19 September 2017

Reconstructing Rev. George Burroughs’ Genealogy

1711 Attainder for George Burroughs & Others
Rev. George Burroughs left his Salem Village post in 1683, preferring life in the Maine wilds with occasional Indian attacks than dealing with the animosity brewing in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1692 he returned to Salem in chains on trumped up charges of being “in confederacy with the Devil.” 

At age 42, Burroughs stood before his former congregation and many other spectators at Proctor’s Ledge with a noose around his neck. He proclaimed his innocence on the charges of witchcraft, then perfectly recited the “Lord’s Prayer.” A sense of unease apparently swept through the crowd afterwards but Rev. Cotton Mather, sitting on horseback, declared it was a “righteous sentence.” Burroughs and four other victims of the Salem witch trials were hanged on 19 August 1692.

Incorporating Corrections to the Burroughs Tree


Over the last 65 years, various researchers have discovered new details about George Burroughs’ family and printed corrections, most notably in articles published in The American Genealogist. Yet we still see the same misinformation being repeated online and in print. I’ve compiled all that data so George can be properly placed with his parents, wives, and children.

Burrough of Wickhambrook


Born about 1650, George was the son of Nathaniel Burrough and his wife Rebecca Stiles. Nathaniel was a merchant/mariner, son of Rev. George Burrough (1579-1653), rector of Pettaugh and Gosbeck in Suffolk, England, and a member of the Burrough family of Wickhambrook. During his son’s childhood, records document Nathaniel’s travels between Maryland and Massachusetts Bay. Records also show in 1657 Rebecca joined the church in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and was dismissed in 1674 to return to England. Rebecca (Stiles) Burrough was buried 26 March 1679 in Stepney, Middlesex, England. Nathaniel was buried there 6 March 1682.

*In England, the surname most often was spelled Burrough without the S, but there were a dozen variations.

Marriage No. 1


The ill-fated minister George Burroughs graduated from Harvard College in 1670. About 1673, he married Hannah Fisher, born 19 January 1652/3 in Dedham, Massachusetts, to Lieut. Joshua Fisher (1621-1672) and his first wife, Mary Aldis (d. 1653). George and Hannah had:

1. Rebecca Burroughs, baptized 12 April 1674 in Roxbury; died 27 January 1741/2, buried at Granary Burying Ground in Boston; married first, 1 December 1698 in Charlestown, Isaac Fowle; married second, 18 October 1716 in Boston, Ebenezer Tolman.
2. George Burroughs, baptized 25 November 1675 in Roxbury; died young.
3. Hannah Burroughs, born 27 April 1680 in Salisbury; died 5 August 1746 in Woburn, buried at First Burial Ground, Woburn; married 8 March 1705 in Boston, Jabez Fox (1684-1736).
4. Elizabeth Burroughs, born in 1681, baptized 4 June 1682 in Salem; died 1719, buried at Granary Burying Ground in Boston; married 2 November 1704 in Boston to Peter Thomas.

Hannah (Fisher) Burroughs died in September 1681, possibly shortly after her fourth child was born. Her ghost appeared in the Salem witch trials records.

Marriage No. 2


About 1683, George married Sarah Ruck, born 12 August 1656 in Salem, died about 1689/90, daughter of John Ruck (1627-1697) and his first wife Hannah Spooner (d. 29 January 1660/1) of Salem. Her ghost also appeared in the Salem witch trials records.

On 6 June 1693, John Ruck became guardian of George and Sarah’s four orphans (but not 1st wife Hannah’s children), and in the same month, Ruck had three of them baptized. In his 1697 will, he bequeathed land to his four Burroughs grandchildren:

5. Charles Burroughs, born about 1684, baptized June 1693 in Salem; married first, 3 October 1706 in Salem, Elizabeth Marston (d. 1711); married second, 11 March 1711 in Marlborough, Rebecca Townsend of Charlestown. 
6. George Burroughs, baptized April 1691 in Salem; published marriage intention 27 February 1713/4 in Ipswich to Sarah Scales.
7. Jeremiah Burroughs, baptized June 1693; died unmarried March 1752 in Ipswich. 
8. Josiah Burroughs, baptized June 1693; died after 1701 when he chose Samuel Ruck as guardian and before 1712 restitution.

