Saturday, October 13, 2012

Salem Witch Trials

Ulrich Molitor. De Lamiis et Phitonicis Mulieribus, 1493.




Albeit that I have been absent from posting here, research in family lines has been on-going.  A while ago I came across this connection, but had not pursued it further.  Being October and the time of Ghouls, Goblins and Witches, what better time than now to explore this side of the family story.

Ephraim Herrick (b. 1638/d. 1693) ... my 9th Great Grandfather of Salem, Massachussets was married to Mary Cross.  Of the Puritan sect, Ephraim came from a large family and subsequently had a large family.  While Ephraim's ancestry is somewhat muddled, his siblings and descendents are well documented.  Of interest in the Salem Witch Trials, our connections are first and foremost through his eldest son John Herrick (b. 1662/d. 1729).  John was married to Bethia Solart.

When studying the Salem Witch Trials one cannot do so without coming across the name of Sarah Good.  She was one of the first victims of the mass hysteria that swept through the area and one of the many persons that are widely associated with the Salem Witch Trials.  Sarah's full name was Sarah Solart Poole Good.  John Herrick's wife Bethia Solart was Sarah Good's sister.  One can only speculate the tension and potential fear that ran through the extended Herrick family at the time.  Also of interest is Sarah's life story.   
For more information about Sarah and her history Click Here.

Furthermore, our connection to the Salem Witch Trials are not just limited through the in-law relationship of Ephraim and his son John.  Members of the Herrick family are mentioned in numerous documents related to the Witch Trials.  Ephraim Herrick's brothers Zachariah, Henry, Joseph and George were intimately involved in the trials, Henry being one of the jurors and Joseph and George, constables.

The first of these connections include testimony given by Joseph and his wife against Sarah Good in March 1691/92.

The Deposistion of Joseph Herrick senr. who testifieth and saith that on the first day of March 1691/2: I being then Constable for Salem: there was delivered to me by warrant from the worshipfull Jno. Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin Esqrs. Sarah good for me to cary to their majesties Gaol at Ipswich and that night I sett a gard to watch her at my own house namely Samu'l: Braybrook michaell dunell Jonathan Baker.. and the affore named parsons Informed me in the morning that that night Sarah good was gon for some time from them both bare foot and bare legde: and I was also Informed that: that night Elizabeth Hubburd one of the Afflected parsons Complaned that Sarah Good came and afflected hir:being bare foot and bare ledged and Samuell Sibley that was one that was attending of Eliza Hubburd strock good on the Arme as Elizabeth Hubburd said and Mary Herrick and wife of the abovesaid Joseph Herick testifieth that on: the 2th: March 1691/2 in the morning I took notis of Sarah Good in the morning and one of hir Armes was Blooddy from a little below the Elbow to the wrist: and I also took notis of her armes on the night before and then there was no signe of blood on them 

Joseph herrik senr and mary herrik appearid before us the Jury for Inquest: and did on the oath which the had taken owne this their evidense to be the truth; the 28: of June 1692  Sworne in Court 

(Reverse) Memento. Sam. Sibley to be Served Mich'll. Dunwill Jona. Bacar ver. Sa. Good
( Essex County Archives, Salem -- Witchcraft Vol. 1 Page 8 )  

And again we see the Herricks listed in a deposition against Sarah Good given by Henry Herrick (then 21yrs of age) along with a mention of his father, the above mentioned Zachariah Herrick.

The deposition of Henery Herrick aged About 21 one years, this deponent testifieth & saith that in Last march was two yeare; Sarah Good came to his fathers house & desired to lodge there; & his father forbid it; & she went away Grumbling & my father bid us follow her & see that shee went away clear, lest she should lie in the barn: & by smoking of her pipe should fire the barn; & s'd deponent with Jonathan Batchelor seing her make a stop near the barne, bid her be gone; or he would set her father of; to which she replied that then it should cost his father Zachariah Herick one; or two of the best Cowes which he had; --
And Jonathan Batchelor aged 14 year testifieth the same abovewritten; and doth farther testifie that about a weeke after two of his grandfathers: Master Catle were removed from their places: & other younger Catle put in their rooms & since that severall of their Catle have bene set Loose in a strange maner --
Jurat in Curia
(Reverse) H. Herrick Sarah Good
( Essex County Archives, Salem -- Witchcraft Vol. 1 Page 9 )

In April 1692, George Herrick was required to collect the persons of William Hobs and his wife Deborah, Mary Easty, Sarah Wild, Edward Bishop and his wife Sarah, Mary Black, and Mary English.

"To Marshal George Herrick of Salem, Essex.  You are in their Majesties Names herby required to convey the above-named to the Jail at Salem.  Fail not."
                                                  John Hathorn
                                                  Jona. Corwin
 Dated Salem Apr. 22 1692

And again we find George in the historical record of the time, taking into custody for court Capt. John Alden of Boston.

 Henry Herrick served as a juror during the time of the trials.  Not published until 1696, three years after Ephraim's death, Henry along with the other jurors wrote their confession of error or regret as a move to clear their conscience for the wrong doings of themselves and others.

“We whose names are under written, being in the year 1692 called to serve as jurors, in Court at Salem, on trial of many who were by some suspected guilty of doing acts of witchcraft upon the bodies of sundry persons:

“We confess that we ourselves were not capable to understand, nor able to withstand, the mysterious delusions of the Powers of Darkness and Prince of the Air; but were, for want of knowledge in ourselves and better information from others, prevailed with to take up such evidence against the accused, as on further consideration and better information we justly fear was insufficient for the touching the lives of any (Deut.xvii.6).

“Whereby we fear we have been instrumental with others, though ignorantly and unwittingly, to bring upon ourselves and this people of the Lord the guilt of innocent blood -- which sin the Lord saith in Scripture he would not pardon (II Kings xxiv.4), that is, we suppose in regard of his temporal judgments.

“We do, therefore hereby signify to all in general, and to the surviving sufferers in especial, our deep sense of, and sorrow for our errors, in acting on such evidence to the condemnation of any person. And we do hereby declare that we justly fear that we were sadly deluded and mistaken, for which we are much disquieted and distressed in our minds; and do humbly beg forgiveness, first of God for Christ's sake for this error, and pray that God would not impute the guilt of it to ourselves nor others. And we also pray that we may be considered candidly and aright by the living sufferers as being then under the power of a strong and general delusion, utterly unacquainted with, and not experienced in matters of that nature.

“We do heartily ask forgiveness of you all whom we have justly offended, and do declare according to our present minds we would none of us do such things again on such grounds for the whole world; praying you to accept of this in way of satisfaction for our offense; and that you would bless the inheritance of the Lord, that he may be entreated for the land.“

Signed by: Thomas Fisk, Foreman, William Fisk, John Batcheler, Thomas Fisk, Junior, John Dane, Joseph Evelith, Thomas Perly, Senior, John Pebody, Thomas Perkins, Samuel Sayer, Andrew Elliot, Henry Herrick, Senior. 

So be forewarned family members ... even if for just fun you call someone a "witch" in our family ... it might be true! :-)

For further reading about Salem and it's history, I would recommend these sites as they were helpful in researching and finding the supporting documents listed above.

17th Century Colonial New England
Cornell University Library Witchcraft Collection
Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Strange What Turns Up

I've often found it strange how out of nowhere comes information that you thought probably wasn't possible.  Today I share two such thoughts.

Early this year, I received a kind letter from my Aunt in Pennsylvania and she shared with me a copy of an article from the Staten Island Advance that she received from another Aunt of mine.  To date, I don't know what edition of the SI Advance this was from, but low and behold an article in the "Memories" column by Mike Azzara, was a picture that I have seen before.  Not only was it a picture, but a newspaper article about said picture.  It was in fact an article recalling bygone days of musicians who frequented clubs on Staten Island.  As you can see below the picture is of the Mahoney Orchestra.

