Bathsheba Pope

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Bathsheba Pope (Folger)

Also Known As: "Basheba", "Bathshua", "Bethsua", "Bethshua"
Birthplace: Martha's Vineyard
Death: after 1726
Salem, Essex County, Province of Massachusetts
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Peter Folger and Mary Folger
Wife of Joseph Pope, Salem witch accuser
Mother of Joseph Pope; Nathaniel Pope; Joseph Pope; Bathsheba Pope; Ebenezer Pope and 6 others
Sister of Jabez Folger; Joanna Coleman; Dorcas Pratt; Bethia Barnard; Eleazer Folger and 6 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Bathsheba Pope

Bathseba Folger Pope (c1657 - 1697), daughter of Peter Folger and Mary Morrill, was an adamant accuser of witches in the hysteria that started in Salem. She ranted and raved at those accused in many of the court proceedings. During Martha Corey's trial she threw her shoe and struck Corey in the head. Born about 1657 at Martha's Vineyard, Dukes County, Massachusetts, Bathseba married Joseph Pope (1650 - 1712) in 1679 at Salem Village [present Danvers], Essex County, Massachusetts. She died after 1726 at Salem.

Children of Joseph and Bathseba Pope

  1. Nathaniel Pope (born 20 November 1679 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts)
  2. Bathseba Pope (born 9 April 1683 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts)
  3. Gertrude Pope (27 August 1685 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts - 1767)
  4. Joseph Pope (16 June 1688 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts - before 13 October 1755 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts)
  5. Enos Pope (6 June 1690 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts - 24 February 1765 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts)
  6. Eleazer Pope (born 4 December 1693 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts)
  7. Jerusha Pope (1 April 1695 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts - 29 June 1781


Her name has several variations including Bathsheba, Bathshua, Bethsua and Bethshua. "The Flint Genealogical Register of 1860" and "Early Settlers of Nantucket of 1901" list her as Bethsua.

Treasure Chest

A small chest bearing the initials of Joseph Pope (1650–1712) and Bathseba Folger (1652–1726) had been handed down in the Pope family for 300 years. In January 2000, the Pope chest was sold for a record-breaking $2.4 million.

Notable Relatives

Aunt of Benjamin Franklin


  • Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States. Vital Records to the End of the year 1849. (Salem, Massachusetts: Essex Institute, 1916-1925), 207.
  • Nutfield Genealogy
  • Martha H. Willoughby, "Patronage in Early Salem: The Symonds Shops and Their Customers"

Bathshua was an aunt of Benjamin Franklin. She was 'much afflicted' in the witchcraft days.

"Joseph, in his will, calls wife and daughter 'Bethshua.'" [1] "[On March 21, 1692] the fourth person to be arrested [for witchcraft], Martha Cory of Salem Village, was examined by Hathorne and Corwin before a throng of several hundred in the Village meetinghouse. As she was led into the room, the afflicted girls, sitting together at the front, cried out in 'extreme agony'; when she wrong her hands, they screamed that they were being pinched; when she bit her lips, they declared that they could feel teeth biting into their own flesh. In the general hubbub, a Village woman named Bethshaa [sic] Pope flung first her muff and then her shoe at Martha, striking her in the head."... from
Bethsua's name is shown in several variations including Bathsheba and Bathshua, howver the Flint Genealogical Register of 1860 and Early Settlers of Nantucket of 1901 show her name as Bethsua. ______________________________________________________________________

History of Witchcraft Haunts Old Saw Mill

Peabody-Lynnfield Weekly News, October 26, 1995, p. 1

by S.M. Smoller

PEABODY - Was it witchcraft that stopped the steady rhythm of the waterwheel at Pope's saw mill on Norris Brook in West Peabody? That's what the miller told the court during the witch hunt of 1692, when the area around Crystal Lake was owned by two families intimately involved in the witch hysteria - one, an accuser, and the other, the accused.

"The miller here in 1692 was afflicted by the prevailing witchcraft," wrote John Wells in The Peabody Story. The millter testified that his mill wheel was "unaccountably stopped and would not go, and no reason could be assigned except the demonical malice and power of some witch."