Note: According to Robert Charles Anderson (author of the Great Migration series), there is no evidence that Sarah Ruck married Capt. William Hathorne (1646-1678) first. Hathorne did leave a widow Sarah, but there’s no record that tie these two together.

Marriage No. 3


About 1690, George married his third wife, Mary —, probably in Maine. They had one child:

     9. Mary Burroughs, born about 1690-1692 in Maine, baptized 1 May 1698 in Cambridge, Massachusetts; married Joseph Tiffany probably years before they were warned out of Norton in 1734. She was admitted to the church in Attleborough in 1736.

In her mid-20s when her husband George was hanged, Mary (—) Burroughs married second, 13 July 1693 in Boston, Michael Homer—just months after his first wife Hannah (Dowse) died. In October 1694, Michael was taken to court for spousal abuse before disappearing from the records. In January 1697/8, Mary Homer was admitted a member of the Cambridge church and a few months later had her two daughters, Mary Burroughs and Hannah Homer, baptized. 

On 5 February 1699/1700, Mary (—) (Burroughs) Homer married in Cambridge to Christopher Hall Jr. (d. 1711). They had two children, Caleb (1700-1791) and Joshua Hall (1702-), born in Attleborough.


Sources for Burroughs’ Parents

“Nathaniel Burrough of Maryland, Massachusetts, and England” by George Ely Russell, The American Genealogist, Vol. 60, pp. 140-142, 1972. (TAG back issues are available to members at AmericanAncestors.org)

Genealogical Gleanings in England by Henry F. Waters, Vol.1, Vol. 2. 1:515f, 1:737, 2:1308f


Sources for Burroughs’ Wives & Children

“Homer-Stevens Notes, Boston” by Winifred Lovering Holman in The American Genealogist, Vol. 29, pp. 99-110, 1953.

“Mary (Burroughs) (Homer) (Hall) Tiffany” by Glade Ian Nelson in The American Genealogist, Vol. 48, pp. 140-146, 1972.

“The Third Wife of the Rev. George Burroughs” by David L. Greene in The American Genealogist, Vol. 56, pp. 43-45, 1980.

“Hannah Fisher, First Wife of the Rev. George Burroughs, Executed for Witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, 1692” by Neil D. Thompson, The American Genealogist, Vol. 76, pp. 17-19, 2001.


If you have any corrections, please leave them in the notes below. Thanks!




16 September 2017

George Burroughs’ genealogy: Burroughs-Thomas-Crocker line

Mather's book, The Wonders of the Invisible World,
shows his passionate dislike for fellow minister
and Salem witch trials victim George Burroughs
Cotton Mather’s profile in Colonial Collegians concludes by claiming a blood connection between the Puritan Boston minister and George Burroughs, the man Mather vilified in his writings on the 1692 Salem witch trials. In my previous post, however, I showed how the Colonial Collegians writer mistook a Joseph for a Josiah Crocker in Mather's line, which removed a marriage between their descendants. 

But what about the line of descent given for George Burroughs, former minister of Salem Village? It turns out the information in Colonial Collegians was almost correct. It skips one generationthe father of Isaiah Thomas, founder of the American Antiquarian Society (AAS)—but the other details check out.

Burroughs line in Colonial Collegians
George Burroughs (H.U. 1670)
[daughter Burroughs]
Isaiah Thomas, LL.D., founder of AAS
[child of Isaiah Thomas]
[granddaughter of Isaiah Thomas] m. Samuel Leonard Crocker (Brown U. 1822)


Isaiah Thomas Sr. (1749-1831),
descendant of George Burroughs,
printer and founder of AAS
Rev. George Burroughs (1650-1692), the 1670 Harvard graduate hanged as a witch in Salem, married as his first wife, Hannah Fisher (1653-1681). Their daughter Elizabeth Burroughs (1681-1719) married Peter Thomas (1683-1744). Elizabeth and Peter’s son Moses Thomas (1715-1752) married Fidelity Grant (d. 1798). Their son, Isaiah Thomas Sr. (1749-1831), married as his first wife Mary Dill (b. 1750). Isaiah was a printer and founder of the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts. Their son Isaiah Thomas Jr. (1773-1819) married Mary Weld (1768-1825), and they had Hannah Weld Thomas (d. 1827). So, the granddaughter of the founder of the AAS married Samuel Leonard Crocker (1804-1883) who graduated from Brown University in 1822. That makes George Burroughs the third great-grandfather of Hannah (Thomas) Crocker.

