Mary Estey (Towne), Salem Witch Trials

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Mary Estey (Towne)

Also Known As: "Eastey", "Easty", "Mary Easty"
Birthdate: (58)
Birthplace: Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England
Death: Died in Salem Town, Essex County, Province of Massachusetts
Cause of death: Execution by Hanging
Place of Burial: Salem Town, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of William Towne and Joanna Towne
Wife of Isaac Estey or Easty
Mother of Joseph Estey; Sarah Gill (Estey); John Esty; Isaac Estey; Hannah Abbott and 10 others
Sister of Rebecca Nurse; John Towne; Susanna Towne; Edmund Towne; Jacob Towne and 2 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Mary Estey (Towne), Salem Witch Trials

She died from hanging on 22 September 1692 on Gallows Hill, Salem, Massachusetts,

having been accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch hysteria.

Links

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Towne-4 wikitree: (Towne-4 created 8 Jun 2010 | Last modified 12 Apr 2017)

'Mary (Towne) Estey (bef. 1634 - 1692)


'Mary Estey formerly Towne

Born before 24 Aug 1634 in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England

ANCESTORS

Daughter of William Towne and Joannah (Blessing) Towne

Sister of Rebecca (Towne) Nurse, John Towne, Susannah (Towne) Hayward,

Edmund Towne, Jacob Towne, Sarah Towne [half], Joseph Towne and Sarah (Towne) Cloyes

Wife of Isaac Estey — married 1655 in Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts

DESCENDANTS

Mother of Isaac Estey, Joseph Esty, Sarah (Estey) Gill, John Estey, Hannah (Estey) Abbott,

Benjamin Estey, Benjamin Esty, Samuel Esty, Jacob (Estey) Esty, Joshua Estey,

Jeffrey Estey and Mary Estey

Died 22 Sep 1692 in Gallows Hill, Salem County, Massachusetts

Profile managers: Elizabeth S [send private message],

Julia Howard [send private message], Debra Cullen [send private message],

Toby Proctor [send private message], and Bill Good [send private message]

Towne-4 created 8 Jun 2010 | Last modified 12 Apr 2017

Categories: Accused Witches of New England | Salem Witch Trials | Witch Trials |

English Immigrants to Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Merge Warning. This profile and its associated family profiles (siblings, spouse, children) are currently part of a WikiTree-wide effort to merge all duplicate profiles. While she and her spouse have both been merged, their children have not yet. Your patient and collaboration are appreciated in completing the merges of this family. Thank you.

Biography

Mary was christened 24 August 1634 at St. Nicholas Church in Great Yarmouth, England,

daughter of William Towne and Joanna Blessing.[1]

She married by 1656 Isaac Estey.[2]

She died from hanging on 22 September 1692 on Gallows Hill, Salem, Massachusetts,

having been accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch hysteria.

Accused of Witchcraft

Mary's sister, Rebecca Nurse, older by thirteen years, had been accused and executed on 19 July 1692. Another sister, Sarah Cloyse, was also accused.[3]

At the time of her questioning, Easty was about 58 years old and was married to Isaac Easty, with whom she had had seven children. Isaac owned and lived upon a large valuable farm. Her examination followed the pattern of most in Salem: the girls had fits, and were speechless at times, and the magistrate expostulated with her for not confessing her guilt, which he deemed proven beyond doubt by the sufferings of the afflicted. "How far have you complied with Satan?" "Sir, I never complied with him but pray against him all my days. What would you have Easty do?" "Confess if you be guilty" "I will say it, if it was my last time, I am clear of this sin." During the exam, when Easty clasped her hands together, the hands of Mary Lewis, one of the afflicted were clenched and not released until Easty released her hands, and when she inclined her head, the afflicted girls cried out to have her straighten her neck, because as long as her head was inclined their necks were broken. Easty was committed to prison after her examination. For a reason not disclosed in any of the remaining records, Easty, after spending two months in prison, was discharged on the 18th of May. She and her family believed she would now be safe from further accusations. They were wrong. The release seems to have been very distasteful to the afflicted girls, they became determined to not let the matter rest, and redoubled their energies to get her back into prison. On the 20th, Mary Lewis spent the entire day experiencing fits of unprecedented severity, during which time she said she was being strangled, and claimed "they will kill Easty out right." Several of the other afflicted girls claimed that they could see the apparition of Easty afflicting her, and people came from all around to see the fits. That evening a second warrant was issued for Easty's arrest. At midnight, after experiencing two days of liberty and being reunited with her family, Easty was rousted from her sleep by the marshall, torn from her husband and children, and taken back to prison where she was loaded with chains. Once Easty was back in prisons with chains, Lewis's fits stopped. She was tried, found guilty and condemned to death on 9 September.

