25 March 2019

Sidney Perley's Essex Antiquarian

Born in 1857, Sidney Perley was a well-known lawyer in Essex county, Massachusetts. He also wrote books and articles on history, genealogy, and the law. From 1897 to 1909 he published the Essex Antiquarian. These journals include so much valuable information, I've included the links below. Perley died in 1928. 

For more articles published by Perley, check out my links to the Essex Institute Historical Collections (EIHC). He also wrote pieces for the New England Historic Genealogical Society (AmericanAncestors.org).

14 May 2018

The Peabody Essex Museum's Phillips Library collections: a timeline from 1799 to 2018

Inside the Phillips Library in Salem, Massachusetts, 1885
One of the oldest research libraries in the country, Phillips Library contains more than 400,000 rare books and 117,000 square feet of manuscripts, original papers, photographic images, and prints from Salem and Essex county, Massachusetts, to places around the world. It's probably best known as the repository for the 1692 Salem witch trials documents; letters and manuscripts from Nathaniel Hawthorne and his literary circle; plus ships' logs and maritime journals documenting travels to the Far East. 

Of particular interest are local family histories and town records, military records, original genealogical papers, newspapers and city directories, charts and maps, business and social records, papers of notable Americans, works of regional authors, broadsides and ephemera, publications from literary and historical societies, art and architecture books, history books, and materials related to its museum collections.

For more than 200 years, the Phillips Library collection has been an integral part of Salem. The timeline, below, shows how the Phillips Library started and grewand where it's headed next.

1799 East India Marine Society founded for creating a library on navigation and seafaring topics and collecting curiosities from native cultures of Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia.

1821 Essex Historical Society founded.

1833 Essex County Natural History Society founded.

1848 Essex Institute formed by the union of the Essex Historical Society and Essex County Natural History Society; focus on literary, historical, and scientific pursuits; museum library, historic houses, educational programs, scholarly publications.

1857 Plummer Hall built for Salem Athenaeum with money provided in the 1845 will of Caroline Plummer; Essex Institute rented rooms at Plummer Hall for library and collections.

1867-1868 Peabody Academy of Science formed with the purchase of the East India Marine Hall along with the historic and ethnological collections of East India Marine Society. Essex Institute permanently transferred its natural history collections, originally collected by the Essex County Natural History Society, to the Peabody Academy. The Peabody Academy permanently transferred its historical collections to the Essex Institute, which concentrated its focus on local history, genealogy, and art.

1885 Essex Institute acquired the Daland house for the Phillips Library.

1905 Essex Institute bought Plummer Hall from Salem Athenaeum.

1915 Peabody Academy of Science changed its name to Peabody Museum of Salem, with its focus on maritime history of New England, Pacific and Japanese ethnology, and natural history of Essex county.

1972 National Register of Historic Places approves formation of the Essex Institute Historic District formed within the bounds of the Armory, Essex Street, Washington Square West, and Brown Street.

1992 Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) founded through consolidation of Peabody Museum of Salem and the Essex Institute. Within a few years, PEM changed its focus to become an arts and culture museum.   

1997 PEM’s Phillips Library closed for “massive restoration project, including climate control and modern archival storage” (closed 9 months).

2004 reduced hours and limited access to Phillips Library after laying off all but one librarian. At the same time, PEM said it would put “part of its 400,000 volumes and 2 million manuscript papers on the Internet.” Already 26,000 records had been scanned.

2011 Phillips Library is closed during “preservation and renovation work on Plummer Hall and Daland House (expected completion 2013)” (closed 19 months). During part of the closure, PEM exhibited 35 rare items as part of its Unbound, Highlights from the Phillips Library at PEM exhibit. 

2013 Phillips Library collection moved to temporary collection center in Peabody, with limited access to the library's resources. 

2015 PEM announced “$20 million renovation and improvement of PEM’s Phillips Library....housed in two noted 1850s architectural treasures, the John Tucker Daland House and Plummer Hall, both of which are being renovated by Schwartz/Silver Architects.” Part of the funds were used to digitally catalog the collections in PhilCat.

2017 Peabody Essex Museum purchased building in Rowley for its new Collections Center.

2018 Phillips Library moved to Collections Center in Rowley (closed Sept. 2017 to mid-June 2018)

28 February 2018

Introducing the Witches of Massachusetts Bay website

As some of you already know, I've been studying, researching, and writing about the Salem witch trials for 20+ years. I love Salem. But when I visit, I expect to see evidence of the 1692 witch trials. But where is the court house? The documents? The tangible objects that remind us of the victims, the accusers, the judges?

Good question.

Instead of blogging these last few months, I've been putting together my new Witches of Massachusetts Bay website. It launched in late January to highlight locations and artifacts as well as provide a calendar of related events, whether you’re headed on a roadtrip, interested in a lunchtime talk on John Proctor, or ready for the Daemonologie experience. I also added information for doing armchair research and, yes, started another blog.

Get Ready for a Roadtrip

Relevant historical and genealogical societies, museums, historic sites, libraries, and cemeteries are listed on the Roadtrips pages by town. In time, I would like to include detailed information about how each one fits into the witch-hunt theme. For example, the Macy-Colby House in Amesbury displays the wooden cradle from executed “witch” Susannah (North) Martin’s family; the Old North Parish Burial Ground in North Andover includes burials of accused witches William Barker Sr. and his son William Barker Jr.; the Danvers Archival Center has books, manuscripts, and pamphlets on witchcraft; and the Beverly Historical Society offers tours of the house where Rev. John Hale wrote his Modest Inquiry book on witchcraft. On the Roadtrips pages, I’ve also included online book and record links.

Witch-Hunt and 17th Century-Focused Events

It seems I always found out about an event after it happened. No more! Now you can find out when a local history society is giving a tour of the Old Burial Grounds, attend a lecture on a family involved in the witch hunts, visit a home connected to the trials, learn about Wampanoag lives, or experience History Camp Boston. The calendar includes ongoing exhibits and special events, like 17th century Saturdays, so you know what's happening before you go.

Help with Research

The Research section includes lists of accused witches and old place names—as well as digital collections, books, records, and multimedia online that encompass more than one location.

Blogging on 'Witches'

The blog is for witch-hunt-related news, the latest research, Q&As with historians, book notices, collections highlights, etc. For example, I did a Q&A with a novelist about her book on accused witch Abigail (Dane) Faulkner; used Google Maps’ fix function to correct which Bishop lived where; and discovered the somewhat unknown witch trial items at the Supreme Court in Salem.

Learning from the Past

By searching for these locations and researching witch-hunt connections, I hope to expand my own understanding, because, ultimately, I think the witch hunts have much to teach us as individuals and as a society. Some of the accused may have dabbled in fortunetelling, folk-healing, and the like, but they were not witches who made pacts with the devil, performed Satanic rites, or shapeshifted to harm their neighbors. They were ordinary people with flaws, just like you and me.

If you're a witch-hunt historian, researcher, descendant, or just curious, check out my Witches of Massachusetts Bay website. I also invite you to sign up for my occasional emails, follow me on Twitter @witchesmassbay and Facebook, and spread the word. Thanks!

19 January 2018

Suffolk deed books: Suffolk county, Massachusetts

Paul Revere house
Early Suffolk Deeds by John T. Hassam

Early recorders and registers of deeds for the county of Suffolk, Massachusetts, 1639-1735 by John T. Hassam

Suffolk Deeds, Liber I, 1629-1653

Suffolk Deeds, Liber II, 1653-1656

Suffolk Deeds, Liber III, 1656-1662

Suffolk Deeds, Liber IV, 1661/2-1665

Suffolk Deeds, Liber V, 1665-1668

Suffolk Deeds, Liber VI, 1668-1672

Suffolk Deeds, Liber VII, 1669/70-1672

Suffolk Deeds, Liber VIII, 1672-1674

Suffolk Deeds, Liber IX, 1674-1676

Suffolk Deeds, Liber X, 1676/77-1678

Suffolk Deeds, Liber XI, 1678-1680

Suffolk Deeds, Liber XII, 1680-1683

Suffolk Deeds, Liber XIII, 1683-1686

Suffolk Deeds, Liber XIV, 1686-1697

Record of the Streets, Alleys, Places, etc., in the City of Boston from settlement of the town to 1910

Also see Suffolk Registry of Deeds site for atlases, assessor maps, old recorded land plans, etc.

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. 

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.