Posts Tagged ‘William’
by Sherry Stocking Kline
Published in October 2002 in the Wichita Eagle “Active Life” Magazine
When people start to climb their family tree they often hope to find royalty, presidents, or founding fathers, but imagine the surprise of two Wichita women when they found out their ancestor was a Salem witch.
Ardith Ott was in Salt Lake City researching her family tree when she made a surprising discovery.
“I was looking at my Bixby/Byxbe line,” Ott said, “and I found out that this woman who was hung as a Salem witch was one of my ancestors.”
Your Famous Ancestor May Show up in Books, Plays, or Movies…
As Ott soon learned, when your ancestor is famous (or infamous) your family information may be included in history books, show up on the front pages of newspapers, and be documented in trial transcripts. And your ancestor and the events surrounding them may be turned into books, movies, and plays, and your ancestral home be turned into a tourist attraction.
Ott’s ancestor was Rebecca Nurse, accused of witchcraft in March, 1692, tried, found innocent, re-tried, found guilty, excommunicated from her church in Salem, and hanged on July 19, 1692.
At first, Ott said she found it amusing to tell people that her ancestor was a Salem witch.
“I thought it was pretty funny when I discovered it,” Ott said, “until I read more about it; then I felt guilty for laughing. She was a victim.”
“My ancestor was hard of hearing,” Ott said, and would turn her head like a deaf person, so her accusers said that she was communicating with a bird in the rafters.”
Forty Friends Testified to Her Character…
Ott added that Nurse had almost forty friends, neighbors, and family members that testified to her character and innocence, and the Salem Witches Web site at the University of Virginia, said that seventy-year-old Rebecca Nurse was an elderly and respected member of the Salem Village community.
Betty McGehee, member of Associated Daughters of Early American Witches and a 14th great-granddaughter of Rebecca Nurse, said she joined the association to educate others that the people accused were not practicing witchcraft but were victims of the superstitions and hysteria of the times.
McGehee said that three of William Towne’s daughters, Rebecca Nurse and her two sisters, Sarah Cloyce and Mary Easty were also accused of witchcraft. Mary was hung in September of 1692 and Sarah was acquitted after spending months in jail.
What Started it All?
You know how when you tell a story sometimes it grows out of bounds,” Ott said.
“It was just a form of hysteria, and it all started with a couple of mischievous girls who started blaming everybody for something that went wrong,” McGehee said.
Tales of Voodoo and Witchcraft Fueled the Fire…
Fueling the hysteria, McGehee said, was a man who blamed the witches for the birth of a two-headed calf, and a couple of little girls that fell on the floor in church and claimed that Nurse had cast a spell on them. Adding fuel to the fire were the Barbados-raised servant girl Tituba’s tales of voodoo and witchcraft.
Research since then has indicated that some of Nurse’s accusers were individuals involved in land disputes with the family. Individuals who benefited from the Nurse’s death and the family’s problems.
Another possibility, according to “Poisons of the Past: Molds, Epidemics and History” by University of Maryland Historian, Mary Kilbourne Motassian, was that exposure to a dangerous grain mold called ergot may have caused some of the strange symptoms people reported, symptoms that included nausea, temporary blindness and deafness, and hallucinations.
According to Dick Eastman, journalist for Ancestry Daily News at www.ancestry.com, “By the end of May 1692, two hundred accused witches were in jail, and twenty men and women were hanged, crushed to death, or left to die in prison…..” (map of witchcraft accusations can be found here.)
The Graves Were so Shallow…
Ott’s research uncovered the fact that her ancestor was thrown into a grave on Witch Hill with other witches, graves that were so shallow that the dead people’s hands stuck up in the air.
Nurse’s sons recovered her body and buried her in an unmarked grave. Nearly 200 years later her descendants erected a monument to her memory, listed the names of those who came to her defense, and inscribed the monument with a poem written especially for her by John Greenleaf Whittier.
Ott and her family visited her famous ancestor’s home, Salem Village, viewed the diorama, and the monument that her descendants erected to her memory.
Infamous Ancestors More Interesting?
“It’s nice when your ancestor’s were good people,” Ott said, “but when you find something unusual, that makes it more interesting.”
The following challenge comes from Randy Seaver of http://www.geneamusings.com/
Hey, genealogy fans – it’s Saturday Night – time for more Genealogy Fun!
In honor of Surname Saturday (the new, official genealogy blogging prompt for Saturdays), let’s consider this, assuming you accept the challenge to play along (is it Mission Impossible?):
1) What is the most unique, strangest or funniest combination of given name and last name in your ancestry? Not in your database – in your ancestry.
2) Tell us about this person in a blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a comment on Facebook.
3) Okay, if you don’t have a really good one – how about a sibling of your direct ancestors?
by Sherry Stocking Kline
October 24, 2009
Because Most folks laugh when I tell them my maiden name, Stocking, I picked an ancestor from that side of the family.
When folks asked me how to spell my maiden name, I’d say “Just like you wear, just like it sounds.” When my brother was in high school, his friends nicknamed him “Sox” a name that stuck with him, and after he graduated and I entered high school a few years later, my friends called me “Sox” as well.
The ancestor’s name that I’ve been curious about ever since I read it in the family history book, was Deacon Samuel Stocking, son of George and Anna Stocking who immigrated from Suffolk, England on the ship Griffith in the 1630′s, and traveled to Hartford, Connecticut with Thomas Hooker’s party. George became one of Hartford’s founders.
