Salem Revisited

Sarah BASSETT’s Indictment.

I recently binge-listened to season 1 of a podcast called Unobscured.  I highly recommend it.  The host, Aaron Mahnke, spent a whole season researching the Salem witch trials.  It was very interesting.  In 2011, I traveled to Massachusetts and visited the towns of Salem and Danvers.  When I was in Salem I attempted to locate the place where the accused witches were hung.  I wasn’t able to find anyone who knew for sure so I visited Gallows Hill Park and there on top of the hill I left a small bouquet of flowers by a tree to honor and remember our ancestors who were accused during the trials. 

Gallows Hill Park, Salem, Massachusetts.

When I listened to the Unobscured podcast I learned that they have finally located the spot where the witches were hung.  (Where is the Real Gallows Hill) It’s on the same block as a Walgreen’s between Proctor and Pope Streets.  I’m pretty sure it was the Walgreen’s I stopped at to ask if anyone knew where the hanging location was!  I was right there and no one knew!  I was disappointed, but figured Gallows Hill Park was probably the closest I would ever get in my lifetime.  I hope one day I can return to the exact spot and pay my respects again. photo of Proctor’s Ledge- the location where the accused Salem witches were hung during the 1692 Salem witch trials.

In the meantime, I am going to rerun one of my posts from the old blog at LiveJournal about the Salem witch trials as they pertain to our family. Another website you can take a look at that pertains to one of our witchy ancestors is Lee Wiegand’s website. Our ancestor was Sarah (BURT) BASSETT (my 11th great grandmother). Her daughter, Elizabeth, married John PROCTOR. John was hung as a witch. Elizabeth’s death sentence was put on hold because she was pregnant. By the time she had her baby, the witch hunt craze was over and her life was spared.

John Proctor’s stone at The Salem Witch Trials Memorial in Salem, Massachusetts. Found at–salem-witch-trials-salem-massachusetts.jpg

I wonder what Sarah (BURT) BASSETT’S life would have been like without the witchcraft craze. Out of Sarah’s family alone, the following were accused witches in 1692: her eldest daughter Elizabeth (plus this daughter’s husband, stepson, son and daughter; out of these, the young men were tortured in an effort to get them to confess), Sarah’s daughter-in-law Sarah (HOOD) BASSETT (wife of her son William), and her daughter Mary (BASSETT) DeRICH (Mary suffered additional tragedies within her family while imprisoned for the witch allegations). Her grandmother, Ann (HOLLAND) BASSETT BURT, had also been accused of witchcraft in an earlier case in 1669. So you can see, the various trials and accusations affected Sarah’s life in a big way. It must have seemed to Sarah that it was never going to end.

Sarah (BURT) BASSETT’s daughter, Sarah, was my 10th great grandmother. This second Sarah married Thomas ELWELL. Thomas and Sarah’s sister-in-law, Esther (DUTCH) ELWELL (married to Thomas’ brother Samuel), was also one of the accused in 1692. The women of the DUTCH family were no strangers to witchcraft trials either. The stories go on and on like that – like a chain – one family connected to the next and to the next and to the next. If you’d like to go deeper into the story of this family, you can read about Elizabeth’s trial here. You can learn about John PROCTOR’s trial here.

In any case, please review the links above and then click through at the next link to read my 2016 post about our family in the witch trials.

Until next time, I leave you with the words of this old English blessing:

~ May your joys be as bright as the morning, your years of happiness as numerous as the stars in the heavens, and your troubles but shadows that fade in the sunlight of love. ~

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

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