Gravestones of Salem Mass, The Witch Trials and Genealogy

Well I finally got down to Salem Mass. The last time I was down there was when I was in HS. This time I also went by bus, but with a bunch of ladies from the Adult Ed, through the HS and my cousin Carol. Her mother and my father were brother and sister. Aunt Irene was the youngest of the first five children. Carol and I share a love of books and our ancestry/genealogy.

Through research for  a book that I am writing which I am using some ancestors of mine (on my father’s side). I saw a record pop up, Salem Witch trials. Now I knew the connection on my mother’s 1st great grandmother Mary Amanda Putnam. The Putnam family as you know were some of the lead accusers of the witch trials. Ann Putnam Jr. was my 1st cousin, 7Xs removed. Most of the Putnam graves are unmarked, so they won’t be vandalized . There was one of my Putnam family members, Deacon Edward Putnam, 6th Great grandfather, who is buried at the same cemetery, Burying Point. It is on the other side of the wall from the Salem Witch Trial Memorial. I have to say if and when I go back down there it would be for a couple days and not during Halloween season. It was cool to see but it was a carnival atmosphere and even at the memorial people were sitting on the slabs of granite with each person’s name, who was put to death & how they were put to death. People were even just sitting and smoking. To me it was very disrespectful. I behaved though and didn’t say anything.

So back to genealogy. Literally just a few months ago I found that not one woman in our family (father’s side) but 4 women all charged with witchcraft during the trials. Two sisters, Ann (Alcock )Foster, her older sister Frances (Alcock) Hutchins along with Ann’s daughter Mary (Foster) Lacey and her granddaughter Mary Jr. Ann was charged, convicted and waiting to hang when she died in Jail. She died Dec. 3rd, 1692. By the end of  September the trials and hangings were ending, so I don’t understand why she stayed in Jail. Her sister Frances, was bailed out by her son. She was maybe 80 years of age at the time of the witch trials. Ann was in her  late 70s. Her daughter ended up confessing to being a witch and was released; the same with her granddaughter. Those two added to the charges of Ann.

I write about witches but I don’t think my aunts were any more witches than I am. They were victims of hysteria. Some mean girls, (again my term) with nothing better else to do than lie. A few of the victims even called them out. It got them a noose around the neck.

I will be writing more about my trip and what I learned about gravestones. I have a book and will be reading up.

http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/Commemoration.html#Victims

 

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