Sarah Cloyce (Towne), Salem Witch Trials

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Sarah Cloyes (Towne)

Also Known As: "Sarah Bridges"
Birthdate: (64)
Birthplace: Salem Town, Essex County, Massachusetts
Death: Died in Framingham, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Bay
Place of Burial: Salem Village (Present Danvers), Essex County, Massachusetts Bay, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of William Towne and Joanna Towne
Wife of Sgt. Edmund Bridges and Peter Cloyes
Mother of Mary Andrews; Elizabeth Edmunds; Hannah Elizabeth Barton; Caleb Bridges, Sr.; Alice Howe and 5 others
Sister of Rebecca Nurse; John Towne; Susanna Towne; Edmund Towne; Jacob Towne and 2 others

Managed by: Amy Lea Alfaro
Last Updated:

About Sarah Cloyce (Towne), Salem Witch Trials

From the Wikipedia page on Sarah Cloyce:

Sarah Cloyce (née Towne) was the sister of Rebecca Nurse and Mary Easty. She was accused of witchcraft but never indicted by a grand jury in the Salem Witch Trials.

In fiction

In the short story entitled Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne which is a social criticism of Puritan culture, a character named Goody Cloyse addresses the devil, confessing to practicing witchcraft. It is a shock to the protagonist as she taught him his catechism in youth. She makes a reference to "...that unhanged witch, Goody Cory..." {Hawthorne 3], a very possible reference to Martha Corey. [2]


1. Timeline of the Salem Witch Trials

2. "Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Categories: Salem witch trials

Sarah Towne - born circa 1642, in Salem, MA. She married (1) Edmund Bridges (2) Peter Cloyes. Sarah Cloyes was accused of witchcraft, in 1692 [at age 53], and put into prison, and later released. She pressed charges for her unlawful arrest and the killing of her sisters. She received three gold sovereigns for each of them. The movie, "Three Sovereigns For Sister Sarah" is about this event. Her daughter was Hepzibah Cloyce, married Ebenezer Harrington.

Sarah was never brought to trial when the Colonial Courts recognized their grave error in the execution of innocent people. Her story was documented by the Mobil Oil Co. Production of "Three Sovereigns For Sarah," starring Vanessa Redgrave as Sarah Cloyes. The movie was made in 1985 and is available on DVD.

In 1692 she was accused and imprisoned for witchcraft. She was not hanged. After the witch hysteria, they relocated to Framingham. Her sisters, Rebecca Nurse and Mary Easty were executed.

Thanks to Ken Smith for this biography: "Sarah was the fourth child of William Towne and Joanna Blessing of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, and Topsfield, Massachusetts. She was their first born in New England, on January 11, 1638, in Salem, Massachusetts, and baptised there on September 3, 1648, along with some siblings. Later, the family moved to Topsfield, Massachusetts, where Sarah married, on January 11, 1659/60, Edmund Bridges, Jr., the son of Edmund Bridges and his wife, Elizabeth. Edmund was born about 1637. Sarah and Edmund had three children in Topsfield by 1667, then moved to Salem, Massachusetts, before 1669, where they had two more children, including Hannah. Edmund died about 1682 in Salem. After the death of Edmund, Sarah married Peter Cloyes of Salem Village, and apparently had 2 children, Benoni, baptised September 2, 1683, and Hepzibah, who married February 3, 1708, Ebenezer Harrington. In 1692, Sarah, along with her sisters Rebecca Nurse and Mary Esty, were accused in the Salem Witch trials. Rebecca and Mary were hanged, but Sarah, who had also been condemned, escaped from the jail in Ipswich. In the spring of 1693, members of the Towne, Bridges, Barton, Cloyes and Elliott families moved away from Salem, no doubt because of the witch trials, and settled in the new community of Framingham, Massachusetts, where Sarah died about 1703. Information for this biography from the privately published book, The Bartons, by Ray Barton Jr.; NEHGR, v. 84, 'The Bartons of Oxford, Massachusetts'; New England Marriages Prior to 1700, by Torrey; Genealogical Dictionary of New England, by Savage; Early Settlers of Rowley, Massachusetts (1933), by Blodgett & Jewett, pg 42; the vital records of Ipswich, Topsfield, Salem and Framingham, Massachusetts."

  • **Sarah Towne, daughter of William and Joanna (Blessing) Towne, was baptized

3 Sep 1648 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts and died about 1703 in Framingham, Middlesex, Massachusetts. She married (1) Edmund Bridges on 11 Jan 1659/60 in Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts. He was born about 1637 in Rowley, Essex, Massachusetts and died 24 Jun 1682 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts. She married (2) Peter Cloyes about 1682 as his second wife. He was born 27 May 1640 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts and died 18 Jul 1708 in Framingham, Middlesex, Massachusetts. Peter Cloyes had married as his first wife to Hannah Littlefield of Wells, York, Maine.

Children of Sarah Towne and Edmund Bridges:

1. John M. Bridges, who married (1) Martha Cressly and (2) Huldah (

). There is a question as to whether or not this John was a son of Sarah Towne. 2. Edmund Bridges, b. 4 Oct 1660 in Topsfield. He married Elizabeth Croade. 3. Elizabeth Bridges, b. 1662. She married Samuel Edmunds. 4. Benjamin Bridges, b. 2 Jan 1664/65 in Topsfield and died in Aug 1725. He married Elizabeth (
). 5. Mary Bridges, b. 15 Apr 1667. She married Samuel Read/Reed. 6. Hannah Bridges, b. 9 Jun 1669 in Salem and d. 13 Mar 1716/17 in Oxford, Worcester, MA. She married Samuel Barton about 1690 in Salem. 7. Sarah M. Bridges, b. 1672. She married (1) Samuel Preston and (2) William Price. 8. Caleb Bridges, b. 3 Jun 1677 in Salem and d. about 1703 in Framingham. He married Sarah Brewer on 26 Nov 1700 in Framingham. 9. Alice Bridges, b. Sep 1680. She married Benjamin Howe.

Children of Sarah Towne and Peter Cloyes: 10. Alice Cloyes?, she is also listed as a child by Edmund Bridges. It is unclear which husband was her father, though based on her birthdate in relation to the death date of Edmund Bridges, it would appear that she more appropriately should be listed as a child by Bridges. 11. Benoni Cloyes, bap. 2 Sep 1683 in Salem. 12. Hepzibah Cloyes, b. abt. 1685 in Salem. She married Ebenezer Harrington 3 Feb 1707/8 in Framingham. 13. Mary Cloyes, b. abt. 1687. She married Daniel Waters.

Sarah Towne Bridges Cloyes, born in 1638, daughter of William and Joanna Bless- ing Towne, who came to New England from Yarmouth, Norfolk county, Eng- land, about 1639. She was the widow of Edmund Bridges, son of Captain Benja- min and his wife Alice. Sarah Towne Cloyes was the sister of Rebecca Towne Nourse. The story of the Salem Witch- craft and that of Rebecca Nourse are both familiar tragedies in colonial history. Possibly the story of her sister Sarah is less known. Rebecca Towne, wife of Francis Nourse, and Sarah Towne Cloyes were among the first victims in Salem to be accused of witchcraft. They were com- mitted to the Boston prison, March 1, 1692. At the first trial of Mrs. Nourse, who was a member of the Salem church and seems to have been a woman of cul- ture, the evidence was so weak that she was not convicted ; at a second trial she was also acquited, but at a third trial she was convicted and sentenced to be hung as a witch, because she had not given the magistrate the proper answer to his ques- tions. It was afterwards learned that owing to deafness she had failed to com- prehend the questions. The sentence was carried out in spite of the forty neighbors who gave their signatures to a declara- tion that "they had known her for many years and had observed her life and con- versation to be according to new profes- sion." She was executed July 19, 1692. Sarah Cloyes was also convicted, received the death sentence, and was committed to the jail in Ipswich to await execution. Her husband, Peter Cloyes, was allowed to visit her, and in some unknown way she managed to make her escape and was concealed by her friends until she came to Framingham in 1693 and settled in the part of the town that has since been known in Framingham history as Salem End. Sarah Towne Cloyes died in 1703. The third wife of Peter Cloyes was Widow Susana Beers, daughter of Robert Harrington, of Watertown, and this mar- riage was also her third, she having mar- ried (first) February 9, 1671-72, John Cutting, of Watertown, (second) Eliezer Beers, of Watertown, (third) Peter Cloyes. There seems to have been no record made of the birth of the children

Sarah and Edmund's children included: John M. Bridges, Edmund Bridges (1660), Elizabeth Bridges (1662), Benjamin Bridges (1664/65), Mary Bridges (1667), Hannah Bridges (1669), Sarah M. Bridges (1672) Caleb Bridges (1677), and Alice Bridges (1680).

Sarah and Peter's children included: Benoni Cloyes (1683), Hepzibah Cloyes (1685), and Mary Cloyes (1687).

Hepzibah Cloyes, daughter of Peter & Sarah (Towne) Bridges Cloyes of Framingham. His Will was proved April 8, 1754.

A genealogical dictionary of the first settlers of New England, showing three generations of those who came before May, 1692, on the basis of Farmer's Register. By James Savage. Savage, James, 1784-1873., Farmer, John, 1789-1838.;view=fulltext

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Sarah Cloyce (Towne), Salem Witch Trials's Timeline

September 3, 1639
Salem Town, Essex County, Massachusetts
September 3, 1639
Salem Town, Essex County, Massachusetts
September 3, 1639
Salem, Essex, MA
September 3, 1648
Age 9
Salem, Essex Co, MA
October 4, 1661
Age 22
Age 22
Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts, United States