Mahoney Orchestra 'Memories'

What's more impressive is that grandpa Muller (Paul Ernest Muller 1901-1954) is mentioned specifically in the caption.  While the article itself doesn't mention him, obviously the contact that Mr. Azzara used for this article had some kind of connection.  What was most intriguing, is that this lost picture (either I have the copy of it or possible it is in my mother's collection) provides a date in which we can place grandpa Muller, January 17, 1947, aged 45.


Another tid bit that has come to light was found recently in my grandmother O'neal's Baby's Record.  It in itself, is a time capsule of events of her life including a picture of her and a very young grandpa Bair (Burton W.)

But more interesting was a poem that I found in a Newsletter for the Marion Steam Shovel Company.  (see image below)  G-Grandpa Benjamin Franklin Bair worked for the company and he must have been extremely proud of his new grand-daughter Lucretia, so much that the company at first didn't believe that he was a grandfather.  To prove his point, he clipped some of Lucretia's newborn hair!  Ironically, in her baby book, there are two samples of her hair, one was clipped only after a few days and is tied with a small pink ribbon.  Could this have been the hair?

A "Bair" Story ... Marion Excavator, February 1921

To see the edition of the Marion Excavator, February 1921 click HERE

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Brick Wall

Well, why I haven't added much to this blog as of late, I have been hot on the trail of researching the Muller Heritage, specifically, the families of Ludwig and Brigitte.  For years this has been a brick wall.  Finally I have found a crack in it's facade.  Recently I came across a large resource from the Haut-Rhin region of Alsace.  This resource has proven invaluable in looking closer at the Muller and Flesch ancestry.  Their database contains birth, marriage and death records dating back as far as 1792 to 1892.

For more information go to

The hardest part so far, is trying to decipher and read the script ... sometimes in German, but mostly in FRENCH!  I often wonder what my late Uncle Bob would be thinking about now?

So, I'll start with Ludwig and Brigitte Muller.  First, while I have always thought of Louis Joseph Muller as being named so in the Germanic language as Ludwig Josef Müller, the document below shows the spelling of his name as Luis Joseph Muller.  I suspect that given the history of Alsace, that his name lost it's 'french' spelling when the region came under German occupation as I have known it to be for years.

Birth Record of Luis Joseph Muller; s/o Martin Muller and Anne Marie nee Staub
Further research also shows that Luis' parents, as suspected through existing documents, were Martin Muller and Anne (or Anna) Marie Staub.  A note here about Staub.  In some documents it looks like Flaub. This is something that I have gone back and forth about for some years.  But finding her name first in a marriage index, it becomes clear that it is Staub, not Flaub.  If it were Flaub her name would have shown up in the beginning of the alphabetical listing.  Instead, it's near the end.  I also believe that Anne Marie's father, Luis' grandfather was Leonard Flaub.

The record also indicates that Luis had a brother named Joseph and also provides evidence that their father's name may well have been Luis Martin Muller.  This would indicate that my g-grandfather Luis (Ludwig), was named after his father.

On Brigitte's side of the family we find confirmation that her parents were Robert Flesch and Marie Anne Demange.  Further research also shows that Brigitte had some siblings.  First was Marie Eugenia Flesch.  She married William Henry Meyer and immigrated to the US before Ludwig and Brigitte.  The Meyer family is mentioned in Ludwig's (Luis) paperwork as Elizabeth, New Jersey.  It was here that the family was heading to when they arrived in the United States

I've known for a while that Brigitte also had a brother Camille.  He was the conductor of a couple of community bands in Alsace, for which I have postcard images of.  To date, I have yet to find his birth record ... however, I have also found another sibling.  There is a record for a R. Flesch.  This would be either a reference for a 4th child born to Robert and Marie or it might be the record for 'Camille' ... research continues.

As I continue to research these leads, the hardest part is now reading and translating the script.  Unfortunately this will take time as the images were not scanned at a super high quality resolution.  Thus, it makes it harder to read even if enlarged.  Time will tell, but finally the brick wall has started to crack!