For more information on Isaiah Thomas Sr., see the AAS prototype website, Isaiah Thomas: Patriot-Printer



23 August 2017

Cotton Mather and the Six Degrees of Separation

Cotton Mather (1663-1728)
“Conspicuous” on horseback, Cotton Mather (1663-1728) attended the hanging of fellow minister and Harvard graduate George Burroughs (1650-1692), found guilty at the Salem witch trials. Called the ringleader of witches, Burroughs’ parting speech followed by a perfect recitation of “The Lord’s Prayer” caused doubt to stir among the onlookers. Yet Mather, who firmly believed in the devil himself, dismissed Burroughs’ words. 

And the executions continued.

Mather held a passionate dislike for Burroughs, despite their similar backgrounds. Perhaps he truly believed the former Salem Village minister conducted devil worship with scores of witches, murdered his two wives (as their ghosts told Ann Putnam Jr.), or turned Baptist. Whatever the cause, a Harvard historian concluded the Boston minister’s biography by claiming Mather was linked to Burroughs through their descendants, no doubt causing Mather to roll over in his grave.

“The name Mather among Cotton Mather’s descendants has long been extinct. His son Samuel Mather, (Harvard University 1723), had a daughter, who married the Reverend Josiah Crocker of Taunton, H.U. 1738, among whose descendants was Samuel Leonard Crocker of Taunton, a graduate of Brown University in 1822, who married a granddaughter of Isaiah Thomas, LL.D., the founder of the American Antiquarian Society at Worcester, whose maternal grandfather was George Burroughs, at whose execution Cotton Mather acted a Conspicuous part on horseback. Thus by the marriage of Crocker to a granddaughter of Thomas, the Cotton Mather family became united with the George Burroughs family.” 
Colonial Collegians 1642-1774, Harvard, pp. 797-798. (Online database at AmericanAncestors.org.)

So, let’s fill in the missing data to prove six degrees of separation between the two Puritan ministers. 

MATHER
BURROUGHS
Cotton Mather (H.U. 1678, 1681)
George Burroughs (H.U. 1670)
Samuel Mather (H.U. 1723)
[daughter Burroughs]
[dau.] Mather m. Rev. Josiah Crocker (H.U. 1738)
Isaiah Thomas, LL.D., founder of AAS
[among whose descendants was . . .]
[child of Isaiah Thomas]
Samuel Leonard Crocker (Brown U. 1822) m. [granddaughter of Isaiah Thomas]

The first child of Rev. Increase Mather (1639-1723) and Maria Cotton (1642-1714), Cotton Mather was married three times and had 15 children. Unfortunately, childhood diseases and early deaths wiped out most of his children, leaving only three who married. With his second wife Elizabeth Clark (1675-1713), Cotton had a son, Samuel Mather (1706-1785). Rev. Samuel married Hannah Hutchinson (1714-1752) in 1733.


Eligible Harvard Grads


Since we don’t know which Mather daughter married a Crocker, let’s return to the Colonial Collegians biographies.

Josiah Crocker (H.U. 1738) was a minister at Taunton but he married Rebecca Allen (p. 4451). The Taunton vital records show Josiah died in 1774, age 55, and he’s buried next to his wife Rebecca Allyn Crocker (1721-1759). He married his second wife, Hannah Cobb, in 1761 (Taunton VR). Born in Yarmouth in 1719, he was the only son of Capt. Josiah (d. 1721) and Desire (Thacher) Crocker (Yarmouth VR).

Josiah Crocker (H.U. 1760) was born 1740/1741 in Eastham, son of Rev. Joseph Crocker (H.U. 1734) and Reliance Allen. He died in 1764, unmarried (p. 6681).

