of such evidence was in error.

In 1692, when Increase Mather and Sir William Phips arrived from England carrying the charter for the new Province of Massachusetts Bay and a royal commission for Phips as governor, they also brought one for Stoughton as lieutenant governor.

When Phips arrived, rumors of witchcraft were running rampant, especially in Salem. Phips immediately appointed Stoughton to head a special tribunal to deal with accusations of witchcraft, and in June appointed him chief justice of the colonial courts, a post he would hold for the rest of his life.  In the now-notorious Salem Witch Trials, Stoughton acted as both chief judge and prosecutor. He was particularly harsh on some of the defendants, sending the jury deliberating in the case of Rebecca Nurse  [daughter of our ancestor William TOWNE and sister of  Mary Towne ESTEY] back to reconsider its not guilty verdict; after doing so, she was convicted.  Many convictions were made because Stoughton permitted the use of spectral evidence, the idea that a demonic vision could only take on the shape or appearance of someone who had made some sort of devilish pact or engaged in witchcraft. Although Cotton Mather argued that this type of evidence was acceptable when making accusations, some judges expressed reservations about its use in judicial proceedings. Stoughton, however, was convinced of its acceptability, and may have influenced other judges to this view.  The special court stopped sitting in September 1692.

In November and December 1692 Governor Phips oversaw a reorganization of the colony’s courts to bring them into conformance with English practice. The new courts, with Stoughton still sitting as chief justice, began to handle the witchcraft cases in 1693, but were under specific instructions from Phips to disregard spectral evidence. Because of this, a significant number of cases were dismissed due to a lack of evidence, and Phips vacated the few convictions that were made.  This turn of events angered Stoughton, and he briefly left the bench in protest.  Historian Cedric Cowing suggests that Stoughton’s acceptance of spectral evidence was based partly in a need he saw to reassert Puritan authority in the province.

Deacon William FISKE (1643 – 1728), Joseph BATCHELLER’s son John (1638 – 1698) and Daniel WARNER’s son-in-law John Dane (1645 – 1707) were on the Jury during the witchcraft cases in Salem.  They signed a Declaration of Regret asking forgiveness for the error of their judgement.

“We whose names are under-written, being in the year 1692 called to serve as jurors in court at Salem, on trial of many who were by some suspected guilty of doing acts of witchcraft upon the bodies of sundry persons, we confess that we ourselves were not capable to understand, nor able to withstand, the mysterious delusions of the powers of darkness and Prince of the air, but were, for want of knowledge in ourselves and better information from others, prevailed with to take with such evidence against the accused, as, on further consideration and better information, we justly fear was insufficient for the touching the lives of any (Deut. xvii) whereby we fear we have been instrumental, with others, though ignorantly and unwittingly, to bring upon ourselves and this people of the Lord the guilt of innocent blood; which sin the Lord saith in Scripture he would not pardon (2 Kings xxiv. 4)–that is, we suppose, in regard to his temporal judgments. We do therefore hereby signify to all in general, and to the surviving sufferers in special, our deep sense of, and sorrow for, our errors in acting on such evidence to the condemning of any person; and do hereby declare, that we justly fear that we were sadly deluded and mistaken–for which we are much disquieted and distressed in our minds, and do therefore humbly beg forgiveness, first of God, for Christ’s sake, for this our error, and pray that God would impute the guilt of it to ourselves nor others, and we also pray that we may be considered candidly and aright by the living sufferers, as being then under a strong and general delusion, utterly unacquainted with, and not experienced in, matters of that nature.

“We do hereby ask forgiveness of you all, whom we have justly offended, and do declare, according to our present minds, we would none of us do such things again, on such grounds, for the whole world–praying you to accept of this in way of satisfacton for our offense, and that you would bless the inheritance of the Lord, that he may be entreated for the land.”
John Bacheler

Thomas Fisk, Foreman
William FISK
John Bacheler (son of Joseph BACHELER)
Thomas Fisk
John Dane (Son-in-law of Daniel WARNER)
Joseph Evelith
Thomas Pearly, Sr.
John Peabody
Thomas Perkins
Samuel Sayer
Andrew Eliot
Henry Herrick, Sr.

Jury foreman Capt. Thomas Fiske and Deacon William Fiske were third cousins once removed; Capt. Thomas Fiske, jr., and Deacon William Fiske were fourth cousins;

Many genealogies state that Robert Paine Jr. (1627 in Newton, Suffolk, England – d.  Dec 1693 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass  ) , the grandson of William PAYNE, was the foreman of the Grand Jury that found all the indictments for witchcraft at Salem.   However,  as far as I can tell,  he became foreman in Jan 1693 and only returned findings of “Ignoramus   [The legal definition of this word is uninformed.   It is written on a bill by a grand jury, when they find that there is not sufficient evidence to authorize their finding it a true bill. Sometimes, instead of using this word, the grand jury endorse on the bill, “Not found.”]  

Sarah Bassett,  like so many of her neighbors, was accused of being a witch in 1692. She was tried at Salem on 21 May 1692 and imprisoned in Boston until 3 Dec 1692.   Sshe gave birth to her son, Joseph, on 15 Dec. In addition, she took her 22-month old child (probably Ruth) with her to prison. She named her next daughter “Deliverance” in honor of her freedom. In 1693, she was recompensed a whopping £9 for her experience.

Indictment v. Sarah Bassett

Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England Essex \ Ano RR & Reginae Gulielmi & Mariare Angliae &c Quarto Anoq’e\Dom. 1692.

The Jurors for o’r Sov’r lord & Lady the King & Queen pr’sent The Sarah Bassett wife of William Bassett of Lyn in the County of Essex aforesaid Upon or about the 23’rd day of May last Anno:
1692 aforsaid

And Divers other Days & Times as well before as after Certaine Detestable Arts Called Witchcraft & Sorceries Wickedly Mallitiously & felloniously hath used practised & Exercised at & in the Towne of Salem, in the County of Essex aforesaid Upon & Against One Mary Walcott of Salem Single Woman By Which Wicked Arts The Said Mary Walcott is Tortured aflicted Tormented Consumed Wasted & Pined the Day & yeare aforesaid & Divers other Days & times as well before as Contrary to the peace of o’r Sov’r lord & lady the King & Queen their Crowne & Dignity & the Laws in that Case made & provided.

Ann Putnam
Marcy Lewis
Robert Payne foreman
Salem Court 3 Jan 1693

Sarah Cloyes,, daughter of  William TOWNEher two sisters, Rebecca Nurse and Mary ESTEY already having been hung, was examined in the early part of the trials in January of 1693.  The three indictments against Sarah Cloyes are all legal forms written in the same clerkly hand. They are for having performed witchcraft on the body of Abigail Walcott in April and for having performed witchcraft on the body of Abigail Williams during that month. The third indictment is for a much later date. It is for having performed witchcraft on the body of her niece, Rebecca Towne of Topsfield on, before and after September 1st. The words of Sarah Cloyes, wife of Peter Cloyes of Salem Village are evidently written in the same hand.” Many indictments were written out in advance with the name of the accused written in later. “All three indictments against Sarah Cloyes have the word ‘ignoramus’ written in still another hand on the reverse. After the word ignoramus, in yet another hand occurs Robert Payne’s distincitve signature on all three indictments.” Robert Payne was the new jury foreman in January of 1693.

(Indictment v. Sarah Cloyce , No. 1)

The Jurors for our Soveraigne Lord & Lady the King and Queen
doe present That Sarah Cloyce Wife of Peter Cloyce of Salem —
in the County of Essex Husbandman upon or about the n’th Day of April — In the yeare aforesaid and divers other Days and times as
well before as after Certaine Detestable Arts called Witchcraft and
Sorceries Wickedly Mallitiously and felloniously hath used practised
and Exercised At and in the Towne of Salem in the Country of
Essex — aforesaid in upon and against one Abigail Williams of Salem —
aforesaid Single Woman — by which said Wicked Acts the said Abi-
gaill Williams the Day & Yeare — aforesaid and Divers other Days
and times both before and after was and is Tortured Aflicted Con-
sumed Wasted Pined and Tormented against the Peace of our Sov’r
Lord and Lady the King & Queen theire Crowne and Dignity and
The Law In that case made and Provided

Sarah Cloyes Indictment

Sarah Cloyes Indictment

Robert Payne

Robert Payne Signature to

Robert Payne Signature to

Robert  Jr., graduated at Harvard University in the class of 1656, and studied for the ministry. Whether or not he actually practiced his profession does not certainly appear, but Felt speaks of him as “a preacher.”  There is reason to believe that he was not an active prosecutor of the accused, or if at any time he was so, he changed his mind before his death and took measures to allay the delusion.

An Aug 9 1692 letter  to  Jonathan Corwin, one of the trial judges, signaled the end of the Salem hysteria.  Most historians think the letter was written by Robert Pike, , son-in-law of our ancestor Joseph MOYCE  (See my post Witch Trial Supporters)

Robert Pike had a long history of opposing religious tyranny, for example, denouncing in 1655 the law forbidding to preach if not Ordained,  but the actual letter just contains the initials “RP” and the name Robert Payne was added later in a different hand, so an early record keeper thought Robert Payne was the author.  Here is a detailed discussion of who wrote the letter and here is another.

The letter is a tightly reasoned attack upon the use of spectral evidence and the testimony of the ‘afflicted girls’ in general. While the author, like all Puritans, believed witches and witchcraft existed and were the work of Satan, he was questioning the current methods of the court in determining credibility and guilt.   The letter makes several points:

  • Citing 1st Samuel xxviii 13, 14: Any person, virtuous or not, may be in truth a witch.
  • A poor reputation does not suggest or substantiate guilt (as with Sarah Good).
  • Satan is capable of presenting anyone’s specter to a tormented person (not only a witch’s specter).
  • How can it be known if Satan acts with or without the permission of any specific (accused) person.
  • It is completely contrary to a witch’s well-being for them to practice witchcraft within a courtroom.
  • It is likewise contrary for witches to accuse others of witchcraft (as was the case), as “they are all part of Satan’s kingdom, which would fall, if divided against itself”.

It is not known just how the letter was received, since there is no written response, but with it he became one of the first of several prominent men to question the handling of the witchcraft crisis. Within a few weeks Thomas Brattle and Samuel Willard of Boston wrote their own manuscripts, using some of the same arguments Pike had documented. By October of 1692 the activity of the courts was greatly diminished, the executions had ended, and the witchcraft crisis was effectively over.


The Salem witchcraft papers, original volumes  edited by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum (1977) / revised, corrected, and augmented by Benjamin C. Ray and Tara S. Wood (2010) University of Virginia Archives

Posted in History, Witch Trials | 22 Comments

Witch Trials – Constabulary

Our ancestors, noted below by Bold CAPITALS, played every role in the 17th Century Witch Trials: Accused, Accuser, Witness, Neighbor, Jury and the Law.  Seeing all their stories together, shows that the witch trials weren’t an isolated incident.  Since all the players were family, the message I get is that everyone in their society was responsible for what happened.

1. Victims
2. Accusers
3. Witnesses
4. Supporters and Neighbors
5. Constabulary
6. Jury

It is generally accepted that the Salem trials were one of the defining moments that changed American jurisprudence from the English system of “guilty, ’til proven innocent” to the current American system of “innocent until proven guilty”. In addition, the jury pool in trials was changed from “church-members only” to “all those who have property” in an act which was passed by the General Court on 25 Nov 1692. Finally, these cases caused Americans to take their first steps away from what we now know as “cruel & unusual punishment” when trying to get someone to confess. It had been a staple of the English legal system, but after 1692 even Cotton Mather urged judges to use “Crosse and Swift Questions” rather than physical torture to gain the truth. These were three significant changes to the nascent American legal system. In May of 1693, Governor Phips pardoned the remaining accused of witchcraft.


Richard ORMSBY (1602 – 1664) was a constable in Salisbury in 1656 and testified he saw something on Eunice Cole’s breast when he was about to administer a public whipping.

The deposition of Richard Ormsby constable of Salisbury. That being about to strip Eunice Cole to be whipped (by the judgment of the court at Salisbury) looking upon her breasts under one of her breasts (I think her left breast) I saw a blue thing like unto a teat hanging downward about three quarters of an inch long not very thick, and having a great suspicion in my mind about it (she being suspected for a witch) [I] desired the court to send some women to look of it and presently hereupon she pulled or scratched it of[f] in a violent manner, and some blood with other moistness did appear clearly to my apprehension and she said it was a sore. John Goddard doth testify that he saw her with her hand violently scratch it away. Sworn in the court at Salisbury. 12th, 2d. month 1656, Thomas Bradbury Vera Copia per me Thomas Bradbury recorder. Sworn in the court September 4, 1656.

Edward Rawson affirmed I stood by and saw the constable rip her shift down and saw the place raw and fresh blood where Good[y] Cole [ends abruptly].

The court presently stepping to her saw a place raw with some fresh blood but no appearance of any old sore: Thomas Bradbury recorder in the name of the court. Sworn in court September 4, 1656 Richard Ormsby Edward Rawson Secretary.

Also Abraham Perkins and John Redman affirmed on oath that they stood by and saw the constable tear down her shift and saw the place raw and where she had [tore?] of[f?] her teat and fresh blood come from it and saw her [ ] her hand to tear of[f] it was torn off. Sworn in court September 4, 1656 Edward Rawson Secretary.

A resident of Hampton in present-day New Hampshire, Mrs. Cole had been in and out of the courts of Essex and Norfolk counties, Massachusetts, since the 1640s. She was tried on charges of witchcraft for the first time in 1656. It is probable that she was convicted, instead of ordering her execution, the court sentenced Mrs. Cole to imprisonment in Boston and a public whipping. She was in and out of prison for the next decade, during which time, in 1662, her aged husband William died. Eunice was charged again with witchcraft in 1673; the court criticized her, though the formal verdict was innocence. In the years before and after this trial she lived in Hampton in a destitute condition. Her third court hearing on charges of witchcraft occurred in 1680; though not indicted, she was put in prison. The depositions from 1673, which are the fullest surviving records of community suspicions, describe Eunice Cole as attempting to persuade a ten-year-old girl, Ann Smith, to live with her.

Orlando BAGLEY Jr. (1658 – 1728) was Susannah Martin’s arresting Amesbury constable. See his page for images of the original summons, examination and death warrant.  Susannah was found guilty, and was hanged on July 19, 1692 in Salem.

Posted in History | 7 Comments

Witch Trials – Supporters

Our ancestors, noted below by Bold CAPITALS, played every role in the 17th Century Witch Trials: Accused, Accuser, Witness, Neighbor, Jury and the Law.  Seeing all their stories together, shows that the witch trials weren’t an isolated incident.  Since all the players were family, the message I get is that everyone in their society was responsible for what happened.

1. Victims
2. Accusers
3. Witnesses
4. Supporters and Neighbors
5. Constabulary
6. Jury

It is generally accepted that the Salem trials were one of the defining moments that changed American jurisprudence from the English system of “guilty, ’til proven innocent” to the current American system of “innocent until proven guilty”. In addition, the jury pool in trials was changed from “church-members only” to “all those who have property” in an act which was passed by the General Court on 25 Nov 1692. Finally, these cases caused Americans to take their first steps away from what we now know as “cruel & unusual punishment” when trying to get someone to confess. It had been a staple of the English legal system, but after 1692 even Cotton Mather urged judges to use “Crosse and Swift Questions” rather than physical torture to gain the truth. These were three significant changes to the nascent American legal system. In May of 1693, Governor Phips pardoned the remaining accused of witchcraft.


It was dangerous to be a supporter of a witchcraft defendant.  Friends and relatives were often accused themselves.

I. Petition in Support of John and Elizabeth Proctor

We are related to 13 of the 30 men that signed the Proctor Petition

The Humble, & Sincere Declaration of us, Subscribers, Inhabitants, in Ipswich, on the behalf of o’r Neighb’rs Jno Procter & his wife now in Trouble & und’r Suspition of Witchcraft.

Too the Hon’rable Court of Assistants now Sitting In Boston. —

Hon’red & Right Worshipfull!

The foresd John Procter may have Great Reason to Justifie the Divine Sovereigntie of God under thos Severe Remarques of Providence upon his Peac & Hon’r und’r a due Reflection upon his Life Past: And so the Best of us have Reason to Adoar the Great Pittie & Indulgenc of Gods Providenc, that we are not Exposed to the utmost shame, that the Divell can Invent und’r the p’rmissions of Sovereigntie, tho not for that Sin fore Named; yet for o’r many Transgretions; for we Do at present Suppose that it may be A Method w’thin the Seveerer But Just Transaction of the Infinite Majestie of God: that he some times may p’rmitt Sathan to p’rsonate, Dissemble, & therby abuse Inocents, & such as Do in the fear of God Defie the Devill and all his works. The Great Rage he is p’rmitted to attempt holy Job w’th The Abuse he Does the famous Samuell, in Disquieting his Silent Dust, by Shaddowing his venerable P’rson in Answer to the harmes of WitchCraft, & other Instances from Good hands; may be arg’d Besides the unsearcheable foot stepps of Gods Judgments that are brought to Light Every Morning that Astonish o’r weaker Reasons, To teach us Adoration, Trembling. & Dependanc, &ca but —

We must not Trouble y’r Honr’s by Being Tedious, Therefore we being Smitten with the Notice of what hath happened, we Recoon it w’thin the Duties of o’r Charitie, That Teacheth us to do, as we would be done by; to offer thus much for the Clearing of o’r Neighb’rs Inocencie; viz: That we never had the Least Knowledge of such a Nefarious wickedness in o’r said Neighbours, since they have been w’thin our acquaintance; Neither doe we remember — any such Thoughts in us Concerning them; or any Action by them or either of them Directly tending that way; no more than might be in the lives of any other p’rsons of the Clearest Reputation as to Any such Evills. What God may have Left them to, we Cannot Go into Gods pavillions Cloathed w’th Cloudes of Darknesse Round About.

But as to what we have ever seen, or heard of them — upon o’r Consciences we Judge them Innocent of the crime objected.

His Breading hath been Amongst us; and was of Religious Parents in o’r place; & by Reason of Relations, & Proprties w’thin o’r Towne hath had Constant Intercourse w’th us

We speak upon o’r p’rsonall acquaintance, & observations: & so Leave our Neighbours, & this our Testimonie on their Behalfe to the wise Thoughts of y’r Honours, & Subscribe &c.

