Accused on May 26 by Mary Marshall, Mary Walcott, Mercy Lewis, and Ann Putnam Jr., the elderly Mary (Perkins) Bradbury of Salisbury was arrested by Constable William Baker on June 28. Mistress Bradbury, in her late 70s, was the wife of prominent Salisbury citizen Captain Thomas Bradbury, who had been one of the first colonial settlers of the town in 1639. (“Mistress” denoted a woman of higher social standing than “Goodwife” or “Goody,” the polite salutation for a woman from the fourteenth to the mid-eighteenth centuries). She was related by marriage to the Nurse, Easty, Cloyce, Wildes, and Bishop families.
On July 2, Bradbury was questioned in Salem Town. Her accusers alleged she was the leader of spectral attacks against Timothy Swan of Andover. Mary Walcott and Ann Putnam Jr. also claimed to see the ghost of Putnam’s uncle, John Carr, in the courtroom. The ghost, in a winding sheet, accused Bradbury of murdering him. Bradbury was held for trial. By the end of the month, 115 of her neighbors and friends had signed a petition in an effort to save her. Among the signers were Robert Pike and Salisbury’s pastor, John Allen. Mistress Bradbury herself wrote to the judges, insisting she had led a good and upright life. Her husband added that she had been a good mother to their eleven children and four grandchildren, and a good neighbor. All pleas fell on deaf ears.
Years before, in 1679, there was a disagreement between Mistress Bradbury and Salisbury’s George Carr, father of Ann Putnam Sr. Following this disagreement, Carr accused Mistress Bradbury of being a witch. Could this family grudge have been the start of troubles to come, a dozen years later?
Bradbury’s accusers, many from the Carr family, swore their depositions against her in Salem Town on August 9. The list of grievances were many: butter purchased from Bradbury had turned rancid, she had raised a storm at sea resulting in the loss of horses in a ship’s hold, she had turned herself into a wild boar, and she was accused of causing John Carr’s death. Years prior, Mistress Bradbury had not allowed Carr to marry one of her granddaughters, feeling the girl was too young. In response, Carr had grown melancholy and “by degrees much crazed.” When he died, some suspected witchcraft.
Mistress Bradbury was convicted and sentenced to death on September 9. While the petition and overwhelming support of her friends and neighbors did nothing to change the judges’ minds, Bradbury eluded the hangman’s noose. With the help of her many friends, and her wealth, she escaped from jail and lived as a fugitive. She remained in hiding into 1693, finally returning to her family in May of that year. She died in 1700 at the age of 85.
In September of 1710, her family petitioned for a reversal of the conviction, which was granted in October of that year.
Additional note: One of Mary Bradbury’s eleven children, a son named Wymond, married Sarah Pike, daughter of Major Robert Pike. Among Mary Bradbury’s descendants are two distinguished literary figures: Ralph Waldo Emerson (a fourth great-grandson) and Ray Bradbury (a seventh great-grandson).
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Originally part of Salisbury, MA (1640), “New Town,” on the left bank of the Powwow River (a tributary of the Merrimack) officially became Amesbury in 1668.
The Salem witchcraft authority, Charles W. Upham, chose this hill as the probable site of the hangings of the nineteen condemned witches in 1692. Executions for witchcraft occurred here on June 10, July 19, August 19, and September 22.
These are the foundations of the Salem Village parsonage where the hysteria began. It was here, in the home of the Reverend Samuel Parris and his wife, Elizabeth, that the circle of girls met in the winter months of 1691-92 to listen to Tituba’s tales of magic and the occult.
Samuel Sewall, a justice on the Court of Oyer and Terminer, is buried beneath a red sandstone table stone in the northwest portion of the cemetery (Plate 18). The stone’s surface is inscribed: “Honl. Judge Sewall’s Tomb Now the property of his Heirs Philip R. Ridgway 1810 Ralph Huntington 1812 No. 185 Ralph Huntington.”
Hale built this house in 1694 and lived here until his death on 15 May 1700. A graduate of Harvard College in 1657, Hale became minister of the First Church in Beverly in 1665, a position he held for over thirty years.
In 1692, North Andover was known simply as “Andover.” It became embroiled in the witchcraft in July 1692 when Joseph Ballard brought several of the afflicted girls there to determine the cause of his wife’s illness.
Located at the intersection of Tremont and School Streets. Two people connected with the witchcraft are buried here. Also remembered here are: Major General Wait Still Winthrop, Thomas Brattle, and Thomas Newton
In this ancient cemetery, beneath an imposing marble table stone adorned with skulls, lies buried William Stoughton, the chief justice of the Court of Oyer and Terminer. Stoughton was born in 1631 and graduated from Harvard College in 1650.