Showing posts with label witchcraft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label witchcraft. Show all posts

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Balch Family Reunion at the “Old Planters Weekend” in Beverly, Massachusetts

The Balch House, Beverly, Massachusetts

I didn’t attend any of the events at the Old Planters Weekend, but I made it a point to get to the Balch family reunion yesterday.  There were many reasons why I wanted to go:

  1.  I’d never been to this reunion before.  In fact, I wasn’t even a member.  I took care of that as soon as I got there.  If you are interested in joining the Balch Family Association, contact the Beverly Historical Society.

  2.  The reunion was held at the Balch house, which dates back to the early 1600s.  It’s always very interesting to attend a family reunion at the home of an ancestor.  You can read about my first visit to the Balch house at this link HERE.  This house recently underwent some renovations, check out the newly restored windows and front door.

  3.  I grew up in a house a few blocks from the Balch house.  My great grandfather, grandfather and father all worked at the United Shoe Machinery Corporation (now the Cummings Center), which is on the other side of the railroad tracks behind the Balch House.  They all walked to work, and home for lunch, and back to work, and home for dinner for over sixty years.  Even my grandmother worked there as a “Rosie the Riveter” during WWII.  And they all walked right past the Balch House, but no one in my family had ever seen the interior until last year.

  4.  Two new books were debuted at this family meeting.  Both had never been seen before.  I’ll talk about them below.  The authors both spoke, both had ties to the Balch family and Balch house.

  5.  The Woodbury family reunion was held at the same house at the same time, and I’m also a Woodbury descendant.  I wasn’t the only one there with descent from both families.  There were quite a few of us, which makes sense if you’ve ever studied colonial New England history from Essex County, Massachusetts in the 1600s.  Who else did these families have to choose from when considering marriage?

The family meetings of the Balch and Woodburys took place in the back yard of the Balch House.  I did a lot of schmoozing and running back and forth to take a peek at as many charts and family trees as possible.  I think the folks who brought their big 10 generation fan charts were the most useful.  It was easy to glance at their charts to see if we had other kinships. Many folks had lots of other Beverly Old Planter families in their lineages, so I found a lot of cousins besides just Balch and Woodbury cousins.

Walter Beebe of Essex Restorations spoke for a long time, and answered questions, about the ongoing restoration work at the Balch House.  Recent window and door work was visible when the descendants toured the house after lunch.  The president of the Beverly Historical Society, Dan Lohnes, gave an explanation of the funds needed for ongoing projects, including starting a possible trust fund for the house.  By the end of the reunion a large sum had been pledged by Balch descendants.

Robin Balch Hodgkins’ newly revised Balch Genealogy was debuted at this meeting.  The original compiled genealogy was written by Dr. Galusha B. Balch in 1897.  Several years ago Robin put out a notice for descendants to contact her with their lineages and proofs.  All descendants were to be included, not just those with the Balch surname.  Yes, I’m in the book, with my lineage from my 2nd great grandmother, great grandmother, grandmother, and mother back to the original planter John Balch.  My daughter is even in there, too!  (You don’t often find women in these compiled genealogies because they are often dropped because they don’t carry on the Balch name)  It was very fun to buy one of the first copies of this book, and to see my name in it, and to have it autographed by Robin.  The new book has over 12,000 Balch descendants.

The kitchen of the Balch House
After lunch and a brief tour of the Balch House by the curator of the Beverly Historical Society, Tad Emerson, the author of the brand new book A Storm of Witchcraft, spoke about his connections to the Balch house, and the Balch and Woodbury connections in his book.  Professor Emerson W. Baker (Tad) was the archeologist for Plimoth Plantation, and also for the Beverly Historical Society when they uncovered the remains of the original John Balch house under the lawn of the historical Balch House several years ago.  He wanted to write a book that traced the entire history of the 1692 Salem witch hysteria, since many books focus on just one or two angles of the story.  This new book traces the origins of the problems in the community, through the trials and to the years after 1692.  He even traces the story to today and considers the Salem witch trials one of the first American “governmental cover up stories”.  I can’t wait to read it, and yes, I got it autographed, too!

After a bit more schoozing with cousins, and exchanging contact information with some, we had a bit of time to revisit Beverly’s Central Cemetery where we were finally successful in finding another ancestor.  I’m still unsuccessful at finding one last ancestor, and I think the cemetery department has given me the wrong information on their maps.  That will mean that I will have to contact them again and take a FOURTH trip to Central Cemetery this year.  Sounds like fun!

For the truly curious:

A Storm of Witchcraft, by Emerson W. Baker, Oxford University Press, 2014

Balch Genealogy, compiled by Robin Balch Hodgkins, Beverly Historical Society, 2014  (Contact the Beverly Historical Society to buy a copy of this book or call 978-922-1186.)

The URL for this post is

Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Surname Saturday ~ MARSHALL of Salem and Ipswich, Massachusetts

Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Showing Salem, Beverly, Chebacco, Gloucester


According to the book Planters of the Commonwealth, by Charles E. Banks, 1930, Edmund Marshall, his wife Millicent, and Edmund their son, were passengers on the ship Hopewell from Weymouth England to New England on 8 May 1635.

Edmund Marshall became a member of the First Church of Salem, Massachusetts on 8 January 1636/7 and his daughter, Naomi, was baptized the same year.  His wife, “Millisent” was a member of the church on 31 December 1637.  By 1651 the Marshall family was in Manchester (between Beverly and Gloucester), but probably went to church in Gloucester where Reverend Richard Blinman was minister.

