Abigail Dane (1652 - 1730)

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Abigail Dane, Salem Witch,'s Geni Profile

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Nicknames: "Faulkner"
Birthplace: Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts
Death: Died in Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts
Cause of death: Stay of execution for pregnancy
Occupation: Homemaker
Managed by: Carole (Erickson) Pomeroy, Vol. Curator
Last Updated:

About Abigail Dane

Individual:

Historical Event: 1692, Salem Witch Trials - tried and condemned as a witch:

"The Jury find Abigail Faulkner, wife of Francis Faulkner of Andover, guilty of ye felony of witchcraft, comited on ye body of Martha Sprague, also on ye body of Sarah Phelps. Sentence of death passed on Abigail Faulkner." There are two indictments of Abigail Faulkner. She was examined August 11, 1692, before Mr. Hathorne, Mr. Corwin and Captain Higginson. This is the substance of Abigail Faulkner's examination as attested by SIMON WILLARD.

On September 17, 1692. Ann Putnam witnessed that she was "afflicted on the ninth day of August." "Also that on the eleventh day of August during the examination she had been grievously tormented by her or her appearance. Also that she had seen her or her appearance grievously afflict Mary Wallace and Sarah Phelps," etc. Sworn to before the Grand Jury. The sentence was delayed in execution through the influence of friends. She was kept in prison thirteen weeks and when released with a general jail delivery was yet legally liable to penalty. In the year 1700 she presented a petition or memorial to the General Court praying for defacing of this record against her, having received a pardon from Governor Phipps. Her petition says. "The pardon so far had its effect that I am as yet suffered to live but this only as a malefactor, convicted upon record of ye most heinous crimes, which besides its utter ruining and defacing my reputation will certainly expose myself to imminent danger of new accusations which will be ye more readily believed and will remain a perpetual brand of infamy upon my family. I do humbly pray that this high and honorable court will plan to take my case into serious consideration and order the defacing of ye record against me so that I may be freed from the evil consequences thereof." Not until eleven years, and after much petitioning was the attainder taken off.

(References: Records of Salem Witchcraft, Vol. 2; History of Andover or Historical Sketches of Andover, Mass.)

"Mrs. Abigail Faulkner, daughter of the Rev. Mr. Dane, the senior pastor of the church, who for forty-three years ministered to the people, was accused of being a witch. She was a well educated, beneficient, most estimable and pious woman. Her two little girls, Dorothy (10 years), and Abigail (8 years) were also accused with her of the same terrible crime. They were arrested, and mother and children were taken to Salem and cast into the common jail. When brought before the examiners Mrs. Faulkner was urged to make confession of her crime, confession being received by them as evidence of penitence, served to palliate the offense and modify the sentence. This she modestly but firmly refused to do, but the closing act in the tragic trial of this sorely afflicted woman was the bringing forward of her two little girls as witnesses against their mother. Under the influence of the excitement which they breathed, and the universal opinion of those around them, and the leading questions of the examiners, who seemed to have had no doubt as to the guilt of the accused, they testified that they were themselves witches, made such by their own mother. This worthy woman and loving mother was condemned to death September 17, 1692. She received a reprieve, and after lingering thirteen weeks of intolerable mental and physical suffering in a felon's prison, she was set free, not by a reversal of judgement but by the general jail delivery, brought about by a reaction from the frenzy which for a year had ravaged the country."

From Bailey's "History of Andover", p. 216:

Abigail Faulkner's trial is one of the most noteworthy. ...she was the first who had been condemned in town of those in high social standing."

From Upham's "History of Witchcraft in Salem", Vol. 2, pp. 330-332, 459, 460 and 476-482:

"Sir William Phipps ordered a reprieve, and, after she had been thirteen weeks in prison, he directed her to be discharged on the ground of insufficient evidence. This, I think, is the only instance of a special pardon granted during the proceedings."

