Francis Dane, "The Immigrant" (1615 - c.1696) MP

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Birthplace: Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, England, (Present UK)
Death: Died in Andover, Essex County, Province of Massachusetts, (Present USA)
Occupation: Minister, Reverand
Managed by: Thomas Shirley
Last Updated:

About Francis Dane, "The Immigrant"

Our ancestor Francis Dane I was born in Hertfordshire, England-- probably in the hamlet of Little Berkhamsted. When he was in his late teens, his brother John Dane, older by about three years, already working as a tailor, was enthusiastic about joining the Puritan Great Migration, to set up a more godly dominion in the newly established Massachusetts Bay Colony. Here is John's own statement, made years later: "To return to the way and manner of my coming.... My father and mother showed themselves unwilling. I sat close by a table where there lay a Bible. I hastily took up the Bible, and told my father if, where I opened the Bible, there I met with anything either to encourage or discourage, that should settle me. I, opening of it, not knowing more than the child in the womb, the first I cast my eyes on was: 'come out from among them, touch no unclean thing, and I will be your God and you shall be my people.' My father and mother never more opposed me, but furthered me in the thing, and hastened after me as soon as they could." From that time forward, Dane reported, "[I] bent myself to come to New England, thinking that I should be more free here than there from temptations" Francis, his sister, and his parents followed John to the New World, probably before 1636 (the year Francis and John's mother died).

Francis had (as far as we know) 1 sister, 1 brother, 5 stepbrothers, and 2 stepsisters.

When Francis married his second wife, Mary Thomas, he had been a widower for 1 year 5 months 16 days. When he married his third wife, herself a widow, his own stepsister, Hannah Chandler Abbott, he had been widowered about a year from his second marriage. Hannah had been widowed 5 years from her marriage with George Abbott, 1615-1684.

Francis was a Puritan.

He died at the age of 82 years.

See http://www.milkcanpapers.com/dane0-1.html for more information, including facts about his complex family ties. -------------------- Salem Witch Trials in History and Literature

An Undergraduate Course, University of Virginia

Spring Semester 2001

Rev. Francis Dane was born around 1615 in England and died on February 16, 1697 at the age of eighty-one in Andover, Massachusetts. He is the son of John Dane, who settled in both Ipswich and Roxbury. Dane's name is found among the early residents of Ipswich in 1641, and according to Joseph Felt's History of Ipswich, Dane moved to Andover in 1648. Dane became the second pastor of the North Parish in 1649. He remained in this position for forty-eight years until his death in 1697. In regard to his education, Rev. Cotton Mather lists Dane as one of the young men who finished his studies in the Colony before Harvard College conferred degrees. In addition to his ministry, Dane founded school for Andover youth. Dane had two sons, Nathaniel and Francis, and four daughters, Elizabeth (Johnson), Hannah (Goodhue), Phebe (Robinson), and Abigail (Faulkner). He himself was married three times: Elizabeth Ingals (pre 1645-1676), Mary Thomas (1677-1689), and Hannah Abbot (1690-his death 1697).

Abiel Abbot's History of Andover notes that there is no record of any discord between Dane and his congregation from 1649 to 1680, although historian Sarah L. Bailey calls the reality of such a situation into question in her Historical Sketches of Andover. Whether flawless or not, it is evident that Dane was a highly respected and powerful member of the Andover community, comparable only to Dudley Bradstreet, former Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Around 1680, church members began to complain about the capabilities of Dane and requested a younger, more vibrant minister for their church. In January of 1682, the congregation called the young Rev. Thomas Barnard, a recent graduate of Harvard and protege of Cotton Mather. Soon thereafter, the congregation stopped paying Dane's salary and gave Barnard a full salary. Dane petitioned the General Court in Boston, and the Andover church was required to pay Dane thirty pounds a year to share pastoral duties with Barnard. The church decided to pay Barnard fifty pounds a year, which much less than Barnard expected, with the stipulation that when Dane retired or died, Barnard would receive the full eighty pounds annual salary.

Andover church politics were fairly stagnate for the next ten years, although it appears that the tension between Dane and Barnard was evident throughout this time. In 1692, however, things started to heat up when the witch hunt broke out in near by Salem Village. By August, the hunt had stretched to Andover with an invitation to two of the Salem accusers to come and find witches in Andover. Rev. Barnard did much to facilitate the witch hunt, holding prayer meetings in the church that resulted in "touch tests" where the accusers could simply touch community members who were then accused of witchery. Rev. Dane refused to take part in the witch hunt from the outset, and perhaps because of this as well as the tension between Dane, Bradstreet, and Barnard, more members of Dane's family were accused than any other single family in the entire episode. In addition to Dane's extended family, two of Dane's daughters, his daughter in law, and five of his grandchildren were accused.