While in jail, she petitioned the court:

The Humble Petition of Mary Easty unto his Excellency Sir William Phips, and to the Honored Judge and Bench now sitting in Judicature in Salem, and the Reverend Ministers, humbly showeth, that, whereas, your poor and humble petitioner, being condemned to die, do humbly beg of you to take It In yonr judicious and pious consideration that your poor and humble petitioner, knowing my own Innocency, blessed be the Lord for It ! and seeing plainly the wiles and subtility of my accusers by myself, cannot but judge charitably of others that are going the same way of myself, If the Lord steps not mightily in. I was confined a whole month upon the same account that I am condemned now for, and then cleared by the afflicted persons, as some of Your Honors know. And in two days' time I was cried out upon them, and have been confined, and now am condemned to die. The Lord above knows my Innocency then, and likewise does now, as at the great day will be known to men and angels. I petition to You Honors not for my own life, for I know I must die, and my appointed time is set ; but the Lord he knows it is that, if it be possible, no more innocent blood may be shed, which undoubtedly cannot be avoided in the way and course you go in. I question not but Your Honors do to the utmost of your powers in the discovery and detecting of witchcraft and witches, and would not be guilty of innocent blood for the world. Bnt, by my own innocency, I know you are in the wrong way. The Lord in his infinite mercy direct you in this great work, if it be his blessed will that no more Innocent blood be shed, I would humbly beg of you, that Your Honors would be pleased to examine these afflicted persons strictly, and keep them apart some time, and likewise to try some of these confessing witches; I being confident there is several of them has belled themselves and others, as will appear, if not in this world, I am sure In the world to come, whither I am now agoing. I question not but you will see an alteration of these things. They say myself and others having made a league with the Devil, we cannot confess. I know, and the Lord knows, as will . . . appear, they belie me, and so I question not but they do others. The Lord above, who is the Searcher of all hearts, knows, as I shall answer It at the tribunal seat, that I know not the least thing of witchcraft ; therefore I cannot, I dare not, belie my own soul. I beg Your Honors not to deny this my humble petition from a poor, dying, innocent person. And I question not but the Lord will give a blessing to your endeavors." On 22 September 1692, she, along with seven others so accused were executed.

After her death, her husband spent almost twenty years trying to clear her name; ultimately, in 1711, the verdict was annulled and the court granted him twenty pounds in acknowledgement of the injustice of the previous decision.

Further Analysis of Mary Easty's Salem Witch Trial Experience[4]

