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The Hartt Page
A gathering place for those who share the last name of Hartt

 

 

                                PETITION BY MARY ESTEY IN 1691

Taken from the Volume 36  Historical Collections of the Essex Institute. 

Ameri-Cana encyclopedia  said "In 1691 witchcraft hysteria broke out and 19 persons were hanged as witches on Gallow Hill."


Mary Estey, wife of Issac, daughter of William and Joanna (Blessing) Towne of Topsfield at Yarmouth, Norfolk Co. England.  Baptized at St. Nicholas Church, Aug 24, 1634.  We know very little about her life until 1692.   (Obviously they came to Salem right after the Mayflower-(-we have reason to believe)

Her sister Rebecca Nurse, (or Nourse) about 13 years older had previously been found guilty and executed July 19,  1692. Mary Estey was arrested April 21st, kept in jail until May 18 when she was released.  On May 21, a second warrant was procured and she was taken from her home at midnight hurried to the Salem jail and placed in irons.  She was tried, found guilty and condemned to death on the 22 of September 1692.  She was executed (hanged) with seven others.  She was the mother of seven children, a woman of sound judgement and of exalted Christian character.   In intelligence was far in advance for her age, as the following petition written while in prison amply bears testimony.


   " The humble petition of Mary Estey to his Excellency Sir William Philps 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 your 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 sublity of my accuser, by myself cannot be judge charitably of others going the same way of myself, if the Lord steps not mightily in.  I was confined for a whole month up the same account that I am now condemned for and then cleared by the afflicted P------- as some of your Honours 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 now as at the Great day will be known to men and angels.  I petition to your Honors, not for my own life, for I know I must die and my appointed time is set; but the Lord, he knows, is that, if it be possible, no more innocent blood may be shed, which undoubtedly can not be avoided in the way and course you go in.  I question not Your Honours do it the utmost of your powers in the discovery and detecting of witchcraft and witches and would not be quilty of innocent blood for the world.  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 person strictly and keep them apart some time and likewise try some of these confessing witches.  I being confident there is several of them has belied themselves and others as will appear, if not in this world, I am sure in the world to come whether I am now going.  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 Lord knows as will----- appear, who is the searcher of all hearts, knows as shall answer it at the tribuneral seat, witchcraft, therefore, I cannot dare not belie my own soul. I beg your honours 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."


NOTE:

        After sentence was passed Isaac Estey did not meekly submit to what appeared to be in invetable but with a keen sense of justice and a recognition of his duties to his martyred wife  He bore in mind that upon him the responsibility of doing all in his power to rescue from reproach and his children from disgrace.  After nearly twenty long years had passed away, he was in a measure successful.  The petition which he presented to the court was recognized, the verdict annulled and 20 pounds granted to him.

Isaac Estey m. Mary Towne (hung at Salem, Mass. 1692)

Isaac Estey jr. m. Abigail Kimball

Richard Estey m. Ruth Fiske

John Estey hr.

Mary Estey m. Rev. Samuel Hartt

Rev. Henry Hartt m. Phebe Ann Smith

Caroline Hartt m. Richard Syson

Florence Syson m. Donald Clark

Carole Clark (Me)

As recently as yesterday, I was in contact with a descendant of Mary Estey . Ruth lives in Mass. U.S,A.  She told me some more details which the Hartt side of the family never knew.  I will add it here.

"Did you know that Sarah Towne Bridges Cloyes , sister to Mary and Rebecca was also accused?  She was in Church when Reverend Samuel Parris was blasting her sisters, she became upset and left....as she was leaving the door to the church slammed (whether SHE slammed it or the wind took it is unknown) and that was a sign to the evil Rev. Parris that she must also be a witch....she was imprisoned in Salem but was smuggled out by relatives shortly after Mary's death.  She hid with her family in caves in Framingham MA until the Spring when the family was then given a tract of land in Framingham...I have an article published in the Framingham Metro West Newspaper on this and I will send it to you.  ...it is an interesting story...I think her nephew (and my ancestor Joseph was instrumental in smuggling her out but can not definitely prove it...he moved to Dorchester (Now Canton/Stoughton) Massachusetts in 1698...along with several of his brother Isaacs children.  Isaac remained in Topsfield. 

I am extremely proud to claim this extraordinary woman as my ancestor?  (Ruth Schaffer)

It took alot of faith to stay true to the God she served and not to weaver under pressure!  God will reward our ancestor     Mary Towne.

(Carole Dick)

 

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