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.

There Once Was a Girl From Nantucket (Part 2)

There Once Was a Girl From Nantucket (Part 2) . . .

. . . and her name was Maria Mitchell. It's not women's history month anymore but it is always a good time to learn about women's history. Maria (Ma-RYE-uh just like Lydia Maria Child) Mitchell is a lady astronomer! The first ever in the United States. She grew up here in Nantucket. 


Maria Mitchell was born in this house in 1818. She was the third child in a large family. The house was kind of old by then. It was built in 1790! It is typical Nantucket architecture. It has an off-center front door and a small window above to let light in the hall when the door was closed. Her family moved here just before she was born. Maria's father had to add a new kitchen to the old house to make the house bigger. The new kitchen has a back staircase, a warming alcove and plaster walls painted to look like wood.


Can you spy the roof walk on top? That's for putting out fires in chimneys. Did you know that? 

Maria attended a school for young ladies. Her father also taught her astronomy and things only boys learn. Maria soon opened her own school for girls to learn the same subjects as boys. In the future this type of school might be called STEM (or just the science and math parts in my day).  Maria loved astronomy, just like her father. When she was 12, Maria helped her father calculate the position of their home by observing a solar eclipse. By 14 she was calculating navigational computations (whatever that means) for sailors leaving on whaling journeys.


This is the Nantucket Atheneum. Miss Mitchell was a librarian here from 1836 to just recently in 1858. She read everything she could when she wasn't working.

This is the Pacific National Bank where Mr. Mitchell is a cashier in 1836. He was in charge of the entire bank.

This is the side door to the upstairs apartment where the Mitchells lived. 

Maria and her father put a telescope up on the roof. On October 1, 1847 there was a party Maria did not feel like going. She went up on the roof with her telescope. What did she spy with her telescope? A fiery ball flying through the air- a comet!

She wrote down what she saw and the exact time to send her finding off to a society that keeps track of scientific discoveries. There was a storm in Nantucket the next day. The mail could not go out. A man in Italy claimed he saw the comet first. Maria persisted. She insisted she saw the comet first and her notes proved she was right. She was given an international gold medal from the King of Denmark. The comet is named after Miss Mitchell.

Maria Mitchell soon became famous. She was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1848. The U.S. Coastal Survey paid her $300 a year as a celestial observer. She helped predict weather patterns using math to compute distances. This is very important on an island. We can't leave our island except by boat and most people are employed in the whaling industry.

Maria is no longer officially a Quaker but she believes in many of the Quaker principles. She refused to wear cotton before the war because cotton was picked by slaves. She always wears a black silk dress.

She is now Professor of Astronomy at Vassar College and studies the surfaces of Jupiter and Saturn. She is the first lady professor and ignores silly rules about ladies not going outside at night.

Ignore the observatory behind me until you time travel forward to the early 1900s.

Meanwhile, back at the bank in 1849, Mr. Mitchell put this stone here to measure the varying angle between magnetic north and true north. This helps sailors. This stone is the first one here in the United States.

This is what Nantucket looks like outside of the center of the village. The island is one giant sand dune created by a glacier in the ice age. wow!

There Once Was a Girl From Nantucket (Part 1)

There Once Was a Girl From Nantucket (Part 1)

Greetings from the island of Nantucket, off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts! I'm here time traveling to the mid-1800s- the Golden Age of Nantucket. There's lots to see and to share so come on and follow me,

A monument to men who died in the Civil War

This Civil War monument is so tall! You can't see me AND the monument at the same time. It's in the center of the town of Nantucket. 

The whaling industry (more on that later) has made many men very rich. They built large homes for their families.  The home above me was first built in the 1700s. It was very small. In 1836 the owners made the house big and fancy.

This is William Hawden's house. It was built in 1846 after the great fire. He is a whale oil merchant and silver seller. The firm of Hawden & Barney is the main producer of whale oil and spermaceti candles. William Hawden was born in Newport. He moved to Nantucket in 1820. He married a lady from one of the first whaling families in Nantucket and built this big house.

Hawden Silver

The next stop on my tour through town is the jail. Nantucket has a lot people passing through and causing trouble. This jail (or gaol) was built back in 1806. It is very sturdy to keep prisoners in. If they wanted to escape, they had to come up with creative ways to do it. Willa's friend can tell you more. I will ask Willa to write a guest post. (She didn't want to time travel-just hang out at the beach).