Mary Easty was not a member of Salem Town or Village, but a resident of Topsfield, a settlement just north of the Village. Animosity had festered between members of Salem Village and Topsfield since 1639 when the General Court of Massachusetts granted Salem permission to expand northward in the direction of the Ipswich River, but then only four years later the same court authorized inhabitants of another Village, Ipswich, to found a settlement there. As land became scarcer, quarrels regarding boundaries between the settlement to become known as Topsfield and Salem went on for a century. The Putnams of Salem Village embodied this battle in their quarrels with the Nurse family, Mary Easty's brother-in-law. According to Boyer and Nissenbaum in Salem Possessed, considering the bitterness between these families, it can be seen as no coincidence that the three Towne sisters, Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Cloyce and Mary Easty, were all daughters and wives of Topsfield men eventually to be persecuted by Putnam women in 1692 on behalf of Putnam men. More interesting than the accusations against Easty is her experience during the trials. She was accused on April 21, examined on the 22nd, and imprisoned after denying her guilt. During her examination, Magistrate John Hathorne aggressively questioned Easty, or more accurately, tried to lead her to a confession by the following line of questioning: "How can you say you know nothing when you see these tormented [girls], & accuse you that you know nothing?" "Would you have me accuse myself?" "Yes if you be guilty." "Sir, I never complied but prayed against [the devil] all my dayes... I will say it, if it was my last time, I am clear of this sin." (SWPI 120) In a surprising moment, Hathorne, clearly affected by the convincing manner with which Easty spoke, turned to the accusers and asked, "Are you certain this is the woman?" This question acted as a symbol for the accusers to release their full energy into tormented fits. Hathorne was now convinced and imprisoned Easty. The girls, however, seemed not to be fully convinced of their own accusations. Perhaps due to pressure from community around Easty, all of the accusers, except Mercy Lewis, began to back off their claims and Easty was released from jail on May 18. The details of what happened next provide undeniable clues about the power of the accusers and the impossibility of conducting a fair juridical process. After Easty's release, Mercy Lewis fell into violent fits and appeared to be approaching death. Mercy Lewis later explained that Easty was tormenting her, and "said [Easty] would kill [Lewis] before midnight because she did not cleare hir so as the Rest did." (Salem Witchcraft Papers, I: 124) Mary Walcott, Abigail Williams and Ann Putnam were brought to her bedside in an effort to discover who was tormenting Mercy. Along the path to the Mercy's house, Ann and Abigail explained that they saw Easty's specter tormenting Mercy, strongly suggesting a collaboration effort had already taken place before Mercy began her torments. Frances Hill in A Delusion of Satan calls this episode a propaganda scheme to show doubting Villagers the dire consequences of freeing witches from jail. Mercy and four others cried out against Easty on May 20. Mercy's fits did not cease until Easty was back in prison in irons demonstrating the effective power of the accusers. While Easty remained in jail awaiting her September 9 trial, she and her sister, Sarah Cloyce, composed a petition to the magistrates in which they asked, in essence, for a fair trial. They complained that they were "neither able to plead our owne cause, nor is councell allowed." They suggested that the judges ought to serve as their counsel and that they be allowed persons to testify on their behalf. Easty hoped her good reputation in Topsfield and the words of her minister might aid her case in Salem, a town of strangers. Lastly, the sisters asked that the testimony of accusers and other "witches" be dismissed considering it was predominantly spectral evidence that lacked legality. (Salem Witchcraft Papers, I: 303) The sisters hoped that the judges would be forced to weigh solid character testimony against ambiguous spectral evidence. The petition did not change the outcome of Easty's trial, for she was condemned to hang on September 17th. But together with her second petition, Easty had forced the court to consider its flaws. Easty's second petition was written not as a last attempt to save her own life but as a plea that "no more innocent blood may be shed." (SWP I :304) She concedes saying that the court had the best of intentions, but only more innocent deaths would occur if the court continued its practices, for she like many others could not "belie [their] own soul." She proposes two strategies for the court in to use when determining witchcraft: First, she asks that the accusers be kept apart to see if under such circumstances they would all tell the same experiences. If they were able to give similar credible accounts of their spectral experiences then any doubt would be removed as to the guilt or innocence of the person on trial. This proposal brings to mind Thomas Brattle's observation in his famous Letter of October 8, 1692 that the accusers, when not claiming to be attacked by specters, were otherwise in good health. Easty was obviously not the only skeptic of the accusers' spectral torments. Secondly, Easty proposed that all confessing witches be brought to trial as well as those confessing innocence. Rosenthal writes in A Salem Story that in an atmosphere of rising doubt, "for the court to ignore Easty's challenge would be to acknowledge to the critics that the proceedings were fatally flawed - that the hunt was not really for witches after all but for validating the court." Easty was hanged on September 22, 1692. Her demeanor at Gallows Hill is documented by Calef: "when she took her last farewell of her husband, children and friends, was, as is reported by them present, as serious, religious, distinct, and affectionate as could well be exprest, drawing tears from the eyes of almost all present." Easty challenged the court to no personal avail, but she exposed the weakness of the court for the benefit of others. She died on a chill and rainy day. Children

