Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mary Walcot, Abigail Williams, Ann Putnam, and Mercy Lewis

Ye killed my grandmother. That is, my grandmother of 13 generations past. True, ye did not lay thine hands upon her, nor literally tie the noose upon her neck, but ye shook, ye trembled, ye went into fits. Ye convinced the magistrate of her wickedness. Ye caused her to be hanged. I wonder, do ye dwell in that place ye hath presumed to have sent her?
Dark portions of my soul are stirred up by the story of my Great-Great-etc Grandmother. I wonder, what was it about her that made her a target for the deadly accusations? Was she opinionated? Not easily bullied? Difficult to get along with? Ugly? Is there a part of her that lives on in me? I do not believe that she danced with the devil, cast sinister spells, nor gave suck to any fiend. I do believe she knew she could save her life if she would say that she had. She must have been a stubborn woman. She must have been a woman disinclined to deceit. She must have been tremendously complex and disheartened by the society in which she lived. I wonder, how did she deal with the lies, the outlandish accusations? She is on record as having laughed at the display of "fits" her accusers made at her trial. I imagine it was an accusatory laughter, and it probably was meant to send chills down the spines of the young liars standing before her. I imagine that in her elderly state she had lost any semblance of beauty. I imagine that her accusors were in their prime. I imagine there's a whole lot more to this story than I ever will know, and I imagine, that I'm a whole lot more like Susannah Martin than I ever wanted to be.
I know how angering it is to be accused of something I have not done. I know how frustrating it is to think that people believe I've done something unacceptable, and to not have any words to convince them otherwise. I know what its like to make my own defense and have it unheard. But for me, the consequence was not death. And so, I am lucky. One day, I hope to have a long conversation with Susannah. She fascinates me.


Jillene said...

That's cool that she is your Great-Gramdmother 13 times removed! What a talk that will be!

I have also been acused unjustly and been blamed for things I didn't do and say. It really sucks!!

Kristina P. said...

I loved reading about the Salem Witch trials when I was a teenager.

Brittany said...

Wow that's cool! I wonder if she liked black cats.

Alyson (New England Living) said...

How cool! I had an ancestor accused in the Salem witch trials too!! I've been to Salem many times, since I live close, and I often wonder what she had to endure being imprisoned for 18 months.

Anonymous said...

Great story. Sad, though. I have a lot of other imaginations of what poor Susannah's troubles were, largely based on dealings with close family members who behave in inexplicable ways. I hope you're right. Seems much more noble.

Whitney R said...

Oh wow. That's awesome to know a story like this from so long ago!

I wonder if I have any shady relatives??

Oh wait.. I'm pretty sure I do.

ramsam said...

I went to Salem, Ma during my last vay-cay, and I so loved it! I can not believe that is your grandma!
Salem was so fascinating, and the whole witch hysteria thing really baffles and interests me.

Have you been to Salem? They have cool Witch Days during October.

clan of the cave hair said...

Ramona, no I have never been. My mom and dad were there a few years back on Friday the 13th, with a full moon, in October. They said it was really a cool place to visit. I'd love to get there some day myself.
Mina-interesting perspective-one I never considered. I wonder if there's any historians who've looked at that possibility? I haven't "studied" it more than it applies to my geneology. ( on my dad's side in case you're wondering)

ramsam said...

Definitely add it to your places to see! Of course it's no Disneyland, but the feel of the city and the old historical homes are surreal. All of the shops with witchlike goodies and strange souveniers were a dream come true for me! I went twice while back east, so I could see it again.

~ Straight Shooter ~ said...

Are you serious??!!
THAT is a story worth telling again and again!
I loved the way you spoke of her and her accusers.
Fabulous post!