*Jno Wise
*William STORY Sen’r
*Thos Chote
*John Burnum sr  (son of Thomas Burnham, nephew of Capt Robert ANDREWS.  This Capt. Andrews had a sister Mary, who was the wife of Robert Burnham. Their three boys were John, Thomas and Robert, it is said,were put in the charge of their uncle Andrews, master of the ship”Angel Gabriel.” This ship was cast away at Tammaquid, in Maine, in a terrible storm Aug 15, 1635, after which loss, Capt. Andrews settled with his three nephews at Chebacco in Massachusetts Bay.  In addition, John Burnham’s wife Elizabeth was Granddaughter of Thomas WELLS (Colchester) (1566 – 1620) and William WARNER (1594 – 1648) — her parents were Deacon Thomas Wells and Abigail Warner)
*William Thomsonn.
*Tho. Low Sanor (Son of Thomas LOW (c. 1605 – 1677)
*Isaac Foster (Son of Reginald FOSTER)
*John Burnum jun’r (son of John Burnham)
*William Goodhew
*John Cogswell
*Thomas Andrews
*Joseph Andrews (Grandson of Capt. Robert ANDREWS)
*Benjamin marshall (Son of Edmund MARSHALL)
*Isaac perkins (Son of Quartermaster John PERKINS (1614 – 1686)
*Nathanill Perkins (Son of Quartermaster John PERKINS (1614 – 1686)
*Thomas Lovkine
*William Cogswell
*Thomas Varny (Son-in-law of John PROCTOR)
*John fellows
*William Cogswell sen
* Jonathan Cogswell
*John Cogswell Ju
*John Andrews (Grandson of Capt. Robert ANDREWS)
*Joseph prockter (Grandson of John PROCTOR)
*Samuell Gidding
*John Andrews Ju’r (Great Grandson of Capt. Robert ANDREWS)
*William Butler
*William Andrews
*Joseph Euleth.
*Jems White

Signatures on Petition for John Proctor 1

Signatures on Petition for John Proctor 2


II. Maj. Robert Pike son-in-law of Joseph MOYCE

The historian of the Salem witchcraft delusion says that “not a voice comes down to us of deliberate and effective hostility to the movement, except that of Robert Pike in his cool, close and powerful argumentative appeals to the judges who were trying the witchcraft cases. It stands out against the deep blackness of those proceedings like a pillar of light upon a starless Midnight sky.”

Major Robert Pike

Major Robert Pike (1616-1706)

Confronting the judges stood this sturdy old man, his head whitened with the frosts of seventy-six winters and protested that there was no legal way of convicting a witch, even according to the laws and beliefs of those times. It required no small amount of courage for him to take the stand he did against the opinions of the highest judicial tribunal in the province when no one was safe from the charge of having dealings with the evil one, and he himself might be the very next one accused of being a witch! But having the courage of his convictions he rose to the demands of the situation and proclaimed his opposition by a formal and thorough exposition: The great merit of this position, so far as it has come down to us, belongs entirely to him, and no man of his time is entitled to greater honor. It is a marvel how he breasted the storm when any resistance to the popular demamd was deemed evidence of complicity with the witches, imps and all the powers of darkness, to overthrow the true church on earth.

He defended and plead the cause of several of the accused, among whom were Mrs. Mary Bradbury, (daughter of John PERKINS) who was condemned but not executed, and Susanna Martin (wife of George MARTIN), whose memory is perpetuated by John Greenleaf Whittier, the poet.

[Whittier wrote: “From all that I have read, and from the traditions of the valley of the Merrimac, I have been accustomed to regard Robert Pike as one of the wisest and worthiest of the early settlers of that region. . . . He was by all odds the most remarkable personage of the place and time.”]

An Aug 9 1692 letter  to  Jonathan Corwin, one of the trial judges, signaled the end of the Salem hysteria.  Most historians think the letter was written by Robert Pike,

Robert Pike had a long history of opposing religious tyranny, for example, denouncing the law forbidding to preach if not Ordained in 1655, but the actual letter just contains the initials “RP” and the name Robert Payne, (foreman of the Grand Jury that returned the Witch Trial indictments and grandson of William PAYNE)  was added later in a different hand, so an early record keeper thought this Robert wrote it.  Here is a detailed discussion of who wrote the letter and here is another.

The letter is a tightly reasoned attack upon the use of spectral evidence and the testimony of the ‘afflicted girls’ in general. While the author, like all Puritans, believed witches and witchcraft existed and were the work of Satan, he was questioning the current methods of the court in determining credibility and guilt.   The letter makes several points:

  • Citing 1st Samuel xxviii 13, 14: Any person, virtuous or not, may be in truth a witch.
  • A poor reputation does not suggest or substantiate guilt (as with Sarah Good).
  • Satan is capable of presenting anyone’s specter to a tormented person (not only a witch’s specter).
  • How can it be known if Satan acts with or without the permission of any specific (accused) person.
  • It is completely contrary to a witch’s well-being for them to practice witchcraft within a courtroom.
  • It is likewise contrary for witches to accuse others of witchcraft (as was the case), as “they are all part of Satan’s kingdom, which would fall, if divided against itself”.

It is not known just how the letter was received, since there is no written response, but with it he became one of the first of several prominent men to question the handling of the witchcraft crisis. Within a few weeks Thomas Brattle and Samuel Willard of Boston wrote their own manuscripts, using some of the same arguments Pike had documented. By October of 1692 the activity of the courts was greatly diminished, the executions had ended, and the witchcraft crisis was effectively over.

III. Supporters of Elizabeth Howe

Elizabeth Howe was one of those  accused of witchcraft

The Perely family of Ipswich, Massachusetts, was among the chief accusers of Elizabeth Howe. They had a ten year old daughter they claimed was being afflicted by Howe. This was due, they claimed, to the fact that they had thwarted Elizabeth Howe’s chance of becoming a member of the Ipswich Church.  The child complained of being pricked by pins and sometimes fell into fits.  In their testimony against Howe, on June 1, 1692, the Perelys quoted their daughter as saying, “I could never afflict a dog as Good Howe afflicts me.” At first the parents did not believe their daughter’s accusations. They took the child to several doctors who told them she was “under an evil hand”.  Her condition continued for two or three years, until “she pined away to skin and bones and ended her sorrowful life”.

Elizabeth Howe was accused of afflicting several other girls within Salem Village. The identities of the girls Elizabeth Howe was accused of afflicting are recorded in the transcript of her examination:

31 May 1692 – When Elizabeth Howe was brought in for examination Mercy Lewis  and Mary Walcott  two of her main accusers, fell into a fit. She was accused by Mary of pinching and choking her in the month of May. Ann Putnam, Jr.  added her accusations to these by saying she had been hurt three times by Howe. When asked how she pled to the charges made against her, Elizabeth Howe boldly responded, “If it was the last moment I was to live, God knows I am innocent of any thing of this nature”.

3 Jun 1692 – Having witnessed a conversation between Samuel Perley’s little girl and Elizabeth Howe. Reverend Phillips of Rowley testified in her defense.

In her defense, Elizabeth Howe’s father-in-law testified to her good nature. He said that she, “[set] a side humain infurmitys as [become] a Christion with Respact to [himself] as a father very dutifully & a wifife to [his] son very carfull loveing obedient and kind Considering his want of eye sight.” He concluded his witness by saying, “now desiering god may guide your honours to se a difference between predigous and Consentes I rest yours to Sarve”

Deborah Prince was daughter of Thomas PRINCE and Mary PATCH and second wife of George HADLEY .  George’s  first wife Mary PROCTOR was the brother of John Proctor who was accused of witchcraft, convicted and hanged 19 Aug 1692.  Deborah was a witness in support of her neighbor Elizabeth Howe accused in the Salem Witch trials.

The deposition of Deborah Hadley, aged about seventy years: This deponent testifieth that and sh. that I have lived near to Elizabeth Howe (ye wife of James Howe Jr of Ipswich) 24 year and have found her a neighborly woman, conscientious in her dealings, faithful in her promise, and Christianlike in her conversation so far as I have observed and further saith not.”

25 Jun 1692 –  John WARNER, his brother Daniel and Daniel’s wife Sarah wrote this petition in support of  their neighbor Elizabeth Howe.

John, his brother Daniel and Daniel’s wife Sarah wrote this deposition in support of Sarah Howes.

19 Jul 1692 – Elizabeth Howe was hanged along with Rebecca Nurse (her sister-in-law), Sarah Good, Sarah Wildes and Susannah Martin.

Posted in History, Storied, Witch Trials | 13 Comments

Witch Trials – Witnesses

Our ancestors, noted below by Bold CAPITALS, played every role in the 17th Century Witch Trials: Accused, Accuser, Witness, Neighbor, Jury and the Law.  Seeing all their stories together, shows that the witch trials weren’t an isolated incident.  Since all the players were family, the message I get is that everyone in their society was responsible for what happened.

1. Victims
2. Accusers
3. Witnesses
4. Supporters and Neighbors
5. Constabulary
6. Jury

It is generally accepted that the Salem trials were one of the defining moments that changed American jurisprudence from the English system of “guilty, ’til proven innocent” to the current American system of “innocent until proven guilty”. In addition, the jury pool in trials was changed from “church-members only” to “all those who have property” in an act which was passed by the General Court on 25 Nov 1692. Finally, these cases caused Americans to take their first steps away from what we now know as “cruel & unusual punishment” when trying to get someone to confess. It had been a staple of the English legal system, but after 1692 even Cotton Mather urged judges to use “Crosse and Swift Questions” rather than physical torture to gain the truth. These were three significant changes to the nascent American legal system. In May of 1693, Governor Phips pardoned the remaining accused of witchcraft.


James DAVIS Sr. (1583 – 1679)  and his son Ephraim signed a paper presented to Ipswich Court, February, 1658, against John Godfrey, accusing him of witchcraft.  In 1658 when the subject of witchcraft first came to his attention, he came down decidedly against the concept. When John Godfrey was charged with injuring the wife of Job Tyler by “Satanic acts,” Francis Dane judged against the probability

John Godfrey Was Tried 3 Times For Witchcraft – 1658, 1665 & 1669, Each time he was acquitted.   Prior to the Salem witchcraft trials, only five executions on the charge of witchcraft are known to have occurred in Massachusetts.  Such trials were held periodically, but the outcomes generally favored the accused.   A bad reputation in the community combined with the accusation of witchcraft did not necessarily insure conviction.  The case against John Godfrey of Andover, a notorious character consistently involved in litigation, was dismissed.  In fact, soon after the proceedings, Godfrey sued his accusers for defamation and slander and won the case.

Yet another accusation of witchcraft surfaced in 1680, this time involving John  but focusing on a Rachel Fuller , their neighbor in Hampton, New Hampshire who was accused of killing John’s infant son by witchcraft.

John Godfrey arrived in New England in 1634 and from then on, was a transient resident of several Essex County towns, including Haverhill, Newbury, Andover, Ipswich and Salem. He had a local reputation for his feats of strength, boastfulness, sleight of hand and claims of occult powers. He was first tried as a witch in June, 1659, in Andover, when Haverhill and Andover residents claimed they had suffered “losses in their persons and estates, which came not from natural causes but from ill-disposed person, who they affirmed was John Godfrey”. He was acquitted.

From 1658 to his death, John Godfrey was in court at least once a year and in some years many times. As suit and counter-suit piled on top of each other, his record of legal actions became extraordinary, even by the standards of a highly litigious society.  I don’t think the depositions of and James and his son Ephraim survive , but you can see the gist of the 1658 case and more  about the infamous John Godfrey on James DAVIS ‘s page.

Hugh Jones (1635-1688) son-in-law of  John FOSTER Sr.  died Salem in 1688, but testified against another of our relatives from beyond the grave.  The record of his 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 assured her that Mrs. Elizabeth Proctor (daughter-in-law of our ancestor John PROCTOR) was their murderer.

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

John GRIFFIN (1641 – 1688)  was deputy constable of Haverhill in 1664; served on the trial jury in 1666 and 1667; was deputy marshall of the county in 1666; and kept the Haverhill ferry across the Merrimac river in 1669.  In 1669 he was a witness against John Godfrey who was suspected of witchcraft, testifying that when he started on a journey from the Merrimac river to Andover on horseback he saw Godfrey setting out on foot and yet, although he ran his horse, Godfrey was comfortably seated by the fire in Goodman Rust’s house when he arrived there. Much other testimony dealt with Godfrey’s ability to be in two places at one time.’

John Godfrey was tried three times for witchcraft – 1659, 1665 & 1669.  He apparently was a roving herdsman who demanded jobs and threatened people when he did not get them. He also caused accidents to happen to these animals, but was never caught doing it. He was also accused of arson, suborning witnesses and theft. He did not limit his activities to extra legal and illegal acts. He also liked to sue people. He usually won, but that did not stop other people from suing him.

Mary (Parker) WEBBER  (1639 -1716)  testified in George Burrough’s Witch Trial (Wikipedia) in Salem 2 Aug 1692.  She repeated accusations she heard from Burrough’s deceased wife.

Salem – 2 Aug 1692 Mary Webber wid aged aboute 53 years Testifieth and sayth that she liveing at Casco Bay aboute six or seaven years agoe, when George Burroughs was Minester at s’d place, and liveing anner – Neighbour to s’d Burroughs, was well acquainted with his wife w’ch was dauter to mr John Ruck of Salem she hath heard her tell much of her husband unkindness to her and that she dare not wright to her father to acquaint [him] how it was with her, and soe desired mee to wright to her father that he would be pleased to send for her and told mee she had beene much affrighted, and that something in the night made anoise in the chamber where she lay as if one Went aboute the Chamber, and she calling up the negro. to come to her the negro not Comeing sayd that she could not Come some thing stopt her, then her husband being called he came up. some thing Jumped down from between the Chimney & the side of the house and Run down the stairs and s’d Burroughs followed it down, and the negro then s’d it was something like a white calfe: another tyme lyeing with her husband some thing came into the house and stood by her bed side and breathed on her, and she being much affrighted at it, would have awakened her husband but could not for a considerable tyme, but as soone as he did awake it went away., but this I heard her say. and know nothing of it myselfe otherwise Except by common report of others also concerning such things.

George Burroughs Fact Sheet

  • He was the second Salem Village minister, but quarreled over his salary and left.
  • He had five children.
  • He was widowed three times.
  • His second wife died about a year after their arrival in Salem Village.
  • After his second wife’s death, he remarried and moved to Maine.
  • He was rumored to have mistreated his wives.
  • One of his children was not baptized; a fact that was brought up in his trial.
  • He was well known for his physical strength.
  • Upon his arrest for witchcraft, his wife took everything that was valuable in the house, sold his books and loaned the money for interest. She then took her own daughter and left George’s children to fend for themselves.
  • During his trial, witnesses testified that his two dead wives came to them in their dreams explaining that he had killed them.
  • He was also identified by the afflicted girls as the “Black Minister” and leader of the Salem Coven.
  • At his execution, he repeated the Lord’s Prayer flawlessly.

Mary’s son Samuel WEBBER (1658 – 1716)  testified on 2 Aug 1692 at the Salem Witch Trial about Rev. George Burroughs’ super human strength.

Samuel Webber aged about 36 years Testifieth and sayth that  aboute seaven or eight Yeares agoe I Lived at Casco Bay and George Burroughs was then Minester there, and haveing heard much of the great strength of him s’d Burroughs; he Coming to our house wee ware in discourse about the same and he then told mee that he had  put his fingers into the Bung of a Barrell of Malasses and lifted it up, and carryed it Round him and sett it downe againe.

Though the jury found no witches’ marks on his body Burroughs was convicted of witchcraft and conspiracy with the Devil. While standing before the crowd at the gallows, he successfully recited the Lord’s Prayer, something that was determined by the Court of Oyer and Terminer to be impossible for a witch (or wizard) to do.

The stunned crowd became restless until Cotton Mather, a minister from Boston, reminded the crowd from atop his horse that Burroughs had been convicted in a court of law. George Burroughs was executed on Gallows Hill, Salem, on the 19th of August, the only minister who suffered this extreme fate.

But the death of George Burroughs brought about a change in attitudes amongst the citizens of Essex County and was a contributing factor to the end of the hysteria.

Thomas LOW (c. 1605 – 1677) and other prominent men of Ipswich, Chebacco Parish, signed a letter declaring the innocence of Witchcraft charges against their neighbors, John Proctor (son of John PROCTOR Sr.) and his wife, Elizabeth.

Robert RING’s (1614 – 1691) sons Jarvis and Joseph both testified against Susanna MARTIN   Susannah was executed for witchcraft on 19 Jul 1692 in Salem, Essex, Mass.

Jarvis Ring Witch Trial

Jarvis Ring of Salisbury maketh oath as followeth, That about seven or eight years ago he had been several times afflicted in the night time by somebody or something coming up upon him when he was in bed and did sorely afflict by laying upon him and he could neither move nor speak while it was upon him, but sometimes made a kind of noise that folks did hear him and come up to him and as soon as anybody came, it would be gone. This it did for a long time before and since but he did never see anybody clearly, but one time in the night it came upon me as at othr times and I did then see the person of Susanna Martin of Amesbury. This deponent did perfectly see her and she came to this deponent and took him by the hand and bit him by the finger by force and then came and lay upon him awhile as formerly, and after a while went away. The print of the bite is yet to be seen on the little finger of his right hand for it was hard to heal (he further saith). That several times he was alseep when it came, but at that time when bit his finger he was as fairly awake as ever he was and plainly saw her shape and felt her tooth as aforesaid.

Sworn by Jarvis Ring above said May the 13th 1692
Before Me
Robt. Pike Assit. at Salisbury
Jurat in Curia

Joseph Ring Testimony against Susannah Martin

13 May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts

Joseph Ring of Salisbury aged 27 years having been strangely handled for the space of almost two years maketh this Relation upon oath as followeth, viz: That in the month of June next after Casco Bay fort was taken this deponent coming between Sandy Beach and Hampton Town met with Thomas Hardy of Great Island and a company of several other creatures with him which said Hardy demanded of this deponent two shillings and with that dreadful noise and hideous shapes of these creatures and fireball, this deponent was almost frightened out of his wits and in about a half an hour (or indeed he could not judge of the time) they left him and he came to Hampton. About ten days after as the deponent came from Boston this deponent was overtaken by a company of people on horseback who passed by him and after they were passed by him, the aforesaid Thomas Hardy turned about his horse, and ame back to this deponent with his horse in hand and desired this deponent to go to Mrs. White’s and drink with him, which being refused he turned away to the Company and they all came up together such a weth (i.e. with so many horses) that it seemed impossible to escape being trod down by them, but they went all past and then appeared no more.

