Sunday, July 15, 2018

Salem, Massachusetts : Part 2 18th Century to The Gilded Age

Salem, Massachusetts

Part 2: 18th Century to The Gilded Age

Civil War Zouave soldier and a pirate oh my!

In the 1700s pirates like Blackbeard and Captain Kidd sailed the waters around Salem. This troubadour tells us of their adventures. 

During the Revolutionary War Salem of course sided with the American patriots. Salem citizens fought off the British and kept them from stealing all the gunpowder and merchants sent a letter declaring themselves to be loyal to the patriot cause. Sound familiar? After the war, merchants began sending ships all over the world to trade for china and tea in China, spices in India, pepper in Sumatra. By the 1790s Salem became the 6th richest city in the United States! 

Salem soon had many wealthy and middle class families. Salem women cultivated intellectual thought, started schools, and helped the immigrants while men fought proudly in the Civil War.

By the end of the 1800s the Gilded Age had arrived. New technology meant people go farther away from home than ever before. They sailed on great steamships to England and Europe. People in other countries sailed back as immigrants. Many immigrants came to Salem to work in the mills. Textile mills made the fortunes of many New England families. 

By the 19teens and 20s, wealthy girls traveled on giant steamships. Many were named after queens. These ships were known as floating palaces. They offered every luxury for travelers even dogs!

In the 1910s I might choose to sail on the Cunard Line or the White Star Line. I think I will choose White Star.

Entering the embarkation doors...
Doors from the first class embarkation hall on France 1911
French Lines collection 
on display at the Salem Maritime Museum

Honor and Glory Crowning Time on display at the Salem Maritime Museum
The White Star Line featured fancy marble decorations. I'm here on The Olympic standing by the grand staircase. This clock decoration is called "Honor and Glory Crowning Time" (1911) It represents human triumph over time and space. This victory is represented by the ocean liner. (My guardian asks the other big people if this looks familiar?"

I think I will go visit the first class lounge now. 

Fragment of a panel from the first class lounge on Titanic.
Courtesy of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Halifax, Nova Scotia Museum
On display at the Salem Maritime Museum
This Beaux Art panel decorates the wall of the first class lounge. Again my guardian asks if it looks familiar? No. Well how about these doors?
Oak panelling from the communication gallery on the France, about 1912
by Atelier Georges RĂ©mon of Paris
on display at the Salem Maritime Museum
Time for a little fresh air. I head up to deck and take a seat in a wooden child size lounge chair. (The others are from Kit's time). By now ocean liners are not keeping children shut up in our suites with our nannies. We are official paying customers! There is even talk of building a children's play room. 

I arrive in France. How beautiful!

By friend Kit's time ocean liners had lots of fun features for kids.

Nanea's friend Donna traveled on a steamship when she moved from San Francisco to Hawaii! 

I hope you enjoyed my ocean liner adventure! My guardian has lots more to tell you and more photos you might like to see. Check out her blog somewhere else online. She calls it "Archives, Libraries and Museums" because she's boring and old and the time travel magic doesn't work for her.

Salem, Massachusetts : Part 1 Salem Beginnings (17th Century)

Salem, Massachusetts:

 Part 1 Salem Beginnings (17th Century)

Hello friends,
It has been a long time since I told you about my time travel adventures. My guardian has time to unlock her computer for me now so I can show you what I have been up to. 

Follow me to Salem, Massachusetts on the North Shore near Boston. Salem was founded in 1626 by Roger Conant who left England because of his unusual religious beliefs. ("Roger Conant? Wait a minute! He's my ancestor!," claims my guardian.)  Roger Conant founded a fishing village. He called it Naumkeag. 

Roger Conant

In 1628 the Massachusetts Bay Colony sent an official governor named John Endicott. 

John Endicott was kind of snobby and mean. Roger Conant left to go found another town nearby. John Endicott stayed. He was the official Puritan governor. The English settlers now called their village "Salem." That means "place of peace" in Hebrew. 

Salem was in the backwoods of nowhere on Massachusetts Bay. Most people lived in cabin like houses.

The houses were made from wood boards with shingle roofs. Inside the walls were lined with grass plants. If you were lucky you had a window with a wooden shutter than closed over it.

