The late 1600s were a devilish mix, in Europe and in the English colonies in America, of alleged witches and their persecution by people that today might be called ‘religious extremists.’ I have a few books/documents on this subject uploaded on Highlander simply because the subject of witchcraft is so interesting historically, and because I have found one of the Salem witches (Susannah NORTH Martin) related by way of marriage in my own family tree. Descriptions of Susanna from the time say that she was short, slightly plump, active, and “of remarkable personal neatness.” She was also said to be very outspoken, contemptuous of authority, and defiant in the face of slander which followed her for years. A witch? Maybe, maybe not, but she was hung as a witch anyway. I’ll tell more about Susannah in another post.
At any rate, and getting back on topic, The attached is an article that discusses Martha Corey, the wife of Salem Village farmer Giles Corey, who was accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.
“When the Salem Witch Trials began in the spring of 1692, Martha and Giles Corey were some of the first people to attend the examinations but Martha soon expressed her doubts about the legitimacy of the claims.
“When Giles Corey tried to attend another examination, Martha Corey tried to persuade him not to and even hid Giles’ saddle so he couldn’t ride his horse to the examination. This apparently made her look suspicious to others, as if she were working with the witches to stop or impede the trials.
“Shortly after this incident, Ann Putnam, Jr., claimed Martha Corey’s spirit had attacked her. It was a shocking accusation at the time because Martha Corey was a respectable woman, despite her troubled past, and was a member of the local church. No one of her social status had been accused before.
“Before any formal accusation was filed, two local men, Edward Putnam and Ezekial Cheever, decided to personally investigate the accusation. On March 12, 1692, they tried to see if they could corroborate Ann Putnam, Jr.,’s story by stopping by the Putnam house first and asking Ann Putnam, Jr., what Martha Corey’s spirit was wearing at the time of the attack and then planned to visit Martha Corey to see if she was wearing the same clothes.”
If you are interested in this piece of history, this is a very good online article to review. I also wonder if the witches of the 1690s were simply Rh negatives who ran afoul of the Rh positives at a time when the Rh positives were running things. Bad juju for the witches, eh?