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Theme, Week 5 (Jan. 29-Feb. 4):  “plowing through”
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“WITCH HYSTERIA MARTYR” “IRASCIBLE” “UNYIELDING” — GILES COREY’S GRAVE MARKER NEAR HE & WIFE MARTHA’S CRYSTAL LAKE HOMESTEAD, WEST PEABODY, SALEM TOWNE, ESSEX CO., MA. Photo from website, “Legends of America.”

From my previous blog post, focusing on Elizabeth JESSOP, a Quaker 5th great-grandmother, I decided to continue plowing upwards through the material I had on her line to, her father, Thomas JESSOP, I (1688 Rawcliffe, Yorkshire, England-1744 Perquimans Co., NC, America) and his three wives, (1) Rachel PEASE; (2) Jane CLARE (1690-1737); &, (3) Mary Ann MARTIN.[1]

Jane CLARE being through whom I descend, I began investigating her, and, YOU COULD HAVE DRIVEN A MACK TRUCK THROUGH THE TUNNEL MY OPEN MOUTH MADE when I discovered that via her I have an 8th great-granduncle convicted as a witch during the infamous Salem Witch Trials.

I did not expect this sort of [fork in the road?] in a Quaker line.

It goes like this:
my 6th great-grandparents Thomas JESSOP, I & Jane CLARE;
my 7th, Timothy CLARE & Mary BUNDY;
my 8th, William CLARE & Mary CORY;
my 9th, Giles CORY, Sr. & Elizabeth [UNKNOWN], the latter couple parents to both my 8th great-grandma Mary CORY, and, her younger brother, Giles COREY, Jr. (ca 1621 Northampton, England-1692 Salem, MA, America), gruesomely “pressed to death” as a witch at Salem.[2]

GILES COREY BEING PRESSED TO DEATH; PRINT FROM JOHN CLARK RIDPATH’S “CYCLOPEDIA OF UNIVERSAL HISTORY,” 1923.

Giles Jr. had been a well-to-do Salem-area farmer and, a member of the church.  So, how did he end up being tried and convicted as a witch?!

Well, Giles was an irascible man, as his grave marker notes, and, he did previously beat a hired hand to death with a stick, so, he probably had those things going against him.

But let’s start at the beginning…  Born in Northampton, England, circa 1621 — he was baptized Aug. 16, 1621, at St. Sepulchre’s Church, Northampton[3] — Giles COREY, Jr., emigrated from England with first wife Margaret to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, America[2].

In his, “The Salem Witch Trials: A Reference Guide,” David K. Goss writes that Giles & Margaret settled in Salem Town, where the couple lived “until 1659 when [they] relocated to Salem Farms, an outlying agricultural community between Salem Town and Salem Village.  Shortly following their settlement upon an extensive farm, Margaret died, leaving Giles with a large family.  COREY married an English woman from London, Mary BRITE[2]” or BRITZ[4], “on April 11, 1684.”[2][4]

“Mary BRITE COREY died August 27, 1684, at the age of sixty-three,” continues Goss.  “In 1690, Giles COREY wed his third and final wife, Martha PANON[2], widow of Henry RICH.[5]  They continued to live comfortably in his house at Salem Farms and attend Salem Village Church until 1692, when on March 19, Martha was arrested for witchcraft.  By April 19, 1862, Giles was also arrested.”[2]

Poor Martha.  In February of 1692, witch hysteria was well underway; Martha would be accused in March.

“By late February,” reads the University of Virginia Library “Salem Witch Trials,” “Documentary Archive and Transcription Project,” accusers “Elizabeth PARRIS and Abigail WILLIAMS had named Tituba (a slave woman owned by Samuel PARRIS[3]), Sarah GOODE, and Sarah OSBORNE.  These three women seemed to fit a kind of stereotypical pattern.  They were perceived by many as social outcasts, misfits, and were not members of the church.”[6]

The accusers, per historian Richard Trask, were primarily, “adolescent girls between the ages of 9 and 18, though they were joined by some older women and by at least two adolescent boys.”[7]