Many New England settlers arrived in groups with their ministers from home.  These “non-conforming” preachers brought their flocks to New England, and you can trace their parishioners moving around with them.  The “Blynman Party” came from Wales, arrived in Plymouth, and then Gloucester, and moved to New London, Connecticut.  On 13 February 1651/2 Edmund sold his land in Salem, and was listed in New London in March.  It is unknown whether or not Edmund Marshall was from Blinman’s original home of Wales or not.

Edmund Marshall was back in Beverly soon after because he is in the records as accusing several women of witchcraft in 1652.  These charges were found to be false and he was fined.  

By 1663 he was living in Chebacco, a parish of Ipswich, Massachusetts.  Again, Edmund Marshall was in court, and this time John Marshall sued Robert Cross for trespass, and Cross countersued Thomas Varney (also my 9th great grandfather), John Marshall (the son), Edmund Marshall, and William Warrener.  (Robert Cross was married to my 8th great aunt Hannah Jordan)  In 1668 there was another lawsuit involving their son-in-law Thomas Wells.  Lots of family members deposed in these suits, including my 8th great grandfather, Benjamin (1646 – 1716) – the son of Edmund Marshall.  These lawsuits gave some great genealogical clues.

Lawsuits were also helpful telling me more about the next generation, especially Benjamin Marshall.  His depositions gave his age, and where he lived over the years.  Along with his brother, Edmund Jr., he was a shipwright.   He signed the petition supporting John and Elizabeth Proctor during their arrest for witchcraft in 1692.  Since many who supported the accused witches found themselves also accused, it was a very gallant move.  John Proctor is also my ancestor – my 9th great grandfather.

Some sources for MARSHALL research:

New England Historic Genealogical Society Register, Volume 53 (1899) pages  185 -197 and 282- 294

History of Ipswich, Essex and Hamilton by Joseph B. Felt, 1834

Some Descendants of Nathaniel Woodward by Harold Edward Woodward, Boston: NEHGS, 1984


My MARSHALL genealogy:

Generation 1: Edmund Marshall, born about 1598 and died 1673 in Salem, Massachusetts; married to Millicent Unknown. Seven children.

Generation 2: Benjamin Marshall, born between 12 and 18 April 1646 in Salem, Massachusetts, and died 25 November 1716 in Ipswich, Massachusetts; married on 2 November 1677 in Ipswich to Prudence Woodward, the daughter of Ezekiel Woodward and Anne Beamsley.  She was born on 4 April 1660 in Boston, Massachusetts and died 9 June 1732 in Ipswich.  Nine children.

Generation 3: Benjamin Marshall, born 15 November 1684 in Ipswich, and died 2 October 1747 in the Chebacco Parish of Ipswich; married after 24 November 1711 in Ipswich to Bethiah Goodhue, daughter of William Goodhue and Hannah Dane.  She was born about 1685 and died 28 March 1752 in Ipswich.  Five children.

Generation 4: Elizabeth Marshall, born 1715 and died 15 November 1801 in Ipswich; married on 25 September 1734 to David Burnham, son of David Burnham and Elizabeth Perkins.  He was born 17 June 1714 in Ipswich and died 27 December 1802 in Ipswich.  Twelve children.

Generation 5:  Amos Burnham, born 13 July 1735 in Ipswich, and died 28 November 1788 when he drowned in Chebacco Pond; married on 27 January 1757 in Ipswich to Sarah Giddings, the daughter of Thomas Giddings and Martha Smith.  Sarah was born in 1737 and died 26 January 1782. Eleven children.

Generation 6: Judith Burnham, born 14 January 1782 in Essex (Chebacco Parish) and died 26 October 1848 in Essex; married on 5 April 1799 in Ipswich to Joseph Allen, son of Isaac Allen and Abigail Burnham.  Joseph Allen was born 22 September 1776 in the Chebacco Parish and died 24 March 1861 in Essex.  Eleven children.

Generation 7: Joseph Allen, born 31 July 1801 in Chebacco Parish and died 2 August 1894 in Beverly, Massachusetts; married on 28 October 1824 in Essex to Orpha Andrews, daughter of James Andrews and Lucy Presson.   She was born 3 February 1804 in the Chebacco Parish and died 20 April 1869 in Peabody, Massachusetts. Six children.

Generation 8: Joseph Gilman Allen, born 22 May 1830 in Essex and died 9 April 1908 in Essex; married on 23 May 1863 in Essex to Sarah Burnham Mears, daughter of Samuel Mears and Sarah Ann Burnham.  She was born 30 November 1844 in Essex and died 4 March 1913 in Essex.  Ten children.

Generation 9: Joseph Elmer Allen, born 24 September 1870 in Essex and died 12 March 1932 in the Masonic Home in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts; married on 1 November 1892 in Essex to Carrie Maude Batchelder, daughter of George E. Batchelder and Mary Katharine Emerson.  She was born 22 September in Chichester, New Hampshire, and died 21 January 1963 at the Sea View Convalescent and Nursing Home, Rowley, Massachusetts.  Five children.

Generation 10: Stanley Elmer Allen, born 14 January 1904 in Cambridge, Massachusetts and died 6 March 1982 in Beverly, Massachusetts; married on 14 February 1925 in Hamilton, Massachusetts to Gertrude Matilda Hitchings, daughter of Arthur Treadwell Hitchings and Florence Etta Hoogerzeil.  She was born 1 August 1905 in Beverly and died 3 November 2001 in Peabody. Seven children.