About October following coming from Hampton in Salisbury Pine Plain a company of horses with men and women upon them overtook this deponent and the aforesaid Hardy being one of them came to this deponent as before and demanded his 2s of him and threatened to tear him in pieces to whom this deponent made no answer, and so he and the rest went away and left this deponent. After this this deponent had divers strange appearances which did force him away with them into unknown places where he saw meetings and feastings and many strange sights, and from August last he was dumb and could not speak till this last April. He also relates that there did use to come to him a man that did present him a book to which he would have him set his hand with promise of anything that he would have and there were presented all Delectable things, persons and places imaginable, but he refusing it, would usually and with most dreadful shapes, noises and screeching that almost scared him out of his wits, and this was the usual manner of proceeding with him. And one time the book was brought and a pen offered him to his apprehension there was blood in the ink horn, but he never touched the pen. He further say that they never told him what he should write nor he could not speak to ask them what he should write. He farther in several of their merry meetings he have seen Susanna Martin appear among them.

And that day that his speech came to him again which was about the end of April alst as he was in bed she did stand by his bed’s side and pinched him.

Joseph Ring abovesaid made oath of the truth of all that is above written this 13th day of May 1692.
Before Me
Robt. Pike Assist.
Jurat in Curia the substance of it viva voce.

It is to be understood that the matter about that two shillings demanded of said Ring was this, viz: That when Casco was assaulted before it was taken, Capt. Cedric Walt was going from Great Island in Patascataway with a party for their relief of which party said Ring was one and said Hardy coming up into the room where said Ring [was] before they sailed and played at shovelboard or some such like game and urged said Ring play, said Ring told him he had no money and said Hardy lent him 2s and then said Ring played with him. Said Hardy who won his money away from him again so he could not then pay him this account was by said Ring given to me.
Robt. Pike Ast

13 May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts

The deposition of Joseph Ring at Salisbury aged 27 years being sworn saith, That about the latter end of September last being int he wood with his brother Jarvis Ring hewing of timber, his brother went home with his team and left this deponent alone to finish the hewing of the piece for him, for his brother to carry when he came again, but as soon as his brother was gone, there came to this deponent the appearance of Thomas Hardy of the great Island at Patascataway and by some impulse he was forced to follow him to the house of ___ Tucker which was deserted and was about half a mile from the place he was at work in, and in that house did appear Susanna Martin of Amesbury and the aforesaid Hardy and another female person which the deponent did not know. There they had a good fire and drink, it seemed to be cider, there continued most part of the night, said Martin being then in her natural shape and talking as she used to do, but toward the morning the said Martin went from the fire, made a noise and turned into the shape of a black hog and went away and so did the other two persons go away and this deponent was strangely carried away also and the first place he knew was by Samuel Wood’s house in Amesbury.
Sworn by Joseph Ring May the 13th 1692
Before Me
Robt. Pike Assist.
Jurat in Curia

Posted in History | 10 Comments

Witch Trials – Accusers

Our ancestors, noted below by Bold CAPITALS, played every role in the 17th Century Witch Trials: Accused, Accuser, Witness, Neighbor, Jury and the Law.  Seeing all their stories together, shows that the witch trials weren’t an isolated incident.  Since all the players were family, the message I get is that everyone in their society was responsible for what happened.

1. Victims
2. Accusers
3. Witnesses
4. Supporters and Neighbors
5. Constabulary
6. Jury

It is generally accepted that the Salem trials were one of the defining moments that changed American jurisprudence from the English system of “guilty, ’til proven innocent” to the current American system of “innocent until proven guilty”. In addition, the jury pool in trials was changed from “church-members only” to “all those who have property” in an act which was passed by the General Court on 25 Nov 1692. Finally, these cases caused Americans to take their first steps away from what we now know as “cruel & unusual punishment” when trying to get someone to confess. It had been a staple of the English legal system, but after 1692 even Cotton Mather urged judges to use “Crosse and Swift Questions” rather than physical torture to gain the truth. These were three significant changes to the nascent American legal system. In May of 1693, Governor Phips pardoned the remaining accused of witchcraft.


Ann Putnam, age 12, was the primary accuser of many victims including our relatives John and Elizabeth  Proctor,  Frances (Alcock) Hutchins, Rebecca Nurse and Susanah Martin.

Ann is related to our family as well. She was the 2nd great grand daughter of Richard GOULD.   In addition,   Capt. Robert ANDREWS’ son John married Sarah Holyoke. Ann was Sarah’s great niece.  Sarah’s sister Ann married Lieutenant Thomas Putnam (Richard GOULD’s grandson)  on 17 Oct 1643 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts.  Their son Thomas Putnam, (1652 – 1699) was a principal villains Salem witch trials.   Thomas was the husband to Ann Carr, and father of Ann Putnam, Jr.. Thomas’ brother, Edward, also participated in the witch trials.

Ann Carr Putnam by Kristie Alley

Ann was intelligent, well educated, and had a quick wit. At the time of the outbreak of witchcraft accusations, Ann was 12 years old. She was a close friend of several of the other afflicted girls. Mercy Lewis, 17, was a servant in the Putnam house, and Mary Walcott, 17, who was also afflicted, was perhaps Ann’s best friend. Ann, Mary, and Mercy were among the first villagers outside of the Parris household to be afflicted.

Ann and six other young girls had listened as Tituba, Parris’s Indian servant woman, told tales of voodoo and other supernatural events in her native Barbados. The girls also engaged in fortune telling–concerning, for example, matters such as what trade their sweethearts might have. During one fortune telling episode, Ann reported seeing a specter in the likeness of a coffin. After this incident, Ann, Betty Parris, and Abigail Williams (the niece and home resident of Parris) began to display strange symptoms. They complained of pain, would speak in gibberish, became contorted into strange positions, and would crawl under chairs and tables.

1876 illustration of the courtroom; the central figure is usually identified as Mary Walcott

Common history has painted Ann and her young peers as selfish, vicious fakers who fueled the witchcraft trials out of boredom or spite. This portrait, however, is somewhat flawed as it appears that, in Ann’s case at least, the parents of the afflicted must have had a strong influence with the child, as did the other adult accusers. Initially, Ann was fed names by her parents and minister.

Ann claimed to have been afflicted by sixty-two people. She testified against several in court and offered many affidavits.  Ann’s mother, would also become afflicted at times, and was in court almost as much as her daughter and servant. The mother and daughter Ann were a particularly formidable pair of actors. People from miles around trooped into the courtroom to watch their performances.

Her father was an influential church leader and became an aggressive accuser of witches. The influence of the Putnam’s became evident as the trials went on. Most of the afflicted and the accusers had some kind of a relationship with the Putnam’s. A great number of those accused by the Putnam’s previously had disputes with the family.

A recent handwriting analysis of the depositions of the afflicted girls has shown that some 122 of them were written by Thomas Putnam. While it cannot be known to what degree the accusations made in those depositions were influenced by Putnam it is clear that Putnam had the opportunity to shape the words of the young accusers as he saw fit. Further, the similarity in language across these depositions suggests that some of the language might be that of Thomas Putnam rather than that of the afflicted girls themselves. In the depositions taken by Putnam, the afflicted often claim to be “grievously afflicted” or “grievously tormented” and “beleve in my heart” that so-and-so is a witch. The accused are often referred to as “dreadful witches or wizards” in the depositions taken by Putnam. The frequency with which these phrases can be found in the depositions written by Putnam furthers the theory that they might have been more strongly influenced by Putnam that was previously recognized. Taken in conjunction with Putnam’s letters to the judges and his efforts to secure warrants against many of the suspects, this new evidence further demonstrates the remarkable influence Putnam had on the shape and progression of the trials.

Years later, in 1706, Ann Putnam Jr. stood with head bowed before the village church congregation, and the new minister, the Rev. Joseph Green, read aloud her confession (she was the only one of the afflicted girls to make such a retraction). In this document, which was likely written by Rev. Green, Ann begged forgiveness for her part in the trials,

I desire to be humbled before God for that sad and humbling providence that befell my father’s family in the year about ninety-two; that I, then being in my childhood, should, by such a providence of God, be made an instrument for the accusing of several persons of a grievous crime, whereby their lives were taken away from them, whom, now I have just grounds and good reason to believe they were innocent persons; and that it was a great delusion of Satan that deceived me in that sad time, whereby I justly fear I have been instrumental, with others, though ignorantly and unwittingly, to bring upon myself and this land the guilt of innocent blood; though, what was said or done by me against any person, I can truly and uprightly say, before God and man, I did it not out of any anger, malice, or ill will to any person, for I had no such thing against one of them; but what I did was ignorantly, being deluded by Satan.

And particularly, as I was a chief instrument of accusing Goodwife Nurse and her two sisters, I desire to lie in the dust, and to be humble for it, in that I was a cause, with others, of so sad a calamity to them and their families; for which cause I desire to lie in the dust, and earnestly beg forgiveness of God, and from all those unto whom I have given just cause of sorrow and offense, whose relations were taken away or accused.

When her parents died in 1699, Ann was left to raise her nine siblings aged 7 months to 16 years. Putnam never married.

John DeRich

John FOSTER Sr’s son-in-law, John DeRich, was a principal accuser in the Salem Witch Trials. Perhaps he can be forgiven for lying to save his own life as his mother was imprisoned in Boston, his father had just died and he was only sixteen years old. In fact, he may well have been imprisoned himself after his mother, Mary. He married John Foster’s youngest daughter Martha six years later 25 Oct 1698.

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 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 –

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.


In 1590, Giles CROMWELL’s (1603 – 1673 ) grandmother  Susan Weekes, Lady Cromwell, visited the Throckmortons of Warboys and had an exchange of words with Alice Samuel in which Alice uttered the fatal words “I never did you any harm as yet”. Soon after, Lady Cromwell fell ill and died. Alice was tried on 5 Apr 1593 for the murder by witchcraft of Lady Cromwell. They were found guilty and hanged. Their property was confiscated by Lady Cromwell’s husband, Sir Henry CROMWELL, (Wikipedia) who used the proceeds to pay for an annual sermon against witchcraft to be preached in Huntingdon in perpetuity.

 In 1669, William SARGENT’s (1606 – 1675)  son William Jr formally accused Susannah North MARTIN of witchcraft. In turn, George MARTIN sued Sargent for two counts of slander against Susannah, one for accusing her of being a witch, and another for claiming one of her sons was a bastard and another was her “imp.” Martin withdrew the second count, but the Court upheld the accusation of witchcraft. A higher court later dismissed the witchcraft charges.  Alternatively, William’s son Thomas might have been the one responsible for saying that his son George Martin Jr. was a bastard and that Richard Martin was Goodwife Martin’s imp…”

At first I thought that Abigail (Martin) Safford (1676 – 1768) was our ancestor.  It turns out she married John SAFFORD Jr’s.  first cousin also named John Safford.   Many genealogies combine or mix up these two John Saffords .

Abigail had testified that she was afflicted by 13 different people in the Salem Witch Trials when she was a teeenager. At the grand jury she testified against Samuel Wardwell. She signed three indictments, those of William Barker, Sr., Mary Barker, and Mary (Osgood) Marston.

At the grand jury she testified against Samuel Wardwell. She signed three indictments, those of William Barker, Sr., Mary Barker, and Mary (Osgood) Marston.

Aug 1692 – a month before the arrest of Mary and Hannah, Joseph Tyler and Ephriam Foster filed a complaint against John Jackson, Sr., his son John Jackson, Jr. and John Howard of Rowley of acts of witchcraft against Rose Foster and Martha Sprage of Andover. About the same time, Moses Tyler and Samuel Martin accused Elizabeth Johnson and Abigail Johnson of using witchcraft to afflict Martha Sprage and Abigail Martin, also of Andover.

In 1692, Samuel Martin, 47, husbandman; his wife, Abigail; and children were living in the north part of Andover. Abigail  was pregnant with their seventh child.

8 Jan 1692 – Ralph Farnum II, who was Samuel Martin’s step-brother, died at Andover. John Farnum and Ralph Farnum III, both sons of Ralph II, testified against Martha (Allen) Carrier on June 28 and again on July 30.

25 Aug 1692 –  Samuel Martin and Moses Tyler filed a complaint against Willian Barker, Sr., Mary Barker, and Mary (Osgood) Marston for afflicting Abigail Martin, Jr., Rose Foster, and Martha Sprague. Mary (Osgood) Marston was the daughter of Christopher Osgood. On August 25 at their examinations, Mary Bridges, Jr., Sarah Bridges, Hannah Post, and Susannah Post were charged with afflicting Abigail Martin Jr., Rose Foster, and Martha Sprague.

30 Aug 1692 –  Elizabeth (Dand) Johnson confessed that she afflicted Sarah Phelps and three of Samuel Martin’s children and that her sister Abigail (Dane) Faulkner and Sarah Parker joined with her in afflicting them.

about 31 Aug 1692 – Sarah Wardwell, Sarah Hawkes, Mercy Wardwell, William Barker, Jr., and Mary (Ayer) Parker were complained of for afflicting Abigail Martin Jr., Rose Foster, and Martha Sprague.

7 Sep 1692 – Abigail Martin Jr., and Ralph Farnum III were members of the afflicted circle at the Andover touch test. Abigail (Wheeler) Barker and Mary (Lovett) Tyler were indicted for practicing and exercising witchcraft against Ralph Farnum III on Sep 7.

22 Sep 1692 – Mary (Ayer) Parker, widow of Nathan Parker, was hanged at Salem.  Her daughter Sarah had been imprisoned by August 19. Another daughter, Hannah Parker, had married, in 1682, John Tyler, brother of Moses Tyler. A third daughter, Elizabeth Parker, had married in 1684 John Farnum, who was the brother of the afflicted Ralph Farnum, III.

Abigail Martin and John Bridges v. Samuel Wardwell ( Essex County Archives, Salem — Witchcraft Vol. 2 Page 29 )

the deposetion of Abigell Marten of Andavr Aged about sixteen years this deponant Testifyeth and sayeth that some time last winter: Samuel wordwall being at my fathers house: with John farnom: I heard said John farnon ask: said wordwall his forteen; wh[ich] he did: and told him that: he was in love with a gurll: but should be crost; & should goe to the Sutherd: which said farnom oned to be his thought: said wardwell further: told he had like to be shot with a gon: & should have a foall of from his hors or should have: which: said farnom , after oned that he told Right:

And further I heard him tell Jeams bridges his forten: that he loved a gurll at forteen years ould: which: said bridges: oned to be the truth: but could not imagin how said wordwall knew: for he never: spake of it: John bridges father of said jeams bridges sayeth: he heard Jeam say I wonder how wordwall cold teell so true

Jurat in Curia,
by both
(Reverse) Abiga’l Martin & James Bridges Depo’ Vers Sam’l Wardwell

Many sites and even some books state that Francis WYMAN (1619 – 1699) testified in the Salem Witch Trials that Margaret Scott of Rowley, “came to him and did most grievously torment him by choking, and almost pressing him to death, and he believed in his heart that Margaret Scott was a witch.”  The accuser was actualy Frances Wicom.

Beginning in 1892, Francis Wyman was erroneously thought by Salem historian Winfield Scott Nevins to have sent Salem accused witch victim Margaret Scott to her tragic Salem Gallows Hill death. Nevins was thrown off by the peculiarities of Puritan penmanship to believe that Frances Wycomb of Rowley was one and the same person as Francis Wyman — which she was not.

Benjamin Scott, and Margaret his wife, came from England, time unknown. They first appear in Braintree, soon remove to Cambridge, and in 1651 were in Rowley. He died in 1671, as his will was proved September 26 of that year. They had a daughter Hannah, probably born in England, who married Christopher Webb.   The widow Margaret was hung at Salem, September 22, 1692, “guilty of certain arts called Witchcraft and Sorceries.” She was arrested August 4, 1692, had a preliminary examination August 5, was sentenced September 19, and executed September 22.

Margaret Scott fits the stereotype of the classic witch identified and feared for years by her neighbors in Rowley, Massachusetts (a small town to the north of Salem). Margaret had difficulty raising children, something widely believed to be common for witches. Her husband died in 1671, leaving only a small estate that had to support Margaret for years. Margaret, who was thus forced to beg, exposed herself to witchcraft suspicions because of what the historian Robin Briggs has termed the “refusal guilt syndrome.” This phenomenon occurred when a beggar’s requests were refused, causing feelings of guilt and aggression on the refuser’s part. The refuser projected this aggression on the beggar and grew suspicious of her.

It also appears that when Margaret Scott was formally accused, it occurred at the hands of Rowley’s most distinguished citizens. Formal charges were filed only after the daughter of Captain Daniel Wicom became afflicted. The Wicoms also worked with another prominent Rowley family, the Nelsons, to act against Margaret Scott. The Wicoms and Nelsons helped produce witnesses, and one of the Nelsons sat on the grand jury that indicted her.

Frances Wicom testified that Margaret Scott’s specter tormented her on many occasions. Several factors may have led Frances to testify to such a terrible experience, including her home environment and its relationship with Indian conflicts. She undoubtedly would have heard first-hand accounts of bloody conflicts with Indians from her father, a captain in the militia. New evidence shows that a direct correlation can be found between anxiety over Indian wars being fought in Maine and witchcraft accusations.

Another girl tormented by Margaret Scott’s specter was Mary Daniel. Records show that Mary Daniel probably was a servant in the household of the minister of Rowley, Edward Payson. If Mary Daniel, who received baptism in 1691, worked for Mr. Payson, her religious surroundings could well have had an effect on her actions. Recent converts to Puritanism felt inadequate and unworthy and at times displaced their worries through possession and other violent experiences.

The third girl to be tormented spectrally was Sarah Coleman. Sarah was born in Rowley but lived most of her life in the neighboring town of Newbury. Her testimony shows the widespread belief surrounding Margaret Scott’s reputation.

Both the Nelsons and Wicoms also provided maleficium evidence—a witch’s harming of one’s property, health, or family—against Margaret Scott. Both testimonies show evidence of the refusal guilt syndrome.

However, what sealed Margaret Scott’s fate was the timing of her trial and its relation to the witchcraft crisis. Evidence from the girls in Rowley coincided chronologically with important events in the Salem trials. Frances Wicom initially experienced spectral torment in 1692, “quickly after the first Court at Salem.” Frances also testified that Scott’s afflictions of her stopped on the day of Scott’s examination, August 5. Mary Daniel deposed on August 4 that Margaret Scott afflicted her on the day of Scott’s arrest. The third afflicted girl, Sarah Coleman, testified that the specter of Margaret Scott started to afflict her on August 15, which fell ten days after the trial of George Burroughs and Scott’s own examination. Additionally, the fifteenth was only four days before the executions of Burroughs and other accused witches who were not “usual suspects” and thus brought considerable attention to the Salem proceedings.

By the time that Margaret Scott appeared in front of the court, critics of the proceedings had become more vocal, expressing concern over the wide use of spectral evidence in the Salem trials. The court probably took the opportunity to prosecute Margaret Scott to help its own reputation. Margaret Scott’s case involved not only spectral evidence but also a fair amount of testimony about maleficium. Scott exhibited many characteristics that were believed common among witches in New England. The spectral testimony given by the afflicted girls further bolstered the accusers’ case. To the judges at Salem, Margaret Scott was a perfect candidate to highlight the court’s effectiveness. By executing Scott, the magistrates at Salem could silence critics of the trials by executing a “real witch” suspected of being associated with the devil for many years.

Richard GOULD’s grand daughter Mary Gould Reddington accused her ex-brother-in-law’s second wife of witchcraft.

After Priscilla Gould Wildes’ death and his remarriage to Sarah Averill, John Wild was no longer a member of the Gould family.   Mary Gould Reddington, started spreading rumors as early as 1686 that Sarah practiced witchcraft.    During this period, the husband was totally responsible for anything and everything his wife did. Therefore, John Wild threatened to sue John Reddington for liable as a result of Mary’s gossiping if her accusations were not retracted. John Reddington begged him not to as he would surely lose everything. John Reddington assured John Wild that no further rumors regarding Sarah and witchcraft would come from Mary. The damage, however was already done.

Sarah (Averill) Wildes (wiki) (1627 – July 19, 1692)   was executed for witchcraft during the Salem witch trials. She was one of seven children born to William Averell. She married English immigrant John Wildes (born 1616) and had a son, Ephraim. Ephraim held the positions of town treasurer and constable during the period of the conspiracy. Constable Ephraim Wildes was ordered by the Marshall, George Herrick, to arrest Deliverance Hobbs. Hobbs, whether through coercion or not, made a jailhouse confession and implicated Sarah Wildes as a witch. Perhaps  she made the accusation for spite of her arrest by Ephraim. She also accused several of John’s children. This opened the door for the power hungry leaders of Salem church to target John and descimate his family. The official complaint was made, of course, by Thomas Putnam.

As this thing quickly blossomed with further jailhouse confessions with the hope of saving themselves, most of John Wild’s children were accused and it was by order of Marshall Herrick that Constable Ephraim Wild arrest them. Ephraim was probably not terribly popular at family barbecues from then on.

The Marshall had some pity on Ephraim, however, and spared him from arresting his own mother. The Marshall did that job himself. John’s daughter Sarah and her husband Edward Bishop were arrested but Edward’s son paid off Sheriff Corwin to enable their escape from the jail to Rehoboth.

All Priscilla’s living children were accused of witchcraft and arrested by their half brother Ephriam the town constable.

Family enmity had deep roots.  In 1686, John Wildes had turned in his brother-in-law, John Gould, son of Zaccheus, and grandson of Richard GOULD  as a traitor  for seditious speech  against Edmund Andros.   John Gould eventually apoligized and was released with a 50 pound fine.  (See  Richard GOULD’s page for John Gould’s story)

The 1689 Boston revolt three years later was a popular uprising on April 18, 1689, against the rule of Sir Edmund Andros, the governor of the Dominion of New England. A well-organized “mob” of provincial militia and citizens formed in the city and arrested dominion officials.  Leaders of the formerMassachusetts Bay Colony then reclaimed control of the government. In other colonies, members of governments displaced by the dominion were returned to power..

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Witch Trials – Victims

Our ancestors, noted below by Bold CAPITALS, played every role in the 17th Century Witch Trials: Accused, Accuser, Witness, Neighbor, Jury and the Law.  Seeing all their stories together, shows that the witch trials weren’t an isolated incident.  Since all the players were family, the message I get is that everyone in their society was responsible for what happened.

1. Victims

2. Accusers

3. Witnesses

4. Supporters and Neighbors

5. Constabulary

6. Jury

It is generally accepted that the Salem trials were one of the defining moments that changed American jurisprudence from the English system of “guilty, ’til proven innocent” to the current American system of “innocent until proven guilty”. In addition, the jury pool in trials was changed from “church-members only” to “all those who have property” in an act which was passed by the General Court on 25 Nov 1692. Finally, these cases caused Americans to take their first steps away from what we now know as “cruel & unusual punishment” when trying to get someone to confess. It had been a staple of the English legal system, but after 1692 even Cotton Mather urged judges to use “Crosse and Swift Questions” rather than physical torture to gain the truth. These were three significant changes to the nascent American legal system. In May of 1693, Governor Phips pardoned the remaining accused of witchcraft.


This is the longest chain on the list, but it still fits my criteria for family member. Edward BROWN’s (1574 – 1610) daughter Anne married Adam Hawkes 1630 in Charlestown, Suffolk, Mass.

After Mary died, Adam married, second, Sarah Hooper in June, 1670 when he was 64 and she was just 19. Sarah was born Dec. 7, 1650, in that part of Reading which is now Wakefield. She was the oldest living child of 11 born to William and Elizabeth Hooper, a weaver, who had come in the James from London in 1635 at the age of 18.

The following year a daughter, Sarah, was born to Adam and Sarah, on Jun. 1, 1671. Less than a year later Adam died at age 67, on Mar. 13, 1671/72. He left an estate valued at over 817 pounds, including 554 acres of land.

Sarah married a second time 9 Jan 1672/73, to Samuel Wardwell, son of Thomas and Elizabeth Wardwell. They had six children. Samuel was accused of practicing witchcraft and was executed due to his retracting a “forced” confession.  He was hanged on Sep. 22, 1692 at Gallows Hill, along with seven others, and according to tradition the last ever to be hanged for witchcraft in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Samuel Wardwell was born 16 May 1643 to a modest Quaker family in Boston. He studied carpentry and moved to Andover, Massachusetts in 1672 to find work. There he married his second wife, Sarah Hawkes, a wealthy widow with whom he had seven children. In 1692, he was accused of witchcraft and brought to trial in Salem. The fact he was found guilty is not surprising, as his father Thomas who been a follower of John Wheelwright and Ann Hutchinson.  Samuel  had dabbled in fortune telling as a young man, had family members who were disliked in Andover, and had married a woman whom many did not think he was worthy of marrying. During his court examination, he confessed to being a witch by submitting a long and detailed story of his indiscretions in order to save his life. His conscience and personal courage led him to recant the story and claim innocence, knowing the risk involved. He was hanged on September 22, 1692.

The “state” confiscated his property which left his family destitute. Sara herself was accused of witchcraft. Her minor children were taken from here and placed in custody of friends and relatives. Her oldest daughter and mother-in-law were also accused and acquitted of witchcraft. Eventually she was released. However the impoverished and miserable conditions she endured in a prison dungeon must have contributed to an early death. Samuel’s son, too young at the time, later sued and won some compensation for the family’s ordeals.

Humphrey BRADSTREET’s  son John (1631 – 1660) probably suffered from mental illness. John Winthrop mentioned in his journal that John Bradstreet was accused of bewitching a dog. The dog was hung as a witch. John was whipped.  He was tried in Ipswich on July 28,1652, on a charge of “familiarity with the devil.” John said that he had read a magic book and heard a voice telling him.

Go make a bridge of sand over the sea; go make a ladder of sand up to heaven, and go to God and come down no more.

The court found that he had told a lie. This was his second conviction. He was sentenced to be whipped or to pay a fine of twenty schillings. He died, childless, in 1660 when he was only 29 years old. Shortly after his death, his widow Hannah married William Waters on June 4, 1660.

In 1659,  Winifred (Henchman) HOLMAN (1600 – 1672) the widow of William Holman of Cambridge, was accused of witchcraft, because of her charitable desire to cure the sick with mental and spiritual suggestions, and by the ” blessings of God “.  After her husband’s death, Winifred earned an meager living by caring for the sick.  One account said she bathe and massaged her patients, used herbs and spices and invoked the blessings of the Lord.   She was only narrowly acquitted.

Ironically, the witchcraft litigants both lived in what is today part of Harvard University.  The Holmans lived on the Northeasterly corner of Garden and Linnean streets, and opposite them, on Sparks and Garden streets, resided the family of John Gibson, consisting of his wife Rebecca, son John and daughter Rebbecca Stearnes.

Just what was the real cause of enmity, between the two families, does not appear from the records. Rebecca, the daughter of John and Rebecca Gibson, was born about the year 1635, and was the same age as Abraham, the son of Winifred Holman. The evidence showed that if ” Abraham ware aboute she [Rebecca] was well “. It is quite within the realms of possibility, that an intended marriage between Abraham Holman and Rebecca Gibson, had been interrupted by their parents, and the lady induced to become the second wife of Charles Stearns on the 22 June 1654.  Before 1657, Mrs. Stearns was afflicted with hallucinations, and became violently vindictive towards the mother and sister of Abraham Holman, making charges of witchcraft against them.

One day, Mary Holman asked why whe didn’t get some help and she answered that she had “used means by physicians and could have no help.”  Mary suggested her mother could cure her “with the blessing of God.”  Gibson was upset that Winifred and her daughter Mary had practiced their magical healing skills on his daughter and filed a complaint with the Constable of Cambridge.

The Gibsons, — weighed down with the sickness and distress of their daughter Rebecca, and unable to resist her repeated assertions that Winifred and her daughter Mary Holman, were the real authors of all their misery, — entered, in the year 1659, a serious complaint against them as witches, and had Mr. Thomas Danforth issue warrants for their arrest.

Anthony  MORSE’s  brother William Morse (1614-1683) was a key figure in the only recorded case of supposed witchcraft in Newbury that was ever subjected to a full legal investigation. The principal sufferer was William’s wife Elizabeth.

In 1679, William was then 65 years of age, a very worthy, but credulous and unsuspecting man who consequently was very easy prey to the taunting antics of a very roguish grandson who lived with them. Not suspecting any deception, the good man readily attributed all his troubles and strange afflictions to the supernatural instead of carefully analyzing the actions of those around him. With a belief in witchcraft almost universal at the time, it afforded a ready solution to anything strange and mysterious.

The only person to have suspected the boy as the author of the mischief was a seaman Caleb Powell who visited the house frequently enough to suspect that the Morse’s troubles had human, rather than supernatural, origins. Caleb informed Goodman Morse that he believed he could readily find and the source of the trouble and solve it. To add credibility to his claims, he hinted that in his many travels he had gained an extensive knowledge of astrology and astronomy. That claim, however innocently intended, led to Caleb being accused of dealing in the black arts himself–he was tried and narrowly escaped with his own life.   Anthony MORSE gave the following testimony about the strange goings-on at his brother’s house on Dec 8, 1679:

“I Anthony Mors ocationlly being att my brother Morse’s hous, my brother showed me a pece of a brick which had several tims come down the chimne. I sitting in the cornar towck the pece of brik in my hand. Within a littel spas of tiem the pece of brik was gon from me I know not by what meanes. Quickly aftar, the pece of brik came down the chimne. Also in the chimny corar I saw a hamar on the ground. Their being no person near the hamar it was soddenly gone; by what means I know not, but within a littel spas after, the hamar came down the chimny and within a littell spas of tiem aftar that, came a pece of woud, about a fute loung, and within a littell after that came down a fiar brand, the fiar being out.”

William Morse was also asked to give testimony on the same day and reported instances of being in bed and hearing stones and sticks being thrown against the roof or house with great violence, finding a large hog in the house after midnight, and many strange objects being dropped down the chimney. Items in the barn were mysteriously overturned or out-of-place, shoes unexpectedly seemed to fly through the air as if thrown, and doors unexpectedly would open or close.

The handwritten testimony concludes with the telling statement:

“A mate of of a ship coming often to me [ie: Caleb Powell] said he much grefed for me and said the boye [William’s grandson] was the cause of all my truble and my wife was much Ronged, and was no wich, and if I would let him have the boye but one day, he would warrant me no more truble. I being persuaded to it, he Com the nex day at the brek of day, and the boy was with him untel night and I had not any truble since.” When Caleb was finally acquitted, the judges looked for some other person guilty “of being instigated by the devil” for accomplishing such pranks, and for some reason selected Elizabeth Morse , William’s wife, as the culprit. [Elizabeth often served as a town midwife, and perhaps had incurred some male or professional’ jealousies?]

At a Court of Assistants held at Boston on May 20, 1680, Elizabeth Morse was indicted as “having familiarity with the Divil contrary to the peace of our sovereign lord the King” and the laws of God. In spite of her protesting her complete innocense, she was found guilty and sentenced by the governor on May 27th as follows:

“Elizabeth Morse, you are to goe from hence to the place from when you came and thence to the place of execution and there to be hanged by the neck, till you be dead, and the Lord have mercy on your soul.”

Then, for an unexplained reason, Elizabeth was granted a reprieve on June 1, 1680 by Governor Bradstreet. The deputies of the local court did not agree with the decision, however, and complained in Nov 1680 to have the case reopened. Testimony was again heard in the general court through May 1681.

William sent several petitions pleading his wife’s innocence and attempting to answer the hysterical allegations of 17 Newbury residents who submitted testimony in writing offering their reasons why they had concluded that Goody Morse must be a witch and should be hung according to old Mosaic law. Reading the list of “reasons” today quickly strikes the 20th century mind as a dredging up of every petty annoyance, every grudge or neighborhood misunderstanding the townspeople could think of from sick cows to being snubbed in public.

It was owing to the firmness of Gov. Bradstreet in his initial decision that the life of Elizabeth Morse was saved and the town of Newbury prevented from offering the first victim in Essex County to the witchcraft hysteria. Later town records and other contemporary sources fail to record what happened to the “vile and roguish” grandson whose attempts to torment his elderly grandparents nearly resulted in his grandmother’s untimely death.

Our family connection has twists and turns, but since Sarah Good was the first victim of the Salem Witch trials and one of the most famous, I’ve included her story.  William BEAMSLEY’s (1605 – 1658) daughter Ann married Jan 1649/50 in Boston, Mass. to Ezekiel Woodward.  After Ann died, Ezekiel  married 20 Dec 1672 at Age: 48  to Mrs. Elizabeth Soldart.  Ezekiel died 29 Jan 1699 in Wenham, Essex, Mass.

Elizabeth [Knight or Jerningham?] was born 1619 in Somerleyton, Suffolk, England   She married abt 1650 to John Solart (c.1622 Wherstead, Suffolk, England – 24 May 1672 in Wenham, Mass.)  Elizabeth died 3 Dec 1678 in Wenham, Essex, Mass.

Children of Elizabeth and John

i. Alice Woodward 1649 – 1685; m. 1670 to William Yarrington

ii. Sarah Solart b. 14 Jul 1653; d. 19 Jul 1692 in Salem, Essex, Mass.; m1. Daniel Poole; m2. 1690 Age: 37 Salem, Essex, Mass to William Good

Sarah Good (wiki) was the first person accused of witchcraft in 1692.

Sarah’s father John Solart was a well off innkeeper, but his  estate was tied up in litigation that left Good virtually nothing. Her first marriage was to a poor indentured servant named Daniel Poole who died in debt in 1686. Her second marriage to William Good was doomed from the outset because the couple had to pay for the debts of first husband Poole. The Goods were homeless, renting rooms in other people’s houses, and they had two young children. William worked as a laborer around Salem Village in exchange for food and lodging, but it became increasingly difficult for the family to find a place to stay as Sarah’s reputation for and being socially unpleasant spread throughout the town. The family was regarded as a nuisance to the town, and by 1692 they were virtually beggars.

She was accused  because of economical and political biases from the families of the accusers. Sarah, who was homeless, was described by the people of Salem as being filthy, bad-tempered, and strangely detached from the rest of the village. She was often associated with the death of residents’ livestock and would wander door to door, asking for charity. If the resident refused, Good would walk away muttering under her breath. Although she maintained at the trial that she was only saying the Ten Commandments, those who turned her away would later claim she was chanting curses in revenge. Also, when asked to say the Commandments at her trial, she could not recite a single one.

Sarah was accused of witchcraft on February 25, 1692, when Abigail Williams and Betty Parris, related to the Reverend Parris, claimed to be bewitched under her hand. The young girls appeared to have been bitten, pinched, and otherwise abused. They would have fits in which their bodies would appear to involuntarily convulse, their eyes rolling into the back of their heads and their mouths hanging open. When Reverend Samuel Parris asked “Who torments you?” the girls eventually shouted out the names of three townspeople: Tituba, Sarah Osborne, and Sarah Good.

On March 1, 1692, Good was tried for witchcraft. When she was brought in, the accusers immediately began to rock back and forth and moan, seemingly in response to Good’s presence. Later on in the trial, one of the accusers fell into a fit. When it had stopped, she claimed Good had attacked her with a knife; she even produced a portion of it, stating the weapon had been broken during the alleged assault. However, upon hearing this statement, a young townsman stood and told the court the piece had broken off his own knife the day before, and that the girl had witnessed it. He then revealed the other half, proving his story. After hearing this, the judge simply scolded the girl for exaggerating what he believed to be the truth.

Others who testified in Good’s trial claimed to have seen her flying through the sky on a stick, presumably to get to her “witch meetings.” Even her husband testified against her, stating he had seen the Devil’s mark on her body, right below her shoulder. He also told the court he had reason to believe she was either presently a witch, or would soon become one. Dorcas Good, Sarah’s four year old daughter, was later forced to testify against her, claiming that she was a witch and she had seen her mother consorting with the devil. Sarah was pregnant at the time of her arrest and gave birth to Mercy Good in her cell in Ipswich Jail. Mercy died shortly after birth most likely due to malnutrition, lack of medical care, and unsanitary conditions.

Although both Good and Sarah Osborne denied the allegations against them, Tituba admitted to being the “Devil’s servant.” She stated that a tall man dressed all in black came to them, demanding they sign their names in a great book. Although initially refusing, Tituba said, she eventually wrote her name, after Good and Osborne forced her to. There were 6 other names in the book as well but Tituba said, they were not visible to her. She also said that Good had ordered her cat to attack Elizabeth Hubbard, causing the scratches and bite marks on the girl’s body. She spoke of seeing Good with black and yellow birds surrounding her, and that Good had also sent these animals to harm the girls. When the girls began to have another fit, Tituba claimed she could see a yellow bird in Good’s right hand. The young accusers agreed.

When Good was allowed the chance to defend herself in front of the 12 jurors in the Salem Village meeting house, she argued her innocence, proclaiming Tituba and Osborne as the real witches. In the end, however, Sarah Good was convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to death. Later, Dorcas Good was also accused of witchcraft. Mary Walcott and Ann Putnam Jr. claimed she was deranged, and repeatedly bit them as if she were an animal. Dorcas, who was incorrectly called “Dorothy Good” while on trial, received a brief hearing in which the accusers repeatedly complained of bites on their arms. She was then convicted and sent to jail, becoming at age five the youngest person to be jailed during the Salem Witch Trials. Two days later, she was visited by Salem officials. She claimed she owned a snake—given to her by her mother—that talked to her and sucked blood from her finger. The officials took this to mean it was her “familiar,” which is defined as a witch’s spiritual servant. Dorothy was released from jail several months later, and evidently suffered from psychological issues for the remainder of her life.

On July 19, 1692, Sarah Good was hanged along with four other women convicted of witchcraft. While the other four quietly awaited execution, Good firmly proclaimed her innocence. Reverend Nicholas Noyes was persistent, but unsuccessful, in his attempts to force Good to confess.

Epilogue – While the other women quietly awaited their fate, Sarah Good remained defiant to the end. When Reverend Noyes urged her to confess and repent on the scaffold, she replied, “You are a liar. I am no more witch than you are a wizard. If you take my life away, God will give you blood to drink.” That assured everyone she was a witch.  Twenty-five years later Rev. Noyes died of a hemmorrhage and in fact drank his own blood as he died; many in Salem remembered Sarah Good.

Frances (Alcock) HUTCHINS (1612 – 1694) was arrested 18 Aug 1692 for witchcraft as a result of a witchcraft complaint filed by Timothy Swan, Ann Putnam, Jr., and Mary Walcott.  The charge was not pressed because her son Samuel and Joseph Kingsberry (1665 – ~1695)  posted 200 pounds bond  to satisfy the accusers and gain her release on 21 Dec 1692.  No trial records were found.

Warrant for Arrest of Frances Hutchins and Ruth Wilford

“Essex/ To the Constable of Haverhill

Complaint being made to me this day, by Timothy Swan of Andover: & Mary Wallcott & Anna Putnam of Salem Village, Against Mrs: frances Hutchins & Ruth Willford, of Haverhill that the s’d frances Hutchins & Ruth Willford, hath sorely afflicted them, the s’d Timothy Swan Mary Walcott & Anna Putnam in their bodies, by witchcraft Severall times Contrary to the Peace of o’r: Sovereigne Lord & Lady King William & Queen Mary, of England &c: & to their Majests Law in that Case provided: & s’d Timothy Swan having according to Law, given sufficient bond, to Prosecute s’d Complaint, before Their Majests: justices of Peace att Salem the 19th: or 20th Instant. These therefore require you in their Majests. names to Apprehend & sease the bodies of the afores’d frances Hutchins & Ruth Willford, upon sight hereof, & them safely Convey to [to] Salem afores’d, to their Majests: justices of the Peace there, to be examined & proceeded with according to law: for which this shall be yo’r warrant: Given under my hand & seal this eighteenth day of August Anno Domini 1692: In the 4th year of their Majests. Reigne. &c

*Dudley Bradstreet

Justice of Peace

(Reverse) according to this warrant I have seesed and brought don mrs frances huchins: but sought with Diligenc for Ruth Wilford and she cannot be found

August 19: 1692
by Me Wilum Strlin Constbl for haverihill”
(Note: Ruth Wilford was taken into custody on August 20, 1692.)

Francis HUTCHINS’ son-in-law Thomas Ayres (Ayer) was born about 1630 in England. His parents were John Ayers and Hannah Evered.   Thomas died 9 Nov 1686 in Haverhill, Essex, Mass.

Thomas’ sister  Mary (Ayer) Parker of Andover, Mass., was executed Sep 22, 1692, with several others, for witchcraft in the Salem witch trials. She was 55 years old and a widow. Mary’s husband, Nathan, died in 1685.     Her daughter, Sarah Parker, was also accused.

In Sep 1692, Mary Ayer Parker of Andover came to trial in Salem Massachusetts, suspected of witchcraft. During her examination she was asked, “How long have ye been in the snare of the devil?” She responded, “I know nothing of it.” Many people confessed under the pressure of the court of Oyer and Terminer, but she asserted they had the wrong woman. “There is another woman of the same name in Andover,” she proclaimed. At the time, no one paid much attention. Mary Ayer Parker was convicted and hanged by the end of the month. [See Francis HUTCHINS page for more details]

Susannah (North) MARTIN (1621 – 1692)   (Wikipedia) was executed for witchcraft on 19 Jul 1692 in Salem, Essex, Mass.

In 1669, Susannah was first formally accused of witchcraft by William Sargent Jr., son of our ancestor William SARGENT. In turn, George MARTIN sued Sargent for two counts of slander against Susannah, one for accusing her of being a witch, and another for claiming one of her sons was a bastard and another was her “imp.” Martin withdrew the second count, but the Court upheld the accusation of witchcraft. The jury in the case found for the defendant, but the Court “concurred not with the jury.”  A higher court later dismissed the witchcraft charges.

Another version of the story

In 1669 Susanna was required to post 100 pounds bond to appear in court on a charge of witchcraft, a capital offense. At the same time George Martin sued William Sargent, Jr. for slander for saying that “…said Martyn’s wife had a child at Capt. Wiggins and was wringing its neck in Capt. Wiggins’ stable, when a man entered, and she took him by the collar and told him she would be the death of him if he told”; he sued William Sargent “…for saying his wife was a witch and he would call her a witch.” George also sued Thomas Sargent “…for saying that his son George Marttin was a bastard and that Richard Marttin was Goodwife Marttin’s imp,” (a witch’s familiar.)

Charges were dropped against Thomas Sargent, William Sargent, Jr.. was found guilty of accusing Susanna of ” fornication and infanticide” and George was awarded (in what appears to be a public insult) the amount of “a white wampam peague (colonial currency) or the eighth part of a penny damage” by the magistrates. William Sargent  was acquitted of witchcraft slander, although, “the Court did not agree.” The records of Susanna’s first trial for witchcraft have not survived, but as she was around for another 23 years, we might assume that she was acquitted.

In October, 1669 George MARTIN was sued by Christopher Bartlett because Susanna had called him a liar and a thief. The verdict was against George and Susanna but they had other problems to deal with. At that same court session, their son Richard was “ presented by the grand jury at the Salisbury Court, 1669, for abusing his father and throwing him down, taking away his clothes and holding up an axe against him.” The court found him guilty and sentenced Richard to be “whipped ten stripes.”

George died in 1686, leaving Susannah an impoverished widow by the time of the second accusation of witchcraft in 1692. Inhabitants of nearby Salem Village, Massachusetts had named Susannah a witch and stated she had attempted to recruit them into witchcraft. Susannah was tried for these charges, during which process she proved by all accounts to be pious and quoted the Bible freely, something a witch was said incapable of doing. Cotton Mather countered Susannah’s defence by stating in effect that the Devil’s servants were capable of putting on a show of perfect innocence and Godliness.

Our ancestor Orlando BAGLEY Jr. was the arresting Amesbury constable. See his page for images of the original summons, examination and death warrant.  Susannah was found guilty, and was hanged on July 19, 1692 in Salem.

Some interesting excerpts from the transcript of Susannah’s trial are below: (spelling, punctuation, capitalization as original)

“To the Marshall of the County of Essex or his lawful Deputies or to the Constable of Amesbury: You are in their Majesties names hereby required forthwith or as soon as may be to apprehend and bring Susanna Mertin of Amesbury in y county of Esses Widdow at y house of Lt. Nathaniel Ingersolls in Salem village in order to her examination Relating to high suspicion of sundry acts of Witchcraft donne or committed by her upon y bodies of Mary Walcot, Abigail Williams, Ann Putnam, and Mercy Lewis of Salem village or farms whereby great hurt and damage hath been donne to y bodies of said persons…. etc”

At the preliminary trial for the crime of “Witchcraft and sorcery” Susanna pled not guilty. The original court record book has been lost, but the local Puritan minister, Cotton Mather, recorded the testimony. Susanna and the others accused were not allowed to have council.

“As soon as she came in, Marcy had fits”

Magistrate: Do you know this woman?

Abigail Williams saith it is goody Martin, she hath hurt me often.

Others by fits were hindered from speaking.

Marcy Lewis pointed at her and fell into a little fit.

Ann Putnam threw her glove in a fit at her.

……………. Susanna laughed …………….

Magistrate: What! Do you laugh at it?

Martin: Well I may at such folly.

Mag: Is this folly? The hurt of persons?

Martin: I never hurt man or woman or child.

Marcy: She hath hurt me a great many times and pulls me down.

Then Martin laughed again.

Probably the worst indignity that Susanna was twice forced to submit to was the physical examination for evidence of a “witch’s tit or physical proturberance which might give milk to a familiar.” No such deformity was found in Susanna but it was noted that “in the morning her nipples were found to be full as if the milk would come,” but by late afternoon “her breasts were slack, as if milk had already been given to someone or something.” This was an indication that she had been visited by a witch’s familiar, and was clear evidence of guilt.

The demise of Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Elizabeth Howe, Sarah Good, and Sarah Wildes July 19, 1692

In the 19th century, poet John Greenleaf Whittier composed “The Witch’s Daughter” about Martin.

“Let Goody Martin rest in peace, I never knew her harm a fly,And witch or not – God knows – not I?I know who swore her life away;And as God lives, I’d not condemnAn Indian dog on word of them.”

Robert PEASE – The Former (1630 – 1717)   Both Robert and his wife Sarah (Sedwick) PEASE (1630 – 1704)  suffered imprisonment in 1692 when they were suspected of witchcraft. His wife was living in 1704 and he was living in 1713 when he was dismissed from the church in Salem to aid in forming the first church at what is now Peabody, MA.

Sarah was caught up in 1692 in the hysteria we know as The Salem Witch Trials. She was accused and imprisoned but never tried, having been released after the hysteria died down. A lthough testimony was brought against her again on August 5th, Sarah Pease escaped the condemnation of the judges, who sentenced 15 people to the gallows in September. By the late fall of that year the tide of hysteria had abated, and sympathy was turning from the “victims” to the accused. Sarah survived the winter and was released in May of 1693, after suffering a year in jail.

John PROCTOR’s  oldest son John Proctor Jr. (1632 – 1692) (Wikipedia) was a farmer in 17th Century Massachusetts. He married three women in his life, the first two in which were divorced. The last one he married was Elizabeth (Bassett) Proctor gave birth to three children, of which the third was not yet baptized when she was arrested. During the Salem Witch Trials he was accused of witchcraft,convicted and brought to prison. Weeks later, he was bidden to confess to witchcraft and sign a document to prove it. After signing the document, Proctor wanted to keep the document from being nailed above the door of the Court of Oyer and Terminer.

Although Abigail Williams was John Proctor’s chief accuser, he was also named by Mary Walcott, who stated he tried to choke her and his former servant Mary Warren on April 21. Mary Warren told magistrates that Proctor had beaten her for putting up a prayer bill before forcing her to touch the Devil’s Book. Further allegations of an increasingly salacious nature followed.

John Proctor continued to challenge the veracity of spectral evidence and the validity of the Court of Oyer and Terminer which led to a petition signed by 32 neighbors in his favor. The signatories stated that Proctor had lived a ‘Christian life in his family and was ever ready to help such as stood in need.’

John and Elizabeth Proctor were tried on August 5, 1692. They were both found guilty and sentenced to hang. Still maintaining his innocence, Proctor prepared his will but left his wife with nothing. Some assume that he did this as he assumed his wife would be executed as well. Proctor was executed on August 19, 1692, along with George Burroughs, John Willard, George Jacobs, Sr., Rebecca Nurse (Daughter of our ancestor )and Martha Corey.

Elizabeth, who was then pregnant, was given a reprieve until she gave birth.

In January 1693, while still in jail, Elizabeth (Bassett) Proctor gave birth to a son, John Proctor III. Elizabeth and John III remained in jail until May 1693, when a general release freed all of those prisoners who remained jailed. Unfortunately, even though the general belief of the people was that innocent people had been wrongly convicted, Elizabeth had in fact been convicted and was considered guilty. In the eyes of the law she was considered a “dead woman” and could not claim any of her husband’s estate. Elizabeth petitioned the court for a reversal of attainder to restore her legal rights. No action was taken for seven years.

June 1696 –  Elizabeth filed an appeal to contest her husband’s will. At the time John wrote his will, he had assumed that Elizabeth would be executed and had left her nothing. On September 22, 1696 Elizabeth married again to Daniel Richards.

July 1703 – Several more people filed petitions before any action was taken on Elizabeth’s appeal for reversal of attainder. The Massachusetts House of Representatives finally passed a bill disallowing spectral evidence. However, they only gave reversal of attainder for those who had filed petitions. This primarily applied to Elizabeth Proctor.

1705 – Another petition was filed requesting a more equitable settlement for those wrongly accused. In 1709, the General Court received a request to take action on this proposal. In May 1709, 22 people who had been convicted of witchcraft, or whose parents had been convicted of witchcraft, presented the government with a petition in which they demanded both a reversal of attainder and compensation for financial losses.

17 Oct 1711 – The General Shop passed a bill reversing the judgment against the 104 people listed in the 1709 petition. There were still an additional 7 people who had been convicted, but had not signed the petition. There was no reversal of attainder for them.

11 Dec 1711 – Monetary compensation was finally awarded to the 22 people in the 1709 petition. The sum of ₤578 and 12 shillings was authorized to be divided among the survivors and relatives of those accused. Most of the accounts were settled within a year. The award to the Proctor family for Elizabeth was $1500, much more money from the Massachusetts General Court than most families of accused witches.

In 1992, the Danvers Tercentennial Committee persuaded the Massachusetts House of Representatives to issue a resolution honoring those who had died. After much convincing and hard work by Salem school teacher Paula Keene, Representatives J. Michael Ruane and Paul Tirone and a few others, the names of all those not previously listed were added to this resolution. When it was finally signed on October 31, 2001 by Governor Jane Swift, more than 300 years later, all were finally proclaimed innocent.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller, a fictionalized version of the trials casts John Proctor as one of the main characters in the play. Proctor is portrayed as being in his thirties and Abigail Williams is 17 and a half years old, while the real John Proctor and Abigail Williams were respectively about sixty and eleven years old at the time of the witch trials. In the play, they had an affair, as a result of which Abigail accused Elizabeth Proctor of witchcraft. In reality, Elizabeth Proctor was initially named by Ann Putnam on March 6, alleging that Proctor’s spectre attacked the girl. She was accused by Abigail on March 14 and further accusations were made by Mercy Lewis. Miller has Mary Warren accuse Proctor of afflicting her but this followed his initial accusation by Abigail in early April 1692. There is no historical evidence to suggest that Abigail even knew John Proctor before she accused him of witchcraft.

In the 1996 film based on the play, Proctor was played by Daniel Day-Lewis.

Elizabeth (Bassett) Proctor (Wikipedia) – (born 1652 in Lynn, Massachusetts) was accused of witchcraft in the Salem Witch Trials. She was the third wife of John Proctor, who went on to remarry after her husband John Proctors death. Part of her life was fictitiously dramatized as part of Arthur Miller‘s play The Crucible and later adaptations.

John PERKINS (1583 – 1654) is the only triple ancestor in our family tree, we descend from his son John and daughters Elizabeth and Lydia.  His daughter Mary Perkins Bradbury (3 Sep 1615 – 20 Dec 1700) was tried, convicted and sentenced to hang as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692.

In 1636 Mary married Thomas Bradbury of Salisbury, Massachusetts, considered one of its most distinguished citizens.

When she was in her late 70s Mary was accused of witchcraft at the Salem witch trials. Her accusers made some fascinating claims, such as, she would turn into a blue boar and chase around the yard and, she sold a ship’s captain 2 tubs of butter, but one of the tubs was bewitched.  In the notorious witch trials of 1692, Mary Bradbury was indicted for (among other charges):

Certaine Detestable arts called Witchcraft & Sorceries Wickedly Mallitiously and felloniously hath used practiced and Exercised At and in the Township of Andivor in the County of Essex aforesaid in upon & against one Timothy Swann of Andivor In the County aforesaid Husbandman — by which said Wicked Acts the said Timothy Swann upon the 26th day of July Aforesaid and divers other days & times both before and after was and is Tortured Afflicted Consumed Pined Wasted and Tormented…

Witnesses testified that she assumed animal forms; her most unusual metamorphosis was said to have been that of a blue boar.

Another allegation was that she cast spells upon ships.

Here is her testimony, transcribed from the original court records.

“The answer of Mary Bradbury to the charge of witchcraft or familiarity with the Devil.

“I do plead not guilty. – I am wholly innocent of such wickedness through the goodness of God that hath kept me hitherto. I am the servant of Jesus Christ and have given myself up to him as my only Lord and Saviour, and to the diligent attendance upon him in al holy ordinances, in utter contempt and defiance of the Devil & all his works as horrid and detestable; and have endeavored accordingly to frame my life & conversation according to the rules of his holy word, and in faith and practice resolve, by the help and assistance of God, to continue to my life’s end. For the truth of what I say as to matter of practice, I humbly refer myself to my brethren and neighbors that know me, and to the searcher of all hearts for the truth & uprightness of my heart therein, human frailties & unavoidable infirmaties expected, of which I bitterly complain every day.Mary Bradbury.”

Over a hundred of her neighbors and townspeople testified on her behalf, but to no avail and she was found guilty of practicing magic and sentenced to be executed.

Through the ongoing efforts of her friends, her execution was delayed. After the witch frenzy had passed, she was released. By some accounts she was allowed to escape. Others claim she bribed her jailer.

Another account claims that her husband bribed the jailer and took her away to Maine in a horse and cart. They returned to Massachusetts after the witch hysteria had died down.

Mary Bradbury died of natural causes in her own bed in 1700.

In 1711, the governor and council of Massachusetts authorized payment of £578.12s to the claimants representing twenty-three persons condemned at Salem, and the heirs of Mary Bradbury received £20. A petition to reverse the attainder of twenty-two of the thirty-one citizens convicted and condemned as a result of the trials was passed by the Massachusetts General Court in 1711, and in 1957 The Commonwealth of Massachusetts reversed the stigma placed on all those not covered by earlier orders.

Three of William TOWNE’s (1599 -1673) daughters were accused during the Salem Witch Trials.  Sarah Cloyes was spirited out of prison, but Rebecca Nurse and Mary ESTEY were hung.

