One of the most incredible events in US history, an almost unbelievable event surrounded by mystery and intrigue and which has been the basis of many theories as to its cause, is the infamous Salem Witch Trials.
Most of us are aware of the story. Some 150 people or so were arrested and many more accused of witchcraft in several Massachusetts towns in the years 1692-1693. Twenty-nine were convicted and nineteen of those were hanged and one crushed to death by stone. Several died in prison awaiting their trial. In fact, 2 dogs were also executed as accomplices to the witches!
The real reason it happened is probably not a simple answer and one that I am not speculating on here in this post. There are countless articles, books, websites, etc on this subject and are a fascinating read and I encourage their study. Here is one link to a website that has some interesting information related to this terrible event: http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/salem.htm
and here is a website that is involved with identifying and preserving the names of those accused and locating the living female descendants of those accused: http://www.adeaw.us/
The subject of this post is my very own Salem Witch ancestor, Sarah Clark(e) Davis Rist/Rice. And, of course, I think that there could be others in my ancestry, which have yet to be identified. Here is a little background on Sarah and her family starting with her first husband George Davis.
|George DAVIS was born about 1616 in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States. He died on 14 Jul 1667 in Reading, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States. He was buried at sea. George married Sarah CLARK BY 1642 of Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.|
May have had a first wife named Mary Audley and then married Sarah who he mentions in his will.
i. Benjamin, d. at Reading in October 1679 (probably on 31 Oct. rather than on 13 Oct. as shown in the printed vital records of Reading). During King Philip's War he Was a soldier in Capt. Poole's Company (George M. Bodge, Soldiers in King Philip's War, 1906, 420). The will of Benjamim Davis, dated the 29th of Oct. 1679, proved 6, 8, 1682, gave his whole estateTo his mother Sarah Rice (or Rist), except two acres to his sister Mary Grover to help her bring up her children while she remains a widow. Executors: Goodwife Rice and John Damon, who was also a witness. Inventory of the estate of Benjamin Davis who departed this life the last of October 1679 taken 5, 9th, 1679, by Jeremiah Swayn and Benjamin Fitch, totaled 158.01.00 Including housing, lands, orchard, neadow, swamp and divident, oxen, cows, steer, horse, bridles, saddle, pistols, cutlash and other acooutemts, guns, one pair Sandiliers, joiner's tools and household equipment very evidently the same coproperty enumerated in their father's estate (Middlesex Co. Prod. 5:171.).
ii. Joseph. d. at Reading 28 Jan. 1676; im. Hannah On 3 Apr.1677 administration on the estate of Joseph Davis was granted to his widow, Hannah Davis. Inventory amounting to about forty pounds included house, homelot and swamp lands (ibid. 3:166; b:259). Six children, born at Reading, one of these was the ubiquitous Joshua Davis who settled his grandmother Rist's estate.
iii. Hannah, b. 31 May 161.8, d. at Woburn in 1719; m. at Lynn 10 May 16o9, John Boutwell, b. there in 161.5, d. at Reading 3 Dec. 1719 aged 71. years, son of James and Alice Boutwell. Nine children, born at Reading.
iv. Sarah, b. 1 Oct. 1651; m. at Salem, 11 June 1670, Abraham Cole, b. ca. 1638, d. autumn 1715, son of Thomas and Ann Cole. Re was a tailor at Salem; eight children born there (Perley, 2:131.).
v. Elizabeth, b. 16 Jan. 1651., d. at Reading 21 July 1695; m. there 22 Jan. 1678, Timothy Wiley, b. there 21. Apr. 1653, d. there 19 Dec. 1777 son of John and Elizabeth Wiley. Four children, born at Reading. He m. (2) in 1696 Susanna , who probably d. at Reading 31 Aug. 1732 (Eaton, 126).
vi. Mary, b. 16 Jan. 1657/8, d. at Reading 27 Nov. 1727; m. (1) Matthew Grover, who d. in 16W. Two children. She m. (2) Sammiel Damon, b. at Peading 23 June 1656, d. there 12 Jan. 1723/1., son of Dea. John and Abigail
Walstein Tyrrell>Fitz Tyrrell>my Mom>Me
I have yet to contact the above mentioned organization to become a member and have my ancestry noted by them. It is a work in progress.