The haunted mill may have been owned by the family of one of the persons who claimed to have been afflicted by witchcraft, 42-year old Bathshua Pope. She married Joseph Pope, Jr. in 1649 (1679) and was living with her widowed mother-in-law, Gertrude Pope, within the immediate vicinity of the farm of victims and martyrs, Martha and Giles Corey.

Bathshua Pope, a member of the Folger family from Nantucket, was the aunt of American patriot Benjamin Franklin. She and Joseph had eight children. According to the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, when Joseph died in1712, he named all his children in his will, except for the first two, "and notes that the eldest daughter was infrimof mind, as probably had been her mother; at least, she was much afflicted in the witchcraft days."

The localized witchcraft outbreak took on hysterical proportions by the fall of 1692, with more than 150 people examined and sent to prison. Nearly 50 people falsely confessed to being witches who had made a covenant with the devil to assist in assaulting people in the area. Nineteen persons who maintained their innocence, including the three accused by Bathshua Pope, were tried, found guilty and hanged.

"Mrs. Pope" accused Martha Corey, as well as Rebecca Nurse and John Proctor, of inflicting pain upon her body through witchcraft. At the trial of Martha Corey in March 2693, she joined with other afflicted women in calling Martha "a gospel witch".

Marion Starkey, author of The Devil in Massachusetts, wrote, "Even while Martha proclaimed her innocence her devils had not been able to resist devising new tortures for the girls. What Martha did, now they all did. If she bit her lips, they yelled that she had bitten theirs, and came running up to the magistrates to show how they bled."

The following month Rebecca Nurse was arrested and tried. During the examination, several afflicted persons reported seeing "a black man" whispering in Nurse's ear. The judge stated, "What a sad thing it is that a church member here and now…should be thus accused and charged." At which point, "Mrs. Pope fell into a grievous fit and cryed out a sad thing sure enough; And then many more fell into lamentable fits."

Also in April, Elizabeth Proctor, the pregnant wife of John was accused. At her trial, John Proctor's specter attacking Mrs. Pope. Chadwick Hansen in Witchcraft in Salem reported that "immediately Goodwife Pope fell into a fit."

Earlier in this century, two postcards depciting the "haunted mill" were published. A color postcard prepared by D.F. Bresnahan of Peabody shows two wood-frame structures, 2 1/2 stories each, located on either side of a 10- to 12-foot-wide stream with a catwalk bridge connecting the two buildings.

 One card also includes the following statement, "Site of Giles Coveys [sic] Mill who was pressed to death for refusing to plead in his trial for Witchcraft in1692." Today at Crystal Lake, a conservation area, there are two stones which were placed in remembrance of Martha and Giles Corey during the witchcraft hysteria tercentenary in1992.

City planner Judy Otto researched the history of Crystal Lake. She does not think the Pope sawmill was the haunted mill. She wrote, "At the head of Crystal Lake, at Goodale Street, on the west side, lived Captain Thomas Flint. The house was contained on the farm of Giles Corey, according to boundaries shown on the map. Giles himself lived further away on the other side of the property, on what is now Johnson Street, near Oak Grove cemetery. These two (Flint and Pope) were the only dwellings shown in the vicinity of Crystal Lake.

Flint's mill was built after the Pope mill by Thomas Flint on the opposite side of Lowell Street and closer to the pond. This mill, which existed until the 20th century, is the mill Otto believes is the haunted mill pictured in the black-and-white post card that was printed by the Peabody Historical Society in 1905. It is titled "Haunted Mill near Phelps Station, Lowell Street, West Peabody, Mass." Interestingly, Joseph Pope Jr.'s sister Gertrude married Eben Flint, a son of Thomas Flint.

Peabody School History Project by A. Farrell and H. Mah

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Bathsheba Pope's Timeline

Martha's Vineyard
Age 21
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States
November 20, 1679
Age 22
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts
Age 24
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States
April 9, 1683
Age 26
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts
December 4, 1683
Age 26
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States
August 17, 1685
Age 28
Salem Village, MA
June 16, 1687
Age 30
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States
June 16, 1688
Age 31
Danvers, Essex County, Massachusetts