Tuesday, March 06, 2018

the trail of my family leads up to a guy named william who appeared in 1715, marrying a woman named mary, but we cannot connect him to the illustrious leveretts that included john the governor of massachusetts, and john the president of harvard. there is a gap there, in the late 1660's, when this guy would have been born, and when people somehow slipped into the shadows of the town of boston.

but alas, it turns out that the town of boston had quite some shadows. we all know about the salem witch trials, a ways away from boston, but my reading assured me that salem was an entirely different world than boston, might as well be hundreds of miles away. they both shared the harsh puritan doctrine of increase mather and cotton mather, two people who didn't mind seeing witches hanged, but they shared little else, so my relatives, hidden away in boston as they were, were presumably safe.

but now it seems that boston had its own witch trial, in 1688, four years before salem, and this one also involved the mathers, and, it ended up in the killing of its victim, one ann glover, a washerwoman from ireland, who had been an indentured servant in barbados and had simply found her way to boston, working there. she could not speak very good english, and people were reminded that the mark of a witch is inability to say the lord's prayer. she was accused of bewitching four children, and she was hanged.

alas, this was the town my ancestors lived in. i shudder to think that they knew about it, or were involved in any way. it's kind of creepy, and it's the true forerunner of the salem witch trials; it's the original. it set the pattern.


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