The URL for this post is

Copyright ©2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, August 19, 2013

19 August 1692, Five People Hung for Witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts

The gravestone of George Jacobs
Danvers, Massachusetts
On this date in 1692 five people were executed for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts.  Only one was a woman, contrary to popular belief.  On this particular day George Jacobs, Sr., Martha Carrier, the Reverend George Burroughs, John Proctor, and John Willard were hanged on Gallows Hill.   Five innocent people.  

One month earlier the upstanding citizens Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Elizabeth Howe, Sarah Good, and Sarah Wildes were executed.   Two months earlier, on June 10, Bridget Bishop was hanged in Salem as the first official execution of the Salem witch trials.    Over that summer, nineteen innocent lives were lost to gossip, heresy and lies. 

What has been learned since then?  Did anyone change their ways because of this?  Did we see the follies of our ways and become kinder and more forgiving to our neighbors? Did we become accepting of the "different" and less fortunate?

In 2011, modern “witches” have taken over Salem, Massachusetts- people like Laurie Cabot, who exploit the deaths of innocent people for their own profits.  My daughter’s AP History Class took a field trip to the “Witch Museum” in Salem after reading Miller’s play The Crucible.  I was shocked to hear myths being re-told during the presentation, and then the narrator invited the school children to the back of the museum to see a display of modern pagan witch artifacts “by the descendants of the original witches!”   I was flabbergasted, as a chaperone, to know that these myths persist.  

The truth is that none of the original nineteen people were witches, nor were they practicing witchcraft.  The people of Salem were Puritans, however they did believe the Devil dwelt amongst them in Massachusetts.  They falsely believed that witches lived among them, the cause of their problems and troubles. The Devil’s work was truly the gossip, lies and heresy told by neighbors and friends, and not the work of witchcraft.  Over the years these innocent victims have all had their records expunged from the criminal court system. 

If you want to see any actual sites related to the trials of 1692, you are better off going to Danvers, Massachusetts to visit the Archives where some of the original documents can still be read, or the memorial to the victims on the site of the original meeting house, or the well preserved Rebecca Nurse Homestead.   In the city of Salem, there is a memorial (cenotaphs) to the executed victims, Judge Corwin’s house, and the disputed site of Gallows Hill.  In Salem you will also find several museums of dubious quality and inaccurate displays.  You are better off touring the world class Peabody Essex Museum in Salem than any of the other witch museums, and thank goodness the PEM has removed the display of George Jacob’s finger bones.

On this date in 1692 two of those five people hung on Gallows Hill were my 9x great grandfathers, George Jacobs and John Proctor.  Bridget Bishop was my 9x great grandmother.  In 1992 the descendants of George Jacobs removed his body from where it had been secretly buried on the Jacobs homestead, because the land was being sold for commercial development.  We had his body re-interred with a very nice reproduction 17th century style headstone at the Rebecca Nurse Homestead in Danvers, Massachusetts.   Laurie Cabot, nor any of the merchants profiting from “witchcraft” in modern Salem, did not donate a penny towards the re-internment.  It is the only actual gravesite of a witch trial victim, since the others were buried in a crevice, and not allowed to be buried in the town burial grounds.  Rebecca Nurse was reburied in secret on the grounds of the family farm.  No one knows where she is located exactly, and hopefully she has been at peace ever since 1692.

George Jacobs
"Because I am falsely accused. I never did it."

Bridget Bishop
"I am no witch. I am innocent. I know nothing of it."

Margaret Jacobs
"... They told me if I would not confess I should be put down into the dungeon and would be hanged, but if I would confess I should save my life."  [note:  Margaret was forced to confess and to accuse her own grandfather, George Jacobs, of witchcraft]

Engraved on a cenotaph to Rebecca Nurse, at the Nurse Family Burial Ground in Danvers, Massachusetts:
“O, Christian martyr!  Who for truth could die,
When all about thee owned the hideous lie!
The world, redeemed from superstitions sway
Is breathing freer for thy sake today.”
By John Greenleaf Whittier


Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo
Originally published on 19 August 2011 at the Nutfield Genealogy Blog

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 19, 1692 and how you can help the Salem Witch Trials Memorial

On Thanksgiving 2004 I brought my Father-in-Law
from Spain to see the Witch Trials Memorial in Salem, Mass. 

On August 19, 1692 five people were hanged in Salem, Massachusetts when found guilty of witchcraft.  Their names were Reverend George Burroughs, Martha Carrier, George Jacobs, John Proctor, and John Willard.   Jacobs and Proctor were my 9x and 8x great grandfathers.   Carrier (maiden name Martha Allen) was my first cousin 9 x removed. Willard is my first cousin 11 x removed.  Other family members include the jailor, several accusers, and many witnesses both for and against the victims. My family has lived in this area a long time, and I was born less than ten miles away from Gallows Hill.  

During this frightening summer the victims of the witchcraft hysteria were hanged on June 10, July 19, August 19, September 19 and September 22, until the Royal Governor Phips stopped the trials from proceeding with hangings.   Hundreds of people had been imprisoned, tortured, and the entire colony had been scared into blaming neighbors and even family members of the crime of consorting with the devil.

The Witch Trials Memorial in Salem, Massachusetts stands in quiet memorial to those who suffered death during the witchcraft hysteria.  It was dedicated by Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel in August 1992 as part of the 300th anniversary of the Witch Trials.  It consists of 20 granite benches along a granite dry wall.  Each bench is inscribed with the name of one victim, along with their cause of death and the date of their execution.  Nineteen people had been hung, and one tortured to death.   The entrance of the memorial contains a threshold of granite blocks inscribed with quotes from the victims. 

