Photo by Salt Water New England

Sunday, October 30, 2022

New England Witches (From Our Family Tree)

Arthur Miller (Photo by my Father) 

A staple of many New England prep schools' curricula, especially this time of year, is Arthur Miller's The Crucible.  In both English and political science classes, we have all read it, seen it, discussed it, written papers about it, taken tests on it, and likely acted in one or more productions of it.  What makes it more interesting is how many classmates had ancestors that were involved.

We have a handful of 9th Great-Grandparents who were accused witches and convicted witches in New England in the 1600s and they include: Susannah Martin, Mary Perkins Bradbury, Frances Alcock Hutchins, John and Joan Carrington and Jane Walford.

As well as the accused, we also have direct ancestors who played many of the other roles in the 17th Century Witch Trials: Accuser, Witness, Neighbor, Jury, and the Law.

Photos of The Crucible, on Stage, by My Father


Photos of Salem by Salt Water New England


 

15 comments:

  1. Ugh, The Witch House. People should be aware that Salem is open the other 11 months of the year.

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    1. Yes, it's a nice town if you can ignore the tourist stuff. The Peabody-Essex museum is a nice little gem.

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  2. Witches. Now that is an interesting subject for me, having studied European mythology, witchcraft and shamanistic practices. I am a lifelong student of anthropology. How fascinating to know that about you.

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  3. How interesting. Frances Elizabeth Alcock Hutchins was also my 8th or 9th generation great-grandmother. Small world.
    Happy Halloween!

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  4. Everyone associates the witchcraft hysteria with Salem, MA, but the most accused - 40 of them - actually lived in Andover, MA. All but one lived in present-day North Andover, which in 1692 was known as the North Parish of the town. Only Martha Carrier, the first to be executed, lived in the South Parish area. In 1855, the town officially split to become North Andover (North Parish) and Andover (South Parish.)

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    1. Martha Carrier is my 9th great-grandmother. Her husband, Thomas Morgan Carrier, also has a very interesting story about him. He is reputed to be one of the executioners of Charles I.

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  5. Frances Alcock Hutchins was my 9th Great Grandmother as well! (Hello to my very extended family!)

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  6. Just started Stacy Schiff’s “Witches: Salem 1692” and it’s fantastic. RJ Julia will be having an event soon for her new Sam Adams book.

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    1. What wonderful photos, and it truly is the season! Thanks once again!

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  7. I also have a relative in the Salem crowd. I forget her name. She didn't hang as I recall, (from reading, not being there).
    Anon at 7:08 PM, thank you for the interesting nformation.

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  8. I have living relatives who are witches!

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  9. Interesting. One of my wife's ancestors was tried for witchcraft in Salem. Incidentally, a word to the gentlemen, if your wife comes in from hours of research on Ancestry.com and tells you that one of her ancestors was one of the Salem witches replying that this is the least surprising answer you have heard in the last calendar year is NOT THE REPLY SHE IS LOOKING FOR.

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    1. The closest thing like that which my wife was anxious to tell me was that she discovered that we might have a common ancestor--from about 300 years ago. I guess it's possible, since some branches of our respective families lived in the same general area ever since arriving from what everyone back home called "the old country." I discovered that two branches of my family tree (probably a crab apple) merged. I don't know if that explains anything.

      When I finally realized my wife grew up knowing almost everything about her ancestry (She's in Burke's Presidential Families), I did some research about my family, too. One thing I discovered was that, although there is a lot of information out there, there are mistakes and gaps. So, what you find has to be taken with a grain of salt, so to say. Mistakes creep in because, even with a relatively unusual name, there can be lots of people with the same name. Find-a-grave is a fairly good resource, since it's a kind of basic research information, but there can still be errors of confusion as well as dead ends, no pun intended. As I said, I have an unusual name, but in the area where my father was from, the name filled two pages of the phone book, back when there were phone books.
      I have stated before that I'm not descended from anybody. The reality is that I'm descended from a lot of nobodies.

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  10. I also have ancestors tied up in the Witch Trials, most prominently members of the Fiske family who served as jurors. I also have some Proctor ancestors, but not "those Proctors."

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  11. I am a direct descendant of Rebecca Eames who was accused of being a witch and then released during the Salem Witch Trials!

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