"On the 13th of June, 1700, Abigail Faulkner presented a well expressed memorial to the General Court, in which she says that her pardon 'So far had its effect, as that I am suffered to live, but this only as a malfactor convict upon record of the most heinous crimes that mankind can be supposed to be guilty of;' and prays for 'the defacing of the record' against her. She claims that it is no more than an act of simple justice. The House of Representatives voted that 'the prayers of the petitioner be granted.' The Council declined to concur. Several petitions by Francis Faulkner, and others, followed until in 1710 the General Court passed an Act that 'The several convictions, judgements and attainders be, and hereby are, reversed and declared to be null and void.' In simple justice they ought to have extended the Act to all who had suffered; but they confined its effect to those in reference to whom petitions had been presented.

Since the presentation of Abigail Faulkner's petition in 1700, the Legislature, in the popular branch at least, and the Governor, appear to have been inclined to act favorably in the premesis; but some power blocked the way. There is some reason to conjecture that it was the influence of the Home Government. On December 17, 1711, Governor Dudley issued his warrant to pay the sum of 578 Pounds, 12 Shillings to such persons as are living, and to those that legally represent them who are dead; ...In this distribution Abigail Faulkner received 20 Pounds, 'nearly twice as much was allowed for Abigail Faulkner who was pardoned, as for Elizabeth How who was executed.' The sums allowed in some cases were 'shamefully small.'"

Abigail Faulkner, on being sentenced to death, pleaded pregnancy under the Old English Common Law with its writ 'de ventre inspiciendo,' which did not permit the execution of a female felon until after the birth of her child. Her child was born in Andover on March 20, 1693. In thankfulness for her escape, or perhaps to show that she dared to refer to Holy Writ, she named the boy Ammi Rhuammah meaning "Having obtained mercy." See Hosea I; 6,9.

An Act for Reversing the Attainder of Abigail Faulkner & Others passed at the session begun and held at Boston on the 26th day of May, 1703.

"Whereas Abigail Faulkner, Wife of Francis Faulkner of Andover in the County of Essex, Sarah Wardel, Wife of Samuel Wardel of the same place, Elizabeth Proctor, Wife of John Proctor of Salem Village within the said County

--- In the Court of Oyer and Terminer and Goal Delivery holden in Salem within the said County of Essex in the year One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety-Two were arraigned, convicted and attained of Felony for practising Witchcraft who have now humbly petitioned this Court, That said Attainders may be set aside and made void.

--- Wherefore be it Declared and Enacted by his Excellancy the Governor and Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the Authority of the same, That the said Attainders of the said Abigail Faulkner, Sarah Wardel, Elizabeth Proctor evry one of them be, and are repealed, reversed, made and declared null and void to all intents, constructions and purposes whatsoever; as if no such convictions,

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Francis's daughter Abigail Dane (707) was examined for witchcraft by the court on August 11, 1692. On August 30 she was brought out of jail for more proceedings and sentenced to death as a witch on September 17. Like Rebecca Nourse, she refused to save her life by falsely saying she was a witch. She insisted that God would not require her to confess something for which she was not guilty. Her daughters, 12 year old Dorothy Faulkner (353) and Dorothy's little sister Abigail, were also jailed as witches. After 13 weeks of imprisonment, and many efforts by Rev. Dane and Abigail's husband Francis Faulkner (706), Gov. William Phipps reprieved Abigail, releasing her because of insufficient evidence and her pregnancy. Hers was the only special pardon he issued. But the record still listed her as a convicted, pardoned witch, and on June 13, 1706 she appealed to the General Court for her record to be erased.

Francis Dane's daughter, Abigail (Dane) Faulkner Sr., was convicted and condemned in September 1692, but given a temporary stay of execution because she was pregnant. Although his extended family had the most accused of any other family, in the end, none of his family members were executed.

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Abigail Dane, Salem Witch,'s Timeline

1652
October 13, 1652
Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts
1675
October 12, 1675
Age 22
1678
December 7, 1678
Age 26
Andover, Massachusetts, USA
1680
February 15, 1680
Age 27
Andover, MA
1683
August 12, 1683
Age 30
Andover, Essex, MA, United States
1692
March 20, 1692
Age 39
1730
February 5, 1730
Age 77
Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts
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