John Proctor
My 8 x Great Grandfather

I have visited this memorial several times.  It is located right next to the Charter Street Burying Point, and on my regular tour of Salem when we bring out-of-town visitors.  Many tourists leave flowers and other memorials on the stone benches.  The compassionate, the descendants, and the history buffs all spend a few quiet moments inside the granite enclosure.  It is a powerful reminder of intolerance, and a place to memorize the victims because most do not have proper burial sites to visit, or gravestones. (Rebecca Nurse has a cenotaph and George Jacobs a gravestone in Danvers). 

This simple, yet elegant, memorial has suffered neglect in the past twenty years, and is in need of a facelift.   Over six million visitors have walked through the memorial, and the City of Salem has provided regular maintenance, but several stones need to be replaced by a master mason, and the walls have shifted due to weather and frost heaves. 

Quotes taken from court records decorate the entrance,
but are cleverly cut off mid sentence.
This quote from Bridget Bishop reads in its entirety
"I am no witch. I am innocent.  I no nothing of it." 
The Salem Award Foundation has begun a major fundraising drive to restore the Salem Witch Memorial.  There is an urgent need to provide maintenance to the site, before the problems with the granite walls grow worse.  Please consider donating now.  You can visit the website below to make a donation electronically, or send a check to the address.

Bridget (Playfer) (Wasselbee) (Oliver)  Bishop
My 9x Great Grandmother

The Salem Award Foundation website.

The Salem Award for Human Rights and Social Justice Foundation
P. O. Box 8484
Salem, MA  01971

Disclaimer:  I am not affiliated with the Salem Award Foundation, nor was I asked to write this post, nor did I receive special treatment or monetary consideration.

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Surname Saturday ~ Collston of Reading, Massachusetts


Adam Collston’s origins are unknown.  He settled in Reading, Massachusetts before 1668, and was the schoolmaster from 1679 to 1681.  This will was found in England and reprinted in the NEHGS Register in January 1884, page 68.

"Elizabeth Bretland, late the wife of William Bretland, deceased, Barbados, 6 October 1687.  Legacies to daughters Elizabeth Taylor and Millecent Acklam; to grandson Peter Jones; to grandsons John and Jacob Legay.  I give and bequeath to my brother Adam Coulson's children, of Reading near Boston, in New England, the sum of one hundred pounds, to be equally divided among them or the survivor of them.
            Cousin Edward Munday and Mr. John Mortimer of London, merchants, to be executors of the will.
            Item, I give unto my brother Adam Coulson's chilren, of Reading, near Boston, In New England, one negro woman, by name Sarah, being my own proper purchase, or to the survivor of the, to be sent to them the first opportunity after my decease.  I leave, according to the desire of my dear husband, Mr. Edward Munday, to my three daughters, Elizabeth, Millecent and Mary, thirty five pounds of silver, at twelve ounces to the pound. 
            Friends, Capt. Elisha Mellowes and Mr. John Hooker, to be executors for that portion of the estate in the Barbados.
            The witnesses made depostion as to this will 3 April 1689.  It was entered and recorded in the Secretary's Office, 17 February 1689.  Proved in London 5 December 1690.”

Adam’s daughter, Elizabeth, is my 8x great grandmother.  At sixteen she was arrested on a charge of witchcraft, along with three other women in her family (Lydia Dustin her grandmother, Sarah Dustin her aunt, and Mary Collston her mother).  Young Elizabeth was very brave and escaped twice!  The first time was from Cambridge jail, and the second while she was being transported to Charlestown.  Grandmother Lydia Dustin died in prison in Cambridge.

Elizabeth had an illegitimate daughter, Mary Collston my 7x great grandmother.  Her husband Adam Hart was made guardian to Mary. I don’t know when Elizabeth died, but Adam had two more wives- Abigail Deal and Dorcas Brown.  Adam Hart’s mother, Elizabeth (Hutchinson) Hart, had also been arrested for witchcraft.

Mary (Collston) Flint’s son, Jonathan Flint (1730 – 1800) married Lydia Proctor, a great granddaughter of the John Proctor (1631 – 1692) who was hung as a witch (also my 8 x great grandfather).  As you can see, this holds up my theory that the families of accused and executed witches formed a very tight bond in the generations immediately following the 1692 witch hysteria.

There have been no books or articles written about the early Collstons.  All my Collston information came from vital records, the Reading town histories and records, and from documents produced around the witch trials in the 1690s (except for the will mentioned above).

My lineage from Adam Collston:

Generation 1: Adam Collston, died 1 March 1686 in Reading, Massachusetts; married on 7 September 1668 in Reading, Massachusetts to Mary Duston/Dustin/Dastin.  She was the daughter of Josiah Dustin and Lydia Unknown.  Six children.  Mary remarried on 26 September 1701 to Cornelius Brown as his third wife.

Generation 2: Elizabeth Collston, born 9 October 1676, married about 1703 to Adam Hart as his first of three wives.  She had a daughter, Mary, as an illegimate child.

Generation 3: Mary Collston, born 22 September 1704 in Reading; married on 18 February 1723 in Reading to Jonathan Flint, son of Thomas Flint and Mary Dounton.  He was born on 8 November 1689 in Salem Village (now Danvers).  At least two children.

Generation 4. Jonathan Flint married Lydia Proctor
Generation 5: John Flint married Phebe Flint
Generation 6: Olive Flint married Luther Simonds Munroe
Generation 7: Phebe Cross Munroe married Robert Wilson Wilkinson
Generation 8: Albert Munroe Wilkinson married Isabella Lyons Bill
Generation 9: Donald Munroe Wilkinson married Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)


Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Surname Saturday ~ Dounton of Salem, Massachusetts

Not much is known about William Dounton.  We don’t know his English origins, nor his birth date.  He was made a freeman on 29 April 1668 in Salem, Massachusetts.  A town dungeon, or jail, was approved by the town and built in 1683.  It was made of oak timbers and was 70 by 280 feet and it was built on “Prison Lane” now St. Peter Street near the town common.  There were no bars, but prisoners were expected to pay for their food and chains.  William Dounton was the jailor during the Salem Witch hysteria in 1692. 

William Dounton’s name is in some of the documents that have survived from the witch trials.  There is a recorded deed from about this time period when Giles Cory witnessed the deed when Capt. Thomas Flint bought William Dounton’s house for 100 pounds.  Thomas Flint was William Dounton’s son-in-law.

My Dounton Ancestors:

Generation 1: William Dounton, born about 1629; married to Rebecca Unknown.  At least four children.

Generation 2: Mary Dounton, born about 1650, died 1721; married on 15 September 1674 in Salem, Massachusetts to Thomas Flint, son of Thomas Flint and Ann Unknown, born about 1645 and died on 24 May 1721.  Nine children.

Generation 3: Jonathan Flint married Mary Collston
Generation 4: Jonathan Flint married Lydia Proctor
Generation 5: John Flint married Phebe Flint
Generation 6: Olive Flint married Luther Simonds Munroe
Generation 7: Phebe Cross Munroe married Robert Wilson Wilkinson
Generaton 8: Albert Munroe Wilkinson married Isabella Lyons Bill
Generation 9: Donald Munroe Wilkinson married Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Surname Saturday ~ Buckley of Salem, Massachusetts

In prosecution of this warant 
I have apprehended and brought the bodyes of 
Sarah Buckley and Marye Withredg and Rebekah 
Jacobs all of Salem velage according to the tener of 
the within written warrant: and have Likewise made 
delegant sarch at the house of Daniell Andrew and 
at the house of Georg Jacobs for them Likewise but cannot find them
p me *Jonathan Putnam Constable in Salem
Essex County Archives, Salem -- Witchcraft Vol. 1 Page 114 )
Dated 14 May 1692

William Buckley was a shoemaker.  He lived in Ipswich, Massachusetts between 1657 and 1674, and in Salem Village from 1681 to 1702.  They were prosperous at first, but their property was seized when they lost a lawsuit brought against them by the governor, Simon Bradstreet.  One of his sons was involved in another suit, and as payment William Buckley lost his table, chest and possibly his cobbler’s tools in the seizure.

In 1681 the Buckley family sold their plot of land and became homeless.  They wandered and begged in the streets.  In 1692 Sarah and her widowed daughter, Mary Withridge, were arrested for witchcraft.  William Buckley convinced two pastors to speak in favor of his wife when she was arrested for witchcraft in 1692.   The Rev. William Hubbard stated "I have known the wife of William Buckley of Salem Village... ever since she was brought out of England, which is above fifty years ago... She was bred by Christian parents.... admitted as a member into the Church at Ipswich (of which he was the pastor) above forty years since.  I never heard from others, or observed by myself, anything of her which was inconsistent with her profession, or unsuitable to Christianity."  Sarah Buckley was still sent to prison.

After the trials were ended, those who had been arrested were released from jail as long as they could pay the room and boarding fees.  The very poor languished in prison, even though they had been declared innocent.  William Buckley spent his last shilling paying £10 to release his wife and daughter from jail after the Salem witch trials.  They had spent eight months in jail.

He survived another ten years after the witch trials, in obvious poverty.  His pastor, Rev. Joseph Green made the following entry in his diary: "January 2, 1702. Old William Buckley dyed this evening. He was at meeting the last Sabbath, and dyed with the cold, I fear for want of comforts and good tending. Lord forgive! He was about eighty years old.  I visited him and prayed with him on Monday and also ye evening before he dyed. He was very poor but I hope had not his portion in this life."

Mary Buckley, William’s daughter, was my 7x great grandmother.  In 1694, two years after the witch trials, she married Benjamin Proctor.  Interestingly, he was the son of John Proctor, and the stepson of Elizabeth (Bassett) Proctor, who were both arrested for witch craft and sentenced to be hung when found guilty. John Proctor was hung, and Elizabeth escaped execution because she was pregnant.  It seems that these families of the Salem accused and executed all had a close bond after the witch trials ended, and this bond seemed to last for a generation or two with many intermarriages.

My BUCKLEY lineage:

Generation 1:  William Buckley, probably born in England, died 2 January 1702 in Salem Village, Massachusetts; married Sarah Unknown.  Eight children.

Generation 2: Mary Buckley, born about 1664, died on 5 November 1748 in Danvers; married on 10 December 1694 in Lynn to Benjamin Proctor, son of John Proctor, executed as an accused witch, and Martha Unknown.  He was born on 10 June 1659 in Ipswich, and died in 1717.  Four children.

Generation 3: John Proctor married Lydia Waters
Generation 4: Lydia Proctor married Jonathan Flint
Generation 5: John Flint married Phebe Flint
Generation 6: Olive Flint married Luther Simonds Munroe
Generation 7: Phebe Cross Munroe married Robert Wilson Wilkinson
Generation 8: Albert Munroe Wilkinson married Isabella Lyons Bill
Generation 9: Donald Munroe Wilkinson married Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)

For more information on the Buckleys:

The Salem Witch Trials Transcription Project at  or use this link to search for specific names  The image above was from this website. 

“Sarah Buckley wife of Richard Ingersoll and Joseph Proctor of Essex Co, MA 1650 – 1705”, The American Genealogist, Volume 79, Issue 4, pages 274-7

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Surname Saturday ~ Proctor of Salem, Massachusetts


John Proctor, of unknown origin and unknown birth date, died on 28 November 1672 in Salem, Massachusetts.  His son, John Proctor, died when he was hung as a witch in 1692, but lives on in most people’s memory as the main character in Arthur Miller’s play “The Crucible”.   In the play there is a fictional love affair between a young John and his teenaged servant, but in reality there was no affair since John Proctor was more than sixty years old, and Abigail Williams, his maid, was only eleven years old at the time of the trial.

The first John Proctor arrived on the “Susan and Ellen” in 1635.  He had land in Ipswich and also in Salem.  His son John was an innkeeper in Ipswich, and farmed his father’s land.  His first wife, Martha, is my 8x great grandmother through son Benjamin.  He had a total of 17 children with three wives.  His third wife was pregnant when they were arrested and she “plead the belly”.  She was not hung along with John on 19 August 1692, and she later gave birth to a child after the trials and hangings were suspended.  She was deeply in debt and impoverished when set free, and her home had been looted.  She had many children and stepchildren to care for.  She went back to Lynn, where she had been born and there is a record of intention to marry Daniel Richards on 22 September 1699.   In her father’s will she is named “Elizabeth Bassett, alias Richards”.  [The Bassett Family, by Catherine Soleman Chandler, Salem Historical Society Publications, Volume 3, No. I, page 11]

John Proctor was accused of witchcraft by Abigail Williams and Mary Walcott, young maids in the household.  He had been outspoken against earlier arrests.  Several people in the community spoke against him, and he was found guilty.  There is a surviving petition signed by other members of the neighborhood requesting leniency in his case.  This was a very brave act, for it put them in grave danger, just like when John Proctor spoke out against earlier arrests.  There are several members of my family tree on that petition: John Andrews, William Cogswell, Thomas Choate, Thomas Varney, William Andrews, John Burnham, John Andrews, John Choate, John Cogswell, Samuel Giddings, and Thomas Andrews.

From Robert Calef's More Wonders of the Invisible World written in 1700 after the trials and executions, one of the few contemporary accounts of the witch hysteria:

"John Proctor and his wife being in prison, the sheriff came to his house and seized all the goods, provisions and cattle that he could come at, and sold some of the cattle at half price, and killed the others, and put them up for the West Indies; threw out the Beer out of a barrel,  and carried away the barrel; emptied a pot of broath, and took away the pot, and left nothing in the house for the support of the children; No part of the said Goods are known to be returned.  Mr. Proctor earnestly implored Mr. Noyes to pray with and for him, but it was wholly denied, because he would not own himself to be a witch." 

After his arrest and trial, his sons Benjamin (my 7x great grandfather) and William were also arrested.  He was hung along with Reverend George Burroughs, John Willard, George Jacobs (also my 8x great grandfather), Rebecca Nurse (a distant relation to the Proctors) and Martha Corey.  Later in 1711 the descendants of John and Elizabeth Proctor were given 150 pounds compensation for their suffering.   It took seven years for Elizabeth to reverse her legal rights since she was considered guilty by the court.  At the time John wrote his will, he thought Elizabeth would be hung, too, so he had left her nothing in the will.

As you see, the truth is much sadder than Arthur Miller's play...

I have two Proctor lineages:


Generation 1:  John Proctor, born about 1595 in England, died between 28 August and 28 November 1672 in Salem, Massachusetts; married on 1 June 1630 to Martha Harper.

Generation 2:  John Proctor, born 9 October 1631 in Assington, England, hung as an accused witch in Salem on 19 August 1692; married first about 1651 to Martha Unknown.  She died 13 June 1659; married second in December 1662 in Ipswich to Elizabeth Thorndike, daughter of John Thorndike and Elizabeth Stratton; married third about 1674 to Elizabeth Bassett.  He had four children with Martha, seven with the first Elizabeth, and six with the last Elizabeth.

Generation 3: Benjamin Proctor, born 10 June 1659 in Ipswich, died 1717; married on 10 December 1694 in Lynn to Mary Buckley. Four children.

Generation 4: John Proctor, born 27 January 1693 in Salem, died 3 September 1773 in Danvers; married first to Lydia Waters on 14 December 1727 in Salem, married second to Eunice Unknown. Ten children with Lydia.

Generation 5: Lydia Proctor, born 31 March 1730 in Salem; married 1 August 1751 in Salem to Jonathan Flint.

Generation 6: John Flint married Phebe Flint
Generation 7: Olive Flint married Luther Simonds Munroe
Generation 8: Phebe Cross Munroe married Robert Wilson Wilkinson
Generation 9: Albert Munroe Wilkinson married Isabella Lyons Bill
Generation 10: Donald Munroe Wilkinson married Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)

Generation 2: Abigail Proctor, born about 1639, died 1 March 1732 in the Chebacco Parish of Ipswich, Massachusetts; married Thomas Varney as his first wife. 

Generation 3:  Mary Varney married Thomas Choate as his first wife
Generation 4: Anne Choate married John Burnham
Generation 5: Jeremiah Burnham married Abigail Andrews
Generation 6: Abigail Burnham married Isaac Allen
Generation 7: Joseph Allen married Judith Burnham
Generation 8: Joseph Allen married Orpha Andrews
Generation 9: Joseph Gilman Allen married Sarah Burnham Mears
Generation 10: Joseph Elmer Allen married Carrie Maude Batchelder
Generation 11: Stanley Elmer Allen married Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (my grandparents)

For more information on the Proctor family:

The American Genealogist, volume 81, page 218

The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England 1634 – 1625, by Robert Charles Anderson, Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1999, volume 5, pages 540 – 542

John Proctor of Ipswich and Some of his Descendants, by Leland H. Proctor, Springfield, MA: Research Associates, 1985

The Proctor Genealogy, by Albert Carlton Proctor, 1979,

Planters of the Commonwealth, by Charles Edward Banks, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1979

This website has the John Proctor genealogy and other Proctor families

See my blog post about my ancestor George Jacobs, who was also hung the same day as John Proctor: 


Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Surname Saturday ~ Waters of Salem, Massachusetts

Richard Waters was granted lot 87 on this map
of the Northfield section of Salem, Massachusetts

Richard Waters was found in records in England, such as his baptism in 1604 in London, and the record admitting him into the Ironmongers Company on 26 April 1626.  There are additional records of him making payments to the Ironmongers Company, and of money he owed them. 
The next records of Richard Waters are in Salem, Massachusetts such as on 21 August 1637 "It's ordered that Mr. Connant's house, ground and half acre of corne standing on same next unto Mr. Jon Fisk shalbe bought by the Towne fro ould mr. William Plase and his wife that now is, to them , for the time of their life and what costs the saide Wm. Plase shalbe att his use and behouefe the Towne at the end of ther life shalbe will to allow his eyers executors or asigns the value that the same shalbe worth, voted."  There are additional records in Salem showing Richard Waters in divisions of land and grants of land.   He was a member of the First Church in Salem in 1637, too.

Richard Waters was a gunsmith.  He also owned a tavern in Salem.  His son, John, my 8 x great grandfather, was a farmer, who lived with his parents in Salem, and later in the Northfield section of Salem.  John Waters was called as a witness during the Salem witch trials to testify against George Jacobs.  His summons is unclear whether he was for or against Jacobs.  His daughter, Abigail, married John Jacobs, son of the accused George Jacobs.  

Summons for Witnesses v. George Jacobs, Sr. 
W'm and Mary by the Grace of God of England &c King and Queen &c. 

To the Sheriff of Essex or deputy or Constables of Salem Greeting. 

Wee comand you to Warn and give notice unto Joseph Flintt John Waters sen'r John Doritch Corpo'll John foster Capt Puttnam and [his] Rebecca his wife that they and Every of them be and appear forthwith att the Court of Oyer and Terminer holden at Salem there to Testifie the truth to the best of your knowledge on certain Indictments Exhibited against George Jacobs Sen'r hereof make return faile not. 

Dated in Salem Aug't 4th 1692, and in the fourth yeare of our Reigne 
( Essex County Archives, Witchcraft, Volume 1, page 85)


I have two WATERS lineages:

Generation 1: Richard Waters, son of James Waters and Phebe Manning, was baptized on 3 March 1604 at St. Botolph, Aldersgate, London, England, and died 16 July 1677 at Salem, Massachusetts.  He married about 1630 in England to Rejoice Plaise, his stepsister, daughter of William Plaise and Margery Smith.   William Plaise married Phebe (Manning) Waters about 1592 in England.  Richard Waters and Rejoice Plaise  had sixteen children.

Generation 2: John Waters, born 29 November 1640 in Salem, died 14 February 1706; married on 1 August 1663 in Salem to Sarah Tompkins, daughter of John Tompkins and Margaret Goodman.   She was born 1 January 1643 in Salem, and died about 1707 in Salem.  Ten children.

Generation 3: John Waters, born 4 July 1665 In Salem, died 1741; married Mary Unknown.  Six children.

Generation 4. Lydia Waters, born 1704, died 4 August 1769 in Danvers, Massachusetts; married on 14 December 1727 in Salem to John Proctor as his first wife.  Ten children.

Generation 5. Lydia Proctor m. Jonathan Flint
Generation 6.  John Flint m. Phebe Flint
Generation 7.  Olive Flint m. Luther Simonds Munroe
Generation 8. Phebe Cross Munroe m. Robert Wilson Wilkinson
Generation 9.  Albert Munroe Wilkinson m. Isabella Lyons Bill
Generation 10. Donald Munroe Wilkinson m. Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)

Generation 3. Abigail Waters, born 6 May 1683, died before 1721 in Salem; married on 6 April 1704 in Salem Village (now Danvers) to John Jacobs, son of George Jacobs (hung as a witch in 1692) and Rebecca Andrews.  He was born on 18 September 1679 in Salem and died in 1764 in Salem.  Seven children.

Generation 4. Abigail Jacobs, born about 1706, married on 5 February 1736 in Salem to Malachi Felton, son of Nathaniel Felton and Elizabeth Foot, born 14 May 1705.  Four children.

Generation 5. Sarah Felton married Robert Wilson
Generation 6. Robert Wilson married Mary Southwick
Generation 7. Mercy F. Wilson married Aaron Wilkinson
Generation 8. Robert Wilson Wilkinson married Phebe Cross Munroe
Generation 9.  Albert Munroe Wilkinson m. Isabella Lyons Bill
Generation 10. Donald Munroe Wilkinson m. Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)

For more information on Richard Waters' family see the Salem, Massachusetts Vital Records, and Sidney Perley's History of Salem, 1924.  See also Ancestors and Descendants of Thomas Rice Lyon and his Wife Harriet Wade Rice with Related Families, by Patty Barthell Myers, 2003, pages 616 - 619.

