Thursday, November 1, 2007

Early America - Susannah NORTH MARTIN

10th great-grandmother
Richard NORTH and Joan BARTRAM / Susannah NORTH-b.1621 and George MARTIN / Jane MARTIN- b.1656 / Samuel HADLEY-b.1677 / Martha HADLEY-b.1704 / Martha SARGENT-b.1725 / Moses QUIMBY-b.1755 / Betsey QUIMBY-b.1795 /Almeda Sophia ROUNDY-b.1829 / Charles PARKER-b.1853 / Laura Elizabeth PARKER-b.1889 / Kirt DeMar WOOD-b.1923 / Lark / TR

Memorial Stone, Salem, MA

When Susannah Martin stood accused of "Sundry acts of Witchcraft" during the Salem witch trials of 1692, she defiantly laughed at her accusers, one of whom fell into a fit during the trial. "Well I may (laugh) at such folly," Martin told her inquisitors, according to court records. "I have no hand in witchcraft." Ten days later, July 19, 1692 Martin was hanged on Gallows Hill, Salem, Massachusetts a victim of the Salem witch trials.

Susannah MARTIN reading Bible

Susannah Martin born in (Ramsey H. England.) She was baptized in Olney, Buckinghamshire, England on September 30, 1621. Susannah was the fourth daughter, and youngest child, of Richard North and Joan (Bartram) North. Her mother died when she was a child. Her father took another wife and moved to America. Her stepmother was named Ursula. Her family first moved to Salisbury, Massachusetts around 1639. On August 11, 1646 at Salisbury, Susannah married the widower George Martin a blacksmith by profession with whom she had eight children, including daughter Jane, the great-great-great-great grandmother of Chester A. Arthur. Susannah and George Martin lived in Amesbury, Massachusetts. (see: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Susannah (North) Martin's Cradle & Spinning Wheel on display at the Macy/Colby House, Amesbury, MA

During Susannah’s lifetime she was accused of being a witch on several different occasions. She was arrest in 1661, however the magistrates did not pursue the charge in court. Then in 1669. Again she was let go because the evidence was not substantial. When the Salem, Mass hysteria broke out in 1692, it was inevitable that she was again accused. By this time her neighbors were estranged because she had such a strong disposition.

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 (Sr?) 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. (Susannah North Martin text complied by Bonnie Johnson -

By 1671, the Martin family was again involved in legal proceedings dealing with the matter of Ursula North's inheritance, most of which Ursula had left to her granddaughter, Mary Jones Winsley. October 1674 the court sided against Susannah and George, though Susannah was able to bring five further appeals, each being decided against her. (see: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Descriptions of Susanna say that she was short, slightly plump, active, and "of remarkable personal neatness." She was also said to be very outspoken, contemptuous of authority, and defiant in the face of slander which had followed her for years.

The Rev. Cotton Mather said about Susanna, "This woman was one of the most impudent, scurrilous, wicked creatures of this world; and she did now throughout her whole trial discover herself to be such a one. Yet when she was asked what she had to say for herself, her chief plea was that she had led a most virtuous and holy life." Mr. Merrill, in his History of Amesbury described Susanna differently---------- "The idea of snatching this hardworking, honest woman from her home to be tried for her life by those who never knew her , and witnesses who were prejudiced against almost too much for belief. ...Allowed no counsel, she was her own lawyer, and her answers are remarkable for independence and clearness. She showed herself to be a woman of more than ordinary talent and resolution." (Susannah North Martin text complied by Bonnie Johnson -

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. On April 30, 1692 a warrant was issued for Susannah's arrest on a charge of witchcraft. When she saw Orlando Bagley approaching on the morning of May 2 little did she dream of his errand. He was a personal friend of long standing. She was arrested and taken to Ingersills Tavern in Salem Village for examination.


