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


  1. Absolutely amazing! How ignorant we were (are). I can't believe the number of people killed as a result. It is no surprise that the families involved stayed close. As I read this post, I wondered how the descendants could even find mates due to the hysteria of the time.

  2. Sarah and William are my ancetors also. I am descended from their daughter Priscilla. I have studied their lives in depth. Thanks for the post.