Thursday, December 6, 2012

Witches of Salem

Here's another tidbit of information that came my way because I am a genealogist.

I recently picked up a novel off the Kindle Free Books list.  Those books are not always the highest quality literature, but do open some unusual doors.   This novel is contemporary in setting, but the premise is  that the events in the life of the protagonist are the direct result of his ancestor who was innocent but nevertheless hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692.  That prompted me to learn more about the Salem Witch Trials.

I was surprised to discover that there were not many, many Salem Witch Trials, but one basic event with only a handful accused (relatively speaking), and not all of them executed.

One of the most outspoken of those executed -- and one of the central characters in "The Crucible" -- was John Proctor.  His wife was also accused, but not executed because she was pregnant.  The couple's youngest child was born after his father's death and while his mother was in prison.

I have Proctors in my family tree.  They come from Virginia.  But I don't think my mom has ever identified the immigrant ancestor.  I wonder if my Proctor ancestors came to Virginia from Massachusetts?

My most recent ancestor who carried the surname Proctor was a woman who died about 1845 in Tennessee, age about 96 years.  At least two generations of her ancestors were from Virginia.  Her children were born in North (and/or South) Carolina.  Her first husband was a Mr. Morris.  We know almost nothing about him, but there are suggestions that he was from "up north".   As Massachusetts??? 

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