Sarah Cloyes

In 1692 [at age 53] Sarah was imprisoned and accused of witchcraft after listening to a sermon by Rev Parris in which he maligned her sisters. She left in a huff and slammed the church door (or some say the wind took it and slammed it) She was spirited out of prison in the fall of 1692 by friends who visited her in prison. She was hidden by friends in Topsfield until the spring of 1693 when she joined her family in hiding in Framingham MA. The family lived in caves in Framingham for several months until local officials agreed not to punish them.

She pressed charges for her unlawful arrest and the killing of her sisters. She received three gold sovereigns for each of them. The  1985 PBS American Playhouse movie, Three Sovereigns For Sister Sarah is about this event.  Vanessa Redgrave plays Sarah. Kim Hunter plays Mary ESTEY.

Rebecca Nurse

Rebecca is a central character in Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible as well as many other dramatic treatments of the Salem Witch Trials

Francis Nurse was often asked to be an unofficial judge to help settle matters around the village. In 1672, Francis served as Salem’s Constable. It was later written that Rebecca had “acquired a reputation for exemplary piety that was virtually unchallenged in the community,” making her one of the first “unlikely” persons to be accused of witchcraft.

The Nurse  family had been involved in a number of acrimonious land disputes with the Putnam family. On March 23, 1692, a warrant was issued for Rebecca’s arrest based upon accusations made by Edward and John Putnam. Upon hearing of the accusations the frail 70 year old Nurse, often described as an invalid, said, “I am innocent as the child unborn, but surely, what sin hath God found out in me unrepented of, that He should lay such an affliction on me in my old age.”

There was a public outcry over the accusations made against Rebecca, as she was considered to be of very pious character. Thirty-nine of the most prominent members of the community signed a petition on Nurse’s behalf.  At age 71, she was one of the oldest accused. Her ordeal is often credited as the impetus for a shift in public opinion about the validity of the witch trials.

Rebecca Nurse is brought in chains to the meeting house where the Rev. Nicholas Noyes pronounces her excommunication before the congregation (From John Musick’s Book)

Rebecca’s trial began on June 30, 1692. By dint of her respectability, some testified on her behalf including her family members. However the young Ann Putnam and her siblings would break into fits and claim Nurse was tormenting them. In response to their outbursts Nurse stated, “I have got nobody to look to but God.” Many of the other afflicted girls were hesitant to accuse Nurse.

In the end, the jury ruled Nurse not guilty. Due to public outcry and renewed fits and spasms by the girls, the magistrate asked that the verdict be reconsidered. At issue was the statement of another prisoner “[she] was one of us” to which Nurse did not reply, probably because of her loss of hearing. The jury took this as a sign of guilt and changed their verdict, sentencing Nurse to death on July 19 1692.

Many people labeled Nurse “the woman of self dignity”, due to her dignified behavior on the gallows. As was the custom, after hanging Nurse’s body was buried in a shallow grave near the gallows, along with other convicted witches, who were considered unfit for a Christian burial. Nurse’s family secretly returned after dark and dug up her body which they interred properly on their family homestead. In July 1885, her descendants erected a tall granite memorial over her grave in what is now called the Rebecca Nurse Homestead cemetery in Danvers (formerly Salem Village), Massachusetts.

Rebecca’s accuser, Ann Putnam, Jr., publicly apologized to the Nurse family for accusing innocent people. In 1711, the government compensated her family for Nurse’s wrongful death. The Nurse family homestead fell into the hands of Putnam family descendent, Phineas Putnam in 1784. The Putnam family maintained control of the property until 1908. Today, it is a tourist attraction that includes the original house and cemetery, on 27 of the original 300 acres..

Mary (Towne) ESTEY (1634 – 1692) (Wikipedia) was tried and condemned to death on September 9 1692.  She was hanged on September 22, along with Martha Corey, Ann Pudeator, Alice Parker, Mary Parker, Wilmot Redd, Margaret Scott, and Samuel Wardwell were the last On the gallows she prayed for an end to the witch hunt.

Like her sister Rebecca, Mary was a pious and respected member of Salem, and her accusation came as a surprise. During the examination on April 22, 1692, when Estey clasped her hands together, Mercy Lewis, one of the afflicted, imitated the gesture and claimed to be unable to release her hands until Estey released her own. Again, when Mary inclined her head, the afflicted girls accused her of trying to break their necks. Mercy claimed that Estey’s specter had climbed into her bed and laid her hand upon her breasts. When asked by magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin how far she had complied with Satan, she replied, “Sir, I never complyed but prayed against him all my dayes, I have no complyance with Satan, in this….I am clear of this sin.”

This statue depicts Rebecca Towne Nurse, Mary Towne Esty, and Sarah Towne Cloyse, wearing shackles, being under arrest for witchcraft. The statue is located in the Salem Wax Museum of Witches and Seafarers, Salem.

For reasons unknown, Estey was released from prison after two months, and discharged on May 18. However, on May 20, Mercy Lewis claimed that Estey’s specter was afflicting her, and was supported by the other girls. A second warrant was issued that night for Estey’s arrest. She was taken from her bed and returned to the prison; Lewis’s fits ceased after Mary was chained. Estey was tried and condemned to death on September 9. The following is Mary’s petition to the judges:

The humbl petition of mary Eastick unto his Excellencyes S’r W’m Phipps to the honour’d Judge and Bench now Sitting in Judicature in Salem and the Reverend ministers humbly sheweth

That whereas your poor and humble petitioner being condemned to die Doe humbly begg of you to take it into your Judicious and pious considerations that your Poor and humble petitioner knowing my own Innocencye Blised be the Lord for it and seeing plainly the wiles and subtility of my accusers by my Selfe can not but Judge charitably of others that are going the same way of my selfe if the Lord stepps not mightily in i was confined a whole month upon the same account that I am condemned now for and then cleared by the afflicted persons as some of your honours know and in two dayes time I was cryed out upon by them and have been confined and now am condemned to die the Lord above knows my Innocence then and Likewise does now as att the great day will be know to men and Angells—I Petition to your honours not for my own life for I know I must die and my appointed time is sett but the Lord he knowes it is that if it be possible no more Innocent blood may be shed which undoubtidly cannot be Avoyded In the way and course you goe in I question not but your honours does to the uttmost of your Powers in the discovery and detecting of witchcraft and witches and would not be gulty of Innocent blood for the world but by my own Innocency I know you are in this great work if it be his blessed you that no more Innocent blood be shed I would humbly begg of you that your honors would be plesed to examine theis Afflicted Persons strictly and keep them apart some time and Likewise to try some of these confesing wichis I being confident there is severall of them has belyed themselves and others as will appeare if not in this wor[l]d I am sure in the world to come whither I am now agoing and I Question not but youle see and alteration of thes things they my selfe and others having made a League with the Divel we cannot confesse I know and the Lord knowes as will shortly appeare they belye me and so I Question not but they doe others the Lord above who is the Searcher of all hearts knows that as I shall answer att the Tribunall seat that I know not the least thinge of witchcraft therfore I cannot I dare not belye my own soule I beg your honers not to deny this my humble petition from a poor dying Innocent person and I Question not but the Lord will give a blesing to yor endevers.

Robert Calef, in More Wonders of the Invisible World, described Estey’s parting words to her family “as serious, religious, distinct, and affectionate as could be expressed, drawing tears from the eyes of almost all present.”

In November, after Estey had been put to death, Mary Herrick gave testimony about Estey. Herrick testified that she was visited by Estey who told her she had been put to death wrongfully and was innocent of witchcraft, and that she had come to vindicate her cause. Estey’s family was compensated with 20 pounds from the government in 1711 for her wrongful execution. Her husband Isaac lived until June 11, 1712.

Mary Towne ESTEY was the last person to be hanged in the Salem Witch Trials

The Accused Witches of Gloucester

Gloucester, Essex, Mass

Salem, Essex, Mass

Not all of the accused witches of the Salem Witch Trials actually lived in Salem. A number of the accused also came from nearby towns such as Salisbury, Ipswich, Andover, Topsfield and Gloucester.

Andover and Gloucester had more accused witches than any other towns outside of Salem. A total of nine Gloucester women were accused of witchcraft during the hysteria of 1692: Esther Elwell, Margaret PRINCE, Elizabeth Dicer, Joan Penney, Phoebe Day, Mary Rowe (Margaret’s daughter), Rachel Vinson, Abigail Rowe (Margaret’s granddaughter) and Rebecca Dike.

Not much is known about these cases since many of the records have been lost, but we do know three of the groups of  Gloucester residents accused of witchcraft in 1692  were closely connected. Much like the accused of Salem, the accused women of Gloucester were also either prominent, wealthy citizens or trouble-makers or relatives of other accused witches.

These accusations all involved people of high social and economic status. The Gloucester accusations involved no singling out of poor, marginal women. All of the recorded estates of these families were valued at more than two hundred pounds. They all had comparatively large holdings of land and held many town offices. The cases seem to have been based on fear and suspicion among the upper class against a backdrop of paranoia throughout the county.

1. Margaret Prince and Elizabeth Dicer were accused of bewitching Eleanor Babson

2. Phoebe Day, Mary Rowe, and Rachel Vinson were accused sometime in the fall of 1692. There is no record of their accusation or examination extant, but their names were on a petition to the governor and council signed by a group of prisoners held at Ipswich jail.

3. Joan Penney

4. A warrant for the arrest of another group of women, Esther Elwell, Abigail Rowe, and Rebecca Dike, was issued on November 3, 1692, for afflicting Mrs. Mary Fitch.

1. Margaret Prince and Elizabeth Dicer

In September of 1692, Gloucester resident Ebenezer Babson asked some of the afflicted Salem village girls to visit his mother, Eleanor, who was complaining of spectral visions of Indians and French soldiers. Upon visiting Eleanor, the girls accused Margaret Prince and Elizabeth Dicer of bewitching her.

Margaret Prince was the grandmother of Abigail Rowe and mother of Mary Prince Rowe. She was known for being troublesome and having a sharp tongue.

Elizabeth Dicer had been fined thirteen times in the past for calling Mary English’s mother a “black-mouthed witch and a thief.”

2. Mary Prince Row, Phoebe Day and Rachel Vinsion

Around the same time, four more women were accused: Mary Rowe, Phoebe Day and Rachel Vinson, although it is not known who accused them,

Rachel Vinson was the widow of William Vinson who’s first wife had also been accused of witchcraft along with Ruth Dutch.

Phoebe Day’s maiden name was Wilds and she was related to Sarah Wilds, of Topsfield, who was hanged for witchcraft on July 19, 1692 in Salem

Mary Prince Rowe was the mother of Abigail Rowe and daughter of Margaret Prince. She was held at a jail in Ipswich, along with Elizabeth Dicer and Joan Penney. Their names appear on an undated petition asking to be released on bail until their trial.

Petition to release Gloucester women including  Mary Prince Rowe held in Ipswich jail and accused of witchcraft

3. Joan Penney

Joan Penney, who was accused by Zebulon Hill, a former Gloucester resident who had recently moved to Salem town.

Joan Penney had numerous squabbles with neighbors over land and had also been brought to court a number of times for such crimes as wearing a silk scarf and “breach of sabbath” after she carried bushels of corn on her way to church.

4. Rebecca Dike, Esther Elwell and Abigail Rowe.

Shortly after, in October or November, James Stevens, a deacon of the local church and lieutenant in the militia, sent for the afflicted girls of Salem village to name the witch he believed was bewitching his sister Mary Fitch, wife of John Fitch. The girls named Rebecca Dike, Esther Elwell and Abigail Rowe.

Esther Elwell (Elwell’s witchcraft case was featured on an episode of the popular NBC genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are? after actress Sarah Jessica Parker discovered she is descended from Elwell); her maiden name was Dutch and she was from a prominent family that lived at the Harbor in an area known as Dutch’s Slough. She married a wealthy man named Samuel Elwell in 1658 in Gloucester. Her mother, Ruth Dutch, had also once been accused of witchcraft, although it is not known when. A Gloucester woman named Mary Fitch had recently fallen ill with an unexplained sickness. Lieutenant James Stevens sent for the “afflicted girls” of Salem Village to find out who had bewitched her. Soon after, a 17-year-old Elizabeth Hubbard accused Elwell and the other women, or at least their “spectres” of “pressing, squeezing and choking of Mary Fitch.”

After Fitch died, Stevens filed a complaint with the magistrates. A warrant for the three was issued November 5. James Stevens, the complainant, was an important figure in town, a deacon of the church, and a lieutenant in the militia. He married Susannah Eveleth, daughter of Sylvester Eveleth, in 1656.

Rebecca Dike: her maiden name was Dolliver and she married a man named Richard Dike who held a large amount of land in Gloucester. Rebecca was neighbors with the in-laws of the Stevens family, the Eveleths, and had many problems with them.

Abigail Rowe was the 15-year-old daughter of Hugh and Mary Prince Rowe of Little Good Harbor. . The fact that she was only fifteen years old in 1692 shows the peculiarity of her case. While it was certainly not unheard of for children to be accused of witchcraft, they were generally accused along with other family members. Seeing a teenaged girl accused along with two adult women is quite unusual, but she was not the only woman in her family accused of witchcraft. The family had a large amount of land in the Little Good Harbor area. Abigail’s mother and her grandmother, Margaret PRINCE, were also accused

Hugh Rowe and his older brother John received equal portions of their father John’s estate of £205 16s. 10d. Five years later, Hugh and John entered into an agreement witnessed by Robert Elwell, who owned land near theirs. In 1685, Hugh Rowe received three parcels of land from his “father-in-law” William Vinson, likely the father of his first wife, Rachel Langton. Hugh and Rachel Rowe’s daughters married sons of Anthony Day. Another of Anthony Day’s sons, Timothy, married Phoebe Wilds, one of the women mentioned in the Ipswich petition.

Thus Hugh and Mary Rowe lived near Robert Elwell and had a close relationship to William Vinson and the Day family. Mary was also the daughter of Margaret Prince. All of the Gloucester women whose accusations are known only from the Ipswich petition were connected to the Rowe family. This provides clear evidence that there was a connection between their accusations and the accusation against Esther Elwell, Rebecca Dike, and Abigail Rowe. The likely cause of the accusations was animosity between different members of the town elite, which spiraled out of control in the context of the witchcraft panic and other tensions facing Massachusetts at the time.

Gloucester Resolution

Fortunately for the accused, it appears that these cases never went to trial because the use of spectral evidence was banned in October of 1692, giving prosecutors little evidence to go on, and the special court set up to hear the Salem Witchcraft cases was disbanded. In November, public officials set up the Superior Court of Judicature to hear the remaining witchcraft cases but between January and May of 1693, most of the accused were released due to a lack of evidence or tried and found not guilty.

Cornelius BROWN Sr  (1632 – 1701) married his third wife Mary Dustin on 26 Nov 1698 .   Mary Dustin was born 8 Nov 1650 in Reading, Mass. Her parents were Josiah Dustin and Lydia [__?__].   She first  married 7 Sep 1676 to Adam Colson (d. 1 Mar 1687) had Josiah, b. 6 Mar. 1673, d. in few mos.; Elizabeth 9 Oct. 1676; Lydia, 31 Mar. 1680; and David, 26 Apr. 1682; and d. 1 Mar. 1687. Mary was accused of being a witch in the Salem Witch Trials.

Mary’s mother, Lydia Dustin, a resident of Reading (Redding), Massachusetts, was arrested on April 30, 1692 on the same day as George BurroughsSusannah Martin, Dorcas Hoar, Sarah Morey, and Philip English. Lydia Dustin was examined on May 2 by magistrates Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne, on the same day as Sarah Morey, Susannah Martin, and Dorcas Hoar were examined. She was then sent to Boston’s jail.

Mary’s unmarried sister Sarah Dustin was the next in the family accused and arrested, followed by Mary’s daughter, Elizabeth Colson [16 years old in 1692], who eluded capture until after the third warrant was issued (sources differ on whether she was ever captured). Then Mary Colson was also accused; she was examined but not indicted.

Mary Beth Norton states in “In the Devil’s Snare” that “In Malden, Mistress Mary Swayne Marshall, sister of a militia major, declared that on April 8 the specter of Elizabeth Colson of Reading, the teenage granddaughter of a woman long believed to be a witch [Lydia Duston], had knocked her down, ‘Strikeing of me deafe and Dumm Tortering my body in most parts; Chokenig [sic]of me quite dead for Some time.’ Colson, she declared, had bruised her head, wrung her neck, and even dislocated her shoulder.”

Both Lydia and Sarah were found not guilty by the Superior Court of Judicature, Court of Assize and General Gaol Delivery in January or February, 1693, after the initial trials had been suspended when criticized for their use of spectral evidence. However, they could not be released until they paid jail fees. Lydia Dustin died still in jail on March 10, 1693. She is thus usually included on lists of those who died as part of the Salem witchcraft accusations and trials. Lydia’s husband, Josiah (1623 – 1671), had been one of the founders — and leading land owners — of Reading, Massachusetts.

5 Sep 1692 – Examination of Mary Colson

Mary Coulston examined before said Justices for the Maj’ties Sept. 5. 1692 Jno. Hathorn Esq’re Mary Coultson: you are here acused for afflicting Mrs Mary Marshall by witchcraft Mrs Marshall with others fell Down at her Coming into the Court. s’d Coultson helped Mrs Marshall up by a touch of her hand: but s’d Coultson s’d she never hurt s’d Marshall in her life: Mrs Marshall was asked how long Coultson had afflicted her: she s’d: at times: she had afflicted her ever since her Mother Dastin [Mary’s mother Lydia Dustin] had been in Prison and that she did it in vindication of her mother:

These 3: Tayler: Lilly & Coultson came to me & s’d [through] Mr. Pearpoint song that Psalm: god will be a husband to the widdow: but he would be none to me they sayd: they told me also if I had served their god my husband had bin alive yet: but s’d Coulston was bid to look on the afflicted persons: and s’d some of the afflicted was bid to look on her: and Eliz Booth: & George Booths wife & Allice Booth with others: was struck Down with her look & afflicted & helpted up & was well by a touch of Coultsons hand: they were asked when they were well agayn who hurt: them & s’d it was Coultson it was told Coultson it was evident that she acted witchcraft now before them: & it was like to apear that she had a hand in W’m Hoopers Death & in Ed Marshals Death: And she s’d if she should Confes she should be by her selfe: examined before Jno. Hawthorn Esq’re: & others their Majests: Justice.
this is the substance of what Mary Coultson s’d at her examination,
*Simon Willard
I und’r written: being appointed by Authority: to take the within examination: Doe testifie upon oath taken in Court that this is a true Coppy of the Substance of it to: the best of my knowledge Janu’ry 5: 1692/3
*Simon Willard

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Christopher Reynolds

Christopher REYNOLDS (1530 – 1600 ) was Alex’s 11th great grandfather, one of 4,096 in this generation of the Miner line through his grandson John.  He was also Alex’s 12th great grandfather, one of 8,192 in this generation of the Miller line through his granddaughter Catherine.

