We have added a Facebook page

Dear family members:

We have created a Facebook page for telling stories, asking questions and sharing the unique experience of being descendants of Martha Carrier.

If you are a Facebook member, and want to join us, click here:

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Looking for clues…

Hello there! I completely and totally expect no response to this message, but I figured I’d give it a shot.

My name is Gabrielle A. Bartomeo, and I am the daughter of Dorothy Cunningham, adopted by Viola Cunningham nee Mahon and John Cunningham. At birth, Dorothy Cunningham had the name of “Female” Carrier, according to the NYC birth indexes.

She was born May 17th in the year 1951 in Queens General Hospital in Queens County, NYC, NY, USA.

I have signed up with a site called 23andMe and found a lot of colonial-descended 5th cousins, and started developing a large family tree that linked them. When I found out my mother’s last name was Carrier, on a whim I plugged in Thomas Carrier – and by extension, his wife, Martha Carrier nee Allen – and started seeing some parts of the tree linking up between these different people and the Carriers.

A birth index record.

A birth index record.

I believe that my mother was also a descendant of Martha Carrier, but all I have for it currently is exactly what you’ve read above. It seems pretty clear.

If you have any idea what line we might be on, anyway to help me find out not only for my late mother, but for my siblings and their children, how we are related, that would be wonderful.

I’m sorry for asking for something of you when I’m practically a stranger — we’re just looking for our family.

I can also offer you said massive family tree as a GRAMPS file.

Thank you for reading.

Gabrielle A. Bartomeo

My email is: Estrellita DelMar <estrellita.chispeante.delma (at) gmail.com>

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A Salem Witchcraft bibliography (selective)

A list-serve called salem-witch@toosweb.com recently received a post asking for book recommendations on the Salem witch hunt.

“Robin M” and “Margo Burns” posted this list. I’ve added Kathleen Kent’s novels.

If you have any favorite, post them, or email them and I’ll add to the list:

Salem Witchcraft Recommended Books

Emerson Baker: A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience

Marilynne Roach: Six Women of Salem : The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials, and The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege

Benjamin Ray: Satan & Salem: The Witch-Hunt Crisis of 1692

Stacy Schiff: Witches: Salem 1692 (Publishing October 27, 2015)

Richard Francis: Judge Sewall’s Apology: The Salem Witch Trials and the Forming of an American Conscience

Jakob Crane: Lies in the Dust: A Tale of Remorse from the Salem Witch Trials (graphic novel)

Enders Robinson: The Devil Discovered: Salem Witchcraft 1692, and Salem Witchcraft and the House of the Seven Gables, and Andover Witchcraft Genealogy

Bernard Rosenthal: Salem Story: Reading the Witch Trials of 1692

Chadwick Hansen: Witchcraft at Salem

Richard Godbeer: The Devil’s Dominion: Magic and Religion in Early New England

Elizabeth Reis: Damned Women: Sinners and Witches in Puritan New England, and Spellbound: Women and Witchcraft in America (ed.)

Elaine Breslaw: Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem: Devilish Indians and Puritan Fantasies

Peter Hoffer: The Devil’s Disciples: The Makers of the Salem Witchcraft Trials and The Salem Witchcraft Trials: A Legal History

Frances Hill: A Delusion Of Satan: The Full Story Of The Salem Witch Trials

Larry Gragg: A Quest for Security: The Life of Samuel Parris, 1653-1720, and The Salem Witch Crisis

John Demos: Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England, and The Enemy Within: A Short History of Witch-Hunting

Richard Gildrie: The Profane, the Civil, and The Godly: The Reformation of Manners in Orthodox New England, 1679-1749

Richard Weisman: Witchcraft, Magic, and Religion in 17th-Century Massachusetts

Richard Trask: The Devil Hath Been Raised: A Documentary History of the Salem Village Witchcraft Outbreak of March 1692

Kathleen Kent: The Heretic’s Daughter, and The Wolves of Andover (The Traitor’s Wife) (novels)


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A new book on the witch trials

As we Carriers know, interest in America’s witch trials is unending. Cotton Mather

The New Yorker has just published (Sept. 7, 2015) a new summary, by Pulitzer-winning historian Stacy Schiff, drawn from her new book, “The Witches: Salem, 1692.”

Here is a link to the New Yorker piece.

Here is a link to her book on Amazon.

And here is an NPR interview.

And here is a NY Times Book Review.


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Witch trials still stir emotions in Danvers

Aljazeera, the Arab news network, has discovered the witch trials, and posted a thoughtful piece based in Danvers.

Read it online here.

For the roots of Salem witch hysteria, look the next town over

Some descendants of accused witches in Danvers, once called Salem Village, say they are ready to address their legacy

SALEM, Massachusetts — Three centuries after America’s first recorded witch hunt, Salem no longer hangs witches; it applauds them as a mainstay of the local economy.

In the last two weeks of October alone, Salem businesses selling paraphernalia like witch novelties and “Bewitched” memorabilia will make 80 percent of their annual income in what has become a $100 million a year — and rapidly growing — industry, according to local tourism authorities. While many of the Witch City’s neighbors are mostly commuter cities for those working in Boston, Salem has established a tourism industry that employs over 700 Witch City residents.

That’s all thanks, of course, to the legacy of 24 accused witches who died amid the hysteria of 1692. But not many tourists to Salem are aware that there are more homes, graves and artifacts of the witch trials in the next town over, sleepy, relatively conservative Danvers — known until more than half a century after the trials as Salem Village.

There is no direct public transportation line from Boston or Salem to Danvers. With the exception of a few special events, none of the Salem tours go there, even though it’s only a 15-minute drive away.

Descendants of accused witches in Danvers said that many of those who were murdered were deeply Christian and would have strongly disapproved of the annual Haunted Happenings events throughout October that draw American and international tourists for a celebration of the occult.

“I don’t think the other communities want” witch trial tourism, said Kate Fox, director of tourism authority Destination Salem, referring not only to Danvers but other neighboring cities linked to the trials, like Andover and Beverly.

Scores of Andover residents were accused during the trials after members of the Danvers community were asked to identify witches believed to be living secretly in their community. Six years after the conclusion of the trials, Beverly’s pastor Jonathan Hale penned “A Modest Enquiry Into the Nature of Witchcraft,” which blamed Satan for causing hysteria that led to the death of innocents.

“That’s why Danvers changed its name,” Fox said. Roughly 60 years after the trials, what had been Salem Village changed its name to Danvers, after a long bid by the village’s farming community to not share taxes with the culturally and socioeconomically distant fishermen and maritime merchants of Salem Town, now Salem.

“They were trying to get rid of the legacy,” said Richard Trask, Danvers’ archivist. He said that just a few decades later, Salem started selling its connection to the trials — largely nominal, with the exception of the only space still standing that is directly related to the incident, the so-called Witch House, which belonged to one of the judges in the trials.

Salem Town “metamorphosed the witchcraft. You began to get the idea that a witch is a cutesy character on a broom with a conical hat,” Trask said. The Witch House now sells chocolate lollipops shaped like witch heads.

Fox said that in 1891, a Salem jeweler, Daniel Low, made the first souvenir witch spoon and other witch-related novelties. Danvers’ disavowing its legacy and Salem’s starting to cash in on its role in the trials created what Fox called a “perfect storm.”

Nowadays in Salem, taxis, local government offices and even the local newspaper are adorned with witch silhouettes and pointy hat insignia. In Danvers, even as people decorate their homes for Halloween, one finds ghouls, goblins and ghosts — but few witches.

Keeping quiet

Richard Trask
Danvers archivist Richard Trask reads the original church record of the Rev. Samuel Parris, which describes the witch trials in vivid detail.
Massoud Hayoun

Some said that until recent years, Danvers residents did not speak of the trials in polite society and have vehemently opposed attempts to conjure bitter memories of the kind of guilt that iconic author Nathaniel Hawthorne describes in his book “House of the Seven Gables.”

“In so much of his work, [Hawthorne] tried to expiate the guilt he felt for being related to John Hathorne,” a magistrate in the trials, said Katherine Howe, a Cornell University American studies professor and the author of a comprehensive history of European and North American witchcraft, “The Penguin Book of Witches.” Howe is the descendant of three accused Salem witches, one of whom was hanged.

Emotions are still raw for some, even centuries later. Recently at a book reading, Howe said, she “had a woman come up to me in tears. [She] said, ‘I have to tell you, I’m so sorry.’ It turned out she was a distant relative of one of the magistrates.”

“It was and it wasn’t ridiculous to me,” Howe said.

There are some indications that being descended from an accuser is something of a scarlet letter.

The singular mention of the Putnam family on the Danvers Historical Society website is of Joseph Putnam, who “spoke out against the witchcraft hysteria gripping the village.” There is no mention of Ann Putnam and her daughter of the same name, two of the chief witch accusers, who are buried in Danvers. Trask said there are several Putnams residing in Danvers.

“Not all the Putnams were involved,” he said, not directly addressing the society’s website. “But a good portion were, and it turns out they were on the losing side of history.”

A witch cottage industry

Rebecca Nurse homestead
The homestead of accused witch Rebecca Nurse, one of Trask’s ancestors
Massoud Hayoun

Trask himself is of accused-witch stock. The homestead of his ancestor Rebecca Nurse, hanged for witchcraft after refusing to confess and accuse others, can be found in Danvers and is open to the public three days a week this month and is run entirely by volunteers. The Salem Witch Museum, by comparison, is open every day and has a full-time staff of docents and administrators.

Just a few miles from the hordes of tourists clamoring for witch swag in Salem, the only sound at Nurse’s empty seven-acre homestead is a woodpecker, hammering its way into what had been the barn.

Like every museum in Salem, Nurse’s home has a gift shop. But Trask says visitors won’t find any of Salem’s witch souvenirs there but rather educational materials, like a PBS film on Nurse and her two sisters, also accused of witchcraft.

“You won’t find a witch on a broom there,” Trask said, with a triumphant smile. “We can be pure, lily pure. We can tell the story in unsensational ways, and we don’t have to be kitschy.”

He played an integral role in uncovering the foundation of the home of the Rev. Samuel Parris — the site of what some historians say gave rise to the witch panic. Parris’ daughter Betty and his niece Abigail Williams were two of the chief accusers at the onset of the hysteria. His slave Tituba, believed to have been from the West Indies, was an accused witch.

Schoolchildren on a field trip visited the site during excavation in the 1970s. “We had two old ladies living across the street,” Trask said, “The old ladies were shaking their fists, ‘Why are you talking about this? Why are you bringing this up again?’”

He said that animosity is long since gone, but it appears finances have presented another obstacle. John Putnam’s house has been closed to the public because of a “lack of funding,” he said, preventing the Danvers Historical Society from “conducting necessary repairs.”

Danvers’ Chamber of Commerce closed in the early 1980s, Trask said. There is no one to oversee the development of a witch trial industry there.

A tale of two witch cities

Rev. Samuel Parris house foundations
The foundation of Parris’ parsonage, the site of what some historians regard as the beginnings of the Salem witch panic
Massoud Hayoun

Destination Salem’s Fox says that tourists to Witch City get what they are coming for. “You can get a lot in Salem and feel like you don’t have to go farther afield,” she said, adding that Danvers still hasn’t “really reached out” to be a part of the Salem tourism boom.

But Howe believes bringing the two Salems closer together could be a fruitful enterprise.

“There is an opportunity for more. I think a lot of people come to Salem expecting to see more historic stuff … There is that hunger,” she said. “There is an opportunity to supply that. The Witch House does that. The Rebecca Nurse homestead also does a good job of that. Maybe there should be two threads: A fun and fantastical side and the history.”

For Trask and his two colleagues at Danvers’ archives, manpower might prove problematic. At present, “we can’t handle” hordes of tourists, he said.

For every 100 tourists to Salem, he estimates, just two or three make it to Danvers to see the sites mentioned in Salem’s museums. But Trask is hopeful. “More and more people understand who are coming to the area. And they’re not your casual tourist,” he said.

Numerous Danvers residents declined to be interviewed on the subject of whether they would like more witch trial tourism. But Trask said that Danvers is readier than ever to speak for their ancestors — and “sell the story.”

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The Outcasts – now in paperback

The Outcasts

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Cousin Kathleen Kent has a new book

Early Reviews for The Outcasts

Starred Kirkus Review:
After two novels re-imagining the history of her own New England ancestors (The Heretic’s Daughter, 2008; The Traitor’s Wife, originally titled The Wolves of Andover, 2010), Kent turns her attention to post–Civil War Texas, where law and morality are far more elastic…..A cinematic but refreshingly unsentimental take on the classic Western, starring a woman who is no romantic heroine, but a definite survivor.

Barbara’s Pick, Library Journal:
As historically grounded and perhaps more explosive than her first works, this new offering should be great for book clubs, which have always favored Kent. With a multi-city tour to Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, New Orleans, and Nashville.

Library Journal Review:
The two story lines race in parallel through the book until they cross paths in a tension-filled scene worthy of the big screen. VERDICT: Kent has built a well-paced story, filled with twists and turns that will surprise most readers. A solid choice for those interested in a Western, a thriller, a historical novel, or even just something new.

Visit Kathleen’s Facebook page and “Like” her work.


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Investigating Our Family Lore

Hello, my name is Adrian and I came across this website while preparing a paper on my 8th great grandmother Goody Carrier (Martha).
I am currently in school to complete my PHD in history and as part of my thesis I am writing about my family’s early days in the new world. Excited to be part of this community and see what others have discovered.

My grandmother first introduced me to the story of Goody when I was just a child, passed on in verbal form as part of our family lore for generations along with a 400 year old family bible that had names, birthdays, marriages, and deaths listed. Martha’s name is listed with a line through it and a note that simply says “executed”. It would be years before I confirmed the family stories and documented our family tree.

In any case, being a student of history, and one with several ties to the early days of our nation, I am excited to see what others have to share about our common ancestor. Hopefully in my research I will be able to drop a few treasures of my own to this community here and there.

Funny/Fun note on one of Goody’s descendants… nearly 200 years after Salem, Goody’s 3rd Great Grand Daughter, Adelaide Jenkins (my 3rd Great Grandmother), was also accused by members of her church of using witchcraft in the mid 1800s to “maintain an oddly youthful appearance”. A trait that my family has been known for ever since, with many of my family looking as much as 10 to 20 years or more, younger than their actual age. I have a great aunt that passed away at a youthful 107 that hardly looked a day over 60; and my great uncle Joe is 96 and doesn’t have a single grey hair.

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Events for 2013

Hoping there will be some activities around Salem this year.  I just learned I am a descendant of Martha and family this winter…really enjoyed Kathleen Kent’s books!..I know I’ve got cabin fever, but would like to plan a trip to Salem this year.  Jerry Rhodes

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Smithsonian Magazine on the Salem trials

This is old, but I just ran across this Smithsonian magazine short summary of Salem’s famous trails. Click here.

Jim Carrier

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