Isaac Estey b abt 1656 Sarah Estey b 30 Jun 1660; m1 Moses Gll of Amesbury; m2 Ireland Joseph Esty b 5 Feb 1657/8 John Estey b 2 Jan 1662/3 Hannah Estey b 1667; d 5 Nov 1741 at Topsfield; m George Abbot of Andover Benjamin Estey b 29 Apr 1669 Samuel Esty b 25 Mar 1672; d bef 1709 prob unmarried Jacob Esty b 24 Jan 1674/5 Joshua Estey b 2 Jul 1678 d bef 25 Apr 1718 Sources

↑ "England, Norfolk, Parish Registers (County Record Office), 1510-1997," database with images, FamilySearch, Yarmouth St Nicholas > Baptisms, Marriages, Burials > image 109 of 304; Record Office, Norwich. ↑ Clarence A. Torrey, compiler, New England Marriages Prior to 1700 (CD version) (Boston, MA: NEHGS, 2001), citing Stevens-Miller 171; Wildes Anc. 114; Johnson Anc. 17, 34; EIHC 36:132, 61:438; Gen Mag. 2:140; Dommerich Chart 56; Salem 3:5; Reg. 21:16, 86:231; Snow-Estes 2:164; NYGBR 49:90; Cole Anc. (1935) 44; Salem 1:368; Topsfield Hist. Soc. 5:110; Abbott 1:49; Esty 6; Gill (ms) 3; Towne Anc. 6; Essex Ant. 5:138. ↑ excerpted from Essex Institute Historical Collections, Vol. 36 (1900): pp. 132-134. ↑ Anne Taite Austin, "Mary Easty," for "Salem Witch Trials in History and Literature," an undergraduate course, University of Virginia, Spring 2001. See also:

Edwin Hubbard, The Towne Family Memorial: Compiled from the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Towne Manuscripts, Public and Family Records; for A.N. Towne Esq., San Francisco, Cal., Chicago, Illinois: Fergus Printing Company. 1880. Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Descendants of George Abbott, of Rowley, Mass. : of his joint descendants with George Abbott, sr., of Andover, Mass., of the descendants of Daniel Abbott, of Providence, R.I., of some of the descendants of Capt. Thomas Abbott, of Andover, Mass., of George Abbott, of Norwalk Ct., of Robert Abbott, of Branford Ct., with brief notes of many others of the name, original settlers in the United States, (Boston: T.R. Marvin & son, printers, 1906) Vol. 1:49 Godfrey Memorial Library (comp.), American Genealogical-Biographical Index (AGBI), Middletown, CT, USA: Godfrey Memorial Library. Contributors

Toby Proctor, Elizabeth S, Bill Good, Pam Carter, Julie Baldwin.


Mary Towne Estey (1634 - 1692) - Mary Towne, daughter of William Towne (1599-1685) and Joanna Blessing (1595-1682), was born 12 August 1634 at Great Yarmouth, Suffolk, England; she was executed for witchcraft on 22 September 1692 at Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts Colony. She married Issac Eastey (1627-1709) about 1647 at Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts; they had seven known surviving children.

Children of Mary and Issac

  1. Isaac Esty (1656 - 1714)
  2. Joseph Estey (2 May 1657 - 25 October 1738)
  3. Sarah Esty (30 June 1660 - 29 June 1749)
  4. John Esty (born 2 January 1661/1662)
  5. Hannah Esty (1667 - 5 Nov 1741); married George Abbot 21 July 1707 Topsfield, Massachusetts
  6. Benjamin Esty (29 April 1669 - 28 March 1750)
  7. Samuel Esty (25 March 1672 Topsfield, Massachusetts - 1708)
  8. Jacob Esty (4 January 1673/1674 - 3 October 1732)
  9. Joshua Esty (2 July 1678 - 25 April 1718)
  10. Mary Esty
  11. Abigail Esty

Biographical Sketch

Born at Great Yarmouth, Suffolk, England on 12 August 1634, Mary Towne was christened two weeks later on 24 August. She migrated with family to Salem, Massachusetts at a very young age, possibly in 1637 aboard the Rose of Yarmouth. Mary was the second wife of yeoman farmer, Issac Eastey, who had two children from his first marriage. She and Issac had eleven more children, four of whom did not survive infancy and childhood.