“In January 1692, 9-year-old Elizabeth (Betty) PARRIS and 11-year-old Abigail WILLIAMS (the daughter and niece of Samuel PARRIS, minister of Salem Village) began having fits, including violent contortions and uncontrollable outbursts of screaming,” History.com tells us.  “After a local doctor, William GRIGGS, diagnosed bewitchment, other young girls in the community began to exhibit similar symptoms, including Ann PUTNAM Jr., Mercy LEWIS, Elizabeth HUBBARD, Mary WALCOTT and Mary WARREN.  In late February, arrest warrants were issued for the PARRIS’ Caribbean slave, Tituba, along with two other women-the homeless beggar Sarah GOOD and the poor, elderly Sarah OSBORN–whom the girls accused of bewitching them.”[8]

“In an effort to explain by scientific means the strange afflictions suffered by those ‘bewitched’ Salem residents in 1692, a study published in Science magazine in 1976 cited the fungus ergot (found in rye, wheat and other cereals), which toxicologists say can cause symptoms such as delusions, vomiting and muscle spasms.”[8]

Trask comments at the U-VA website, “From 1692 to the present, various observers, researchers, and scholars have attempted to explain what caused the outbreak at Salem.  The theories are many:  backsliding New Englanders being punished by God, power-hungry clergy, the pranks of bored adolescents, socio-economic conflict, ergot poisoning, and so on.  It seems that every new generation reflects its own time in trying to explain what happened in 1692 Salem.

“My feeling is that, although there were many factors involved in setting the stage, the witch-hunt was powered by clinical hysteria.”[7]

Whatever the case, on March 11, 1692, Giles COREY’s 3rd wife, Martha, became the focus of accusers Elizabeth PARRIS and Abigail WILLIAMS:  “Under the pressure of Reverend Samuel PARRIS, the two girls accused Goodwife Martha COREY, a new but universally accepted good member of the Salem church; to some, she was even known as the ‘gospel woman.’  Citizens of Salem were shocked at this fourth accusation, and while no one questioned either Elizabeth or Abigail on their indictment, eyebrows were certainly raised when Martha COREY was asked to testify in court on March 22, 1692.”[6]

“WITCH HYSTERIA MARTYR” “PIOUS” “OUTSPOKEN” — MARTHA COREY’S GRAVE MARKER NEAR SHE & HUSBAND GILES’ CRYSTAL LAKE HOMESTEAD, WEST PEABODY, SALEM TOWNE, ESSEX CO., MA. Photo from website, “Legends of America.”

On March 21, 1692, Martha COREY was made to testify as to her guilt.  “When asked by Judge HATHORNE why she ‘hurt’ ‘these persons,’ [Martha] responded, ‘I never had to do with Witchcraft since I was born.  I am a Gospell Woman.’  When urged to confess to her crimes, [Martha] said that if she was guilty, she would admit it; but she maintained that she was an innocent woman throughout the entirety of the trials.”[6]

It did not matter what she said, and Martha realized it, addressing HATHORNE, “Ye are all against me & I cannot help it.”[6]

Giles meanwhile had been accused and arrested for witchcraft “by April 19, 1692,”[2] jailed throughout wife Martha’s trial.

“On September 16, 1692, Giles was formally charged with the crime of witchcraft and pled not guilty, but refused to submit himself to the Court for a jury trial.” (Goss)  “He was keenly aware that all persons who had thus far been tried had been found guilty, and the likelihood of an impartial verdict was remote.  He therefore ‘stood mute’ before his accusers…  As a result of his unwillingness to further cooperate with the Court, he was sentenced to undergo the ancient procedure…known as the torture of ‘pressing,’ which was actually declared illegal in Massachusetts Bay Colony” in 1641.”[2]

“On the morning of September 17, Giles was taken to a field near the Salem jail, stripped of his clothing and laid upon his back and staked to the ground. Wooden beams were then rested across his chest upon which heavy stones were placed.  Periodically, the number of stones would be increased. … [Giles] steadfastly refused to cooperate with the Court except to demand ‘more weight.’  …  ….Giles finally died when the weight of stones crushed his rib cage.”[2]

On September 21st or 22nd [I have competing sources], Martha (PANON) COREY was hung.

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AFTERWORD:  Giles Corey In The Arts

The following “Legacy” items, from Giles COREY’s Wikipedia page[3]:

(i.) “Giles COREY is the subject of a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow play entitled ‘Giles COREY of the Salem Farms’…”

ILLUSTRATION FROM LONGFELLOW’S PLAY, “GILES COREY OF SALEM FARMS,” WHERE ACCUSER MARY WARREN “SEES” GHOST OF HIRED HAND KILLED BY COREY.

(ii.) Giles is also the subject of the 1893 play, “Giles COREY, Yeoman,” by Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman.

