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


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