Accused of Witchcraft

At the time, witchcraft was assumed to be hereditary. After the accusations of her sisters Rebecca Nurse and Sarah Cloyce, Mary (Towne) Easty was virtually certain to be accused as well.

Mary Easty was a resident of Topsfield, a settlement just north of Salem Village. Animosity had festered between members of Salem Village and Topsfield since 1639 when the General Court of Massachusetts granted Salem permission to expand northward in the direction of the Ipswich River, but then just four years later authorized inhabitants of Ipswich to found a settlement there as well. As land became scarcer, quarrels regarding boundaries between the settlements went on for a century.

Considering the bitterness between the Putnams and the Nurse family, it can be no coincidence that the three Towne sisters, Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Cloyce and Mary Easty, were all daughters and wives of Topsfield men to be persecuted by Putnam women in 1692 on behalf of Putnam men.

Like her sister Rebecca, Mary was a pious and respected member of Salem. Once accused, however, Mary stood little chance of escaping conviction.

Would You Have Me Accuse Myself?

Her examination on 22 April 1692 followed the pattern of most of the accused witches in Salem. The girls feigned fits and speechlessness. When Eastey clasped her hands together, Mercy Lewis, one of the afflicted, imitated the gesture and claimed to be unable to release her hands until Eastey released her own. Again, when Mary inclined her head, the afflicted girls accused her of trying to break their necks.

Magistrate John Hathorne aggressively questioned Easty, or more accurately, tried to lead her to a confession:

"How can you say you know nothing when you see these tormented [girls], & accuse you that you know nothing?"

"Would you have me accuse myself?"

"Yes if you be guilty."

"Sir, I never complied but prayed against [the devil] all my dayes... I will say it, if it was my last time, I am clear of this sin."

In a surprising moment, Hathorne, clearly affected by the convincing manner with which Easty spoke, turned to the accusers and asked, "Are you certain this is the woman?" This question prodded the accusers to release their full energy into tormented fits. Hathorne was now convinced and imprisoned Easty.

The girls, however, seemed not to be fully convinced of their own accusations. Perhaps due to pressure from community around Easty, all of the accusers except Mercy Lewis, began to back off their claims. Easty was released from jail on 18 May. John and Mary Arnold testified that her behavior in the Boston prison was good and that her deportment was sober. She and her family believed she was safe.

Returned to Prison

What happened next provides an undeniable insight into the power of the accusers and the impossibility of obtaining a fair judicial process. After Easty's release, Mercy Lewis fell into violent fits and appeared to be approaching death. Mercy Lewis claimed that Easty was tormenting her, and "said [Easty] would kill [Lewis] before midnight because she did not cleare hir so as the Rest did."

Mary Walcott, Abigail Williams and Ann Putnam were brought to her bedside in an effort to discover who was tormenting Mercy. Along the path to the Mercy's house, Ann and Abigail explained that they saw Easty's specter tormenting Mercy, strongly suggesting a collaboration effort had already taken place before Mercy began her torments.

Frances Hill in A Delusion of Satan calls this episode a propaganda scheme to show doubting villagers the dire consequences of freeing witches from jail. Mercy and four others cried out against Easty on 20 May. A second warrant was issued that night for Eastey's arrest. She was taken from her bed and returned to the prison. Mercy's fits did not cease until Easty was back in chains and in prison, demonstrating the effective power of the accusers.

Damning Testimony

On 23 May 1692, Mary was indicted. Seventy year-old Margaret Reddington testified that about three years before, she was at the Estey home and talked with Mary about an illness and had and became very sick after that. She said that Mary's apparition appeared and offered her a piece of fresh meat that was not fit for the dogs. When she said she wouldn't have it, the apparition vanished.

Twenty-five year-old Samuel Smith of Boxford testified that about five years before he was rude to Isaac Estey, and Mary said he should not be so rude or he would regret it. That night on his ride home, he received a little blow on his shoulder and a stone wall rattled and frightened him and his horse.

A Plea for Fairness

Mary Town Estey was a devout Puritan who affirmed the existence of witchcraft but strongly condemned the trial proceedings. While in jail awaiting trial, she and her sister, Sarah Cloyce, composed a petition to the magistrates in which they asked, in essence, for a fair trial. They complained that they were "neither able to plead our owne cause, nor is councell allowed." They suggested that the judges ought to serve as their counsel and that they be allowed persons to testify on their behalf. Easty hoped her good reputation in Topsfield and the words of her minister might aid her case in Salem, where she wasn't as well known.

Lastly, the sisters asked that the testimony of accusers and other "witches" be dismissed considering it was predominantly spectral evidence that lacked legality. The sisters hoped that the judges would be forced to weigh solid character testimony against ambiguous spectral evidence. Despite her eloquent petition to the court, on 17 September she was condemned to death. But Easty did force the court to consider its flaws.

No More Innocent Blood

Easty wrote a second petition as a plea that "no more innocent blood may be shed." She concedes saying that the court had the best of intentions, but only more innocent deaths would occur if the court continued its practices, for she like many others could not "belie [their] own soul." She proposes two strategies for the court in to use when determining witchcraft: First, she asks that the accusers be kept apart to see if under such circumstances they would all tell the same experiences. If they were able to give similar credible accounts of their spectral experiences then any doubt would be removed as to the guilt or innocence of the person on trial.

Easty also proposed that all confessing witches be brought to trial as well as those confessing innocence. Rosenthal writes in A Salem Story that in an atmosphere of rising doubt, "for the court to ignore Easty's challenge would be to acknowledge to the critics that the proceedings were fatally flawed - that the hunt was not really for witches after all but for validating the court."

The Lord Above Knows My Innocency

She was imprisoned for a total of about four months before finally being tried, and convicted on 9 September. Three weeks later, on 22 August 1692, she was one of a group of eight hanged for witchcraft, referred to by Salem minister Nicholas Noyes, as the "eight firebrands of Hell". Mary’s parting communications with her husband and children were said by those who were present to have been, "as serious, religious, distinct, and affectionate as could be expressed, drawing tears from the eyes of almost all present."

Her final statement prior to execution was, "The Lord above knows my innocency then...as on the great day will be known to men and angels. I petition your honours...if it be possible, that no more innocent blood be shed, which undoubtedly cannot be avoided in the way and course you go in. I question not, but your honors do to the utmost of your powers in the discovery and detecting of witchcraft and witches, and would not be guilt of innocent blood for the world; but by my own innocency, I know you are in the wrong way. The Lord in His infinite mercy direct you in this great work, if it be his blessed will, that innocent blood be not shed..."

Aftermath

Her older sister, Rebecca Towne Nurse, had been among the first to be executed, two months previously. Their younger sister, Sarah Towne Cloyce, escaped execution. She was reprieved at the end of the witch hunt, after more than eight months of imprisonment. In November, after Eastey had been put to death, Mary Herrick gave testimony about Eastey. Herrick testified that she was visited by Eastey who told her she had been put to death wrongfully and was innocent of witchcraft, and that she had come to vindicate her cause. Eastey's family was compensated with 20 pounds from the government in 1711 for her wrongful execution.

Mary Towne Estey's Salem Witch Trials Timeline

  • 21 April 1692: Accused by Ann Putnam, Jr. of witchcraft and jailed
  • 22 April 1692: Pre-trial Examination
  • 18 Mary 1692: Released from jail
  • 21 May 1692: Imprisoned on new witchcraft charges by Mercy Lewis
  • 9 September 1692: Tried and convicted
  • 22 September 1692: Executed by hanging

Sources and Further Information

  • Boyer, Paul and Stephen Nissenbaum. Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1974.
  • Boyer, Paul and Stephen Nissenbaum. The Salem Witchcraft Papers, 1977.
  • Buckstad, Kristin. Salem Witch Trials: George Jacobs, Sr., Undergraduate essay, Salem Witch Trials in History and Literature, University of Virginia. 2001.
  • Burns, M. The Salem Witchcraft Papers. A Guide to the Online Primary Sources of the Salem Witch Trials. 17th Century U.S., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2014. This page links the entries in Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, Bernard Rosenthal, General Editor (Cambridge University Press, 2009), with the publicly available facsimiles online of the manuscripts and published sources from which they were transcribed.
  • Calef, Robert. More Wonders of the Invisible World.
  • Essex County Archives, Salem - Witchcraft Vol. 1 Page 177
  • Fowler, Samuel P. Salem Witchcraft; Comprising More Wonders of the Invisible World. Salem, MA: H.P. Ives and A.A. Smith, 1861. Print.
  • Greene, David L. "Salem Witches II: George Jacobs". The American Genealogist, Vol 58:2. April 1982.
  • Hall, David D. Worlds of Wonder, Days of Judgment: Popular Religious Belief in Early New England. London: Harvard University Press, 1990.
  • Hill, Francis. A Delusion of Satan: the Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials
  • Hill, Frances. The Salem Witch Trials Reader. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo, 2000. Print.
  • Hill, Frances. The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials. New York: Da Capo, 2002.
  • Hoffer, Peter Charles. The Devil’s Disciples: Makers of the Salem Witchcraft Trials. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1996.
  • Horsley, Richard A. “Who Were the Witches? The Social Roles of the Accused in the European Witch Trials.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 9, no. 4 (Spring, 1979): 689 – 715.
  • Carol F. Karlsen, The Devil in the Shape of Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1987.
  • Linder, Douglas O. An Account of the Events in Salem. The Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692. The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), Sept. 2009. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.
  • Matossian, Mary Kilbourne. Poisons of the Past: Molds, Epidemics, and History. Yale University Press, 1991.
  • Meyerink, MLS, AG, FUGA, Kory L. Witches in Colonial America. ProGenealogists. Ancestry.com, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.
  • Miller, Perry. "The New England Mind, From Colony to Province.
  • Morgan, Edmund S. The Puritan Family: Religion and Domestic Relations in Seventeenth-century New England. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1980.
  • Norton, Mary Beth. “Essex County Witchcraft.” The William and Mary Quarterly 65, no. 3 (July): 483-488.
  • Norton, Mary Beth. In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.
  • Odrowaz-Sypniewski, BFA, Margaret. [http%3A%2F%2Fwww.angelfire.com%2Fmi4%2Fpolcrt%2FSalemTrials.html The Salem Witch Trials]. Salem Trials. Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewski, BFA, 9 Sept. 2005. Web. 7 Apr. 2014.
  • Perley, Sidney. The History of Salem, Massachusetts, Vol.III. 1924.
  • Ray, Benjamin, and University of Virginia. Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive. Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive. University of Virginia; Scholar's Lab of the University of Virginia Library; Intitute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, 2002. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.
  • Ray, Benjamin C. 2008. “The Geography of Witchcraft Accusations in 1692 Salem Village.” The William and Mary Quarterly 65, no. 3 (July): 449-478.
  • Roach, Marilynne K. The Salem Witch Trials. Lanham, Maryland: Taylor Trade Publishing: 2004.
  • Rosenthal, Bernard. Salem Story: Reading the Witch Trials of 1692. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
  • Rosenthal, Bernard. Records of the Salem witch-hunt. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
  • Starkey, Marion L. The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Enquiry into the Salem Witch Trials. New York: Doubleday, 1989.
  • Upham, Charles Wentworth. Salem Witchcraft, Volumes I and II. Cirencester, Eng.: Echo Library, 2005. Print.
  • Woodward, W. Elliot. Records of Salem Witchcraft, Copied from the Original Documents. Whitefish, Mt: Kessinger, 2007. Print.

Links

Mary Towne Estey was born in 1634 in Yarmouth, Norfolk County, England. She was christened on August 24, 1634 in St. Nicholas church. Her parents were William Towne and Joanna Blessing.

She married Isaac Estey, Sr. before 1656 when her first son was born. Their children and life together are described in detail in the section on Isaac and Mary Estey.

Mary was accused of witchcraft in 1692 when she was about 58 years old. Two of her sisters, Rebecca Nurse, and Sarah Cloyes, were also accused.

Her examination on April 22, 1692 followed the pattern of most of the accused witches in Salem. The girls feigned fits and speechlessness. During the exam, when Mary clasped her hands together, Mercy Lewis clenched her own hands and did not release them until Mary released hers. When Mary inclined her head, the afflicted girls cried out to have her straighten her neck, because they claimed as long as Mary’s head was inclined their necks were broken.

The magistrate scolded Mary for not confessing her guilt, which he believed proven by the sufferings of the afflicted. "How far have you complied with Satan?" "Sir, I never complied with him but pray against him all my days. What would you have Easty do?" "Confess if you be guilty" "I will say it, if it was my last time, I am clear of this sin."

Mary was committed to prison after her examination. After spending two months in prison, she was discharged on May 18th. John and Mary Arnold testified that her behavior in the Boston prison was good and that her deportment was sober. She and her family incorrectly believed she was safe.

On May 20th, 1692 Mercy Lewis spent the entire day pretending to have severe fits and to be speechless. She said she was being strangled and that Mary was attempting to have her write in Mary's book. Several of the other girls claimed that they could see Mary Estey’s apparition afflicting her. Many believed that Mercy Lewis was near death.

A warrant was issued that same day and Mary was accused of acts against Ann Putnam, Mercy Lewis, Mary Walcot, and Abigail Williams.

John Putnam, Jr. and Benjamin Hutchinson Jonathan Putnam George Herrick and John Putnam, Jr. Samuel Abby Elizabeth Hubbard Sarah Trask Mary Walcott Seventy year old Margaret Reddington testified that about three years before, she was at the Estey home and talked with Mary about an illness and had and became very sick after that. She said that Mary's apparition appeared and offered her a piece of fresh meat that was not fit for the dogs. When she said she wouldn't have it, the apparition vanished.

Twenty-five year old Samuel Smith of Boxford testified that about five years before he was rude to Isaac Estey and Mary said he should not be so rude or he would regret it. That night on his ride home, he received a little blow on his shoulder and a stone wall rattled and frightened him and his horse.

On May 23 1692, Mary was indicted. Abigail Williams and Ann Putnam testified than when Abigail was going to see Mercy Lewis having her fits, Mary's apparition told her that she was torturing Mercy because she would not clear her and that Abigail herself was also tortured.

Sarah Bibber testified to the fits on August 3, 1692. On August 4 Elizabeth Hubbard, Edward Putnam, Mary Walcott, Mary Warren and Ann Putnam testified that on May 23 during the examination that Mary had tortured her and other girls by twisting and choking them.

That evening a second warrant was issued for Mary's arrest. At midnight, she was woken up by the marshall and taken back to prison and chained. Once Mary was back in prison with chains, Mary Lewis stopped her fits.

On September 5, 1692 Thomas and Elizabeth Fosse testified that Mary was civil and sober while whe was in the Ipswich prison.

Mary was tried and condemned to death on September 9th when she was 58 years old. She was executed on September 22, despite an eloquent petition to the court. She also petitioned with her sister, Sarah Cloyes. On the gallows she prayed for an end to the witch hunt.

Mary’s parting communications with her husband and children were said by those who were present to have been

as serious, religious, distinct, and affectionate as could be expressed, drawing tears from the eyes of almost all present.

In November, after Mary had been put to death, Mary Herrick testified that she was visited by Mary who told her she had been put to death wrongfully and was innocent of witchcraft, and that she had come to vindicate her cause.

Mary's family was compensated with 20 pounds from the government in 1711 for her wrongful execution.

Photo Courtesy: Carolyn Wood http://www.myhartt.com/graves.php?ID=22&NAME=Mary%20%20Estey


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Mary Estey (Towne), Salem Witch Trials's Timeline

1634
August 24, 1634
Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England

Unfortunately, birth records are not available for Mary Towne, only baptismal records. Her actual birth may have been one or two months before her August 24 baptism. She was the last of her family born in England.

August 24, 1634
Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England

Unfortunately, birth records are not available for Mary Towne, only baptismal records. Her actual birth may have been as much as two months before this date. Within three years, her family emigrated to the newly-founded Massachusetts Bay Colony. The date is confirmed by the Towne Family Memorial: http://www.archive.org/stream/townefamilymemor00hubb/#page/n44/mode...

1658
February 5, 1658
Age 23
Topsfield, Essex, MA, USA
1660
June 30, 1660
Age 25
Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
1662
January 2, 1662
Age 27
Topsfield, Essex, MA, USA
March 22, 1662
Age 27
Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony, (Present USA)