According to family records, Deacon Samuel married Bethiah Hopkins on May 27th, 1652. A quick Google search brought his will to light in several places on the internet. Awesome, considering 10 years ago, it was only available in one place.
My question has been, was Deacon Samuel his name, or was Deacon his church title? And I realized when I re-read the wills, one after the other, (for what was NOT the first time) that George’s will refers to his son Samuel, not his son, Deacon Samuel.
So surely Samuel’s “Deacon” is a church title. On the other hand, Deacon Samuel’s will does refer to him as Deacon Samuel, sen.
So, while I think the question is answered tonight, I’d be happy to hear comments from those with more experience.
A Digest of the Early Connecticut Probate Records: Hartford district, 1635-1700
By Charles William Manwaring
Stocking, George. He died 25 May, 1683. Invt. £257-09-00. Taken by Nath. Willett, Tho. Bunce, John Easton. Invt. in Middletown taken 8 June, 1683, by Nath: White & John Warner.
Court Record, Page 73—6 September, 1683: An Inventory of the Estate of George Stocking was exhibited in Court. Adms. to Samuel Stocking.
Page 78—18 December, 1683: This Court haveing viewed that presented as the Last Will & Testament of George Stocking in the circumstances of it, together with what George Stocking hath declared to George Stocking & Capt. Allyn, & his declaration of his will in part contradicting, doe Judge that the will presented is of no value, & therefore the Court distribute the Estate as followeth: To Samuel Stocking, £100; to Hannah Benton’s children, £41; to the wife of John Richards, £41; to the wife of Samuel Olcott, £41; & to John Stocking, who hath lived with George Stocking, his grandfather, for some years, the remainder of the Estate, being £34, we distributed to John Stocking; and desire & appoint Marshall George Grave & Thomas Bunce to make this Distribution. (See Will, Vol. III.)
Stocking, Deacon Samuel sen., Middletown. Died 30 December, 1683. Invt. £648-08-08. Taken by Giles Hamlin, William Ward. The children: Samuel 27 years of age, John 23, George 19, Ebenezer 17, Steven 10, Daniel 6 years old, Bethia Stow 25, Lydia Stocking 21 years. Will dated 13 November, 1683.
I Samuel Stocking of Middletown do leave this my last Will & Testament : I give unto my loveing wife Bethia Stocking my whole Homestead lying on the both sides of the Highway with all ye Buildings thereon thereunto belonging, with my whole Lott in the Long Meadow, with my Lott at Pistol Poynt, & half of my Meadow lying on the other side of the Brook, that part of it that lyeth next to the Great River, with all my Meadow Lands at Wongunk, together with all my Stock & Moveables; these I give my wife during her Widowhood, and upon marrying again I Will to her £4 yearly to be raised out of that Estate which I have agreed to my son Daniel Stocking.
I give to my son Samuel Stocking my whole Allottment upon the Hill between the Land of Lt. White and Israel Willcox, only excepting 6 acres adjoining to the Land of Lt. White, which I give to my daughter Bethia. Moreover I give to my son Samuel the remaining half of the Meadow over the Brook, with 10 acres of the Swamp adjoining to it. I give him my whole Allottment at the Cold Spring on the west side of the Way to Hartford. I give to him, sd. son Samuel, the whole of my Lott at Pipe Stave Swamp, with the half of my Allottment next unto Wethersfield Bounds, with the halfe of my Lott at Pistol Poynt, upon his Mother’s decease.
I give unto my son John Stocking the whole of the Land and Buildings at my Father Stocking’s decease bequeathed me by his last Will, within the Bounds of Hartford. I give unto my daughter Lydia my Lott lying next unto Thomas Ranny’s, and butting upon ye Commons West and Dead Swamp East, with a good Milk Cow, to be delivered her within 12 months after my decease.
I give to my sons George & Ebenezer all my Lands on the East side of the Great River, to be equally divided between them, excepting the y2 of my Great Lott next unto Haddam Bounds.
I give to my son Steven my whole Lott upon the Hill, bounded upon ye Lands of Thomas Rannie North, the Commons East, West & South, with my whole Allottment in Boggy Meadow, with all my Meadow & Upland in the farther Neck, giving the Improvement of the Boggy Meadow unto my son Samuel till the abovesd. child is of age to inherit.
I give to my son Samuell (Daniel, see original paper on File) my whole Homestead lying on both sides of the Highway, with my Lott in the Long Meadow, with half my Lott at Pistoll poynt, with ^ of my Lott lying on the West side of the way as you goe to Hartford, adjoining to the Land of Anthony Martin on the North, the Land of Thomas Ranny South, the Highway & Commons West.
This I say I give to my son Daniel, that is to say, the West end of it, the other halfe of sd. Lott to be to my son Samuel. These aforementioned parcells of Land as specified I give to him my sd. son Daniel & his heirs forever, with the other halfe of my Lott next Weathersfield Bounds.
I give to our Pastor, Rev. Nathaniel Collins, £3, my son Samuel to be sole Executor.
After the decease or marriage of my wife, my Estate to be equally divided amongst my children. I desire Mr. Nath. White & John Savage sen. to be Overseers. Witness: Nath: White, Samuel Stocking Sen.
John Savage sen.
A Codicil, without Change of the above, signed 25 December, 1683.
Court Record, Page 85—6 March, 1684: Will proven.