To the Marshall of the County of Essex of his Lawful Deputies or to the Constable of Amesbury:
You are in their Majests names hereby required forthwith or as soon as may be to apprehend and bring (before us) Susanna Mertin of Amsbury in ye county of Essex Widdow at ye house of Lt. Nathaniel Ingersalls in Salem village in order to her examination Relating to high suspicion of sundry acts of Witchcraft donne or committed by her upon ye Bodys of Mary Walcot, Abigail Williams, Ann Putnam and Mercy Lewis of Salem village or farmes whereby great hurt and damage hath beene donne to ye bodys of said persons according to complt of Capt. Jonathan walcot & Serg Thomas putnam in behalf of their Majests this day exhibited before us for themselves and also for several of their neighbors and here you are not to fail at your peril.

Dated Salem Aprill 30th 1692. John Hathorn Jonathan Corwin Assistants

Susannah was tried for these charges June 26, 1692 her trial began. Susanna pleaded not guilty, but in the end she was found guilty and condemned to death. During the trial process she proved by all accounts to be pious and quoted the Bible freely, something a witch was said incapable of. 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. (see: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

During her preliminary examination, she vigorously answered the charges against her. When the "afflicted girls" began having fits, she laughed out loud. When the magistrates asked why she laughed, she responded, "Well I may at such folly." She refused to express any thoughts on what may have ailed the girls but bluntly stated that she didn't think they were bewitched. She later stated in her testimony that she did not think the afflicted were bewitched, and stated “If they be dealing in black arts, ye know as well as I.” Her further testimony show that she realized the seriousness of her situation and she adamantly maintained her innocence.

"The mental anguish and suffering of the two and a half months while she lay in Salem beyond our power of description." Susannah Martin underwent the indignity of a physical examination on June 2 1692. These examinations were intended to discover whether the accused had any physical abnormalities, especially anything that could be used to suckle a familiar or even the devil himself. Susannah was examined twice during the same day; at neither examination was any abnormality discovered, but at the first her breasts appeared to be full and at the second slack. Doubtless the magistrates found this apparent indication that she had actually suckled even more satisfactory than an abnormal "witch's teat." (Susannah North Martin text complied by Bonnie Johnson -

Many of her neighbors came to court to testify to her bewitching arts. Among them were James Allen of Salisbury. He stated that he refused to help Susannah cart wooden staves because his oxen were too tired. She angrily shouted “It has been as good if you had for your oxen should never do you much more service.” James Allen then on his way home had to unyoke one of his oxen because the animal was so exhausted. The following day he drove the oxen to Salisbury Beach so they could rest. When he returned two days later, his oxen had disappeared; later finding out that they had drowned.

Multiple neighbors came to court and testified against Susannah. All the while Susannah stuck to her faith. Knowing that if she admitted she was a witch, she would save her life. At the trials end, Susannah Martin, at the age of 71, was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged on July 19, 1692

Death warrant of Susannah Martin, Sarah Good, Rebecka Nurse, Elizabeth Howe and Sarah Wild

On Tuesday, July 19, 1692 Susannah Martin, Sarah Good, Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Wilde, and Elizabeth Howe were taken from their cells, put into a cart and driven up the rocky road to Gallows Hill. While Rebecca Nurse prayed, Rev. Nicholas Noyes exhorted Sarah Good to confess saying, "You are a witch, and you know you are a witch." She replied, calling him a liar and saying that she was no more a witch than he was a wizard and...if you take away my life, God will give you blood to drink." Tradition says that Rev. Noyes died of an internal hemorrhage, bleeding profusely from the mouth. (Susannah North Martin, text complied by Bonnie Johnson -

"The bodies...were thrust into a shallow grave in a crevice of felsite." There is historical evidence that the body of at least one of these women, Rebecca Nurse, was secretly removed and given Christian burial; "this was the hour and the power of darkness when a son could not say where he had buried his mother."

In 1711, the General Court granted compensation to many of the victims or their heirs, but Susanna's children made no application to the authorities and they received nothing. Susanna was not among those whose attainder was lifted. (Susannah North Martin text complied by Bonnie Johnson -

During the entire witchcraft hysteria in Salem, 400 plus people went through the horror of being accused of witchcraft. Only 19 were hanged and one man pressed to death. On May 1693, all the people accused of witchcraft that were still jailed were released after jail and court costs were paid. This finally put an end to the hysteria of 1692.

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 condemn
An Indian dog on word of them.
John Greenleaf Whittier 19th Century, poet
Boston, Massachusetts, On October 31, 2001, acting governor of Massachusetts, Jane Swift, signed a law that formally pardoned Susannah Martin, Bridget Bishop, Alice Parker, Margaret Scott, and Wilmot Redd.

(see: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, and Susannah North Martin text complied by Bonnie Johnson -, also

Notes of Interest:
William Sargent Jr. Susannah’s accuser is one of our 9th great-grandfathers.
Rebecca Nurse is a grandmother to my daughter’s husband.
Ann Putnam one of the young girl accusers is our 2nd cousins 11 times removed.

Marker Stone located at the site of Susannah Martin's House in Amesbury, Massachusetts.
Marker located at the end of Martin Street, which intersects with Route 110 at the Red Pepper Restaurant about one-half mile west of the intersection of Routes 110 and 150, Amesbury, Massachusetts.


Lark said...

Wes I have listed our linage on each of these early Americans. Replace my child's name with your child's name. Then replace my name with yours. The rest of the linage will be correct for you and your family.

Lark said...

I wondered about Sussanah's children and how they must have felt about this horrible time. There were sons of Susannah's living at the time. Jane MARTIN HADLEY Susannah's daughter and our 9th great grandmother had died 8 years earlier, about 1684. Jane's husband Samuel HADLEY and Jane's children were living.

Anonymous said...

Your account of Susannah Martin's life is very well done! She is my 10th great grandmother as well. My line is from GEORGE MARTIN & SUSANNAH NORTH/JOHN MARTIN & MARY WEED/MARY MARTIN & JOHN PEASLEE, etc.

I've often wondered why Susannah's children didn't come forward during their mothers' ordeal. Maybe they were afraid that they'd have been accused as well.

May I ask where you obtained the specific information of SUSANNAH'S birth? I've only been able to narrow that to 1620-1625 and that she was born in Salisbury, MA.

Christine Rosset

Lark said...

Thank you Christine.

My information comes from several family sources on my Sahdrach Roundy and Betsey Quimby lines which include family history books. Also and internet sources. See: Wikipedia,, and Susannah North Martin text complied by Bonnie Johnson -, also

Lark said...

I have thought about how horrible this would have been for the Susannah’s children. My link was daughter Jane, she had died before the witch trials. But her children were there. Susannah was old and widowed with adult married sons who most likely lived in the area. Where were they a few years later when the descendants of other victims demanded exoneration and compensation. I like to think because of their broken hearts they choose not to give any credence to the idiocy of the event that had taken their mothers life.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the links. I will be sure to check them out! My husband and I will be taking a drive to Amesbury some time soon (I hope) to check out Witches Gallows and other locations of significance.

Tenaya said...

I am related to Susannah North Martin as well :) Susannah's My Great,Great,Great, etc. Grandmother. I am related to her daughter Abigal Martin and her husband James Jr. Hadlock

janaeg said...

I am a descendant from Susannah Martin through Esther Martin from two of Esther's daughters. When we went to Salem in 1994 I was surprised at how little they had on Susannah's life. It is nice to see information surfacing on the web.

lyndsey said...

susannah martin is my 8th g.g. I am desended from daughtet jane & samuel hadley/ som Samuel married Dorothy Colby, thier daughter Ruth married Benjamin Davis and so down to me.
I found a really good book about the witch trials in portland, ore
by Marilynne K Roach. Really in depth.
This is a great site
Lynn Davis Atkeson

nelle said...

Another descendant here... Susannah holds a powerful pull through history for me... I'm a feminist and a lesbian, and according to Carol Karlsen in Devil In The Shape of A Woman, Susannah was likely accused for talking back to men, owning property - and also sleeping with women.

I've learned that I am also a descendant of Margaret Toothaker, who was accused and released, while her aunt Martha Carrier was put to death a month after Susannah.

Your posting was a really nice find, particularly the imagery. Salem is so close by, and I have to get there to see and connect through time.

Thanks much!


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Chase said...

Susannah's children not only failed to come forward to clear their mother's name, they also never came for her body, though most all other bodies were recovered by loving family members in this American tragedy. I'm decended through Shadrach and Betsy to Lorenzo and then to Samuel Roundy, etc. When looking back on history, age means nothing to a woman whose children cared so little for her or perhaps too much for themselves to defend her before or after her horrible death.

Lark said...

emailed comment:

This is a very interesting site to our family as we are direct descendants of Nathanal Hadlock born 1643. He was Great Grandfather to Abigal Martin who is the daughter of George Martin and Susannah North Martin. Orlando Hadlock born 1794 was my Great Great maternal Grandfather. I tried to post this to the site, but I was unable to do so.

Sue Wilson

Lauren said...

Susannah Martin is my great x7 grandmother

Anonymous said...

According to our family lineage, Sara Good would be approximately my 7x or 8x great grandmother...

Karen Howes said...

Thank you for posting this wonderful entry! I just found out that Susannah was my 10th great-grandmother through her daughter Abigail. It's wild to see things that actually belonged to her.

Anonymous said...

Another ninth great granddaughter signing in. I descend from her son Richard. Thanks for all your hard work.

Rachelle Horton said...

Thank you so much for the information. Anthony Colby is 10x grandfather!
Anthony/Samuel Sr./Samuel Jr./Ruggles/Henry/Ebenezer/Edward/James/Frank H./Frank T./Alfred G. and lastly my mom Jennifer!

goodwin said...

I am also a descendant of Susannah through her daughter Esther. Most of my family remained along the north shore for generations- Gloucester, Newbury, etc. Although my mother and grandmother were aware of their relationship to Susannah they never mentioned it to the family or in public until late in their lives. They seemed very uncomfortable about it whereas I found it particularly exciting.

Salem Witch Child said...

Thank you for this article. I'm related to Susannah Martin (10th generation great granddaughter). I've linked your article to one of my own thats being published on 9/5. Just wanted to say a job well done!

mpeaslee said...

Susannah, was my 8th time Gr. Grandmother! ( My last name is Peaslee)

salvationist said...

Susannah is my 11th gg through her daughter, Jane. Her story is so fascinating, yet so sad. I live in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada and would love to connect with other family members.


Kim Bonetti said...

Just found out my daughters are susannah's 10 times great granddaughters. They are descended from her daughter Jane (on their fathers side). I also found out that Susannah is the 5 times great grandmother of President Chester Arthur. I want to take my girls to Salem now to see that museum.

Anonymous said...

If anyone of my cousins out there is willing to share their lineage from Susannah with me I would be very grateful and would like to add you to my tree. Please contact me: bellamycay AT yahoo DOTCOM. Here is my own lineage; please feel free to add me to you tree:

Susannah North Martin (1621 - 1692)
mother of
Hannah Martin Mrs. Ezekiel Worthen Sr. (1644 - 1730)
mother of
Ezekiel Worthen Jr (1672 - 1755)
son of
Martha Worthen Mrs. Paul Morrill (1721 - 1784)
mother of
Ephraim Morrill Sr (1745 - 1842)
father of
Ephraim Morrill Jr. (1780 - 1832)
father of
George P Morrill (1821 - 1905)
father of
John Frank Morrill (1854 - 1920)
father of
Albert Andrew Morrell (1875 - 0)
father of
Francis Albert "Frank" Morrell (1907 - 1996)
father of
Mary Lillian Morrell Mrs. John Cunningham (1929 - 1995)
mother of
Paul Francis Cunningham (1950 - 2007)
father of
ME (James Cunningham 1969-)