Upham writes, "The Rev. Francis Dane deserves to be recognized preeminent and for a time almost alone in bold denunciation and courageous resistance of the expiable proceedings of that dark day." Dane was the driving force behind ending the trials in Andover. He first arranged for the Andover children to be let out of jail on bond in October 1692. Husbands, brothers, and fathers of the accused witches then joined Dane in petitioning the General Court for the release of the Andover women on the grounds that they were needed at home and with the coming of winter would not fare well in the prisons. On October 18, 1692, Dane wrote a petition addressing what he believed to be the forced and false confessions of guilt made by women during the frenzy of the "touch test," in order to save themselves from trial and possible execution. Dane writes that there was, "reason to think that the extreme urgency that was used with some of them by their friends and others who privately examined them, and the fear they were then under, hath been an inducement to them to admit such things." This was the first attempt to explain the confessions of those who had been accused. Dane also wrote letters to the courts and his fellow ministers condemning spectral evidence using such strong language as, "I believe the reports have been scandalous and unjust, neither will bear y light." Slander charges filed by Dane and members of his family, particularly Abigail Dane Faulkner, did much to deter a resurgence of accusations in Andover as well.

Local historian Enders Robinson in his book Salem Witchcraft concluded from the above facts that the Andover incident was a direct conspiracy of Barnard against Dane. Although this theory cannot be proven, and Dane was responsible for halting the Andover proceedings, Robinson makes an unfounded assumption. Barnard was highly respected and had studied with Cotton Mather at Harvard. Mather was one of the top proponents of the trials and the necessity of purging the colony of witches. Barnard was not the only minister at the time to be lured to Mather's convincing theological arguments. In Barnard's mind, promoting the witch trials could very well have been the best thing he could do for his congregation. One must also note that as Dane's resistance movement gained momentum, Barnard sided with Dane over the courts. Robinson believes this to be indicative of Barnard's manipulative nature. Although this is possible, there is no evidence for Barnard's motive in changing sides on the witchcraft issue. Regardless of the social motives behind what occurred in Andover in 1692, Dane immerged as a fearless and effective leader. He suffered under the accusations of numerous members of his family, yet found the strength to guide an entire community through an irrationality that could have lead to many more innocent deaths had he not taken such an outspoken, controversial, and admirable stand.


Bibliography

Abiel Abbott, History of Andover from its Settlement to 1829, 1829.

Sarah Loring Bailey, Historical Sketches of Andover, 1880.

Joseph B. Felt, The Annals of Salem, 1827.

--------, History of Ipswich, Essex and Hamilton, 1834.

Enders A. Robinson, Salem Witchcraft, 1992.

Charles W. Upham, Salem Witchcraft, 1867.

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Francis Dane

Francis Dane was born about 1615 in England and died on February 16, 1607 at the age of eighty-one in Andover, Massachusetts. Dane was the elderly senior pastor of Andover and a highly respected leader of the community. In 1682, the congregation hired a young Harvard graduate Rev. Thomas Bernard to aid Rev. Dane with his ministerial duties in his old age. There was tension between the two about their salaries, and the two ministers reacted very differently to the witch trials of 1692. Initially, Bernard did much to aid the accusations of witchcraft in Andover, while Dane had more of his family members accused than any other family in 1692. Furthermore, it was Dane's early October petitions to the General Court for pardons, writing against spectral evidence, filing of slander suits, and bold stance against the witchcraft trials that are credited with ending the proceedings in Andover so quickly. Dane is still regarded as the hero of Andover during the Witch Trials of 1692.

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Rev. Francis Dane (1414) possibly came to America in 1636 with Rev. Nathaniel Rogers. He was ordained in 1648. Like other Puritans, he longed to see true faith replace cold nominalism in the Church of England. Unlike the Pilgrim Separatists, the Puritans believed the Church could be reformed from within. But that no longer proved possible after 1628, when Bishop Laud presented the King with a list of all the ministers in the land with a letter "O" (Orthodox) or "P" (Puritan) beside each name. Puritan ministers were shut out from service in the Church of England, and in the next 16 years, 20,000 Puritans seeking to restore "spiritual Christianity" went to New England in what became known as the Great Migration. In Massachusetts they adopted a church order similar to the very Separatists they had once looked down on and became known as Congregationalists.

The second minister of the church in Andover, Francis Dane had lived in Andover for 44 years when the witch trials began. On October 18, 1692 he and Thomas Barnard wrote a letter to the governor and to the General Court. Signed by 24 others, it was the first public condemnation of the witch trials. Dane was in danger himself. Half a dozen of his relatives were accused as witches. Even his pulpit offered no protection: another minister, George Burroughs, had already been hanged. Dane was one of the few pastors who dared to preach against the witch hunt. He warned that his people were guilty of blood for accepting unfounded accusations against covenanted members of the church. In the end, none of his family were hanged. Rev. Dane died in 1697.

"May the Lord direct and guide those that are in place, and give us all submissive wills, and let the Lord do with me and mine what seems good in his own eyes."

Rev. Francis Dane, 1692



      
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Reverend Francis Dane's Timeline

1615
November 20, 1615
Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, England, (Present UK)
1642
1642
Age 26
Andover, Essex, Ma, Massachusetts
1643
1643
Age 27
Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony, (Present USA)
1648
1648
Age 32
Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts
1649
1649
Age 33
Andover, Essex, Mass
1652
October 13, 1652
Age 36
Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts
1654
1654
Age 38
Ipswich, Essex County, Massacchusetts Bay Colony, (Present USA)
1654
Age 38
Andover, Essex, Mass
1656
December 8, 1656
Age 41
Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts Colony
1677
November 22, 1677
Age 62
Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony, (Present USA)