Kids didn't have a lot of time to play. They were busy working. In winter evenings people might play games like these.

Kids learned to read from a wooden paddle covered with a piece of animal horn. I think you all recognize this object! Puritans thought it was important to know how to read the Bible so they made sure everyone could at least read some. Not everyone could write. 

The governor did not like the simple houses common folk lived in. He moved a much bigger house from Cape Ann nearby. This house is much bigger, fancier and has glass windows! 

By the end of the 1600s Salem had lawyers and judges and craftsmen like leather workers who built big fancy houses.
The Pickman House c. 1664
Charter Street Historic District

Salem's oldest original surviving house

John Ward House c. 1684

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Salem Witch Trials: The Aftermath of People vs. Bridget Bishop

Bridget Bishop

Salem, 1692

We the people decide Bridget Bishop should go to trial in a higher court-the Court of Oyer and Terminer. They will decide if Goody Bishop should be hanged.

Seven judges have condemned Bridget Bishop based largely on the testimonies of my friends, the "afflicted" girls. Did I do the right thing in not speaking out? If I do, I will be the next accused. I am no witch but I will surely die if I speak. If I stay silent I may also be accused. Are my friends playing games? Do they know they are playing with someone's life? Why do they do this? Are they truly afflicted?

On Friday, June 10, 1692, sometime between 8am and noon, Bridget Bishop will be executed at Gallows Hill and buried at the execution site in unhallowed ground.

Bridget Bishop Hanged June 10, 1692
Salem Witch Trials Memorial, Salem,MA
The witch hysteria soon spreads to other nearby towns: Topsfield, Andover, Beverly, Wenham, Reading, Marblehead. Almost half the accused witches are under 40 years of age. One is only a baby of five years of age, one is an elderly woman and one an elderly man. Those who confess go to jail and lose their property. Those who deny the accusations go to trial and are executed. There is no easy way out. Neighbors are accusing friends, relatives and even strangers! When will this madness end?

All images c. Susanna's guardian QNPoohBear

Images from:

"Cry Innocent," History Alive, Old Town Hall, Salem, Mass., August 21, 2017

Salem Witch Trials Memorial, Salem, Massachusetts

Salem Old Town Hall Museum, Salem, Massachusetts

Read more:

Cry Innocent / History Alive

Bridget Bishop: First Salem Witch Executed

Bridget Bishop

Bridget Bishop: Witch or Easy Target?

Bridget Bishop's Social Network

Salem Witch Trials Timeline

The Witchcraft Trials in Salem: An Account

Life During the Salem Witch Trials

Famous Trials -Salem

Examine the documentary evidence

Goss, K. David. Daily Life During the Salem Witch Trials. Greenwood, 2002.

Hill, Frances. Hunting for Witches. Commonwealth Editions, 2002.

Hill, Frances. The Salem Witch Trials Reader. Da Capo Press, 2000.

Women's History Month: Bridget Bishop, Salem, Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1692

Bridget Bishop

Salem, Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1692

The People vs. Bridget Bishop

The people gathering in the streets are eager to hear the Town News. Ships are coming and going filled with precious cargos, the needs of the townspeople, and accusations of witchcraft!

Goodwife Bridget Bishop (That's Goody Bishop in the red dress) has been accused of practicing witchcraft on children of Salem Village : Ann Putnam, Jr., Mercy Lewis and my friend Betty Parris! She is accused of keeping poppets (dolls) with headless pins in them. Several have been found in her house. She will go to court to testify this very day! (Read the actual court transcript of the examination of Bridget Bishop)

I pay a fee to enter the pre-trial examination to hear the testimony against Goody Bishop. Will she be sent to trial? If so, what will happen to her then? Will the accursed ever recover?

Bridget denies the accusations and fights arrest.

She is dragged to the courtroom in chains.

The afflicted persons charge her with having hurt them many ways: sticking pins in them, pinching them, making them have fits. [My friends are having fits in the courtroom!] They say she tempted them to sign the devil's book. Betty Parris has not recovered from her fits. She is quite ill they say.
The afflicted" girls cry, scream, writhe and mimic Bridget's movements

Bridget is very angry and shakes her head at them. She says their claims are false. She claims she has never seen these people before! Can my friends be telling the truth or are they in the devil's snare themselves?

Bridget denies being a witch over and over. She claims no one here can be a witch. Isn't that for the learned men of the jury to decide?


She was accused of hurting a child who died. Goody Bishop claims she did not mean to scratch him, just to scare him away from stealing her apples.

Goody Bishop has been accused of associating with the wrong people, keeping "unseasonable" hours, hosting drinking and gambling parties, and behaving immorally. Some men claim her spectre visited them at night.

She has been seen arguing with her husband in public on the Sabbath! Before that, she had another husband who died under mysterious circumstances. Neighbors say Goody Bishop thew him out the window. She was accused once before in 1679 and again in 1687, according to her husband! Goody Bishop even wears a scarlet bodice. She is not a very moral woman.

Bridget insists these people are from the village not the town. She has never seen them before.

My friends are screaming, crying, choking in court. One accuses Goody Bishop's spirit of taking her from her spinning wheel, dragging her to the river and threatened to drown her. Another friend claims Goody Bishop's apparition is here in court!

Susannah Sheldon (another Susanna, not me) also testified that she saw the spirit of Thomas Green’s twin boys who told her that Bridget Bishop had bewitched them to death. The other Susannah claims Bridget Bishop’s spirit told her she had killed four women!

Goody Bishop is asked to say the Lord's Prayer to prove she is innocent. She stumbles!

It's the work of the devil! Seven girls are falling in fits, freezing in postures, complaining of biting and pinching.

(If you are visiting from the future, you can time travel and watch the trial proceed )

Time to vote. Is Bridget Bishop innocent or guilty of witchcraft? You decide. Read my next page to find out what happened next.

Women's History Month and a Visit to Salem, Massachusetts Bay Colony 1692

Women's History Month

Hello my friends,
I have been very busy moving to a new house! I never wrote about my last adventure in time. I will make a series of posts on Women's History Month.

Let's start with Bridget Bishop, Salem 1692

Let me give you some background information first. You will understand what happened to Bridget better. You will know why I made the decision I did. Here we go! Travel back in time with me to Salem, both a village and a town in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

About the Puritans

My great-grandparents came here earlier in the century to practice their religion the way they wanted to, not the way the King of England told them to. My grandparents were "Puritans." Puritan means we want to purify the Church of England and take away the Papist (Catholic) trappings like incense and Latin prayers. We do not believe in holidays (holy days). Every day is a day to worship God! We know God decides who is going to heaven before we are born. If you are among God's elect you will show outward signs of being "godly." Most likely you will be clean, read your Bible, attend Meeting (what we call church) and obey the rules. If you are dirty, slovenly, drunken, mean, bad, crazy, do not attend Meeting, you will probably not go to heaven. If a person or a group of people does not behave in a godly manner, then God will bring His wrath down upon them!

About Children

My parents believe my sisters, brothers, other children and myself were all born sinners. We have to have the sin stamped out of us. We work hard at our chores: cooking, spinning, gardening, tending livestock, watching younger children and anything else we need to do to survive.

About Witches and the Devil

A witch is any woman or man who hath signed a pact with the devil and is capable of inflicting serious harm. If you are a witch, you are an associate of the devil and you will most assuredly NOT go to heaven! Long ago in England (1500, 1650) witches were burned at the stake. We are now civilized so we hang witches instead.

In 1692 Salem is on the frontier. Some people in the village came from a settlement up in Maine.
In January, the French invaded and killed about 50-100 English colonists, took 70-100 hostage, killed livestock and burned the settlement. Indians in league with the French also attacked the settlement. Many children were left without parents. It must be the work of the devil!

In February, the King sent us a Royal Governor who issued a new charter. Many people are unhappy about this. We made our own laws for over 50 years. Why aren't they good enough?

Here in the town children are getting sick and no one knows why!

Ministers are competing for town and village churches!

Strangers who do not share our beliefs are taking control!

This winter was the coldest anyone can remember!

The summer was hot and stormy!

What have we done to incur God's wrath?

Children are having fits (Including my friend Betty Parris, a minister's daughter)!

The devil is afoot in Salem and the town must be saved!

Monday, June 19, 2017

There Once Was a Girl From Nantucket (Part 3)

. . . and her name is Helen Marshall! Greetings from Nantucket. The year is 1861. I am Helen Marshall. I guess you could say I'm of Nantucket but not from Nantucket. 

Until I was 9 1/2 I lived on board a whaling ship! My grandfather is the famous Nantucket whaling captain Seth Pinkham, who died in Brazil before I was born. My mother was his daughter Malvina. My father, Joseph Marshall, is also a whaling captain. 
My father (left)
Me (right)

My mother refused to stay behind though she was soon to be delivered of a child-me. I was born in the Azores, a group of islands off the coast of Portugal. I spent my first eight years on board a whaling ship.

Nantucket whaleships stopped in the Azores for provisions and crew. That is where I was born..

We sailed around the Pacific with my father, visiting many exotic locales and returning with a full cargo of sperm whale oil. I loved learning about the places we went and the people we met.

Liverpool Creamware for the American market

Liverpool Creamware- some of the less exotic treasures we brought home. (Your modern day sensibilities would be offended if I showed you our finest treasures). I like how each jug is personalized with patriotic American images and the name of the ship. Sometimes even the name of the captain or family is included.

My toys
I had many toys to amuse myself during the long voyages. I used this set of carte-de-visite featuring images of kings and queens of France and England to learn history. I wrote genealogical notes on the back of each card.  Second Mate George B. Hussey of the Aurora made this jump rope for me. It has whale bone handles and fancy sailors' knots. I also learned to tat lace with this tattling shuttle you see above.

This is my doll, an Izannah Walker doll 

I stitched this little quilt for my doll. I tried to trade it to a sea captain for a dog. 

I save photographs of friends and family in albums. The top photographs are my little cousins. The bottom photographs are my half-brother's children.

My grandfather's desk. He wrote many letters home with long-winded advice.
Now my father is retired and we are back in Nantucket for good.
Nantucket vs. the world.
Let me show you what the town of Nantucket looks like.
Nantucket- the center of the whaling industry for many years



One of the most important buildings in town-the lighthouse. The light keeps ships from running aground. This is the new light from 1849. It is a Fresnal lens created by a Frenchman. The light is built around a central piece of glass (the bull's eye). It is surrounded by concentric rings of glass projecting beyond one another. This type of light allows 5 times more light to shine than a traditional convex lens.

There are many industries in Nantucket. Each one has a distinct odor. Over 200 women and some girls like me braided straw into hats and bonnets. 

Behind me you see the newest American flags. The flag had 30 stars when my father left on his first whaling voyage in 1849. The stars represent the states including Wisconsin. Now our flag has 31 stars. California is the newest state.

In the distance you see a homeward bound pennant. Flags served as long distance communication tools at sea. A red homeward bound pennant shows a whaleship is heading home. 

Local businesses 

Nantucket 1850s

The whaling industry is still king here but it is not what it used to be. I will spare you the gruesome details of a whaling voyage. Behind me is a sperm whale skeleton. This is the type of whale my father and his crew sailed after. They are clever and cunning beasts. The blubber and bone of whales is highly prized for oil and other things. 

A barrel we used to store whale oil

The sperm whale has a waxy oil found inside a mysterious organ in their heads. We call it spermaceti.

This oil can be used to make odorless candles- a big improvement over tallow (pig fat). It can also be used to grease machines.
Spermaceti oil and candle molds
Hawden & Barney are the leading oil and candle firm here in Nantucket. Last year they produced 4,000 boxes of candles and 450 gallons of refined sperm whale oil. They also own a whalingship named Alpha. The whaling business is in decline now. Hawden & Barney use this building mainly as a warehouse.
That concludes my tour of Nantucket. I hope to see you in New Bedford some day to pick up the story where I just left off.                


Editorial note:
Pinkham-Marshall Family

 Helen Marshall went on to study at Vassar College. Helen set off on a grand tour of Europe in 1876 with her friend Ann Mitchell Macy, sister of Maria Mitchell. Upon her return, she taught at Nantucket High School and later at the Norwich Free Academy in Connecticut. She died in 1939.