Thursday, October 31, 2013


Yesterday I was doing some googling  on the Witch Trials trying to find out if
I had more relatives involved in them. I am a direct descendant of Rebecca Blake
Eames and Mary Towne Estey, and my relatives Willam Barker Sr and Jr were
also accused of witchcraft. But given how many ancestors I have from Essex County,
Massachusetts, I wondered if there were more. So I went looking and sure enough, there were two more female victims of the Trials.

All I had to do was find their maiden names. One was from my Ayer line, and one was
from my Hawkes line. They are related to me through my grandmother Cora Berthella

Mary Ayer Parker was the sister of my 8x great grandfather Peter Ayer. She married a man named Nathan Parker and was an old widow when she was accused of being a witch. She maintained her innocence and claimed they had the wrong Mary Parker since there was another woman with the same name living in Andover. The court wasn't convinced by her argument and she was executed on 22 Sep 1692.

The Hawkes relative is Sarah (Hooper) Hawkes Wardwell. She was married in 1670 to my 10x great grandfather Adam Hawkes who was 62 years old. They had a child, a daughter also named Sarah, before he died in 1672. Adam was a wealthy man when he died and left a third of the estate to his younger wife which made her fairly well off for a widow when she married Samuel Wardwell in 1673.The couple moved to Andover and were living there when Thomas, Sarah, and their daughters Mercy Wardwell and Sarah Hawkes were accused of witchcraft. Among Thomas Wardwell's accusers were my relatives Thomas Chandler and Joseph Ballard.

One of the things that mystifies me about the Witch Trials is not so much the accusations
as the admissions of guilt by the victims. Thomas, Sarah and Mercy all confessed to dealing with Satan and other acts of witchcraft. I don't know if my aunt Sarah Hawkes Jr. did as well.

Thomas Wardwell was hung on the same day as Mary Ayer Parker, 22Sep 1692. The three
 women were eventually released, but Sarah (Hooper) Hawkes Wardwell property had been confiscated at her arrest, which probably included what she had been bequeathed by Adam Hawkes. I wonder if it was ever returned to her?

So now there are two more witches on our family tree!

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