Guide Descendants of Salem

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Only when reading accounts of the trials during last year's tricentennial did it dawn on me that Sarah Cloyce, accused witch, was the same woman as Sarah Towne Bridges, esteemed ancestor. Ed's line of descent from Sarah is contained in a family history, "The Paddock Heritage," which was self-published by some of his elderly relatives in It's not surprising that Sarah's story was lost. Only in did the General Court of Massachusetts resolve "that no disgrace or cause for distress" be borne by descendants of witch-trial victims.

New England author Enders Robinson calls the witch trials "the grimmest of stories, and one which my father believed plunged the family into ignominy, and was better forgotten.

His sixth-great-grandfather, Samuel Wardwell, was hanged from a locust tree the same day as Ed's aunt, Mary Towne Estey. Three presidents--Taft, Ford and Arthur--also are descended from one of Salem's 20 executed witches or their siblings. And, of course, our descendant in-the-making. During the Salem hysteria, being related to an accused witch was enough to cast doubt on one's own innocence.

Ed's Sarah was likely singled out because her older sisters had been accused. So were they witches? The Towne sisters were devout Puritans. Then why were they accused? Theories range from the simplistic--boredom--to the bizarre--hallucinations brought on by eating moldy bread. The truth is likely more complex: Rebecca Towne Nurse and Mary Towne Estey were among 13 women, six men and two dogs hanged as suspected witches.

Another man, year-old Giles Corey, was tortured under a pile of stones as townspeople tried to force him to enter a plea. His only answer before being crushed to death was immortalized in Arthur Miller's play, "The Crucible": Only those who did not confess to witchcraft were considered dangerous.

This Website Will Tell You If You’re Descended From Witches – OMGFacts

Those who admitted guilt were not treated as harshly, particularly if they conjured up names of other "witches. They moved their family to the settlement with the hopeful name of Salem, from the Hebrew word for peace. The year-old matriarch, who was nearly deaf, was taken from her sickbed on March 24, , and arrested for witchcraft. Local children said her "specter" tormented them.

She was condemned, brought in chains into the First Church in Salem and--most horrific to the God-fearing woman that she was--excommunicated by unanimous vote.

Rebecca was hanged on Gallows Hill on July 19, Meanwhile, Mary and Sarah also had been jailed. John Proctor , my paternal grandfather 8X, was a prosperous land and tavern owner. He did not travel in the powerful Putnam family circle nor did he hold any town titles. She would survive the hysteria. Roger Toothaker, and ten year old daughter , Margaret. Not long after, her married daughter , Martha Toothaker Emerson, would be accused and imprisoned.

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Roger died in prison under suspicious circumstances. Mary and Margaret were tried, found not guilty as result of confession to making a deal with the devil, and released in January of Martha would also survive. She was not put to death. The Sewell family had been embedded in politics back in England. When the witch hysteria broke out, he was asked to serve on the trials as a judge. He would later infamously regret his participation in The Trials.

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It is documented the he is the only judge to have publicly regretted his actions. Her first cousin, Gov. John Winthrop , was the first governor of Massachusetts and served 12 years intermittently. Thomas Chandler, my grandfather 8x back, was head of one of the founding families of Andover. It is said that he was both one of the wealthier men in town and a selectman.

A real Salem witch debunks misconceptions

Fortunately, the rest of the Balch family was able to stay out of The Trials. Many of The Trials opposers were then accused of witchcraft as evidenced throughout this entry. Reverend Samuel Willard ,1st cousin 9xs, however, openly opposed the trials but was never accused.

Where Wall Street Meets Sesame Street

He would also be instrumental in halting the trials. Later on, he would become president of Harvard where many of his teachings are held in documents. Robert Pike , paternal grandfather 9xs back, was one of the more prominent men in Salisbury, Massachusetts. By the time of the trials, he had risen to the position of Assistant of the General Court where he had to collect depositions of the accusers and the accused alike.

Descendants of Salem

Once Mary Bradbury was accused, however, he began to see the holes in the trials. He then wrote a letter to trial judge, Jonathan Corwin, questioning how the courts were handling the accusations. There no documentation on how his letter was received but he was one of the first known men to have questioned the trials. This is something that I want to delve more on in my next entry.

Bloodlines of Salem

For now, I want to leave you with one thought: Here are some of their stories: Great topic-especially for those of us that are born and raised in Salem! It is a period of our American heritage that is drilled into us as school children. So much so that despite my inability to form grammatically correct sentences I find it important to point out what good ole Mrs. I have heard dissenting opinions to this over the years but I am sure it is correct to say that people were hanged on Gallows Hill-especially if you say this in Salem. Would you mind reaching out to me? Hi Lisa, I just left a message.

I would absolutely love to do whatever you would like me to do. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Some were the judges who sentenced them to death. Some were betrayed by their own family members. Some were the accusers. Some were the opposers. Amazing what you find out when you go researching ancestors. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Email required Address never made public.