Christopher Reynolds – Coat of Arms (Note the foxes)

Christopher Reynolds was born in 1530 in Kent, England.  His parents were Robert REINOLDS and [__?__].  He married Clarissa HUNTINGTON.  Alternatively, he married Alyce Streetinge .  He settled in London where he and his sons engaged in trade and commerce.  Christopher died in 1600 in London.

Clarissa Huntington was born 1534.  Clarissa died in 1575.

Children of  Christopher and Clarissa:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Nathanial Reynolds 1553 Aylesford, Kent, England 1634 London, England
2. George Reynolds 1555 Kent, England Thomasyn Church 20 Jan 1585
St. James Clerkenwell London, England
1634 England
3. William REYNOLDS 1560 London, England Esther RUTH
2 Feb 1580 Kent, England
1646/47 Bermuda
4. Thomas Reynolds 1564 Middlesex, England Cicely Phippen
10 Mar 1593 Dorset, England
14 Jul 1603 St James, Clerkenwell, London, England
5. Christopher Reynolds 1565 1566 or
6. Mary Reynolds 1567  Died Young
7. John Reynolds 1569 1604 – London, England
8. Richard Reynolds 1575 Ann Harrison
York, England or York, Virginia
9. Robert Reynolds 1578 1579

Various explanations have been offered as to the origin of the surname Reynolds. It is thought by eminent authorities, however, to have had its source in the Norman French Renaud, or Regnauld, which the English render as Reynard, the fox. Renaud was one of the most popular font-names of the surname period, which accounts for its widespread popularity as a surname a century or more later. Reynolds is of the baptismal class, and signifies literally “the son of Reynold”, which is the Anglicized form of Regnauld, or Reginald. The common use of the fox on coats-of-arms of Reynolds families supports the fox theory, however, the use of the fox in a Reynolds family blazon, does not necessarily imply the origin of the name, but instead may be a play on the word and its similarity to ‘Reynard’. Arms were often ‘assigned’ by the rulers, there sole purpose to distinguish one warrior from another on the battle field, and some of them actually had senses of humor.

Christopher’s father  Robert REINOLDS b 1505 in East Bergholt, Suffolk, England m. 1526 Kent d. 1580 Kent, England. The children of Robert are: Christopher, Henry, Robert, Dorothy, Anne, Francis, Nathaniel. A study of early English records indicate that he had a brother – Nathaniel Reynolds – also engaged with his company. A sister, Dorothy, who d. 21 November 1552 [sic], m. 11 Aug 1567 William Tilghman, son of Richard and Julian (Newman) Tilghman, of (Kent) England. The record of the Tilghman Family is available in the DAR Library and the Library of Congress.

The Reynolds Family Association has no record to support any of the above information about this Christopher. Tillman did research the RFA files, but there is nothing in the files to support the information he provides on Christopher or his children. The RFA files have no sources that indicate any of the New England colonial settlers were children of any Christopher Reynolds. Several members of RFA have researched in England many times for this elusive Christopher with no success. There is no evidence that Christopher ever came to America and most likely he did not. The earliest record of a positive Reynolds arrival is Christopher Reynolds in VA in 1622, when Christopher of New Kent England would have been 92 years old. He probably died in London, England, but to date, no records have been found of his existence in County Kent or London.


2. George Reynolds

After their marriage, he and  Thomasyn Church settled in Bristol, England, and then in London. He is shown to have visited Virginia several times but did not settle in the colony.

Children of George and Thomasyn

i.  Robert Reynolds b. 1586; m. Mary [__?__]

Robert Reynolds is known to have been in Boston as early as 1632, and perhaps was a part of the Winthrop fleet in 1630. At least he was a part of the great immigration which streamed over to New England in the few years after 1630. With him came his wife, Mary (maiden name unknown), a son, Nathaniel, aged about five, four daughters, and probably his supposed brother, John Reynolds of Watertown, whose wife Sarah Reynolds is believed to have sailed in the ship “Elizabeth” of Ipswich in 1634 [Hotten, Early Immigrants].

In Genealogy of New England, Mr. Charles Nutt of Worcester, Mass. asserts, without stating his grounds, that Robert came from Aylesford, County Kent, some thirty miles southeast of London. The parochial records of that town now extend back to only 1660, earlier records having been lost. [Other sources list various places of birth for Robert. Charles Edward Banks in The Winthrop Fleet of 1630 (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1989) states that Robert was “probably from Boxford, co. Suffolk.” Col. Stephen Tillman in Christopher Reynolds and his Descendants, 1959, states that Robert was born 1586 in Kent Co., England and was the son of George and Thomasyn (Church) Reynolds, data taken from George’s will. A source reference for the will is not given, nor is the will abstracted.]

Ueber of 1635 according to Boston records enumerating on 8 Jan 1637/38 those who were inhabitants of the town on the “14th day of the 10th month 1635.” Robert took his family back to Boston, where he acquired considerable property and lived the rest of his life. His wife Mary was admitted to the Boston Church Oct. 4, 1645. His occupation is frequently mentioned in various records as “cordwainer” (shoemaker), and property owner.

Robert Reynolds acquired just about 1640 [“Book of Possessions” compiled 1643] or shortly previous – the early pages of the “Book of Possessions” have been lost – a pretty large piece of land, which he afterward divided up into several lots, on the site of the southeast corner of Washington and Milk Streets [Shurtleff, History of Boston ch. LI] (then called High and Fort Streets, respectively) on the corner across Milk Street from the Old South Church, then part of Governor Winthrop’s home lot. On one of these lots of the Reynolds estate, Josiah Franklin about 1685 became the tenant of Capt. Nathaniel Reynolds, then living in Bristol, and apparently remained there until about 1712. It was thus on Reynolds property that Benjamin Franklin was born 6 Jan 1705/06. Though most of the other lots of the original homestead passed out of the hands of the Reynolds family before 1700, this particular Franklin lot was not disposed of until May 21, 1725, when the widow of the third Nathaniel Reynolds conveyed it to John Fosdick, son-in-law of Captain Nathaniel Reynolds.

Robert Reynolds also owned land at Muddy River (modern Brookline), which he conveyed in 1645 and 1653. In 1638 he was mentioned as owning land “bounded on NW with Newtowne” [Boston Record Comm. 2:29]. In 1640, Robert Reynolds is mentioned as selling land on Hogg Island. Robert’s name is often found in the county records of land transfers, as a witness to legal papers, as an appraiser of estates, etc.

At the time the sharp old Capt. Robert Keayne and Mrs. Shearman went to law over a stray pig in 1642, an excited public opinion turned upon the old captain, and judges wrangled over what has become a notable case in the history of bicameral “courts” or legislatures, Robert Reynolds apparently lent his voice to the defense of Keayne [see Palfrey, “Hist. New England” 1:618]. Some years later (Nov. 14, 1653) the following paragraph appears in Keayne’s will [NEHGR 6:156]: “Unto our brother Renolds, shoemaker, senior, twenty shillings; not forgetting a word he spake, publiquely & seasonably, in the time of my distresse, and other men’s violent opposition against me.”

About 1650, Robert’s only son, Nathaniel, rapidly came to be a young man of importance, being elected in 1658 to the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company; marrying in 1657; and commanding a company at Chelmsford, 1676, in King Philip’s Indian war.

In 1658 Robert, “being stricken in age,” realized his end to be approaching, for on April 20, he drew up and signed his will with his own hand, and died a year and seven days later on April 27, 1659. His wife Mary died January 18, 1663. Until a generation or so ago the original will was on file in the Suffolk Registry of Probate in Boston and was copied into the volume of early wills and also published in the New England Genealogical Register [NEHGR 9:137-8], but it has evidently long been stolen. The yellowed original inventory of his estate, 1659, taking minute account of pots, rope-ends, shoe soles, etc. is still to be seen at the Registry. Following is a copy of Robert’s holograph will, as nearly exact as can be had from Registry copies. The fact that its English is comparatively good would indicate that he had a fairly good education.

LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ROBERT REYNOLDS (Suffolk, Mass. Registry of Probate, Book I, p. 324)

Will. Now Liuing in Boston. ITEM: I give to my wife, my house with all that appertaine unto it, with my Marsh ground at Muddy River, with one Lott of Ground at Long Island, so Long as she Liveth, with all my house hold stuffe whatever is in my house, and what money there is left, and after her decease I haue given my house & Orchard to my sonne Nathaniell and to his heyres foreuer, and if he should dye without Children, or any one Child Lawfully begotten of his owne body, then his wife to enjoy the said house and Orchard so long as she Liueth, and after her decease, to Returne to my fowre daughters Children, that is to say, one part to my daughter Ruth Whitneyand to her Eldest Sonne; a second part to my Daughter Tabitha Abdy & her sonne Mathew Abdy, and if he should dye, to her two daus. one part to either of them alike; a third part to my daughter Sarah Mason and her sonne Robert Mason, & if he dye, to her daughter Sarah; and a fourth part to my dau. Mary Sanger & her sonne Nathaniell & if he dye to her next child, either sonne or daughter; likewise I give to my daughter Ruth Whitney twentie pounds to be payd in good countrey pay & likewise I give to my Daughter Tabitha twentie pounds & also I give to my daughter Sarah twentie pound & likewise I give to my dau. Mary twentie pound, & for the payment of these Legacies I have eight accres of marsh Land, which if my sonne Nathaniell will pay £20 in good pay towards this fowre score pound, then he to haue and enjoy my Marsh land and his heyres foreuer; but if he refuse to pay the twentie pound, then to be devided equally to my fower daughters & to theire children, that is to my daughter Ruth & her Children one part, and to my daughter Tabitha & her Children one part, & to my daughter Sarah and her Children one part, and to my daughter Mary & her Children one part, or else that it may be sold for as much as it will yeeld, and devided among them equally as I said before, & the other three score pound to be raysed out of my owne estate, & what is ouer and aboue, my will & desire is, my wife shall haue, and so I do make her my Executrix to pay all my debts and receive all my debts, and also I joyne my sonne Nathaniell with her, to be as helpefull to my wife, his mother, as possibly he can, and these legacies to be payd within one yeare and a day, and if it should please God that I doe Liue so Long as any of my Estate should be spent, as it is likely it may, I & my wife being stricken in age & are almost past our Labour, then, for euery one of them to abate proportionably alike. Written with my owne hand the 20th day of the 2d month 1658.

Robert Reynols

ii. Thomas Reynolds (twin b. 1590)  m. Mary [__?__] Immigrated to Virginia Settled in Isle of Wight County, Virginia with his brother Christopher.  About 1637, Thomas and his family settled on the Rapidan River.  Children 1. Henry Reynolds b: 1624 Isle of Wight Co VA d 1669-04-06 2. John Reynolds b 1650 Isle of Wight Co VA 3. William Reynolds b 1655 d 1700 4. Rachel Reynolds b 1626 Richmond VA 5. Mary Reynolds b 1625 Richmond VA d 1711 6 Cornelius Reynolds b: 1639 in Old Rappahannock, VA 7. Thomas Reynolds 8 Richard Reynolds iii. John Reynolds (twin b. 1590) m. Sarah Chesterson; John Reynolds of Watertown, whose wife Sarah Reynolds is believed to have sailed in the ship “Elizabeth” of Ipswich in 1634 his brother Robert, sister-in-law, Mary (maiden name unknown), a nephew, Nathaniel, aged about five and four nieces , [Hotten, Early Immigrants]. Upon his arrival in the new world, John settled for a short while in Boston.  Then he removed to Watertown, Mass., with his brother Robert.  John followed Robert to Wethersfield, CT about 165/36.  John and his family remained in Connecticut, but Robert did not stay there long.

John’s name is noted on the monument to the original settlers of Watertown, Mass., to have arrived in 1630 with Governor Saltonstall. His name is included with the original 60 other settlers listed on that monument. Included on that monument, is also the name of Thomas Doggett, a progenitor of Elizabeth Daggett, who married Jeremiah Reynolds about 1772 or 3. Other historical records reveal them to be part of the Winthrop fleet, many of which emigrated from the area around Grafton and Boxford, in Suffolk, England. He married in England, before he came to Massachusetts, as Sarah his wife is known as Reynolds, on the ship passenger list, when they departed Ipswich on May 06, 1634.

He was admitted as a “Freeman”, of Watertown, suggesting he may have been indentured. In 1636, he removed with several other settlers, including Robert Reynolds (probably his brother [whose name is NOT on the monument of the original settlers]), to Weathersfield, Connecticut. The site of his home is noted on the early maps of that town. He is not to be confused with another John Reynolds, who arrived some time later, and was married to a Naomi Latimer.

John Reynolds was a founder of Wethersfield, Hartford, CT

Wethersfield was founded in 1634 by a group of ten Puritans hailing from Watertown, Massachusetts led by John Oldham and Nathaniel Foote Wethersfield is the second-oldest town in Connecticut after Windsor.

Along with Windsor and Hartford, Wethersfield is thought by some to be represented by one of the three grapevines on the Connecticut state flag signifying the state’s three oldest settlements.

John’s home was on High Street, third from the meeting-house and about the center of town, between John Gibbs and Andrew Ward, some 3½ acres. On 11 Mar, 11 Feb, 1640/41, he received a houselot and several other pieces of land. These were all sold to Lieut. John Hollister, recorded May 20, 1644, o.s. [Descendants of John and Sarah Reynolds of Watertown and Greenwich, p. 17; Stiles, History of Wethersfield].

In 1641, He and Sarah removed to Stamford, Connecticut, with some other Weathersfield men, and they established the town of Stamford. He is noted to have received 11 acres of land from the original division of land.

The place and date of his death is not known, but in 1651 the Stamford town records (p. 51) Deed: “the housing and lands of JohnHolly…. more or less bounded by ye lot which was John Renoles…” His name is not mentioned in 1657 when the death of SarahReynolds his wife is recorded. There is some speculation that he was a seaman, crew or officer, and perchance one of the Captains of one of the Winthrop fleet ships and that he made several trips back and forth to England, while at Watertown. This may explain why his name is not listed on the passenger manifest of any of these ships, but that later his wife Sarah’s name is so listed. He may have also died in England on a trip back to the land of his birth. The gravestone of Joseph, grandson of Robert Reynolds who is also noted to have come from Boxford, suggests that the family were of some stature in England, as the tombstone with this Reynolds Family coat of Arms, carries the helmet of a Squire.

There has been some suggestion of a relationship to Governor Winthrop, and or the Gray family (Lady Jane Gray) also of the same area of Suffolk, and related to the Duke of Clarence. A home of the Dukes of Clarence is still standing in the New World in Antigua. They were in residence there before Lord Horatio Nelson made the harbor below their home his dockyard.

More About Sarah Cheserton: April 1634, arrived at Watertown, Mass, as “Sarah Reynolds”, on board the ship, Elizabeth, from Ipswich, Suffolk county, England. This implies she was married before leaving Boxford, to John, before he left England. She was reported at that time to be 20 years of age. Their daughter Elizabeth, may have been named after this ship.

December 1640, They sold their Wethersfield property.

1651, Stamford town records, p. 51: Deed “the housing and lands of John Holly…. more or less bounded by ye lot which was John Renoles…” August 21, 1657, Stamford town meeting records [p. 25-26], record of Sarah Reynolds death. No similar records of John’s death have been found. Did he die before this? Did he make a trip back to England to visit his family, and die while he was there?

iv. Anne Reynolds

v. Christopher Reynolds b.  1611  d 1654 Isle of Wight Co. VA;  m. Elizabeth [__?__] The will of Henry Hobson of Bristol, proved 27 May 1636: …[to]…My kinsman Christopher Reynolds, son of George Reynolds, deceased, and Anne Reynoldes, sister of the said Christopher (at twenty one or day of marriage)… . [Henry F. Waters, A.M.,Genealogical Gleanings in England, 2 Vols. Balto: Genealogical Publications Co, 1969 (reprint edition).] / Although this Christopher and Anne are children of a George, there is no evidence that they are the Christopher and George of interest in this article.  While the possibility exists, until more clear and convincing evidence becomes available, The Reynolds Family Association does not accept Christopher born 1530 and George who married Thomasyn Church as the parents of Christopher Reynolds of Isle of Wight VA.

Christopher and Elizabeth came to Warwick County, Virginia in 1622 aboard the Francis and John, where they settled on 450 acres, patent to which was dated 9-15-1636. Issue: Richard b 1641 ; Christopher b 1642 ; John b 1644, who d. unm. 11 Mar 1668; Abbasha b 1646; Elizabeth b 1648 ; Jane b 1650; and Thomas b 1655 .

If Christopher was born in 1611 and came to Virginia in 1622, he would have been only 11 years of age at the time of his arrival (which is documented). In 1625 he testified as a witness (documented) in the General Court. It is possible that he might have been in such a position at age 14, but is it likely?

It is not known when Christopher married and it is not known who he married or how many wives he had.  Tillman named her Elizabeth, and stated that “They” arrived… No source given for this information.

RFA member Robert A. Reynolds presented an interesting theory. “There was a second arrival in Virginia of “Chri: Reinolds”, aged 24, aboard the ship Speedwell which departed from England 28 May 1635 (Hotten, p. 83; Boyer p67). I presume Christopher returned to England for a bride; his wife’s name was Elizabeth and there were two women of his age aboard the ‘Speedwell’ with that name.” The women on board Speedwell were Elizabeth Pew age 20, Elizabeth Tuttell, age 25, and a child Elizabeth Biggs, age 10. Was this our Christopher or another Christopher on his initial arrival in the new Colony.

Adventurers, 1987 ed., page 494-495, “Christopher Reynolds left a will dated 1 May 1654… [named] wife Elizabeth, and George Rivers (apparently a step-son), and directed that his wife Elizabeth have the ordering and bringing up of his sons John and Richard, to be of age at 16, and daughters Elizabeth and Jane to of age at 15. He apparently married (1) — and (2) Elizabeth [__?__] Rivers.”

3. William REYNOLDS (See his page)

4. Thomas Reynolds

Thomas’ wife Cecily Jane Phippen was about 1578 in Regis, Dorset, England. Her parents were William Phippen  and Jane Jordaine.  Cecily died before 1611 when her daughter Cecily traveled to Virginia with her twin sister Joan and brother-in-law Capt. William Pierce.

Cecily Reynolds first married Thomas Bailey (b. 1580 in England d. 20 Sep 1620 in Jamestown, Charles City, Virginia. Next she married Samuel Jordan (b. 1578 in England  d. 1623 in Virginia.  She married third to William Farrar. She married Peter Montague, first son of our ancestor Peter MONTAGUE fourth around 1645. After Peter died, she married Thomas Parker (b. 1600 in Burnham, Buckinghamshire, England d. 1663 in Isle Wight, Virginia. Cicely died 12 Sep 1660 in Charles City, Virginia.

Cicely’s parents died before 1611 when Cecily traveled to Virginia with her aunt and uncle Joan Phippen and Capt. William Pierce.  Joan was her mother’s twin sister.

William Pierce was born about 1570.  He may have died in the Indian massacre on Mar 22, 1622. According to John Smith’s list of the dead of that massacre, it says that “at Apamatucks River, at Master Peirce his Plantation, five miles from the College.”

Captain Pierce came to Virginia in 1610 on the ill-fated “Sea Venture” with Capt. Thomas Gates.  Jone, his wife, children (William, Joan, Jr., and Thomas)   came  in 1611 on the “Blessing“. She also brought with her a young niece, Cicilly Reynolds, age 10, probably to help care for the younger children.

Capt. Pierce had a home in James Cittye and a plantation on Mulberrie Island.  In addition to the lands named above, Capt. Pierce owned large holdings in various sections of Virginia. On June 22, 1625, he received grant of 2,000 acres for transporting into Virginia 50 persons. May 1623 Gov. Francis Wyatt appointed him Capt. of the Guard and Gov. of the City.

In that year, as Lt. Gov. of James Cittye he led an expedition against the Chickahominy, in retaliation for the 1622 Massacre, falling on them on July 23rd, with no small slaughter. Shortly thereafter, George Sandys, Treasurer of Virginia, wrote to England that Capt. William Peirce “Gov. of Jamestown” was inferior to none in experience, ability and capacity, recommending him for appointment to the Council, which appointment was made 1631, at which time he was living in Surry County. [It was Capt. Pierce who transported to Virginia the renowned Capt. John Rolfe, soon to become his son-in-law] In 1629/30 he was in England, and while there prepared a “Relation of the Present State of the Colony of Virginia”, by Capt. William Pierce, and Ancient Planter of 20 years standing. His wife, Mrs. Jone Pearse accompanied him and was known in England as an honest, industrious woman, who after passing 20 years in Virginia, on her return to England reported that “she had a garden at Jamestown containing 3 or 4 acres,where in one year she had gathered an hundred bushels of excellent figs, and that of her own provisions she could keep a better home in Virginia than in London – for 3 or 4 hundred pounds a year, although she had gone there with very little.”

They returned to Virginia, and while in the Council, Dec. 20th he signed an Amity Agreement between that body and Gov. John Harvey. He was displeased with Harvey’s governing of the colony and was one of the Councillors who arrested and disposed him in 1635, leading the Musketeers who surrounded his house. Capt. Pierce went on an expedition to the Northern Neck, called “Chicoan” in 1645. Surry County, Va. records, 21 Jan. 1655, Book 1, p. 116: Capt. William Pierce, his son, Thomas and grandson William Peirce were living on Mulberry Island, Warwick Co., VA.

Cicely’s aunt Joan Phippen was born about 1578 and died 1650. In A Durable Fire, the following comments were made about Joan:

“Joan Pierce, brisk blackhaired young woman, who shared the house with Meg Worley and Temperance Yardley (during the Starving Time) had taken her 4 year old daughter and her servant girl to stay at another house , so as not to see Sarah’s last dying moments. Joan Pierce hated Jamestown even more than Temperance did. “There’s nothing here but sickness and laziness.”‘

“Tempers were short these days. Even the soft spoken were sharp, and those with a cantankerous nature, like Joan Pierce, were as easily provoked as hornets.”

“Joan Pierce, who lived next door to Governor Yeardley, had put on weight after the Starving Time. She took pride in her cooking and equal pleasure in eating.” She had plump hands.

Child of William Pierce and Joan Phippen

i. Jane Pierce b. 1588; d. 1625-35 Jamestown; m1. John Rolfe (Yes, that John Rolfe) m2. Roger Smith

Rolfe’s second wife was the Indian Princess, Pocahontas, daughter of the great Chief, Powhatan.

Pocahontas and John Rolfe

On what, in modern terms, was a “public relations trip” for the Virginia Company, Pocahontas and Rolfe traveled to England in 1616 with their baby son, where the young woman was widely received as visiting royalty. However, just as they were preparing to return to Virginia, she became ill and died. Their young son Thomas Rolfe survived, and stayed in England while his father returned to the colony.

In 1619, Rolfe married Jane Pierce. They had a daughter, Elizabeth, in 1620.  Rolfe died in 1622 after his plantation was destroyed in an Indian attack. It remains unclear whether Rolfe died in the Indian massacre or whether he died as a result of illness

Capt. Rolfe made his will in 1621 shortly after daughter Elizabeth was born. It was probated in London 1630, (copy in Va.) by his father-in-law, Capt. William Peirce. However, Capt. Rolfe was deceased. before 1625, as the Surry Co. Va muster of 1625 shows Capt. Roger Smith residing at his plantation on James Island, with wife – Mrs. Jone Smith, who came on the “Blessing”. Living with them was Elizabeth Rolfe, age 4, b. in Va.

Cicely’s first husband Thomas Bailey

Cicely Reynolds and Thomas Bailey were married in Virginia when she was at the tender age of 15.  He was killed by Indians 20 Sep 1620.

Despite her young age, legend says that she was spoken of as a “a notorious flirt” and “the Glamour Girl” in the colony. Within a few years she married her first husband Thomas Baley and–apparently before she was 17–bore their only child, Temperance.

Cicely’s second husband Samuel Jordan

Cecely and her daughter were living on their property that adjoined that of the commander of the local militia, Captain Samuel Jordan. A union of convience was entered into in which the property inherited by Mrs. Bailey reverted to her daughter when she married but until then it would be tended by Capt. Jordan. She then married Capt. Jordan.  Today, Jordan Point is a small unincorporated community on the south bank of the James River in the northern portion of Prince George County, Virginia.

On 2 Jun 1609 the  Sea Venture sailed for the first surviving English settlement in America. Among the 150 or so Adventurers and Planters aboard were Sir Thomas Gates (newly appointed Governor of the fledgling Jamestown Colony), Sir George Somers, John Rolfe (soon to be wedded to Pocahontas), Rolfe’s ill-fated first wife, and our young man, Samuel Jordan wiki .

File:Sir George Somers portrait.jpg

A portrait believed to be of Admiral Sir George Somers.  — On 2 June 1609, he set sail from Plymouth, England on the Sea Venture, the flagship of the seven-ship fleet, towing two additional pinnaces) destined forJamestown, Virginia, carrying five-to-six hundred people.

On June 2, 1609, the Sea Venture set sail from Plymouth as the flagship of a seven-ship fleet (towing two additional pinnaces) destined for Jamestown, Virginia as part of the Third Supply, carrying 500 to 600 people. On July 24, the fleet ran into a strong storm, likely a hurricane, and the ships were separated. The Sea Venture fought the storm for three days. Comparably-sized ships had survived such weather, but the Sea Venture had a critical flaw in her newness: her timbers had not set. The caulking was forced from between them, and the ship began to leak rapidly. All hands were applied to bailing, but water continued to rise in the hold.

Sea Venture in the Storm by William Harrington

The ship’s guns were reportedly jettisoned (though two were salvaged from the wreck in 1612) to raise her buoyancy, but this only delayed the inevitable. The Admiral of the Company, Sir George Somers himself, was at the helm through the storm. When he spied land on the morning of July 25, the water in the hold had risen to nine feet, and crew and passengers had been driven past the point of exhaustion. Somers deliberately drove the ship onto the reefs of what proved to be Bermuda in order to prevent its foundering. This allowed all 150 people aboard, and one dog, to be landed safely ashore.

Wreck of the Sea Venture by Christopher Grimes

The survivors, including several company officials and Samuel Jordan were stranded on Bermuda for approximately nine months. During that time, they built two new ships, the pinnaces Deliverance and Patience, from Bermuda cedar and parts salvaged from the Sea Venture, especially her rigging. The original plan was to build only one vessel, the Deliverance, but it soon became evident that she would not be large enough to carry the settlers and all of the food (salted pork) that was being sourced on the islands. While the new ships were being built, the Sea Venture’s longboat was fitted with a mast and sent under the command of Henry Ravens to find Virginia. The boat and its crew were never seen again.

Some members of the expedition died in Bermuda before the Deliverance and the Patience set sail on 10 May 1610. Among those left buried in Bermuda were the wife and child of John Rolfe, who would found Virginia’s tobacco industry, and find a new wife in Powhatan princess Pocahontas. Two men, Carter and Waters, were left behind; they had been convicted of unknown offences, and fled into the woods of Bermuda to escape punishment and execution. The remainder arrived in Jamestown on 23 May.

This was not the end of the survivors’ ordeals, however. On reaching Jamestown, only 60 survivors were found of the 500 who had preceded them. Many of these survivors were themselves dying, and Jamestown itself was judged to be unviable. Everyone was boarded onto the  Deliverance   and Patience, which set sail for England. The timely arrival of another relief fleet, bearing [our ancestor] Governor Thomas WEST3rd Baron de la Warr, which met the two ships as they descended the James River, granted Jamestown a reprieve. All the settlers were relanded at the colony, but there was still a critical shortage of food. Somers returned to Bermuda with the Patience to secure provisions, but died there in the summer of 1610. His nephew, Matthew, the captain of the Patience, sailed for England to claim his inheritance, rather than return to Jamestown. A third man, Chard, was left behind in Bermuda with Carter and Waters, who remained the only permanent inhabitants until the arrival of the Plough in 1612.  The ordeal was recounted by William Strachey, whose account is believed to have influenced the creation of Shakespeare’s play The Tempest .

Very soon after arrival, Samuel Jordan carved out a place on land up the River from Jamestown and very near the present town of Hopewell VA. His land jutted out into a great James River curl he named “Jordan’s Point“. On this plantation he called “Jordan’s Journey” he built his manor house, “Beggar’s Bush”. The fact that he started quickly was probably a major reason he was prepared for the harsh winter that followed and was able to build a very substantial plantation.

On the day of the Great Indian Massacre March 22, 1622, Capt. Jordan at once ganthered all the men, women, and children into his home at “Begger’s Bush” , known later as Jordan’s Journey,  and defended that place so resolutely that not a single life was lost; however, Capt. Jordan died before the census of the “Living and Dead in Virginia”  was taken in February of 1623. The muster of the living at Begger’s Bush was:  Sisley Jordan 24, Temperance Bailie 7, Mary Jordan 3, Margery Jordan 1, and William Farrar 31.

Great Indian Massacre of 1622 Woodcut by Matthaeus Merian, 1628.

A failed courtship

Jordan died a year later, and there was a rush for the hand of his beautiful young wife, led by the Rev. Greville Pooley. Jordan had been in his grave only a day when Pooley sent Capt. Isaac Madison to plead his suit. Cecily replied that she would as soon take Pooley as any other, but as she was pregnant, she would not engage herself she said, “until she was delivered.”

But the amorous Reverend could not wait, and came a few days later with Madison, telling her “he should contract himself to her” and spake these words: “I, Greville Poooley, take thee Sysley, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold till death do us part and herto I plight thee my troth.” Then, holding her by the hand he spake these words, “I, Sysley, take thee Greveille, to my wedded husband, to have and to hold till death do us part.” Cicily said nothing, but they drank to each other and kissed. Then, showing some delicacy about her condition and the situation she found herself in, she asked that it might not be revealed that she did so soon bestow her love after her husband’s death.

Pooley promised, but was soon boasting of his conquest. Mrs. Jordan resenting this and chose to exercise her woman’s privilege to change her mind and said that “he could have fared better if he talked less.” She immediately announced her engagement to Capt. William Farrar, one of the Deputy Treasurer’s younger brothers, and member of the Council.

Enraged, Pooley brought suit for breach of promise. When the Parson sued, 14 June 1623, Capt. William Farrar, trained for the law in England and now the attorney who administered her husband’s estate, successfuly defended Mrs. Jordan in what was the first breach of promise suit in America, winning not only the suit but his client in matrimony. The Governor and Council could not bring themselves to decide the questions and continued it until 27 Nov., then referred the case to the Council for Virginia in London, “desiring the resolution of the civil lawyers thereon and a speedy return thereof.” But they declined to make a decision and returned it, saying they “knew not how to decide so nice a difference.”

At this point Rev. Pooley was persuaded by the Rev. Samuel Purchase to drop the case. Cecily and William were finally free to marry, which they did sometime before May 2, 1625, when his bond as overseer of Samuel’s estate was canceled.

Poole signed a formal release to the Widow Cecily bonding himself in the sum £500  never to have any claim, right or title to her, the Governor and Council of the Colony were so stirred by the extraordinary incident that they issued a solmn proclamation against a woman engaging herself to more than one man at a time. And there is not in Virginia any known record that this edict has ever been revoked.

The jilted Pooley soon found solace in a bride, it appears, but met a tragic death in 1629, when Indians attacked his house, and slew him, his wife and all his family.

Cecily’s third husband William Farrar

In 1625 Charles I appointed William Farrar to his King’s Council – a position of great responsibility which he held for over a decade.

Holmes writes, “It was during this critical period, 1625-1635, that William Farrar served on the Council, considered by historians the most important in the government of the colony, for laws were passed and the representative form of government which we have today became well established, based on the liberal charter, which [Sir Edwin] Sandys and Nicholas Ferrar are said to have written.”

In 1626 William was also appointed commissioner “for the Upper Partes kept above Persie’s Hundred,” and given the authority to hold a monthly court at either Jordan’s Journey or Shirley Hundred.

Sometime before November 1627, William’s father died, leaving him a fairly large inheritance. This may have been what enabled him to apply for a patent on 2,000 acres of choice land on a bend in the James River, formerly the site of Henrico Towne.

Henricus the second settlement in the colony, was established in 1611 and was the proposed site for the University of Henricus which was to be the first English university in America. The fortified settlement was burned to the ground in 1622 during the “Greate Massacre” and wasn’t opened up for resettlement until 1628 when William applied for the patent. [The area, which is still known as “Farrar’s Island,” is located 12 miles south of present-day Richmond and is the site of a state park.]

Some researchers believe William and Cecily moved their family to Farrar’s Island at this time. Others have them remaining at Jordan’s Journey until 1631, the year in which William returned to England and disposed of his entire inheritance. He sold his Hertfordshire properties to his brother Henry and his annuities from the Ewoods to his brother John for a total of 240 pounds. The agreement he made with his brothers gave him the option of buying back the property at its sale price, but he never invoked the privilege, remaining in Virginia the rest of his life.

In May of 1636, Nathan Martin patented 500 acres, 100 of which was due “by surrender from William Farrar Esquire for transportation of two servants.” William died sometime between this date and June 11, 1637, when the patent to Farrar’s Island was granted to “William Farrar sonne and heire of William Farrar Esquire deceased, 2,000 acres for the transportation of 40 persons [indentured servants] at his own cost.”

Holmes writes, “His land extending to Varina, the county seat, and his duties as “chief” justice of the county made him a close neighbor and associate of the leading families of Henrico, as well as of Charles Citty county. Continuing as a member of the Council until shortly before his death at the age of 43, he attended quarterly court at Jamestown and was closely associated with the governor, councilors and burgesses.”

Cicely’s fourth husband Peter Montague

What became of Cecily after William’s death is unclear. She was only 36 when William died, so it seems likely that she remarried. She may have been the “Cecily” who married and had five children with Peter Montague. Peter died in July 1659, after which another “Cecily” was married to Thomas Parker of Macclesfield. Parker had come to Jamestown in 1618 on the “Neptune” with William Farrar.

To have withstood the perils of the New World took endurance enough, to do so while bearing eleven children and burying five husbands took fortitude and courage. Cecily Bailey-Jordan-Farrar-Montague-Parker was, at the very least, a survivor.

Peter Montague’s Will dated 27 Mar 1659 and proved 25 May 1659

“In the name of God amen, I Peter Montague being weak in body and perfect memory do make this my last will and testament, this the 27th of March 1659 in name and form following,

First I bequeath my soul into the hands of my redeemer Jesus Christ, and my body to be buried.

Item, my debts being first paid I give to my loving wife Cicely one third part of all my real and personal estate according to law.

Item, I give to my two sons Peter and Will Mountague all my land lying on Rappahannock river to them and their heirs forever, and the land being divided it is my will, that the elder is to have the first choice, and in case of want of heirs of either, the survivor to enjoy all the land, and in case both of them shall depart this life without heirs, lawfully begotten, then my will is that the said land be sold by the commissioners of this county after public notice given either at an outcry, or by an inch of candle and the produce thereof to be equally divided between my three daughters Ellen, Margaret, and Elizabeth, and the child of Ann late wife of John Jadwin, and in case of any of these shall died without issue, then the produce of the said land to be divided between the survivors.

Item, I give the other two thirds of my personal estate to my four children Peter, Will, Margaret, and Elizabeth to be equally divided among them.

Item, I give to my daughter Ellen, the wife of Will Thompson, one thousand pounds of tobacco, and cask to be deducted, of a bill of thirteen hundred pounds of tobacco now due to me by the said Will Thompson.  Lastly I ordain my loving wife cicely and my son Peter jointly Executrix and Executor of this my last will and testament.  In witness of the previous I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written 1659 interlined before the signing and sealing therof.  (Signed) Peter Mountague, (Ye seal)

8. Richard Reynolds

Richard’s wife Ann Harrison was born 1575 in Yorkshire, England. Ann died 1618 in York, Virginia or England.

Richard Reynolds and Ann Harrison settled in Sussex County, England, where he became the head of vast trade and commerce business. This business had branches in Virginia, what is now the New England States and Bermuda. It is legend with this branch of the family that Richard Reynolds d. in York County. But as to whether York County, Virginia, or York County, England is not known. It is also recorded in the Reynolds Family Roster that Richard had several daughters.

Child of Richard and Ann:

i. William Reynolds b. 1606 in Kent, England; d. 19 FEB 1668 in Providence, Providence, RI; m. 1644 to Margaret Exton

He came to America either in 1661 or 1671, and landed in Burlington, New Jersey. He engaged in commerce and trade and made repeated trips to England, and died in England while on one such trip. He and his family had settled in Chester county, Pennsylvania.


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