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Surname Saturday ~ Jacobs of Salem, Massachusetts

"The Trail of George Jacobs" (my ancestor)
painting by T. H. Matteson,
this artwork depicts teenager Margaret Jacobs 
accusing her grandfather, to save her own life


George Jacobs arrived in Salem and bought the house and ten acre lot belonging to Richard Waters on 25 November 1658.  He lived as a farmer for more than thirty years when he was arrested, along with his granddaughter, Margaret Jacobs, and accused of “sundry acts of witchcraft.”  Later his son, and his wife Rebecca were also arrested.  Their four little children were left behind and cared for by neighbors.  Rebecca was aquitted on 3 January 1693.  Margaret could not pay her jail fees, and so languished in prison for several months after her acquittal.

One of the “afflicted girls” was teenaged Sarah Churchill, his servant.  This group of teens accused her of witchcraft, too, when she expressed sorrow at wrongly accusing George Jacobs.   Granddaughter Margaret Jacobs was tortured until she accused her grandfather, which she later recanted.  She was only sixteen years old.   

Evidence at the trial showed that George Jacobs was quite elderly.  He was hunchbacked and walked with two canes.  He must have been over eighty years old during the trial. George was found guilty and hung on 19 August 1692 along with the Reverend George Burroughs, John Proctor (also my ancestor), John Willard and Martha Carrier.  In 1703 the General Court repaid the heirs of the condemned, and the Jacobs family received 79 pounds.

All the victims hung at Salem had their bodies thrown into a crevice on Gallows Hill because they were not allowed a decent burial.  It is well known that the bodies of George Jacobs and Rebecca Nurse (and perhaps others) were secretly reburied by family.  In 1854 his bones were found on the Jacobs homestead.   In 1992, the 300th anniversary of the hangings, and also the same year the Jacobs homestead was demolished, his bones were reburied at the Rebecca Nurse homestead at 149 Pine Street in Danvers.   Forensic evidence showed the bones belonged to a tall arthritic man with no teeth. 

A quote from George’s testimony at his trial: “Well, burn me or hang me I will stand in the truth of Christ. I know nothing of it.”

The day after her grandfather was hung, Margaret Jacobs wrote this letter:
Honored father--After my humble duty remembered to you, hoping in the Lord of your good health, as blessed be God I enjoy, though in abundance of affliction being close confined here in a loathsome dungeon, the Lord look down in mercy upon me, not knowing how soon I shall be put to death, by means of the afflicted persons. My grandfather having suffered already and all his estate seized for the king. The reason of my confinement is this, I having, through the magistrates threatenings, and my own vile and wretched heart, confessed several things contrary to my own conscience and knowledge, though to the wounding of my own soul, the Lord pardon me for it. But O, the terrors of a wounded conscience, who can bear ? But blessed be the Lord, he would not let me go on in my sins, but in mercy, I hope, to my soul, would not suffer me to keep it in any longer, but t was forced to confess the truth of all before the magistrates who would not believe me, but 'tis their pleasure to put me here, and God knows how soon I shall be put to death. Dear father, let me beg your prayers to the Lord on my behalf, and send me a joyful and happy meeting in Heaven. My mother, poor woman, is very crazy, and remembers her kind love to you and to uncle, viz. d--A--, so leaving you to the protection of the Lord, I rest your dutiful daughter.

From the dungeon
in Salem prison,
Aug. 20, 1692


 There is much information on the Jacobs family and the witch hysteria in Sidney Perley’s three volume set The History of Salem.  The English origins of George Jacobs were written up in The American Genealogist, Volume 79, pages 3-12, 209 – 217, 253- 259.  

There are many good books about the witch hysteria, but my favorites are:

In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692, by Mary Beth Norton, New York: Knopf, 2002.

Salem Possessed by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, Boston: Harvard University Press, 1974.

Salem Village Witchcraft by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1993.

There is a webpage devoted to the story of George Jacobs and the genealogy of his descendants at this link:


My lineage from George Jacobs:

Generation 1:  George Jacobs was born about 1612 in England, died on 19 August 1692 when he was hung as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts; married to Mary Unknown.  She remarried to John Wildes,  whose first wife, Sarah Averill, was hung as a witch on 19 July 1692, in Salem.  Two children.

Generation 2: George Jacobs, Jr., who died before 1718; married on 9 February 1675 to Rebecca Andrews, widow of John Frost.  She was born 16 April 1646 in Watertown or Cambridge, Massachusetts daughter of Thomas Andrews and Rebecca Craddock.   Six children.

Generation 3.  John Jacobs, born 18 September 1679 in Salem, died 1764 in Salem; married first on 6 April 1704 in Salem Village (now Danvers) to Abigail Waters, daughter of John Waters and Sarah Tompkins.  She was born on 6 May 1683 and died before 1721 in Salem.  He married second on 21 May 1721 in Salem Village to Lydia Cooke. 

Generation 4: Abigail Jacobs married Malachi Felton
Generation 5. Sarah Felton married Robert Wilson
Generation 6. Robert Wilson married Mary Southwick
Generation 7. Mercy F. Wilson married Aaron Wilkinson
Generation 8.  Robert Wilson Wilkinson married Phebe Cross Munroe
Generation 9. Albert Munroe Wilkinson married Isabella Lyons Bill
Generation 10.  Donald Munroe Wilkinson married Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)


Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo