“Oh Lord, help me! It is false. I am clear. For my life now lies in your hands….” ~ Rebecca NURSE, hung for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692.
Today’s theme is ‘cemetery’. In May of 2011 Bart and I traveled to Massachusetts for a few weeks. I never wanted to travel to the eastern part of the country. I don’t know why- I just didn’t. In 2011, I fell in love with it. It was probably the best trip we’ve taken. I was so fortunate to have enough time to really delve into the history of our families while I was there. One of the things I did while there was to visit Salem. I spent two or three days wandering the streets and learning the history.
In 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts many men and women were accused of witchcraft. Twenty of those people (both men and women) were tried, convicted, and executed. I believe (but I’m not certain because I’m depending on the research of others and I have not verified the research myself) that we have both an ancestor as well as another distant relative that were accused in the 1692 Salem witch trials but not executed. Below I will post my photos of the Salem Witch Memorial as well as some links to learn more about the memorial. I will post a photo of the indictment of Sarah BASSETT whom I believe I may be related to. I also believe I am related to Rebecca NURSE and her two sisters- Mary EASTY and Sarah CLOYSE, other accused Salem residents. If I can verify these relationships, we are related to these women through both the DRAKE and HUBBARD lines.
Photos of some of the memorials.
Sarah BASSETT’s indictment.
Transcription of Sarah BASSETT’s indictment:
The Jurors for o’r Sov’r lord & Lady the King & Queen pr’sent
The Sarah Bassett wife of William Bassett of Lyn in the County
of Essex aforesaid Upon or about the 23’rd day of May last Anno: 1692 aforsaid
And Divers other Days & Times as well before as after Certaine
Detestable Arts Called Witchcraft & Sorceries Wickedly Mallitiously
& felloniously hath used practised & Exercised at & in the Towne
of Salem, in the County of Essex aforesaid Upon & Against One
Mary Walcott of Salem Single Woman By Which Wicked Arts The
Said Mary Walcott is Tortured aflicted Tormented Consumed Wasted
& Pined the Day & yeare aforesaid & Divers other Days & times as
well before as Contrary to the peace of o’r Sov’r lord & lady the King
& Queen their Crowne & Dignity & the Laws in that Case made
You can find the Sarah BASSETT documents and more at University of Virginia’s Salem Witch Trials site. I highly recommend it.
Rebecca NURSE’s Sister Mary’s testimony:
Mary Easty was the daughter of William Towne, of Yarmouth, Norfolk County, New England, where she was baptized on August 24, 1634. Two of Easty’s sisters, Rebecca Nurse, and Sarah Cloyse were also accused of Witchcraft during the Salem outbreak, although there is ample evidence that all three were innocent.
At the time of her questioning, Easty was about 58 years old and was married to Isaac Easty, with whom she had had seven children. Isaac owned and lived upon a large valuable farm. Her examination followed the pattern of most in Salem: the girls had fits, and were speechless at times, and the magistrate expostulated with her for not confessing her guilt, which he deemed proven beyond doubt by the sufferings of the afflicted.
“How far have you complied with Satan?” “Sir, I never complied with him but pray against him all my days. What would you have Easty do?” “Confess if you be guilty” “I will say it, if it was my last time, I am clear of this sin.” During the exam, when Easty clasped her hands together, the hands of Mary Lewis, one of the afflicted were clenched and not released until Easty released her hands, and when she inclined her head, the afflicted girls cried out to have her straighten her neck, because as long as her head was inclined their necks were broken.
Easty was committed to prison after her examination. For a reason not disclosed in any of the remaining records, Easty, after spending two months in prison, was discharged on the 18th of May. She and her family believed she would now be safe from further accusations. They were wrong. The release seems to have been very distasteful to the afflicted girls, they became determined to not let the matter rest, and redoubled their energies to get her back into prison. On the 20th, Mary Lewis spent the entire day experiencing fits of unprecedented severity, during which time she said she was being strangled, and claimed “they will kill Easty out right.” Several of the other afflicted girls claimed that they could see the apparition of Easty afflicting her, and people came from all around to see the fits. That evening a second warrant was issued for Easty’s arrest. At midnight, after experiencing two days of liberty and being reunited with her family, Easty was rousted from her sleep by the marshall, torn from her husband and children, and taken back to prison where she was loaded with chains. Once Easty was back in prisons with chains, Lewis’s fits stopped.
Easty was tried and condemned to death on September 9th. She was executed on September 22, despite an eloquent plea to the court to reconsider and not spill any more innocent blood. The court had long since ceased to pay any attention to anything that was said by the condemned. On the gallows she prayed for a end to the witch hunt.
Easty’s parting communications with her husband and children were said by those who were present to have been “as serious, religious, distinct, and affectionate as could be expressed, drawing tears from the eyes of almost all present.”
In November, after Easty had been put to death, Mary Herrick gave testimony about Easty. Herrick testified that she was visited by Easty who told her she had been put to death wrongfully and was innocent of witchcraft, and that she had come to vindicate her cause. Easty’s family was compensated with 20 pounds from the government in 1711 for her wrongful execution.”
I hope you’ve enjoyed this. If you ever get to Salem take time to look around the cemeteries and memorials. They are very interesting. One last photo. After asking a lot of locals and doing some research I *think* this is where the Salem witch hangings took place. I could be wrong but this is as close as I could get in the three days I was there. It’s a local park now.
Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives