John Wild, of Topsfield

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John Wildes, Sr.

Birthplace: Dalton in Furness, Lancashire, England
Death: May 14, 1705 (87)
Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts
Immediate Family:

Son of William Wildes and (unknown mother of John & William Wildes
Husband of Priscilla Wildes; Sarah (Averill) Wildes, Salem Witch Trials and Mary Wildes
Father of Priscilla Lake; Jonathan Wildes; Sarah Bishop; John Wildes, Jr.; Phebe Day and 5 others
Brother of William Wild, of Ipswich

Occupation: Carpenter, magistrate
Managed by: Günther Kipp
Last Updated:

About John Wild, of Topsfield

John Wild aka John Wildes (1618-1705), parentage unknown, was born in 1618 in Furness, Lancashire, England; and died 14 May 1705 at the age of 87 in Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts. He married (1) Priscilla Gould; (2) Sarah Averill, and (3) Mary MNU Jacobs. His second wife was executed for witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials, and his third wife was the widow of a man executed for witchcraft a month later. John Wild enlisted as a soldier to fight with other New England settlers against the Pequot Indian tribe. The tribe was almost eliminated as a result of this conflict.

Marriages and Children

  1. Marriage of John to Priscilla Gould on 23 November 1642 Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts
    1. Jonathan Wildes (born 1645 Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts)
    2. Margaret Catherine Wilde (born 1646)
    3. Sarah Wildes (born 1647 Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts)
    4. John Wildes, Jr. (born 1648 Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts)
    5. Phebe Wildes (born 1653 Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts)
    6. Elizabeth Wildes (born 1653 Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts)
    7. Priscilla Wildes (born 6 April 1658 Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts)
    8. Martha Wildes (born 13 May 1660 Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts)
    9. Nathan Wildes (born 14 December 1662 Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts)
  2. Marriage of John to Sarah Averill on 23 November 1663 Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts. Sarah was executed as a witch on 19 July 1692.
    1. Ephraim Wildes (born 1 December 1665 Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts)
  3. Marriage of John to Mary MNU Jacobs (widow of George Jacobs, who had been hanged as a witch at Salem on 19 August 1692) on 26 June 1693; no issue

Sources and Further Information

  • Cruger, D.W. A Wildes Genealogy: The Family of John1 Wild of Topsfield, Mass., and His Descendants in Old Arundel (now Kennebunkport), Maine. 1990 - 301 pages
  • SAVAGE, VOL 4 DICT. FIRST SETTLERS OF New England. WILDES, JOHN, Topsfield 1660, then aged 40, perhaps son of William, married Priscilla, daughter of the first Zacheus Gould; may be that youth of 17 years coming from London, 1635, in the Elizabeth. From Coffin's gatherings in Geneal. Reg. VIII. 167, it may be inferred that he had a son JOHN, who in his will of October 1676, after mention of his grandfather Gould, names brothers Jonathan, Ephraim, and sisters Sarah, Elizabeth Phebe, Priscilla, and Martha. His second wife Sarah was old enough in 1692 to be condemned and executed as a witch, but not young enough to falsely accuse herself or others during the execra. delusion. His third wife was Mary Jacobs, widow of George Jacobs, Sr., who was executed as a witch on 19 August 1692.

Note: Savage was incorrect in listing John as a son of William. John and William were brothers; this relationship is made clear in William's will.


  • The ancestry and posterity of Zaccheus Gould of Topsfield : a condensed abstract of the family records (1872)
  • 1. ZACCHEUS GOULD, born about 1589, resided at Hemel Hempsted and Great Missenden, in England, came to New England about 1638, established himself finally at Topsfield, and died there ab. 1670. By his wife Phebe, who died 1663, Sept. 20, he had the following children : —
    • 2. Phebe, bapt. at Hemel Hempsted, 1620, Sept. 27, m. Dea. Thomas Perkins of Topsfield. She was living in 1681.
    • 3. Mary, bapt. at Hemel Hempsted 1621, Dec. 19; m. John Redington of Topsfield.
    • 4. Martha, bapt. at Hemel Hempsted, 1623, June 15 ; m. John Newmarch of Ipswich ; died 1699.
    • 5. Priscilla, m. John Wildes (b. 1620) ; d. 1663, April 16.
    • 6. John, b. 1635, June 10-21; m. 1660, Oct. 12, Sarah Baker; d. 1709-10, Jan. 26.
  • 2 .... etc.
  • 5 PRISCILLA2, dau. of Zaccheus Gould, m. John WILDES of Topsfield, b. 1620, the same whose second wife, Sarah (Averill) married, 1663, Nov. 23, suffered in 1692 from the witchcraft persecutions. [See Gen. Reg. viii, 167.] Their children were :
    • 25. John.
    • 26. Sarah.
    • 27. Elizabeth.
    • 28. Phebe.
    • 29. Priscilla, b. 1658, April 6, m. 1681, May 9, Henry Lake; d. 1688, March 23.
    • 30. Martha, b. 1660, May 13.
    • 31. Nathan, b. 1662, March 17.
    • 32. Ephraim.
  • 6 .... etc.


  • The family of Zaccheus Gould of Topsfield By Benjamin Apthorp Gould
  • Pg.47
  • 1. ZACCHEUS1 GOULD, born 1589, resided at Hemel Hempstead and Great Missenden ; came to New England about 1638 ; probably lived for a short time at Weymouth, and then at Lynn; but established himself finally at Ipswich (Topsfield) where he died in 1668.
  • 2. By his wife PHEBE, who died 1663 Sept. 20, he had the following children :
    • 3. Phebe2, bapt. at Hemel Hempstead, 1620 Sept. 27 ; married, about 1640 Dea. Thomas Perkins of Topsfield. She was living in 1691.
    • 4. Mary2, bapt. at Hemel Hempstead, 1621 Dec. 19 ; m. John Bedington of Topsfield.
    • 5. Martha2, bapt. at Hemel Hempstead, 1623 June 15 ; m. John Newmarch of Ipswich ; d. 1699.
    • 6. Priscilla2, m. John Wildes ; d. 1663.
    • 7. John2, born 1635 June 10-21 ; m. 1660 Sarah Baker ; d. 1709-10 Jan. 26.
  • .... etc.
  • Pg.49
  • 6. PRISCILLA, dau. of Zaccheus Gould; m. John WILDES of Topsfield (b. 1620 ; d. 1705 May 14). She died 1663 Apr. 16, and he m. 2) 1663 Nov. 23 Sarah Averill, the same who suffered in 1692 from the witchcraft persecutions.(*) Children :
    • 29. John d. going into the army. In will dated 1676 Oct. 22, proved 1677 Sept. 25, he left legacies to sisters and to bro. Ephraim.
    • 30. Sarah
    • 31. Elizabeth
    • 32. Phebe m. Timothy Day.
    • 33. Priscilla, b. 1658 Apr. 6 ; m. 1681 May 9 Henry Lake (b. 1635; d. 1733 May 22) ; d. 1688 March 23. They had two sons and two daughters.
    • (*) Ephraim Wildes, b. ab. 1665 (wife Margery) was son of the second wife Sarah [Averill]. Being constable of Topsfield in 1692, he was called upon by the constable of Salem to arrest sundry persons, among whom were William Hobbs and wife Deliverance, upon charge of witchcraft. It would appear that Goody Hobbs, in order to save herself and be revenged upon the man arresting her, confessed her guilt but denounced his mother as the instigator; at least so he distinctly intimates in his affidavit. All defence was unavailing; for, two months later, she was condemned, and on Tuesday July 19 was executed, stoutly maintaining her innocence to the last, unlike many of her fellow-sufferers, who were terrified into confession.
    • Pg.50
    • 34. Martha, b. 1660 May 13.
    • 35. Nathan, b. 1662-3 Mar. 17 ; d. 1662 Dec. 14.


  • Genealogical and personal memoirs relating to the families of Boston and eastern Massachusetts (1908) Vol. II
  • Pg.774
  • (VI) Zaccheus Gould, son of Richard Gould (5), was born in 1589, according to his own deposition. He lived in Hemel Hempstead and later in Great Missenden, county Bucks, where he was assessed in 1629. He was the immigrant ancestor of the Gould family. He came to America with his family, and the first record of him is in Weymouth, Massachusetts, in 1639, when he bought land of his brother Jeremy, who had undoubtedly preceded him to this country. He was one of the executors of the will of Henry Russell, of Weymouth, same year. He removed to Lynn, and in 1640 owned a mill on the Saugus river. He rented lands here in 1640, the rent being payable in rye, wheat, barley, oxen, cows, heifers, calves and mares. In the same year he signed a petition to the governor for exemption from training during seedtime and harvest, and during haying. He removed to that part of Ipswich which became Topsfield about 1644, and was one of the petitioners for the setting off of Topsfield as a town in 1650. He purchased from William Paine the homestead in Topsfield where he lived and died. He took the oath of fidelity September 30, 1651, but was never admitted a freeman. An amusing incident occurred in 1659, which showed his independence. He was up before the Ipswich court for disturbance in public worship. He was said to have "sat down on the end of the table about which the minister and scribe sit, with his hat full upon his head and his back toward all the rest. Although spoken to by the minister and others, he altered not his posture. He spoke audibly when the minister was preaching." The order of the court was that the defendant be admonished. He was fined also for entertaining Quakers. The farm in Topsfield was in the Gould family for several generations. The first house was a block-house to defend the inhabitants from the Indians, and a garrison was kept in it for some time. The third house was built in 1724 or soon after, and was destroyed by fire in 1878. On its site a fourth house was erected, which is or was lately occupied by David Pingree. Zaccheus Gould died in 1668. He married Phebe ---- , died September 20, 1663. Children: 1. Phebe, baptized at Hemel Hempstead, September 27, 1620, married Deacon Thomas Perkins, of Topsfield. 2. Mary, baptized at Hemel Hempstead, December 19, 1621 ; married John Redington. of Topsfield. 3. Martha, baptized at Hemel Hempstead, June 15, 1623; married John Newmarch, of Ipswich; died 1699. 4. Priscilla, married John Wildes; died 1663. 5. John, born June 10-21, 1635, mentioned below.


  • Sarah (Averill) Wildes (1627 – July 19, 1692) was executed by hanging for witchcraft during the Salem witch trials. She was later exonerated.
  • Sarah was one of seven children born to William Averell[note 1] and Abigail Hynton, immigrants from Chipping Norton, England.[1] She married English immigrant John Wildes (born 1616) and had a son, Ephraim. Ephraim held the positions of town treasurer and constable during the period of the conspiracy.[2] They were residents of Topsfield, a neighboring town of Salem, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Two of her step-daughters, Sarah (Wildes) Bishop and Phoebe (Wildes) Day, and a step-son-in-law, Edward Bishop Jr., were also accused of witchcraft.
  • Sarah had a reputation as a nonconformist in Puritan Massachusetts, with prior offences which may have made her an easy target for accusations of witchcraft. She was sentenced to be whipped for fornication with Thomas Wordell in November 1649, and later, in May of 1663, charged with wearing a silk scarf.[3] Also, because she married John so soon after his first wife's death, John's former in-laws held something of a grudge against her. John Wildes testified against his first wife's brother, Lieutenant John Gould, in a treason trial, which further angered the family. Shortly after, John's ex-sister-in-law, Mary Goulds Reddington, began circulating rumors that Sarah was a witch. When John threatened to charge her with slander, she retracted her claims, however, the groundwork was laid for future charges of witchcraft. The Goulds were related to the Putnam family, the central accusers during the Salem Witch Trials.
  • Constable Ephraim Wildes was ordered by the Marshall, George Herrick, to arrest Deliverance Hobbs. Hobbs, whether through coercion or not, made a jailhouse confession and implicated Sarah Wildes as a witch. Ephraim himself testified that he seriously believed Hobbs' accusation to be vengeance against him for arresting her.[2]
  • Ann Putnam testified:
    • I have been afflected ever sence the begi[n]ing of march with a woman that tould me hir name was willds and that she came from Topsfeild but on the 22 April 1692 Sarah willd did most greviously torment me dureing the time of hir Examination and then I saw that Sarah willds was that very woman that tould me hir name was willds and also on the day of hir Examination I saw Sarah willds or hir Apperince most greviously tortor and afflect mary walcott, Mircy lewes and Abigail willia [ms] and severall times sence Sarah wilds or hirs Apperance has most greviously tortored and afflected me with variety of torturees as by pricking and pinching me and almost choaking me to death.[2]
  • Sarah was condemned by the Court of Essex County for practicing witchcraft. She was executed by hanging in Salem, Massachusetts, along with Elizabeth Howe, Susannah Martin, Sarah Good, and Rebecca Nurse, on July 19, 1692 at 65 years of age.
  • All those convicted have since been formally pardoned of the hysterical accusations and subsequent convictions. The Salem Witch Trials Memorial includes a bench inscribed with Sarah's name.
  • From:


  • The Averell-Averill-Avery family : a record of the descendants of William and Abigail Averell of Ipswich, Mass. (1914)
  • The children of William and Abigail Averell were "seven" (order not ascertained) :
    • 2. i. WILLIAM2, b. —, 16—; m. — 1661, Hannah Jackson.
    • 3. ii. THOMAS2, b. —, 16 —; m. — 1657, Frances Collins.
    • 4. iii. SARAH2, b. —, 16 —; m. — 1663, John Wildes.
    • 5. iv. JOHN2, b. —, 16 —; his name appears in old Ipswich Records (among Essex Co. Ct. R.) , vols. 1-4, p. 159, as John Avery, dep. 1654; and in the same volume, p. 212, as John Averell, 1656, charged with striking Thomas Twigs in the meeting house in the time of public ordinances on the Sabbath. This was after his father's death, and he was not the only youth in Ipswich guilty of such insubordination. See the similar entry about Edward Cogswell and Thomas Bragg.
    • 6. v. ———2, (name unknown).
    • 7. vi. ———2, (name unknown).
    • 8. vii. ———2, (name unknown).
  • .... etc.
  • .... There were some circumstances which may have strongly influenced William and Hannah Averell to settle in Topsfield. First, John Wildes, one of the earliest settlers of that town, had married in 1663 for his second wife, Sarah Averell, a sister of William2 ; secondly, Francis Peabody [b. 1614] who was originally from St. Albans, Hertfordshire, Eng., and who appears as a settler at Ipswich in 1636, had married Mary Foster, dau. of Reginald Foster, an old friend, neighbor, and associate of William1 Averell, as well as of William2 [It is said that Reginald Foster or Forster's family is honorably mentioned in Scott's "Lay of the Last Minstrel" and "Marmion." See the Peabody Genealogy.]
  • .... etc.
  • 4. Sarah2 Averell, called Averill, Averie, Avery (William1), was b. probably between 1630 and 1635, and was one of the seven children mentioned in her father's will.
  • She passed her youth at Ipswich, Mass. Nov. 23, 1663 (Ct R.), she became the second wife of John Wildes (Wild, Wilde, Wiles, Wyles) of Topsfield, Mass., whose first wife, Priscilla Gould (dau. of Zacheus) had d. April 16, 1663 (Topsfield V. R.), leaving a large family. John1 Wildes was b. abt. 1615 (by dep, made 30.11.1677, when he was 62 years of age). He sailed from London, England, by the ship "Elizabeth," in July, 1635. The ship's passenger list included three Wilds; "William Wild, aged thirty (30) : Alice Wild, aged forty (40) : John Wild, aged seventeen (17) :" who came together. Ages were often incorrect in those passenger lists, so that the difference between 17 and 20 years is not of importance.
  • In 1639 Mr. Wildes took up land with Endicott, Simon Bradstreet and others at what was then called New Meadows, and about ten years later (1648), Topsfield. He became a prominent citizen of that town, holding many important offices such as juryman of trials in the County Court, etc., as shown
  • by the published records cf the town in The Historical Collections of the Tops field Historical Society.
  • In these published records his name first appears Dec. 4, 1643: Jo. Wilds (paid) 3s. for serving against the Indians the previous year; and March 25, 1659, as John "Wildes," and not long after we find this entry:
  • "At a lawful Towne Meeting the 7 March 1664: It is ordered that the timber of the five hundred acres of common lands on the other side of the riuer which is to remaine common to perpetuity is to be deuided by John Wiles Willi Auerell Thomas Baker & Edmond Towne or either three of them into three equall proportions as two foure and six according to that rule to be deuided. Voted."
  • Apart from the marriage of his sister Sarah, this is the first association of William Averell and John Wildes which we find recorded ; but many others appear later in their common committee work for the public good, as those published records prove.
  • William Wild or Wildes, John's uncle, settled at Ipswich in 1635. He died in 1668, and as the quit claim deed of Edward Bishop and others, heirs of William Wild or Wildes, recites, William gave his lands to his nephew John, son of his brother John, and said John, deceased, made conveyance to John Harris, locksmith.
  • The children of John (Wild) in this deed, quit claimed to Harris their interest in the house and an acre of land sold to Harris Dec. 14, 1685. Apr; 15, 1690, John "Wills" and Sarah Wilds witnessed the will of Sarah's brother William Averell; and June 30, 1690, they both made oath in Court at Salem that they were the said witnesses (See Will, pp. 86 and 87), and saw him sign the will. The following year, in the month of March, 1692, in the Village of Salem (now Danvers), came the climax in New England of those incredible delusions which Cotton Mather called "a prodigious possession of devils, which it was then generally thought had been by witchcraft introduced;" and Sarah Averell Wildes became one of the first victims of the accusations made at that time.
  • The belief in witchcraft was prevalent everywhere in Europe as well as in America at this time; and sporadic cases were recorded in New England from 1648 down to this "Salem
  • Witchcraft" period, and later in the Southern portion of our country.
  • .... etc.
  • "The 18 of April warrants were out against Giles Corey and Mary Warren both of Salem Farms, Abigail Hobb (dau. of William Hobbs, of Topsfield) , and Bridget Bishop, wife of Edward Bishop of Salem ;" they were committed to prison, and two days after, April 21, warrants were issued against William Hobbs and Deliverance his wife ; Nehemiah Abbott, Jr., Mrs. Mary Easty, wife of Isaac Easty, and Mrs. Sarah Wilds, the wife of John Wilds, all of the town of Topsfield or Ipswich; and Edward Bishop and Mrs. Sarah Bishop his wife (dau. of John Wilds of Topsfield), of Salem Village, and Mary Black a negress of the Village, and Mrs. Mary English, wife of Philip English of Salem.
  • Our Sarah Averell Wildes found herself in an elect company and proved herself by her patience, fortitude, and Christian virtues quite worthy her companions, she at no time weakening or retracting her first denial of guilt and affirmation of innocence, and meeting her dreadful end in a way that elicited no hostile public comments from those who were only too willing to see evil in all the accused.
  • It is now known that many of the accused belonged to the better classes instead of the lowest as first thought. Six of those accused April 21, belonged to good families of Topsfield. Mrs. Easty's husband and Mrs. Wildes' husband were associated in the affairs of that town and in connection with the division line between it and Salem in 1686. Mr. Hobbs and Mr. Abbot were old residents of the place. Mrs. Wildes' son, Ephraim, was filling the then very important office of Constable of Topsfield. Sarah Wildes Bishop was his step-sister
  • and therefore the step-daughter of Mrs. Wildes (Jonathan Bishop, son of the above Sarah Bishop, m. about 1699 Abigail Averell, the niece of Sarah Averell Wildes and dau. of William Averell of Topsfield). As Mrs. Nurse and Mrs. Cloyce were sisters of Mrs. Easty, in so limited a town as Topsfield they must have been well known to Mrs. Wildes, apart from her knowledge of Salem Village people through her daughter-in-law's residence there. Upham also implies a relationship between either Sarah Averell Wildes or Sarah Wildes Bishop and Rebecca Nurse which we have not yet been able to verify or disprove. Mrs. Bridget Bishop was of course well known to Mrs. Wildes as being the step-mother of Edward Bishop. Elizabeth How, wife of James How, Jr., of Ipswich, was the daughter of William and Joan Jackson of Rowley and prob. related to Sarah Averell Wild's sister-in-law, Hannah Jackson, wife of William2 Averell.
  • .... etc.
  • John Wildes by his wife Sarah2 (Averell) Wildes had but one child:
  • Child:
    • i. Ephraim3 Wildes, b. ——— 1665, at Topsfield; m. March 18, 1688-9, to Mary Hewlett.
      • MEMORANDA.
  • The children of John Wilde by his first wife, Priscilla Gould were:
    • i. John3, b. 16 — ; lived at Topsfield; was a soldier; made his will Oct. 22, 1676, when going into the army, and in that document mentioned his five sisters and one brother, namely: Sarah (w. of Edward Bishop) ; Elizabeth (w. of Benjamin Jones) ; Phebe (w. of Timothy Day) ; Priscrlla (w. of Henry Lake) ; Martha
    • He d. before 1677. (Will Essex Co. Probate.)
    • ii. Sarah3, b. between 1648-56; m. before 1685. Edward Bishop of Salem.
    • iii. Elizabeth3, b. betw. 1648-56; m. Benj. Jones of Gloucester.
    • iv. Phebe3, b. betw. 1648-56; m. Timothy Day of Gloucester.
    • v. Priscilla3, b. Apr. 6, 1658, at Topsfield; m. May 9, 1681, Henry Lake of Topsfield.
    • vi. Martha3, b. May 13, 1660, at Topsfield.
    • vii. Nathan3, b. Dec. 14, 1662, at Topsfield; d. Mar. 17, 1662-3, at Topsfield.
  • (See T. H. C.)
  • Ephraim3 Wildes (Sarah Averell2, William1), b. 1665, at Topsfield, Mass., m. Mar. 18, 1689 (Ch. R.), Mary Hewlett(*) (dau. of Samuel Howlett(f) of Topsfield, and Sarah Clarke(f) his wife), prob. the Mary b. Feb. 17, 1671 (-2), Ct R. at Topsfield (V. R.). "He served his father seven years, probably as an apprentice, after which he received all the Wildes Estate in Topsfield,"(*) both of his brothers having died many years before. He was Constable of Topsfield in 1692, when his Mother was accused of Witchcraft (see p. 110), and testified twice on her behalf, stating that she had always instructed him well in the Christian religion and the ways of God ever since he was able to take instruction. (When the passion and blindness of that
    • (*) Data given by W. G. Davis of Portland, Me., 1899.
    • (f) See T. H. C. (pub.) ; The Howletts and Clarks, Vol. xi. p. 53.
  • time had passed he named a dau. after her [1699] ) . He was again Constable in 1693-4, and Treasurer of Topsfield, and filled other positions of trust in the service of his native town (see T. H. C.) . He was Selectman 1689, and also Quartermaster, as the record of his death in Topsfield V. R. shows : "Quartermaster Ephraim Wildes Departed this Life April 2, 1725." His will made the day of his death provides plentifully for his wife and children.* .... etc.



  • John Wildes
  • Birth: 1618, England
  • Death: May 14, 1705 Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA
  • John's year of birth is based on his having stated his age as seventeen when he registered with the authorities of the port of London for the voyage to New England on 11 Apr 1635.
  • John and his brother William emigrated from England on a ship named Elizabeth and settled in Rowley, MA before moving to Ipswich.
  • John married three times.
  • 1. Priscilla Gould in 1645. She died in 1663.
  • 2. Sarah Averill on 23 Nov 1663. She was born 1635 and executed 19 July 1692 at age 65 for witchcraft at Salem, Mass.
  • 3. Mary (?) on 26 Jun 1693, who was the widow of George Jacobs who had been hanged for witchcraft 19 Aug 1692.
  • About 1645 John moved to Topsfield probably due to the influence of his wealthy father-in-law Zaccheus Gould. His house stood on Perkins Row at the fork in the road coming from Mile Brook Bridge at a pear orchard. The house was demolished in 1835.
  • In 1660 he bought a 100 acre lot adjoining his land from Richard and Jane Swaine of Hampton.
  • On 9 Apr. 1690 John Wild, carpenter, transferred to his son Ephraim his possessions as follows:
  • "In consideration of seven years service that I had of him when he could have been for himself, I hereby transfer to my son Ephraim Wild all my housing, lands and meadows together with all my stock of cattle, sheep, swine, carts, ploughs, household stuff of all sorts and kinds whatforever."
  • Family links:
  • Parents:
  • William Wildes (1596 - 1662)
  • Alice Elizabeth Wildes (1598 - 1662)
  • Spouses:
  • Sarah Averell Wildes (1627 - 1692)
  • Priscilla Gould Wildes (1628 - 1663)*
  • Burial: Unknown
  • Find A Grave Memorial# 102326863
  • From:


Birth: 1618, England Death: May 14, 1705 Topsfield Essex County Massachusetts, USA

John's year of birth is based on his having stated his age as seventeen when he registered with the authorities of the port of London for the voyage to New England on 11 Apr 1635.

John and his brother William emigrated from England on a ship named Elizabeth and settled in Rowley, MA before moving to Ipswich.

John married three times.

1. Priscilla Gould in 1645. She died in 1663.

2. Sarah Averill on 23 Nov 1663. She was born 1635 and executed 19 July 1692 at age 65 for witchcraft at Salem, Mass.

3. Mary (?) on 26 Jun 1693, who was the widow of George Jacobs who had been hanged for witchcraft 19 Aug 1692.

About 1645 John moved to Topsfield probably due to the influence of his wealthy father-in-law Zaccheus Gould. His house stood on Perkins Row at the fork in the road coming from Mile Brook Bridge at a pear orchard. The house was demolished in 1835.

In 1660 he bought a 100 acre lot adjoining his land from Richard and Jane Swaine of Hampton.

On 9 Apr. 1690 John Wild, carpenter, transferred to his son Ephraim his possessions as follows:

"In consideration of seven years service that I had of him when he could have been for himself, I hereby transfer to my son Ephraim Wild all my housing, lands and meadows together with all my stock of cattle, sheep, swine, carts, ploughs, household stuff of all sorts and kinds whatforever.



b.c.1618 m.1. 1645 Priscilla Gould (b.c.1625, d. 16 Apr. 1663 Topsfield, MA) 2. 23 Nov. 1663 SARAH (5) AVERILL (b.c.1635, executed 19 July 1692 Salem, MA) 3. 26 June 1693 Mary ______ (m.1. George Jacobs, hanged for witchcraft 19 Aug. 1692) d. 14 May 1705 Topsfield, MA

John and his brother William emmigrated from England on the Elizabeth and settled in Rowley, MA before moving to Ipswich. John gave his age as seventeen when he registered with the authorities of the port of London for the voyage to New England on 11 Apr. 1635. Also on the Elizabeth was William Whitredd, his wife, son, and three other young men. Whitredd was a carpenter as were the Wildes brothers. Perhaps John was Whitredd's apprentice.(1) In 1646 William Whitred sued Michael Cartrick and the verdict was that the plaintiff should pay John Wild 30/, the defendant 30/, and that John Wild was to pay the other 20/ to himself.(2)

About 1645 he moved to Topsfield probably due to the influence of his wealthy father-in-law Zaccheus Gould. His house stood on Perkins Row at the fork in the road coming from Mile Brook Bridge at a pear orchard. The house was demolished in 1835. In 1660 he bought a 100 acre lot adjoining his land from Richard and Jane Swaine of Hampton. Jane's first husband had been John Bunker of Topsfield.(3)

In 1698/9 John testified that he had sold a parcel of land to Francis Bates fifty years before (1649). He granted 20 acres of land to Robert Andrews in 1654. In 1663 John sold to William Acie of Rowley 32 acres at Bushy Hill and 8 acres of meadow, formerly Thomas Dorman's, at Snookes Hole in Topsfield for £35. John French purchased 30 acres from him in 1672, Thomas Perkins 20 acres "in the first division of lots" in 1674, and William Perkins Sr., 4 acres in 1685/6.(4) given the above and the lack of many deeds to John, he must have had grants from the town, but, the earliest book of town records was destroyed by fire in 1658. However, on 7 Mar. 1664 the town ordered that 500 acres of common land "on the other side of the river which is to remaine common to perpetuity" be divided "by John Wiles Willi Averill Thomas Baker & Edmond Towne or either three of them" into three equal proportions. (5)

In 1637, before the move to Topsfield, John was involved in the Pequot war and received 3/ for his service from the town of Ipswich. In 1639 he received 12/ per day for his service during the war. John was one of twenty soldiers from Ipswich who in Sept. 1642 were involved in an expedition to disarm Passaconway, Sachem of the Merrimac.(6)

In 1659 and 1686 John was one of a committee to settle the boundary between Salem and Topsfield, and in later years he was often employed to decide town boundaries and lay out lots. He was constable in 1661 and 1662, juryman in 1679-80 and tythingman in 1682/3. In 1669 the town owed its largest debt to John, £14/16, probably for carpentry. Given John's carpentry skills it is very possible that he was involved in the construction of the Parson Capen House which is one of the oldest surviving examples of 17th century English architecture in the United States having been built in 1683.

John was on committees to negotiate with Mr. Danforth to act as minister in 1680/1, "to discourse" with Mr. Capen in 1681, to lay out land for Mr. Capen and to seat the people in the meetinghouse in 1682. In 1689/0 "father John Wilds" was collecting the arrears in Mr. Capen's salary. John's second wife Sarah is on Mr. Capen's list of those who were already members of the church when he began his ministry. John, however, was not admitted to full communion in the church until 1697.(7) John testified against Thomas Baker for "laughing in meeting" in 1678. In 1679 parson Jeremiah Hubbard sued Judith Dorman for slander and Sarah Wildes testified for the minister.(8)

William Paine, an Ipswich merchant, sued John for a shop account in 1652 and attached his house.(9)

In 1654 the two younger children of widow Elithorp of Rowley were to be paid their portions into the hands of John Wyldes and John Picard, Thomas Elithorp's executor brought John's receipt into court. This curious transaction indicates that John was possibly related to Elithorp.(10)

John and his second wife began having problems with his first wife's brother Lt. John Gould and her sister Mary Reddington. This situation first became evident in the will of John Wild Jr. regarding his inheritance from his grandfather Zaccheus hoping that his father might not be troubled by any claims made by his uncle Gould. The problems worsened and in 1686 John Wild testified against Lt. John Gould on the charge treason. This is an interesting fact given that John Wild was one of five Topsfield men who signed a declaration that they were uterly unwilling to yield either to a resignation of the Massachusetts charter or anything that should be equivalent, the same sentiments that Lt. Gould expressed. Shortly after this episode Mary Reddington began to spread witchcraft stories about Sarah throughout the town and it is to her authority that most of the evidence against Sarah may be traced. John threatened to sue John Reddington for slander as he could not sue Mary as in that time the husband was responsible for all his wife's actions. Mary denied her previous statements but the damage had already been done. Ann Putnam asserted that "a woman who told me hir name was willds... has most grevously tortored and affected me with a variety of tortureses as by pricking and pinching me and almost choaking me to death..."(11) John was hated by the Putnam's for his decision against them in surveying the boundary between the Putnams' of Salem Village and the Townes of Topsfield. On 21 Apr. 1692 a warrant was issued concerning the charge of witchcraft:

"Warrant vs. Sarah wild and als. Salem, April 21st 1692 There being complaint this day made by Thomas Putnam and John Buxton of Salem Village Yeoman in behalfe of theire Majes'ts for themselves and also for severall of theire neighbours against William Hobs husbandman, Deliv'e his wife, Nehemiah Abot junior weaver, Mary Eastey, the wife of Isaac Eastey, and Sarah Wilds the wife of John Wilds, all of the town of Topsfield or Ipswich, and Edward Bishop husbandman and Sarah his wife of Salem Village, and Mary Black a negro of Leut. Nath. Putnam's of Salem Village also, and Mary English the wife of Phillip English merchant in Salem, for high susption of sundry acts of witchcraft donne or committed by them lately upon the body's of Anna Putnam and Marcey Lewis belonging to the family of ye abovest Thomas Putnam complaint and Mary Walcot ye daughter of Captain Jonathan Walcot of sd Salem Village and others, whereby great hurt and dammage hath benne donne to ye bodys of said persons above named therefore craved justice. You are therefore in theire Majes'ts names hereby required to apprehend and bring before us William Hobs husbandman and his wife, Nehemiah Abot Junr Weaver, Mary Eastey the wife of Isaac Eastey, and all of the abovenamed tomorrow about ten of the clock in the forenoon at the house of Lieut. Nath. Ingersolls in Salem Village in order to theire examination relating to the premises abovesaid and hereof you are not to faile. Dated Salem, April 21st 1692.

Jonathan Corwin John Hathorne Assists To George Herrick, Marshall of Essex, and any or all ye Constables in Salem or Topsfield or any other Towne." (15)

Warrant for Arrest of Sarah Wild- 21 Apr. 1692 George Herrick arrested Sarah on the morning of 22 Apr. and her son Ephraim, who was constable of Topsfield, arrested William and Deliverance Hobbs, Mary Easty and Nehemiah Abbot.

In general the procedure used in witchcraft cases involved the afflicted person complaining to the Magistrate about a suspect sometimes doing so through another person. A warrant was then issued for the arrest of the accused who were brought before two or more Magistrates who examined the evidence and sent the accused to jail where they were re-examined. The case was then presented to the Grand Jury at which time depositions were introduced as evidence by the accusers. If the accused was indicted by the Grand Jury they were tried before a jury sitting with the Court of Oyer and Terminer, a special court commissioned on 25 May 1692 to try the witchcraft cases. This court was set up by Sir William Pitts the newly appointed governor of Massachusetts.

On the day of her arrest Sarah was examined by Justices Hathorne and Corwin at the Salem meetinghouse. When she entered the room the "afflicted" girls and women fell into their usual hysterical fits, stating that she was not at the bar but, "on the beam" which ran across the room. Abigail Hobbs, daughter of William Hobbs of Topsfield, a juvenile delinquent who had been arrested and examined and had "confessed" several days before, said that Sarah had brought her the Devil's book to sign. Sarah replied "I am not quilty, sir... I never saw the book in my life and I never saw these persons before".

"The examination of Sarah Wilds At a Court held at Salem Village ( )1692 by the wop: John Hathorn & Jonathan Corwin. The Sufferers were seized with sou( ) the accused came into the Court? Hath this woman hurt you? Oh she is upon the beam Goody Bibber that never saw her before sayd she saw her now upon the beam, & then said Bibber fell into a fit What say you to this are you guilty or not? I am not guilty Sir. Is this the woman? speaking to the afflict Thay all, or most, sad yes, & then fell into fits What do you say, are you guilty I thank God I am free. Here is clear evidence that you have been not only a Tormenter but that you have caused one to signe the book, the night before last What you say to this? I never saw the book in my life and I never saw these persons before Some of the afflicted fell into fits Do you deny this thing that is such All fell into fits, & confirmed that the accused hurt them Did you never consent that these should be hurt? Never in my life She was charged by some with hurting John Herricks mother The accused denyed it. Capt How gave in a relation and confirmation of the charge before made. She was ordered to be taken away,& they all cryed out she was upon the Beam, & fell into fits." (16) Examination of Sarah Wildes, p. 2

"Indictment v. Sarah Wilds

Anno Regis et Reginae Willm et Mariae nunc Angliae &c Quarto

Essex ssThe Jurors for our sovereigne Lord and Lady the King and Queen pr'sents That Sarah Willes wife of John Willes of Topsfield Husbandman the Twenty Second Day of Aprill in the forth Year of the Reigne of our Sovereigne Lord and Lady William and Mary by the Grace of God of England Scottland France and Ireland King and Queen Defenders of the faith &c and divers other Dayes and times as well before as after, certaine Destestable Arts called Witchcrafts and soceries wickedly and felloniously hath used Practised and Exercised at and within the Towneship of Salem in the County of Essex aforesaid in upon and against one Marcy Lewis of Salem Village Single Woman by which said wicked Acts the said Mercey Lewis- the Twenty Second Day of Aprill aforesaid in the forth Year aboves'd and Divers other Dayes and times as well before and after, was and is Tortured Afflicted Pined Consumed wasted & Tormented and also for Sundery other Acts of Witchcraft by said Sarah Willes, Committed and Done before and since that time ag't the Peace of our Sovereogne lord &Lady the King and Queen, and ag't the form of the Statute in the Case made and Provided.

Witnesses Marcy Lewis Ann Putnam Mary Wolcott"

Summons for the arrest of Sarah Wildes- 12 May 1692 (21)

On 13 May 1692 Sarah was sent to the Boston Gaol in fetters and handcuffs to await further trial. During her imprisonment John and Ephraim traveled back and forth to see that Sarah was fed and clothed and to give her such comfort as they could as the jail authorities supplied nothing.

"John Wilds for Sarah Wilds John Wiells testifieth that he did hear that Mary the wife of Jno Reddington did raise a report that my wife had Bewetched her and I wentto the saide Jno Reddington& told him I would arest him for his wifes defaming of my wife but the said Reddington desired me not to doe it for it would butt waste his Estate & that his wife would a don w'th it in tyme: and that he knew nothing she had as'dt mye wife- after this I got my Bro: Averell to goe to the said Sarah Reddinton & my s'd Bro'r told me that he told the said Sarah Reddinton that if she had anything ag'st my wife he would be a means & would help her to bring my wife out: and that the said Sarah Reddinton replyed that she knew no harm mye wife had done her: yet" (17)

Testimony of John Wilds and Ephraim Wilds for Sarah Wilds

She was returned to Salem and stood trial at the June 29th sitting of the Court of Oyer and Terminer. Deliverance Hobbs testified that she was present at a meeting of witches in Mr. Parris' meadow at which Mr. George Burroughs preached and Goody Nurse and Goody Wildes administered a sacrament of blood and red bread.

"Ann Putnam Jr v. Sarah Wilds The Deposition of Ann putnam jun'r who testifieth ans saith I have been affected ever sence the beginnung of march with a woman that touldme hir name was willds and that she came from Topsfeild but on the 22 april 1692 Sarah willd did most greviously torment me dureing the time of hir Examination and that I saw that Sarah willds was that very woman that tould me hir name was willds and also on the day of hir Examination I saw Sarah willds or hir Apperince most greviously tortor and afflict mary walcott, Mircy lewes and Abigail williams and severall times sence Sarah wilds or hirs Appearance has most greviously tortored and afflected me with varieth of tortures as by pricking and pinching me and almoat choaking me to death

Ann Putnam Jun'r declared: the above written: evidence: to be truth: before the Jury of inquest: June30'th 1692: upon oath."

"Mary Walcott v. Sarah Wilds

The Deposition of mary walcott aged about 17 years who testifieth and saith that in the begining of Appril 1692 there came to me a woman which I did not know and she did most greviously torment me by pricking and pinching me and she tould me that hir name was wilds and that she lived at Topsfeil and she continewed hurting me most greviously by times tell the day of hir Examination which was the 22 day of Appril 1692: and then I saw that Sarah wildes was that very same woman that tould me hir name was wildes and sarah wilds did most greviously torment me dureing the time of hir Examination for when ever she did but look upon me she would strick me down or almost Choak me to death: also on the day of Examination I saw sarah Wilds or hir Appearance most greviously tormant and afflect mercy lewes Abigail Williams and Ann putnam Jun'r be stricking them down and almst Choaking them to death. also severall times sence Sarah willds has most greviously tormented me with variety of tortor and I verily beleve she is a most dreadful witch

Jurat in Curia

Mary Walcott declared to the Jury of inquest: that the above written evidence is the truth: upon oath: June 30'th 1692"

"Nathaniel Ingersoll v. Sarah Wilds

The Deposition of Nathaniell Ingersoll agged about 58 years and Thomas putnam aged about 40 years who testifieth and saith that wee haveing been conversant with severall of the afflected parsons as namely Mary walcott mercy lewes Abigail williams and Ann putnam jr we have often seen them afflected and hard them say that one gooddy wilds of Topsfeild did tortor them: but on the 22 April 1692 being the day of Examination of Sarah wilds of Topsfeild: the affore mentioned parsons ware most greviously tortored dureing the time of hir Examination for if she did but look on them she would strick them down or allmost choak: them and if she did clinch hir hands or hold hir head asid the afflected parsons above mentioned ware in like maner tortored: andseverall times senec wee have seen the aforementioned parsons tortored and have sen the marke in ther flesh which they said Sarah wilds did make by tortoring them and wee beleve that sarah wilds the prisoner att the barr has severall times Afflected and tormented the afore named parsons by acts of wichcraft:

Jurat in Curia"

Elizabeth Symonds in her deposition said that Goodwife Wilds in the shape of a cat had lain on her breast all of one night and that the presence of Goodwife Wilds on a lecture day had cause her so much pain that she fell down unconscious.

"Elizabeth Symonds v. Sarah Wilds The Depotion of Elizabeth Symons aged about 50 yeares Whoe testifieth and saith that about twelve or thirteene yeares sence theire abouts being in Company With mt Mother Androus, after a Lecterin topsfeild my mother and I ware agoeing to give Goodwife Redington a Visiat and as weewnet we over tooke Goodwife Wilds and my Mother fell into discourse about a syee that my Brothers John and Joseph Androus had boreded of Goodman Wilds for one day: and my mother tould Goodwife wilds howJohnand Joseph Androus ware troubled about gitting home a Load of hay then good-Wife Wilds replied and said allthat might bee and i know nothing of it, then my mother replied and said to her whie did ye threaten them and tould them thay had better aLet it aLone then she did threaten my mother and tould her that she would make her prove it and then my mother Coaled to mee and bid mee bare Witnes Elizabeth what she saith, and then she did Looke bake apon mee and Emedatly I did fale into such atrembling condition that I was as if all my joynts did knoke togather so that I could hardly goe along, and that noght faling after I was a bed I did see something stand between the Wale and I, I did see something stand theire and I did Looke apon it a consideradabell time so Long that I afraid to Ly one that sid of the bed and asked my husban to Let mee Ly one the other side of the bed and he did, and then I did feele it come apon my feete as if it had bin a cat and Crope up to my breast and Lay apon mee and then I Could not move netherhand not foot nether Could I speake a word I did strive to cale to my husban but Icould not speake and so I Lay all night, and in the morning I Could speeake and then I tould my husban thay thalke of the old w( ) but I thinke she has ride mee all this night and then I tould ( ) husban how it had bin with mee all the night, we had a Lector once a month in Topsfeild and the next lectter dayafter the first above named, as I was sitting in my seate Goodwife Wilds Coming by the end of the seeat I sat in I was Emedatly taken with such apayn in my back that I was not abell to bare it and fell doune in the seeat and did not know wheaire I was and some pepall tooke me up and did Caried mee out of the meeting house but I did not know nothing of it tell afterwords when I Came to my selfe I did wonder how I Come theire up to mr Hubbard house and when I did Come to my selfe and a great many pepall Come about mee to aske mee what was the matter with mee Goodwife Wilds Come and stood at the End of the tabell and I Replied and said theire she is and my mother bid mee goe and serve her but I Could not sture, and so i have Continued at times Ever senc some times with paynes in one plase and som times in another plase soe as i ahve not bin abell to doe any thing in my famelery ay severall times I have bin at the Docters but they cannot give mee any thing that doe mee any good this is in short of what I Can say being heire in the heart of what I Can speeake too. I am verey Willing to Come and atest to all above wrighteen and if the Lord give mee streanke but at present I am not abell to come

Jurat in Curia

Elizabeth Symons ag't Sarah wiles to be Sumoned Abraham Reddington Sen. Joseph Bixbey Jun'r"

Lt. John Gould testified that when his sister Mary Redington was coming from Salem about fifteen years ago Goodwife Wilds, in spirit form, pulled her backward off her horse, also that hens given to her by Goodwife Wildes "went moping about till they died". He also testified that after Zacheus Perkins, for whom he was fetching loads of hay, told him to load it fast or else his Aunt Wilds would not let John carry it for she was angry with him, the loads slipped off and "I did thinke that it was done by Withcraft".

"John Gould and Zacceus Perkins v. Sarah Wilds The Depotion of John Gould aged about 56 yeares or theire about Testifieth and saith that some time sence whether it be fivfteen or sexteene yeares agoe I amsarting butt I take it to be theire abouts sister Mary Redington tould mee as she was Coming from Salem With her Brother Redington that GoodWife Wildsdid strive two or threetimes to pl her doune of her horse one time she did strive to pul her doune in a brooke but she did set her selfe with all her strenke she Could and did git out of the brook and soone after she was got out of the brooke she said that GoodWife Wilds did pul her doune bakwords of her horse and held her doune so she Could not helpe her selfe tell her Brother Redington and Sarg't Edmon Townes did Come and helper, and my sister did desier mee to Come and Wright what she Could say how GoodWife Wilds did a flocte her for she would Leafe it in Wrighting so as it might be seene when she was dead and I did goe doune to wright it once or twice but when I was redy to wright it sister was taken so as she Could not declare any thing, also sister Mary tould mee that When Johanthan Wilds was ele at her house in astraing maner so as he Could goe out at the Chimey tops into the barne hed git her henes and put them in his briches and kiled them, sister Mary did aske GoodWife Wilds to take som of the dead henes and Let her have som Liveing henes and she did but sister said they went moping about tell they died and so shall I said sister Redingtonand the Last worrds I herd sister Redington say was that it was GoodWife Wilds that brought her into that Condition she did stand to it tell her death forder I doe tetifie that as I was afeching two or three Load of hay Zacheus perkins, the s'd perkins tould mee that I must Lay the hay fast or eles his ant Wilds would not Let mee Cary it for she was angrey with him and as I went with one Load it did slipe doune in plaine way and I Lay it up againe and then I Came almost at home with it it fell doune againe and I Went and feched him another Load and when I Came wheare the first Load sliped the seckond did slipe doune then I got some of our frinds to helpe me Up with itand wee bound it with two Cart ropes but it did slipe Up and doune so as I did never see hay doe soe in my Life and when I Came wheare I Left the first Load the hay went all of the Cart upon the ground and did bring the Cart over and it was rising ground I did thinke that it was don by WichCraft.

Jurat in Curia

Zacheus Perkins made Oath to the latter part of this Evidence relating to the Hay"

Thomas Dorman said that after Goodwife Wilds asked him " How do your geese thrive?" they pined away so that they were good for little.

"Thomas Dorman v. Sarah Wilds The deposition of Thomas Dorman aged 53 yers saith goody wils was arnest with me to be one hive of beese and sins goodwife wils had thes beese I last many Creturs and she Came to my hou one day and said She how doth your geese thrive and she went tothe pen whare they were fatting, and thay were very fat and we we cept them a grat while longer feding them with Corne and thay pind away so as thay were good for litle and I lost six brave Cattle Six yere agoe which was frozen to death inthe midell of Jenewary: now sum time this summer my wif went to Salem vilidg and my wife tould me that an putnam the afflicted parsun tould hur that good wif wils had whoried away my Cattell and I wondered an putnam should know I lost my Cattle so long agoe."

Humphrey Clark told of a spectral visit at midnight by a woman who seemed to be Goodwife Wilds.

"Humphrey Clark v. Sarah Wilds the deposiyion of humpry Clark aged about 21 yere saith that about a yere agoo I was asleep and about midnight the bed Shook & I awaked and saw a woman stand by the bed side which when I well Looked semed to me to be goodwif wills which jumpid to tother corner of the house & then I saw hir no more.

Jurat in Curia"

John and Joseph Andrews of Boxford had borrowed young John Wild's sythe in 1674 although his stepmother was unwilling to lend it. Having cut and loaded their hay their six oxen refused to draw, a wheel mired and they unloaded the hay for they said to one another that it was vain to strive for Goody Willes was in the cart.

"John Andrew and Joseph Andrew v. Sarah Wilds The deposition of John Andrew aged about 37 years and Joseph Andrew agged about 33 years: both of Boxford who testifieth andsaith that in the year 1674: we were mowing to gether and one of us broak our sith and not haveing oppertunity jest then to mend that nor by another we went to the house of John willes sen'r of Topsfeild to borrow a sith: but when we came there there was no man att whom: but the said willes wife who is now Charged with ares of witchcraf: was with in: and we asked hir to lend us a sith but she said had nosiths to lend: but one of hir neighbors being also there said to us there is John willes jun'rs sith hanging in that tree which stood by the house you may take that and spake with him as you goe to your work for he is at worke neare the way as you goe along: and accordingly we took down the sith out of the tree and tould the old woman that we would ask leave of John willes jun'r for his sith before we used it but she was very angry and siad it was a brave world that every one did what they would, however, we went away with the sith: but we had not been gon very fare from the house but a litle lad coame affter us whose name was Efraime willes: and tould us that his mother said we had best bring the sith back againe: or Elce it should be a deat sith to us: however, we went on our way with the sith and asked the Right owner of it leave for it before we used it and went to our work and cutt down as much grass that day as made about three load of hay: and Returned the sith to the owner: and afterwards went to carting of our hay and went into the meadows and loaded up one load very well and caried it whom: and went againe into the meadow and loaded a second load and bound it and went to Drive it whom: but when we came to drive our oxen wee could not make them stire the load tho we had six good oxen and the Two foremost oxen ware onthe upland and the meadow very firme where we carted constantly: but we strived awhile to make our oxen goe butt could not fit them along: att last one of our wheales fell in up to the stock altho the meadow was feirme: then we threw allmost all the hay ofe our cart and thought to trie to git out the cart with sum hay upon it but we could not then we said one to another it wasin vainto strive for we thought gooddy willes was in the cart and then we threw of all the hay and then we tried to make our oxen draw out the emty cart which at first they could not doe: but att last the whele jumpt up at once we knew not how almost redy to thro down our oxen ontheir knees then againe we loaded up our load of hay very well and bound it: and away wee wnet with it very well tell we came near to a very dangeros hill to goe down with a load of hay: and then I the said joseph Andrew was by the foremost oxen and saw sumthing about as bigge as a dogge glance from a stump or root of atree along by me and the oxen beganto jump: but I could not stirefrom the place for I know not howlong" and I the said JohnAndrewbeing by the hindmost oxen saw nothing but the oxen begining to jumpI cast hold of one of the oxen boxes & cas caried down violently that dangerouse hill I know not how: where was a brooke at the bottom of it with a bridge and a ford: and the oxen ran into the ford and over thrue the load of hay their: and when I came to To understand where I was and saw the oxen ware all well I began to bethinke my selfe of my Brother Jopseph: and Immediatly called him but he gave no answer. and I began to be trobled for him and went backward to wards the place where the oxen were affrighted and I called severall times but he gave me no answer at last I called and said the load is overthron then Immediatly he answered me and came unto me: but how the load should keep upon the wheles runing so violently down that dangerous hill" & being over throne whare it was we can give no account unless it was do by summ diabolicall art: then againe we gott up our cart and loaded up our hay very firme resolving to gitt hom our load if we could tho it was night and when we had loaded we went to bind our load: but by all the Skill and strength we had we could now wayes bind our load with our Cart rope but it would hand lose on our load: however we went away whom with our load and it laid very well for all it was night and our load unbound: also before we got whom many of our fiends and neighbors meet us being consarned for us because we ware solatte & they also saw our cart Rope hand lose and tould use of it, and wee tould them what mishap we had that day: and they tried to fasten the Ropebut could not: all which made usthen to think and ever sence have thought: and still dow thinke that Goody willes who now stands Charged with High suspition of severall acts of wicthcraft had a hand in our Mishap at that time.

Jno Andrew: and Joseph Andrew declared: the evidence written on these two sides to: be the truth on: their oates: declared: before the Jury og inquest: June 30.92"

Rev. John Hale of Beverly testified that Goody Reddington "opned her griefs" to him, saying that Goody Wiles, her neighbor, bewitched her and afflicted her many times, and that Goody Wiles' stepson, John, had said that he believed his mother Wiles was a witch.

"Rev. John Hale v. Sarah Wilds I John Hale of Beverly aged 56 years being sumoned to appear & give evidence against Sarah Wiles of Topsfeild July 2.1692; Testify that about 15 or 16 yeares agoe came to my house the wife of John Hirrek of Beverly w'th an aged woeman she said was her mother. Goody Reddington of Topsfeild come to me for counsel beeing trouble of spirit. When the said Reddington opned her greifs to me thir was one that she was assaulted by witchcraft that Goody wiles her neighb'r bewitched her & afflicted her many times greiviously, telling me many particular storys how & when she troubled her, w'ch I haveforgotten. She said allso that a son in law of said Wiles did come & visit her (shee called him an honest young man named John as I take it) & did pitty her the said Reddington, signifying to her that he beleived his mother wiles was a witch & told her storys of him mother. I allso understood by them, that this Goody Wiles was mother in law to a youth named as I take it Jonathan Wiles who about twenty yeares agoe or more did act or was acted very strangly Insomuch that I was invited to joyn with Mr Cobbet & others at Ipseich to advise & pray for the said Youth; whome some thought to counterfeit, others to be possessed by the devill. Bit I remember Mr Cobbet thought he was under Obsession of the devil. Goody Reddingtons discourse hath caused me to have farther thoughts of the said Youths case whether he were not bewitched. Jarat in Curia"

Sarah's son Ephraim, the Topsfield Constable, testified in her behalf telling the court that Deliverance Hobb's testimony against his mother was motivated by spite since he had arrested her and brought her to Salem. Elizabeth Symonds who had signed a disposition against his mother did so because he broke his engagement to her daughter several years before, and that Mary Reddington, a sister of his father's first wife Priscilla was still angry about the fact that his father had married his mother before an appropriate year of mourning after his first wife's death, and that she was a simpleminded person. Also, upon hearing that Elizabeth Symonds believed that his mother had done her a wrong he questioned her and she replied that she had no reason to believe any harm of his mother except what Goody Reddington had said. When faced with a threat of a suit for slander by Ephraim and John Wild, Mary Reddington stated at church services the following Sunday that Sarah Wild was a fine Christian woman who had never been in any way involved with the devil. Ephraim said of his mother: "She hath awlwais instructed me well in the Christian religion and the wais of God ever sence I was abell to take instruction."

Ephriam Wilds For Sarah Wilds The tesitmony of Ephraim Wildes Eged about 27 or theabouts testifieth and saith that a bout fouer yers a gow there, was som likly hode of my haveng one of goodiey Simonds daugters and as the maid towld me har mother and father were veriey willing I should have hare: but after some time I had a hint that goodiey Simonds had formerlly she beleved my mother had done har wrong and I went to hare and took marke how that is now ded who dyed at the Estward: along with me and before both of us she denied that ever she had eniey grounds to think eniey harme of my mother only from what goodiey Redington had siad and afterwards I left the hous and went no mor and ever sence she bene veriey angriey with me and now she will re ward mee Ephraim Willdes" (17)

Testimony of John Wilds and Ephraim Wilds for Sarah Wilds

"Ephraim Wilds for Sarah Wilds

This may inform this Honred cort that I: Ephraim Wildes being constabell for topsfelld this yere and the marshall of sallem coming to fetch away my mother he then shued me a warrant from athority derected to the constabell of topsfelld wherin was william hobs and deliveranc his wife with maniey others and the marshall did then re quire me forth with to gow and aprehend the bodies of william hobes and his wife which a cording ly I ded: and I have had serous thoughts maniey tims sence whether my mother there by in some mesuer to be re venged of me the woman did show a veriey bad sperit when I sesed: on might all most se revenge in her face she looked so molishsly on mee: as for my mother I never saw aniey harm by har upon aniey sutch a cout naither in word nor action as she is now a used for she hath awlwais in structed me well in the crision religion and the waisof god ever sence I was abell to take in structions: and so I leve it alltho this honred cort to consider of it Ephraim Willdes" (18)

Order of Ephraim Wildes for Sarah Wilds

All of the efforts made by John and Ephraim to save her went for naught. She was convicted of being a witch and the warrant for her execution was signed on 19 July 1692.(19) On the same day she was driven from the jail to Gallows Hill, standing in a cart along with Rebecca Nurse, Goody Good, Elizabeth Howe and Susanna Martin, where they were hanged.

Death Warrant for Sarah Good, Rebecca Nurse, Elizabeth Howe, Susanna Martin and Sarah Wildes. The persons who had entered evidence against her eventually confessed in church that they had lied. This did little good for Sarah except to clear her name. In 1711 £598/12 was appropriated by the court to recompense the families of those who were executed for witchcraft. Ephraim received £14 in compensation. He stated that this could not compensate "for the los of so dere a friend which can not be made up".(12)

"Topsfield Septem 11, 1710 To the honered Jentell men of the commitey greeting:it having pleased the great and Jeneral cort to a piont your honars a comitte to inquire who may be proper to bee Justifiedin the bill refering to the taking ofe the attainder and what loss and damedg hes been sustained by reason ofthe tryalls which were for witchcraft in the yer 1692 under which soroful triall my mother Sarah Wild was Condemnd &executed: my father being now disseced and only my self left I here apere to give in som short acount of the cost and damedg we sustained in them times: my mother was carried to Salem prison sum time in Epral we ware at the cost of it and chardg of ceping har there a considerabl whille and after wards she was removed to boston prison we wer at the cost of it and chardg of cepting of hare ther for about towmonths and then from boston she was removed back to Ipswech prison we ware at the cost of that and after a swhill she was removed to Salem again we ware in all the cost both of caring and providing for her maintance whill in all these prisons: be side ether my father or my slef went once a wek to see how she deed and what she wanted and some tims twis a weke which was a grat cost and damedg to our estate my father would often say that the cost and damedg we sustained in our esteate wase twenty pounds and I am in the mind he spok les then it was: besidsthe los of so dere a frind which cannot be med up::all which I leve to your honers consideration: I remin you honers humbel sarvant

Ephraim Wildes

yet not withstanding twas twenty poundsdamedg to our Estate considering our nams maybe repaired I am willing to take forten pounds" (20)

Ephraim's Letter to the General Court- 1710

"Province of the Massachusetts Bay: Anno Regni Anna Reginae Decimo.

An Act to reverse the attainders of George Burroughs and others for Witchcraft

Forasmuch as in teh year of our Lord one Thousand six hundred ninety two several Towns within this Province were Infested with a Horrible Witchcraft or Possession of devils; And at a Special Court of Oyer and Terminer holden at Salem in the County of Essex in the same year 1692. George Burroughs or Wells, John Procter, George Jacobs,John WIllard, Giles Core, and Martha his wife, Rebecca Nurse and Sarah Good all of Salem aforesaid Elizabeth How of Ipswich, Mary Eastey, Sarah Wild and Abigail Hobbs all of Topsfield, Samuel Wardell, Mary Parker, Martha Carrier, Abigail Falkner: Anne Forster, Rebecca Eames, Mary Post and Mary Lacey all of Andover, Mary Bradbury, of Salisbury, and Dorcas Hoar of Beverley Were severally Indicted convicted and attainted of Witchcraft and some of them put to death, others lying still under the like sentance of the said Court, and liable to have the same Executed upon them. The Influence and Energy of the Evil Spirits so Great at that time acting in and upon those who principal accuser and Witnesses proceeding so far as to cause a Prosecution to be had persons of known and good reputation, which caused a great disatisfaction and stop to be put thereunto until theire Majesty's pleasure should be known therein: And upon a Respresentation thereof accordingly made her late Majesty Queen Mary the second of blessed memory by Her Royal Letter given at her Court at Whitehall the fifteenth of April 1693. was Graciously pleased to approved the care and Circumspection therein; and to Will and require that in all proceedings ag't persons accused for Witchcraft, or being possessed by the devil, the greatest Moderation and all due Circumspection be used, so far as the same may be without Impediment to the Ordinary course of Justice.

And some of the principal Accusers and Witnesses in those dark and severe prosectutions have since discovered themselves to be persons of profligate and vicious conversation.

Upon the humble Petition and suit of several of the s'd persons and of the children of others of them whose Parents were Executed. Be it Declared and Enacted by his Excellency the Governor Council and Represtatives in General Court assembled and by the authority of the same That the several convictions Judgments and Attainders against the said George Burroughs, John Procter, George Jacobs, John WIllard, Giles Core, and Martha Core, Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Good, Elizabeth How, Mary Easty, Sarah Wild, Abigail Hobbs, Samuel Wardell, Mary Parker, Martha Carrier, Abigail Falkner: Anne Forster, Rebecca Eames, Mary Post, Mary Lacey, Mary Bradbury and Dorcas Hoar, and every of them Be and hereby are reversed made and declared to be nulland void to all Intents, Constructions and purposes whatsoever, as if no such convictions, Judments and attainders or either of them had or Incurrd.

Any Law Usage or Customs to the contrary notwithstanding. And that no Sheriffe, Constable,Goaler or other officer shall be Liable to any prosecution in the Law for anything they then Legally did in the Executionof their respective officers.

Made and Pass's by the Great and General Court or Assembly of her Majestys Province of the Massachusetts: Bay in New England held at Boston the 17th day of october, 1711"

Salem Witches Memorial

Monument to Sarah Wildes at Gallows Hill

John's son Jonathan was a somewhat peculiar person. His uncle John Gould testified at the witchcraft trial that when Jonathan was ill "in a straing maner" at the house of his aunt Mary Reddington, she said he would go out at the chimney tips into the barn where he would kill her hens." Rev. John Hale in a deposition said that Jonathan "did act very strangly Insomuch that I was invited to join Mr. Cobbet & others at Ipswich to advise & pray for ye said youth, whom some thought to counterfeit, others to be possessed by ye Devil. But I remember Mr. Cobbet thought he was under Obsession of ye Devil".(13)

On 9 Apr. 1690 John Wild, carpenter, transferred to his son Ephraim his possessions as follows:

"In consideration of seven years service that I had of him when he could have been for himself, I hereby transfer to my son Ephraim Wild all my housing, lands and meadows together with all my stock of cattle, sheep, swine, carts, ploughs, household stuff of all sorts and kinds whatforever."

The farm was bounded as follows: "With lands of John Ofrancher on ye west and lands of Mr. William Perkins towards ye south and with lands formerly John Reddington toward ye east and with lands formerly Robert Andrews and Mr. Baker towards ye north."(14)

Issue- first eight children by Priscilla, last child by Sarah I. John- b.c.1648, d.s.p. will 22 Oct. 1676-25 Sept. 1677 II. Jonathan- b.c.1651, d.s.p. 1676 III. Sarah- b.c.1651, m.c.1675 Edward Bishop of Beverly (d. 12 May 1711 Rehoboth) Sarah and Edward were also accused of witchcraft, but they escaped from the Boston jail and went to Rehoboth. IV. Elizabeth- m. 22 Jan. 1678 Benjamin Jones of Gloucester (adm. 6 July 1718 Enfield, CT) V. Phoebe- b.c.1653, m. 24 July 1679 Timothy Day of Gloucester, d. 8 Apr. 1723. Phoebe was accused of witchcraft in 1692, but, was released on bond and never tried. VI. Priscilla- b. 6 Apr. 1658, m. 9 May 1681 Henry Lake of Salem (d. 22 May 1733 Topsfield), d. 23 Mar. 1688 Topsfield VII. Martha- b. 13 May 1660, d.s.p. after 1685 VIII. Nathan- b. 14 Dec. 1662, d. 17 Mar. 1663 2IX. EPHRAIM- b. Feb. 1665 Topsfield, m. 18 Mar. 1689/0 MARY (3) HOWLETT (b. 17 Feb. 1671, d. 17 May 1758), d. 2 Apr. 1725 Topsfield Ref: (1) The Ancestry of Dudley Wildes- p.7 (2) Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County- per index (3) Ipswich Deeds- I, 649 (4) Ibid- IV, 271,376; V, 291 (5) The Averell, Averill, Avery Family- p.105 (6) The Ancestry of Dudley Wildes- p.7 (7) The Ancestry of Dudley Wildes- p.8 (8) Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County- per index (9) Ibid (10) Ibid (11) In Essex County- Willard DeLue, The Boston Daily Globe, 25 Jan. 1952, p.15 (12) Collections of the Topsfield Historical Society- Vol. XIII, all surviving documents relating to Sarah will be found here verbatim. (13) The Ancestry of Dudley Wildes- p.14 (14) Essex Deeds- Vol.13, p.39 (15) Essex County Court Records- Vol. I, p. 163 (16) Ibid- p. 164 (17) Ibid- p. 166 (18) Ibid- p. 165 (19) Ibid- Vol. II, p. 135 (20) Mass. Archives- Vol. 135, p. 118 (21) Mass. Historical Society- Salem Witchcraft Papers- document 25

A Wildes Genealogy- Douglas Cruger, pp.1-4 The Wildes Genealogy- N.P. Apr. 1984, pp.1-5 Essex Institute Hist. Coll.- Apr. 1906, p.134ff Averell, Averill, Avery Family- C.A. Avery, pp.104-14 Genealogical And Family History of the State of Maine- Little, p.1522 New England Marriages- p.815

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John Wild, of Topsfield's Timeline

Dalton in Furness, Lancashire, England
Age 27
Topsfield, Essex, Mass
Age 28
Age 29
Topsfield, Essex, Mass
Age 30
Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts
Age 35
Topsfield, Essex Co, Massachusetts,
Age 35
Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts
April 6, 1658
Age 40
Topsfield, Essex County, MA, United States
May 13, 1660
Age 42
Topsfield, Essex, Mass