Now days we think of witches as fictional workers of magic that can be bad or good, depending on the story. They usually look different than others and dress in a particular way.
|I'll get you, my pretty!|
Early Americans brought their European traditions of a physically present devil that looked like the pagan god Pan (horned, hooved and goaty) with them to America. that devil walked the earth tempting people to sell their souls. Witches were evil women or men that had sold their souls and worked magic to hurt others. Many women that were accused had had many children die in their families. (Losing children at a time when high childhood mortality was common wasn't enough, they had to suffer accusations as well.)
Witches supposedly looked like everyone else.
I've been messing about with www.relativefinder.org. On it, I find how I'm related to historical and or famous individuals. The information is only as accurate as my family tree entered on www.familysearch.org. This website is free and in run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You don't have to be a member of the church to use it. A lot of info has been entered by millions of people so if you can enter just a few generations worth of your family tree you can usually find a link to more generations. Live people won't show up on the trees unless you enter them and then will only show on your own account as a security measure. Women are listed by their maiden names and that can either make them easier to find or harder, depending on the records.
On the Mayflower relatives I found a new ancestor that I hadn't found before. Francis Eaton who I'm related to on my dad's side. It also shows John Billington as an ancestor. There are several of my direct ancestors that are listed as 12th or 11th great uncles because Mayflower passengers are listed on familysearch so many times, that sometimes with variation in birth date and place of birth or death that relativefinder can't confirm an actual link to an event like the Mayflower. So it isn't a perfect system but it is interesting.
Anyway, it also has a list of my relatives that were a part of the Salem Witch Trials. Though this was an infamous event of hysteria and paranoia that historians and psychologists can't quite pin it down, there doesn't seem to be a single or easy explanation. Whatever the explanation, it was a situation that started small and got carried too far, people died, people's lives were destroyed. Most of the women accused had many children and their lives had to have been so painful with the stigma and poverty that came with it. The relatives I found are mostly distant cousins, only one was a direct ancestor. Each of the people have an interesting story. I don't have the time to include them all so I'll provide a link to their histories where I can find them.
I have relatives from the Salem Witch Trials on both sides of my family. There are less on the Rushton side so I'll start there.
Elizabeth Hutchinson Hart 10th great grandmother. Indicted by grand jury but released after 7 months in jail after her son Thomas filed petitions. More of her story here.
Mary Perkins Bradbury 1st cousin 11 times removed. Convicted but escaped, returned to Salem after the hysteria. More of her story here.
William Hobbs 1st cousin 11 times removed. Accused but reprieved.
Abigail Hobbs 2nd cousin 10 times removed. Accused, confessed, convicted, but reprieved. Their story here.
Deliverance Hazelton (Hazeltine) Dane 2nd cousin 10 times removed, convicted but escaped. More of her story here.
Joseph Herrick 2nd cousin 13 times removed. Magistrate at trials.
John Hale 4th cousin 10 times removed. Clergy of Beverly, Massachusetts. He initially supported the trials but later changed his mind and published a critique. More here.
John Hawthorne 5th cousin 9 times removed. Magistrate at trials. More here.
Thomas Danforth 6th cousin 7 times removed. Justice of Superior Court of Judicature 1693. He was against the practices and spectral evidence allowed in the earlier trial. More here.
Nicolas Noyes 5th cousin 10 times removed. Clergy of Salem, official minister of the trials. More here.
Martha Ingalls Allen Carrier 1st cousin 10 times removed. Convicted and executed August 19, 1692. More here.
Susannah North Martin 1st cousin 13 times removed. Convicted and executed July 19, 1692. More here.
Margaret Kinsey Stephenson Scott 2nd cousin 12 times removed. Convicted and executed September 22, 1692. More here.
George Burroughs 3rd cousin 11 times removed. Convicted and executed August 19, 1692. More here.
Sarah Averell Wildes 8th great aunt. Convicted and executed July 19, 1692. More here.
Edward Bishop 4th cousin 7 times removed. Accused but escaped. More here.
Sarah Towne Cloyce 3rd cousin 11 times removed. Accused but never indicted. More here.
Waitstill Winthrop 1st cousin 10 times removed. Justice and magistrate at trial. More here.
Elizabeth Bassett Proctor 1st cousin 11 times removed. Convicted but pardoned due to pregnancy.
William Proctor 2nd cousin 10 times removed. Accused but not indicted.
Sarah Proctor 2nd cousin 10 times removed. Accused but not indicted. More of their story here.
John Alden Jr. 4th cousin 11 times removed. Accused but escaped. More here.
Mary Wolcott 2nd cousin 10 times removed. One of the "afflicted" girls that accused others and gave spectral evidence. More here.
So here I have relatives both accusers and accused and I can only consider the terrible strain everyone felt and hope I never get caught up in a witch hunt of any kind in my own life.
UPDATE: I'm adding Alan's Salem Witch Trial ancestors as well.
Relatives Alan and I have in common:
John Hawthorne 4th cousin, 9 times removed.
Edward Bishop 6th cousin 7 times removed.
Thomas Danforth 6th cousin 9 times removed.
John Alden Jr. 7th cousin, 9 times removed.
John Hale 9th cousin 5 times removed.
Mary Walcott 9th cousin 6 times removed.
Nicolas Noyes 10th cousin 5 times removed.
Elizabeth Hutchinson Hart 6th cousin 9 times removed.
Relatives not in common:
Elizabeth Jackson Howe 11th great aunt. Convicted and executed July 19, 1692. More here.
Rebecca Blake Eames 3rd cousin 9 times removed. Convicted but released. More here.
Susanah Sheldon 6th cousin 7 times removed. One of the "afflicted" girls that accused others and gave spectral evidence. More here.
Thomas Putnam 6th cousin 7 times removed. Initiated legal proceedings of witch trials by the word of his daughter. More here.
Ann Putnam Jr. 7th cousin 6 times removed. One of the "afflicted" girls that accused others and gave spectral evidence. More here.
Nathanial Saltonstall 7th cousin 8 times removed. Magistrate at trial but resigned over the nature of the trial. more here.
Relatives in common:
Waitstill Winthrop 3rd cousin 12 times removed.
Relative not in common:
Sarah Wildes Bishop 3rd cousin 10 times removed. Convicted but escaped. More here.
Next time: I'll actually show the wookie I made for my baby, I just thought it would be cuter next to my actual baby. So I'll wait a few more weeks until he's born to post that.