Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Accused of Witchcraft

I continue to find and add more relatives accused of witchcraft so check back.

Mary (Clements) Osgood
related through Betsey Quimby lines

[9th great grand aunt Mary CLEMENTS OSGOOD wife of Capt. John OSGOOD daughter of 10th great grand parents Robert CLEMENTS and Lydia DRUMMER.]
Mary Clements is mentioned as "a remarkabley pious and good woman," and yet Mary was accused of witchcraft in 1692 when the girls from Salem were sent to Andover to determine who had “bewitched” the wife of Joseph Bullard. Blindfolded, the girls fell into fits whenever the hands of witch were laid upon them. Mary and many others were accused as a result of this.

She was arrested in 1692, imprisoned, probably tortured, and confessed to being a witch. She was released after three months. Although her husband, ever the gentleman, testified in court that he could not tell when she was possessed and when she was not. A large bond was posted for her appearance.)
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Mary (Perkins) Bradbury
related through Betsey Quimby lines

[10th great grand aunt] Mary PERKINS BRADBURY was daughter of [our 12 great-grandparents] John and Judith (Gater) Perkins, baptized in 1615 at Hilmorton, County Warwick, England. Her family immigrated to America in 1630, sailing on the "Lion" from Bristol. In 1636 she married Thomas Bradbury of Salisbury, Massachusetts, considered one of its most distinguished citizens. Mary was the wife of Thomas Bradbury.

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.

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.

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


John and Elizabeth PROCTOR
related through Betsey Quimby lines

10 great grand uncle - John PROCTOR son of 11th great grandparents John and Martha PROCTOR.
John Proctor (1632–1692) was a farmer and tavern keeper in 17th century Massachusetts. During the Salem witch trials he was accused of witchcraft, convicted and hanged.

10 great grand aunt - Elizabeth BASSETT PROCTOR wife of John PROCTOR (born 1652 in Lynn, Massachusetts) was accused of witchcraft in the Salem Witch Trials and convicted. Part of her life was dramatized as part of Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible, which was later adapted into a film and opera.

Letter to Boston
John Proctor wrote a letter to the authorities in Boston, Massachusetts to alert them to the issues taking place in Salem and asking them to intervene. In this letter he claimed that if a woman as well respected as Rebecca Nurse could be convicted, then no restraint was left in the town, and he asked that the trials be moved to Boston, Massachusetts or that new judges be appointed. His letter brought about a meeting of eight ministers at Cambridge, Massachusetts on August 1, 1692. No records survive of what took place at this meeting, but when the ministers emerged, they had drastically changed their position on spectral evidence, having previously decided that the devil could take on the form of innocent people. Unfortunately for John Proctor, their decision made no practical difference until after his execution
. In early March 1692, the Proctors' servant, Mary Warren, began to have fits, saying she saw the specter of Giles Corey. John Proctor was dismissive of her claims (as he was of all the accusations) and made her work harder; he felt that witchcraft should be suspected of the bewitched girls themselves and not of the respectable women of the village. His negative reactions to the girls' accusations caused Elizabeth to become one of the next accused of practicing witchcraft.

A petition was 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 to secure the welfare of his sons but left his wife with nothing. He was executed on August 19, 1692 along with George Burroughs, John Willard, George Jacobs, Sr. and Martha Carrier.

Elizabeth, who was then pregnant, had her execution postponed until she had given birth. The baby was born in January and her execution was overlooked. She was released in May 1693 in a general release of those remaining in jail.

Accusations towards others in the Proctor family
In 1692 141 complaints were filed; twelve were against relatives of the Proctor family. Only John and Elizabeth (Bassett) Proctor were convicted, and only John was executed.
  • John Proctor, husband of Elizabeth (Bassett) Proctor and the father of Benjamin, William and Sarah Proctor.
  • Elizabeth (Bassett) Proctor, third wife of John Proctor
  • Benjamin Proctor, son of John and his first wife Martha Giddons
  • William Proctor, son of John and Elizabeth (Bassett) Proctor
  • Sarah Proctor, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Bassett) Proctor
  • Mary DeRich, maiden name Bassett, was the sister of Elizabeth (Bassett) Proctor
  • Sarah Bassett, Elizabeth's sister-in-law (wife of William Bassett, Jr., Elizabeth's brother)
  • Extended family:
    • Thomas Farrar, Sr., father-in-law of Elizabeth (Hood) Farrar, sister of Sarah (Hood) Bassett
    • Elizabeth Hart, wife of Isaac Hart whose sister, Deborah Hart, was married to Benjamin Proctor, brother of John Proctor
    • Rebecca Nurse, maiden name Towne, was the sister of Sarah (Towne) Cloyce & Mary (Towne) Esty and the wife of Francis Nurse. Elizabeth Proctor, daughter of John Proctor and Elizabeth Proctor, married Thomas Very in 1681. His sister, Elizabeth Very was the second wife of John Nurse, the eldest son of Rebecca Nurse.
    • Mary Easty, maiden name Towne, was the sister of Rebecca (Towne) Nurse and Sarah (Towne) Cloyce and the wife of wife of Isaac Esty.
    • Sarah Cloyce, maiden name Towne, was the sister of Rebecca (Towne) Nurse and Mary (Towne) Esty and the wife of Peter Cloyce.
    There was also one family member among the accusers; John DeRich, son of Mary (Bassett) DeRich.
Aftermath
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.

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I continue to find and add more relatives accused of witchcraft so check back.

Earlier post about our family being involved in witchcraft Trials:
Susannah Martin
Mary Bliss
Mary Webster
Royal Governor William PHIPS

1 comment:

Heather Rojo said...

The more I read your blog, the more cousin connections I find. I'm also descended of Robert Clements and Lydia Drummer, of John Proctor and his 1st wife Martha, and of Edmond Towne (brother to Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Cloyce and Mary Easty). I live on land that was once a Towne family farm. Down the road is a sawmill owned by a Easty/Esty descendant.