Saturday, August 1, 2015

Surname Saturday ~ WILDES of Topsfield and Salem, Massachusetts


John Wild (1619 – 1705), my 9th great grandfather, and his brother, William, arrived in New England on board the ship Elizabeth on 10 April 1635.  John was listed as 17 years old, William was age 30.  They both first lived in Ipswich, and then John removed to Topsfield, Massachusetts. In several documents he was listed as a carpenter.   Although it appears that the brother, William, left no children, there are extensive records to be found on him in the court, land and probate records.

 About 1648 John Wild married Priscilla, the daughter of Zacheus Gould and they had eight children, who are listed in land records and in John’s last will and testament.  Priscilla died in 1663, and John remarried that same year to Sarah Averill, the daughter of William Averill of Ipswich.  Sarah was hanged as a witch during the witchcraft hysteria of 1692.  John then remarried to Mary, the widow of George Jacobs, who was also hanged as a witch.   George and Mary Jacobs were my 9th great grandparents in another lineage.  It is interesting that these two “witch widows” married each other, don’t you think?

Sarah Wilde, born about 1651, was my 8th great grandmother.  She married Edward Bishop, Jr. about 1675.  Edward Bishop (1648 – 1711) was the son of Edward Bishop (1620 – 1705) the third husband of my 9th great grandmother, Bridge (Playfer) Oliver Wasselbee Bishop, who was also hanged as a witch on 10 June 1692.   You can see that this extended family was very affected by the witchcraft hysteria, and it touched many of the family members.  Sarah and Edward relocated to Rehoboth, Massachusetts during the time of the witch trials, to get away from the hysteria.  Rehoboth is more than 60 miles away from Salem. 

There are many good books out there on the 1692 Salem witch trials, and many include good sketches of the Wildes family. 

Some WILDES resources:

The Great Migration:  Immigrants to New England 1634 – 1635, by Robert Charles Anderson, Volume VII, pages 402 – 407 (sketch of John Wild)

The Ancestry of Dudley Wildes, 1759 - 1829, of Topsfield, Massachusetts, by Walter Goodwin Davis, 1959.

A Wildes Genealogy: The family of John Wild of Topsfield, Mass., and his descendants in Old Arundel, compiled by Douglas Wright Cruger, 1990

The Historical Collections of the Topsfield Historical Society, by the Topsfield Historical Society, 1920, several volumes including John Wild’s probate papers in Volume 25, pages 115 -116, etc.
My WILDES genealogy:

Generation 1:  John Wildes, born about 1619 in England, died 14 May 1705 in Topsfield; married about 1645 to Priscilla Gould, my 9th great grandmother.  She was born about 1625 in Great Missenden, England and died 16 April 1663 in Topsfield.  He married second on 23 November 1663 to Sarah Averhill who was hung as a witch on 19 July 1692, and married third to Mary Unknown (also my 9th great grandmother, widow of George Jacobs who was hung as a witch on 16 August 1692, my 9th great grandfather in another lineage).   John and Priscilla had eight children.

Generation 2:  Sarah Wildes, born about 1651; married about 1675 to Edward Bishop.  He was born 23 February 1648 in Salem and died 12 May 1711 in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.  Three children.  Edward Bishop was the son of Edward Bishop (1620 – 1705) who was married three times, once to Bridget Playfer, who was the first woman hung as a witch in Salem on 10 June 1692.

Generation 3:  James Bishop m. Sarah Holmes
Generation 4:  Sarah Bishop m. Daniel Poland
Generation 5:  Martha Poland m. Alexander Mears
Generation 6:  Samuel Mears m. Lydia W. Burnham
Generation 7: Samuel Mears m.  Sarah Ann Burnham
Generation 8: Sarah Burnham Mears m. Joseph Gilman Allen
Generation 9: Joseph Elmer Allen m. Carrie Maude Batchelder
Generation 10: Stanley Elmer Allen m. Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (my grandparents)


Heather Wilkinson Rojo,  "Surname Saturday ~ WILDES of Topsfield and Salem, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted August 1, 2015, ( accessed [access date]).


  1. Oh dear! I hope it wasn't any of my ancestors that testified against yours! I have found that our ancestry seemed to be among the accusing! Great article!

    1. Don't worry! I have plenty of accusers, jurors (even the jailor!) and other witnesses in my family tree, too. Most of my family tree includes ancestors living in Essex County in 1692.

  2. I found your blog while doing research on my Dodge ancestors. I too am related to the Wildes of Topsfields. John and Priscilla’s daughter Phebe Day was also accused. She was my 10th(?) great-grandmother.
    I have always been so fascinated by the Salem trials and visited many times before I even knew of my blood connections. I hope to visit again and try to find Dodges Row cemetery also. 🙂