Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Susannah (North) Martin - hanged at Salem in 1692

Susannah, daughter of Richard North and Joan Bartram, was baptized at Olney (Buckinghamshire) ENG on 30 September 1620. Her father was a landowner in Salisbury (Essex) MA as early as 1640.

On 11 August 1646, in Salisbury, Susannah married George Martin, who was born in Romsey (Hampshire) ENG in 1618. He had immigrated to America c1639 and settled in Salisbury, where he plied his trade as a blacksmith. He died there before 23 November 1686. George's name is on the Memorial to the First Settlers of Amesbury, 1654 at the site of the old Golgotha Burial Ground in Amesbury (Essex).

George and his first wife, Hannah, who died in 1646, had a daughter Hannah, born in 1643. George and Susannah had 8 children, born 1647-1667:  Richard, George, John, Hester, Jane, Abigail, William and Samuel.

According to David W. Hoyt's Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury (p. 240, footnote), Susannah was "a short, active woman, wearing a hood and scarf, plump and well developed in her figure, of remarkable personal neatness" and one who "scorned to be drabbled."

Witch Trials Memorial - 2004

In April 1692 Susannah was arrested for witchcraft and examined the following month. Among the charges against her was that "she went from Amesbury to Newbury on foot in a 'dirty season' without getting her clothing wet." During her trial in Salem (Essex) on 29 June 1692, Susannah, accused of "sundry acts of witchcraft," proclaimed her innocence and laughed defiantly at her accusers. She was found guilty and was hanged with others in Salem on 19 July 1692.  Her burial place was never divulged. She and 18 others executed in 1692 are commemorated, however, in Salem's Witch Trials Memorial adjacent to Salem's oldest burying ground.  There is a stone bench for each of them.

On 31 October 2001, the acting governor of Massachusetts signed into law a bill officially exonerating Susannah Martin and four others.  The rest of the "witches" had been exonerated years earlier.

For more about Susannah and the witchcraft trials, see Enders A. Robinson's Salem Witchcraft and Hawthorne's House of the Seven Gables (Bowie MD: Heritage Books, Inc.,1992) and The Tryal of Susanna Martin, Executed July 19, 1692 (Salem MA: The Nova Anglia Co., n.d.).

Photo of Susannah (North) Martin's memorial from Buffalogen's photo collection