SCENE FROM MARY WILKINS FREEMAN PLAY OF GILES BEING ACCUSED IN COURT BY ONE OF THE “AFFLICTED” GIRLS. DRAWING BY AMERICAN ILLUSTRATOR CHARLES STANLEY (C.S.) REINHART.

PLAYBILL, MAR., 1958: ARTHUR MILLER’S, “THE CRUCIBLE:” MARTINIQUE THEATRE, OFF-BROADWAY PRODUCTION (starring Michael Higgins, Ford Rainey, Noah Keen, and Ann Wedgeworth).

(iii.)”[Giles COREY] is a character in Arthur Miller’s play ‘The Crucible,’…”

(iv.) “COREY…appears in Robert Ward’s operatic treatment of the story, in which his role is assigned to a tenor.”

(v.) “British alternative/post-rock band I Like Trains has a song entitled ‘More Weight’ about the execution of COREY.”

(vi.) “American metalcore band Unearth created a song titled ‘Giles’ which is about Corey’s execution.”

(vii.) “Actor Kevin Tighe portrayed Giles COREY in the pilot episode of the WGN television series ‘Salem’, in which he is executed in a more-or-less historically accurate manner.”

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FOOTNOTES

[1] CLEAVER, William Jessup, “The Ancestry of Allen Grinnell Cleaver and Martha Irene Jessup — 172 Allied Families” (Baltimore, MD, Gateway Press, Inc., 1989), FamilySearch.org, digital version of book, at https://dcms.lds.org/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE109106 , accessed Jan., 2015.
[2] GOSS, K. David, “The Salem Witch Trials: A Reference Guide” (ABC-CLIO, 2008), (Google eBook), “Giles COREY (1621-September 17, 1692),” pp. 88-89, at https://books.google.com/books?id=cwg178oYyU4C&pg=PA89&lpg=PA89&dq=martha+panon+%26+henry+rich&source=bl&ots=G3ZXlHVx84&sig=SeXPZjJolm-6zfVHmbbEM2UnPQM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=OtPFVJSzL4ezyQSOg4HoCA&ved=0CEIQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=martha%20panon%20%26%20henry%20rich&f=false , accessed Jan., 2015.
[3] Wikipedia — “the free encyclopedia”, “Giles COREY,” at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giles_Corey , accessed Jan., 2015.
[4] “American Marriages Before 1699”, Ancestry.com, http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?rank=1&new=1&ssrc=pt_t76874259_p48350978612&MSAV=1&gss=angs-g&gsfn=Giles&gsln=CORY&msbdy=1584&msbpn__ftp=Northamtonshire%2c+England&msddy=1682&msdpn__ftp=MA%2c+USA&msrpn__ftp=Lynn%2c+MA%2c+America&cpxt=1&catBucket=rstp&uidh=in4&_83004003-n_xcl=f&cp=12&mssng0=Elizabeth&mscng0=Giles&mscns0=COREY&mscng1=Mary&mscns1=CORY&pcat=ROOT_CATEGORY&h=2187&recoff=6+7&db=amr-1699&indiv=1&ml_rpos=4 , accessed Jan., 2015.
[5] RICH, Shebnah (“Member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society”), “Truro–Cape Cod, Or, Land Marks and Sea Marks” (Truro, MA, D. Lothrop and Company, 1883), (Google eBook), pp. 553-554, at https://books.google.com/books?id=Rcdk_lguAMcC&pg=PA553&lpg=PA553&dq=martha+panon+%26+henry+rich&source=bl&ots=E3cP_te1C2&sig=-EDorRiA8i4ToQWGIb7n0CH3edg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=OtPFVJSzL4ezyQSOg4HoCA&ved=0CDgQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=martha%20panon%20%26%20henry%20rich&f=false , accessed Jan., 2015.
[6] “University of Virginia Library” [online], library.virginia.edu, “Salem Witch Trials,” “Documentary Archive and Transcription Project,” “Martha COREY,” at http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/people?group.num=all&mbio.num=mb35 , accessed Jan., 2015.
[7] “University of Virginia Library,” library.virginia.edu, “Salem Witch Trials,” “Documentary Archive and Transcription Project,” “Ask The Archivist” (Historian Richard Trask), at http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/archivist.html , accessed Jan., 2015.
[8] History.com, at http://www.history.com/topics/salem-witch-trials , accessed Jan., 2015.
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