Sunday, February 3, 2013

Salem Witch Trials

So many ancestral lines, like mine, trace back to the famous Salem Witch Trials.

One of my ancestors was Faith Bridges (who married Daniel Black) was the daughter of  Edmund Bridges (1612-1684) and Alice Millington.  Faith's brother was also named Edmund Bridges and he was married to Sarah Towne who was accused of being a witch but was released, but her sister Rebecca Towne, wife of Francis Nurse, was arrested and hung in the trials. For more information about the case of Sarah Towne Bridges click here.

Another of my ancestors was Sarah Proctor (1639-1672) who married Capt John Dodge, she was the daughter of John Proctor (1595-1672) and Martha Harper (1607-1659). Sarah's brother was John Proctor (1631-1692) who married widow Elizabeth (Thorndike) Bassett. Both John Proctor and his wife, Elizabeth, were arrested but Elizabeth was released and John was executed on August 19, 1692 in the Salem Witch trials. Here are links to read more about the trials of John Proctor and his wife Elizabeth. In 1692 14 complaints were filed in the Salem Witch Trials; twelve were against relatives of the Proctor family but only John Proctor, Elizabeth Proctor, and Rebecca Towne (aka Rebecca Nurse) were convicted, and only John and Rebecca were executed.


Some interesting facts about Faith Bridges: 


And this site shows court records about Faith Bridges and her husband Daniel Black:  "The Essex County Court records are full of a bewildering number of references to Edmund Bridges in connection with John Gould...In March, 1664, an individual called John Millington was sentenced to be whipped, or to pay a fine of ten pounds, "for his great misdemeanor" and also to be bound for twenty pounds.  A person, whose name is deliberately left out, deposed that in January her brother, Edmund Bridges, asked her to go to Salem with him, but she did not go and Edmund and his wife left without her.  Whilst they were gone, John Millington offered "uncleaness to her, and she told him that she would not yield to him for all of Topsfield". Although Millington later prayed that she, the one to whom he had offered "uncleaness" would forgive him, Sarah Bridges acted as a witness in the resulting court case. She referred to her sister.  It is not at all clear who this sister was...The reference may have been to Faith, one of Edmund Bridge's sisters. Faith and her husband Daniel Black, were involved in domestic troubles, and at one point had been ordered to sit in the stocks for an hour. Danile was ordered to live peaceably with his wife, and to refrain from threatening her, while she, for her part, was to be orderly, not gad abroad or be in the company of other men. If either party disobeyed these rules, they were to be whipped."  

And some amusing information about Daniel and Faith (Bridges) Black:  "Faith Bridges, b. Mass; m. Daniel Black. "The Essex County Court records are full of a bewildering number of references to Edmund Bridges in connection with John Gould...In March, 1664, an individual called John Millington was sentenced to be whipped, or to pay a fine of ten pounds, "for his great misdemeanor" and also to be bound for twenty pounds. A person, whose name is deliberately left out, deposed that in January her brother, Edmund Bridges, asked her to go to Salem with him, but she did not go and Edmund and his wife left without her. Whilst they were gone, John Millington offered "uncleaness to her, and she told him that she would not yield to him for all of Topsfield". Although Millington later prayed that she, the one to whom he had offered "uncleaness" would forgive him, Sarah Bridges acted as a witness in the resulting court case. She referred to her sister. It is not at all clear who this sister was...The reference may have been to Faith, one of Edmund Bridge's sisters. Faith and her husband Daniel Black, were involved in domestic troubles, and at one point had been ordered to sit in the stocks for an hour. Daniel was ordered to live peaceably with his wife, and to refrain from threatening her, while she, for her part, was to be orderly, not gad abroad or be in the company of other men. If either party disobeyed these rules, they were to be whipped." 

Some great links to information about the trials are:

Interesting reading: "The Salem witchcraft papers, Volume 2: verbatim transcipts of the legal documents of the Salem witchcraft outbreak of 1692" click here

Click here to read The Diary of Samuel Sewall, 1674-1729

The Salem Witchcraft Papers  and the same site's home page


Actual accounts of the accusatory papers and execution, click here.

Below is the "Title page and last page of Strange Phenomena of New England in the 17th Century including the "Salem Witchcraft, 1692", from the writing of Cotton Mather, New York, 1846" from the LOC (Library of Congress) website.





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