Josiah Crocker (H.U. 1765) was born 1744 in Barnstable to Cornelius Crocker, tavernkeeper, and Lydia Jenkins. He married Deborah, daughter of Daniel Davis, and died in 1780. He lived in Barnstable and was a schoolmaster and clerk (p. 7319).

We’ve run through all the possible Josiah Crockers in Colonial Collegians, and even though Josiah and Joseph are not interchangeable names, there could be some confusion between generations. So, let’s continue.

Joseph Crocker (H.U. 1734) was a minister in Orleans. Born in 1715, he was the son of Thomas (d. 1728) and Hannah (Green) Crocker of Barnstable. He and his wife Reliance (Allen) Crocker were the parents of Josiah (H.U. 1760), above. He married, second, Mary (Pemberton) Hatch, widow of James Hatch, in 1766. He died in 1772 (p. 4053).

Joseph Crocker (H.U. 1774) was the son of Rev. Josiah Crocker (H.U. 1738) and Rebecca Allen mentioned above. He was born in Taunton in 1749 and died in Boston in 1797. He was a military man, not a minister like his father. And he was the husband of Hannah Mather (1752-1829), daughter of Rev. Samuel (p. 8627).


Finding Parents for a Match


Now that we’ve solved the Mather-Crocker marriage, we have to skip a generation or two to find out who were the parents of Samuel Leonard Crocker, Brown University 1822. For that, we go to the Massachusetts vital records.

In Worcester in 1825, Samuel L. Crocker married Hannah W. Thomas, the granddaughter of Isaiah Thomas. Born in Taunton in 1804, Samuel was the son of William Augustus Crocker and Sally Ingell. William was the son of Capt. Josiah Crocker and Abigail Leonard. Capt. Josiah was the son of Rev. Josiah Crocker and Rebecca Allen of Taunton, above. The family tree looks like this:

1. Capt. Josiah Crocker (d. 1721) m. Desire Thacher
2. Rev. Josiah Crocker (1719-1774) (H.U. 1738) m. Rebecca Allen
3. Capt. Josiah Crocker (1743-1808) m. Abigail Leonard
4. William Augustus Crocker (1774-1805) m. Sally Ingell
5. Samuel Leonard Crocker (1804-1883) m. Hannah Weld Thomas
                    3. Capt. Joseph Crocker (1749-1797) m. Hannah Mather

The Colonial Collegians biography had Cotton Mather’s granddaughter marrying Rev. Josiah Crocker (H.U. 1738), who was a generation older than her, instead of his son. Then it was the wrong son (Joseph, not Josiah). To clarify, Hannah (Mather) Crocker was the grand-aunt of Samuel Leonard Crocker who married Hannah Weld Thomas. That means Cotton Mather and George Burroughs were not related by blood through this line.

Fortunately, the Harvard Crocker biographies do not mention the false Mather/Burroughs connection. Nor does the Horace E. Mather’s Lineage of Rev. Richard Mather (1890). But you will see mention of it in other sources.

Postscript: Hannah (Mather) Crocker


Hannah became well-known for her writing and good works. She believed in the equality of women, as shown in Observations on the Real Rights of Women (1818), and supported a womens educational lodge based on Masonic principles. You can learn more about her by visiting the Hannah Mather Crocker Society online, which promotes “scholarship and public understanding concerning the life, writing, and legacies of Hannah Mather Crocker (1752-1829).” 

In 1814more than a decade before the Crocker-Thomas marriage—Hannah (Mather) Crocker donated 1,500 books from the Mather family to the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, founded in 1812 by Isaiah Thomas LL.D. (1749-1831). Her descendants also donated manuscripts, portraits, and other ephemera to the society. 


To find out if the Burroughs line in Cotton Mather's Colonial Collegians profile is correct, read George Burroughs Genealogy: Burroughs-Thomas-Crocker Line.




16 August 2017

Remembering Salem: Symposium on the Lessons and Legacy of 1692

Salem's Trials symposium
One of the reasons why the Salem witch trials of 1692 still resonate today is the quest to understand why it happened. Plenty of theories abound to answer that question. Yet we’re still trying to learn the lessons today.

On June 10, 2017, the 325th anniversary of the first witch trials hanging, people gathered for a special symposium, Salem’s Trials: Lessons and Legacies of 1692, sponsored by Salem State University’s history department, the Salem Award Foundation, and the Essex National Heritage Area. Fortunately, C-SPAN recorded four sessions. If you didn't attend this great symposium, here's your chance to learn from a stellar group of speakers.

⏯ Emerson Baker, Salem Witch Trials 101 (includes symposium opening remarks)

A professor of history at SSU, Tad Baker is the author of A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience.


Project manager for the Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, Margo is a popular speaker, particularly in October.

⏯ Panel Discussion, The Making of Witch City

Emerson Baker; Donna Seger, professor of history, SSU; Bethany Jay, associate professor of history, SSU; Steve Matchak, professor of geography, SSU; and Marilynne K. Roach, author of The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege.


A professor of geography at the University of Connecticut, Ken Foote is author of Shadowed Ground: America’s Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy.

Two other breakout sessions were not recorded: Teaching the Trials with Brad Austin, Amanda Prouty, and Jacqueline Robichaud; and The European Context for Salem 1692 by Donna Seger. (Amazingly enough, Donna packed a lot of information into one hour. I've got several pages of notes.)

22 April 2017

Using the Essex Institute Historical Collections

Essex Institute, Salem, Mass., circa 1910s
The Essex Institute of Salem, Massachusetts, was formed in 1848 by the merger of the Essex Historical Society and the Essex County Natural History Society. This literary, historical, and scientific society had a deep interest in Essex county, 

In 1992, the Essex Institute merged with the Peabody Museum to become the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM).

One hundred years of the Essex Institute Historical Collections (EIHC) is available online through the Internet Archive. The journals contain family genealogies, histories, probate records, and other miscellaneous records of interest to genealogists.

Vol. 1 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 2 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 3 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 4 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 5 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 6 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 7 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 8 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 9 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 10 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 11 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 12 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 13 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 14 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 15 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 16 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 17 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 18 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 19 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 20 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 21 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 21-23 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 24 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 25 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 26 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 27 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 28 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 29 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 30 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 31 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 32 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 33 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 34 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 35 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 36 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 37 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 38 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 39 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 40 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 41 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 42 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 43 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 44 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 45 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 46 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 47 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 48 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 49 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 50 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 51 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 52 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 53 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 54 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 55 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 56 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 57 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 58 Essex Institute Historical Collections

Vol. 59 Essex Institute Historical Collections
Indices:


19 April 2016

Using restitution lists from the 1692 Salem witch trials to rebuild Dorcas Hoar’s family


After the Salem witch trials were over and the victims were released from prison, some families petitioned the government for restitution and reversal of attainder. These records are useful for rebuilding families.


A Bittersweet Homecoming


When Dorcas Hoar was accused of witchcraft in April 1692, she was a recent widow in her late 50s, no doubt struggling financially to survive in her humble abode in Beverly. After many months of imprisonment, she came home to find what little she had was confiscated, even her bed. In 1696, her husband’s estate was probated, showing William’s assets, including five acres and the remainder of an old house, were worth less than his debts, so everything went to his creditors. Without a reversal of attainder, Dorcas probably was not entitled to her widow’s third since legally she was still guilty of witchcraft, a capital crime.

Settling Debts


On 13 September 1710, John and Annis King petitioned for restitution on behalf of Dorcas Hoar. Besides providing acknowledgment of a wrongful imprisonment (and, in some cases, death), this act allowed some victims and their families to receive money for associated costs. In the case of Dorcas Hoar, her family was paid for jail costs, travel expenses, and items taken from her home, including two cows, an ox, a mare, bedding, curtains, and household stuff. We know Dorcas was dead by this date because the full amount of £21 17s was split between her heirs.

By the time the heirs received the money, there were some changes in the family, as shown in the following chart.

13 Sept. 1710 list
19 Feb. 1711/2 receipts
Wm. Hoar 3 children
William Hoar Dec’d left 3 daughters
Mary Birtt
Mary Burt widow
Eliz Reed
Elizabeth Read wife of Christopher Read
Annis Kinge
Annis King wife of John King
Joanna Green
Johanna Green wife of widow
Tabath Slue 3 children
Tabitha Slue dec’d left two children her Leonard & R[a]chel

Using the two lists gives us extra details, providing more information to create a basic genealogy.

The Family of Dorcas (Galley) Hoar


Dorcas Galley, daughter of John Galley (b. abt. 1605, d. 1683) and Florence (d. 1686), was born about 1635 in what is now Beverly, Massachusetts. She married, about 1655, fisherman William Hoar (b. abt. 1628, d. winter 1691/2). They had at least eight children, though no birth dates are recorded in the Beverly vital records:

1. Mary Hoar married in Beverly (1) on June 30 1671 Samuel Harris (probate 1682). In 1710, she was called “Birtt” and in 1712 “Mary Burt widow,” suggesting her husband may have died within those 17 months, however no death or probate records were found. It's possible she married in Marblehead (2) 4 Sept. 1684 as Mary Harris and John Bush, “both inhabitants at Basriner” [Bass River, a.k.a. Beverly]. A “___ Burt, widow,” died before May 1732 in Beverly. She had at least one child, Daniel Harris, born 31 March 1672 in Beverly.

2. Elizabeth Hoar married in Beverly (1) on 13 Nov. 1676 Jonas Johnson and (2) Christopher Read in 1682. Six Read children were recorded in Beverly. Christopher Read was the sexton in Beverly from 1715 to 1727. He may have died in 1727, since Elizabeth was his widow when she died between September 1736 and June 1737.

3. Tabitha (“Tabbie”) Hoar married Leonard Slue/Slew about 1677 as her wedding is mentioned in the 1678 court case. She was baptized as an adult a week after her sister-in-law Sarah (Ross) Hoar, on 22 Dec. 1695, in Beverly. In 1700, Leonard Slue had land in Purpooduck (Cape Elizabeth), Maine. On August 10, 1703, 26 people in Purpooduck were killed by Indians, including Leonard Slue, his wife, and three children. (However, “__ Slue” appears on a 1710/1711 list of persons still being held captive.) Three children were living in 1710, but only two in 1712. (1) Mary Slue married Joshua Beans in Salem on 23 June 1701 and died before he married, second, Mary Fuller on 7 June 1704. (2) Leonard Slue married Abigail Johnson in Beverly on 23 Nov. 1703. He was the sexton in Beverly from 1727 to 1737 and died in 1744. (3) Rachel Slue died unmarried in Beverly in 1734.

4. William Hoar Jr. was born about 1661. He married 3 June 1685 in Beverly Sarah Ross. His wife was baptized and admitted into full communion with the Beverly Church on 15 Dec. 1695 and their four daughters were baptized 2 Feb. 1695/6. William and one of his daughters died before the September 1710 list. Children: (1) Mary married in Marblehead on 18 Nov. 1708 Moses Pitman Jr. (children born 1711-1723); (2) Rebecca Hoar married in Marblehead 22 Dec. 1712 Benjamin Carder; (3) Abigail Hoar married John Grover on 8 Dec. 1715 in Beverly; leaving (4) daughter Sarah Hoar the one who died by September 1710. William's widow, Sarah (Ross) Hoar married James Taylor Sr. in Beverly on 21 June 1720.

5. Annis (“Nancy”) Hoar married in Salem on 10 Sept. 1688 John King (1661-1718) and had at least six children. She was still living in 1731.

6. Samuel Hoar was in court in July 1678 with his father for “neglecting the public ordinances.” No further record; he died before September 1710 list.

7. Simon Hoar was in court February 1678/9 with sisters Elizabeth Johnson and Annis Hoar, for “abusing Mr. Hale’s cattle,” probably in retribution for the burglary ring charges of 1678. No further record; he died before September 1710 list.

8. Joanna Hoar married in Salem (1) on 25 April 1694 Moses Parnell (b. 1670) and (2) on 27 Oct. 1699 to Benjamin Green (b. 1678). Joanna was widowed by 12 Feb. 1712. No children recorded.



Sources:

Bernard Rosenthal et al, Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt

Robert Charles Anderson, Great Migration: Immigrants to New England 1634-1635 (AmericanAncestors.org)

Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 (AmericanAncestors.org)

Torrey's New England Marriages to 1700 (AmericanAncestors.org)

Essex County MA: Probate File Papers, 1638-1881 (AmericanAncestors.org)

'Where Thieves Break Through and Steal': John Hale versus Dorcas Hoar 1672-1692 by Barbara Ritter Dailey in Essex Institute Historical Collections, Vol. 128, (1992). 

Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts

Sidney Perley, History of Salem, Massachusetts

George Walter Chamberlain, Descendants of Michael Webber of Falmouth, Maine and of Gloucester, Massachusetts 



13 April 2016

Dorcas Hoar really was a witch

Image: Chris 73/Wikimedia Commons
It could be an omen that John and Florence Galley were fined by the Essex Quarterly Court in 1635 for fornication before marriage. Born shortly thereafter, their daughter Dorcas had several confrontations with the law and clergy throughout her married life. Growing up, however, she lived a comfortable but not overly religious life. Her father was admitted to the church in Beverly, Massachusetts, in his early 60s, so it’s likely the Galley household was not as God-fearing as their neighbors. And, at his death in 1683, John Galley, planter, left an estate worth £200.

Living in a Puritan church-state and believing in its teachings are not one and the same. After settling into married life about 1655 and having children, Dorcas and her husband, fisherman William Hoar, strayed from the gospel. In 1661 and 1662, William was brought before the court for “allowing tippling” and celebrating Christmas at his house. All along, Puritans discouraged holidays as pure popery—especially Christmas, which not only had no celebratory date in the Bible, it also usurped a pagan solstice festival. In fact, from 1659 to 1681 the Massachusetts Bay Colony outlawed Christmas.

Around the same time, Dorcas started dabbling in the dark arts.

Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live


Dorcas admitted she learned witchcraft from a book of palmistry and from a practicing healer. She and her daughters married poor men, and her skills at fortunetelling and predicting illnesses (even death) supplemented a meager income, not only for her household but for her grown children’s households too. Even though Puritan theology denounced divination as trespassing on God’s all-knowing plan, people still wanted to know what the future held for them. Badgered by the local minister, Mr. John Hale, in 1670 Dorcas repented for her sins.

Unfortunately, the good reverend didn’t understand her needs.

People in Beverly started noticing small things went missing, like an apron or a pillowcase of flour. After a while, John Hale realized the criminals in their midst were specifically targeting him and his house of plenty. At first, blame was placed on his servant, Margaret Lord, but stolen items appeared throughout Dorcas Hoar’s extended family, making her the mastermind behind the burglary ring. (Margaret Lord threatened the Hales' daughter into silence by telling her Dorcas Hoar was a witch.) In 1678, Dorcas was in court listening to a catalog of the bushels of foodstuff, the yards of cloth, the items of apparel, coins, and jewelry that were stolen, most of which was bartered off to keep the Hoars fed.

The court records don’t provide a verdict. Two years later, however, William Hoar was put in charge of sweeping the Beverly meetinghouse, keeping the time (using an hourglass!), and ringing the bell at nine o’clock every night. In recompense, he received one peck of corn yearly from every family in Beverly.

Escaping the Noose


Not surprisingly, in 1692 widow Dorcas Hoar was convicted of witchcraft and condemned to hang on September 22. She confessed and received a reprieve, with supporting testimony from none other than Mr. Hale. Given a month to prepare her soul for death, she fortunately survived the witch hunt and was set free. 


* As a footnote to Dorcas Hoar’s story, Deodat Lawson claimed she had an “elf-lock,” a matted section of hair different from the rest that was four feet and seven inches long—further evidence of being a witch. 



See also: Using restitution lists from the 1692 Salem witch trials to rebuild Dorcas Hoar’s family

Sources:

'Where Thieves Break Through and Steal': John Hale versus Dorcas Hoar 1672-1692 by Barbara Ritter Dailey in Essex Institute Historical Collections, Vol. 128, (1992). 

Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts

Deodat Lawson, A Brief and True Narrative of Some Remarkable Passages Relating to Sundry Persons Afflicted by Witchcraft, at Salem Village (1704)

Bernard Rosenthal et al, Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt