And the jury says…

John Carrington, a 33 year old carpenter, arrived in New England in 1635 and settled in Wethersfield, Connecticut with his wife and several children. Sometime in 1649-1650 he and his wife were accused by their fellow citizens of witchcraft. The circumstances of the accusations are unknown as there is no testimonial record of the trial.

The indictment and conviction of the Carringtons: A Particular Court in Hartford upon the trial of John Carrington and his wife 20th February 1650.

Magistrates at the trial included Mr. [John] Webster, who later became Governor of Connecticut and was our ancestor, as was one of the probable jurors, Edward Griswold, as he served on several similar witch trials in the same time period he probably also served on this one.

The verdict for both John and his wife are on record and read as follows:

John Carrington thou art indicted by the name of John Carrington of Wethersfield carpenter, that not having the fear of God before thine eyes thou hast entertained familiarity with Satan the great enemy of God and mankind and by his help hast done works above the course of nature for which both according to the law of God and of the established law of this commonwealth thou deserves! to die. The jury fmds this indictment against John Carrington March 6, 1650/51. 

Joan Carrington thou art indicted by the name of Joan Carrington the wif(e) of John Carrington that not having the fear of God before thine eyes thou hast entertained familiarity with Satan the great enemy of God and mankind and by his help hast done works above the course of nature for which both according to the Jaws of God, and the established law of this commonwealth thou deservest to die. The jury finds this indictment against Joan Carrington March 6, 1650/51. Source: CoU. CHS, 22 (1926), pp. 92-93.

Both of them were hanged. This is not the only trial ancestors of ours were involved in, we also have ancestors Pitkins, Loomis, Marsh and Newell. None were living in Salem at the time of the famous witch trials, but there were plenty of other crazy people in New England to keep the courts hopping in many other towns.

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‘et by sharks…

Shortly after settling on the Connecticut river in the latter part of the 1600s, William Shepard was out on a boat in Boston Harbor with William Lee.

“He was shortly after overset in a boat…and while swimming by the side of William, had his thigh bitten in two by a shark, and was pulled under the water. He arose and said he was dead man, for a shark had bitten off his thigh. Lee heard the shark give one more snap and saw him no more.”

I will assume this is why none of our Shepards are sailors.

Some say this story is pure fabrication, who knows. It certainly makes for a more interesting story than the fact that his wife divorced him for desertion and that’s why he wasn’t around.

Witches and Garlick…

Time for a little more Halloween wackiness.

There is a famous witch trial in old New England, the case of Goodwife Garlick. She lived in Long Island along with our ancestor Jeremiah Vail.

The big rich guy on the island was Lion Gardiner, Jeremiah and Katherine, his wife, worked as servants in his household. Lion had a 16 year old daughter who was married and had just had a child. The birthing didn’t go well. Both the child and the daughter, Elizabeth, died. But not before Elizabeth made all kinds of crazed accusations against Goodwife Garlick, say that she had bewitched and be-spelled her and her child.

Elizabeth’s mother continued the accusations after her daughter died. Eventually there was a trial and our ancestor was called to testify.

According to the book Witchcraft Trials of Connecticut: The First Comprehensive, Documented …,  By R. G. Tomlinson, Jeremiah and his wife Katherine contradicted Goody Davis’ statements regarding the death of her own child by Garlick’s bewitchment by testifying that:

“Goody Davis spoke as if her child were bewitched…(but) Goody Davis took an Indian child to nurse and for lucre of a little wampum…let her child starve.”

The trial was eventually send to the higher court in Connecticut. All ended well for Goodwife Garlick for the court found her not guilty and she was let go. Her and her husband continued to live on in Long Island until their deaths with no apparent harm.

McDonnell update…

I just received Annie’s death registration from Rhode Island. Her death at 54 was caused by cardiac disease.

This makes the third Cain sibling to die from cardiac issues. So it is definitely a genetic trait on the Cain side of the family, or possibly the Connelly’s. Either way for all the descendants of this line, watch those fats and carbs and sugars.

So no trick-or-treating!

A Death in Rhode Island…

Well if you stretch it, this post could be considered very Halloweenie, it is about a death.

On the 10th of March in 1914 at the age of 54, Annie Laura Cain McDonnell passed away. She was John and Dennis Cain’s sister. It doesn’t seem as though the Cains were very long lived as a clan. But I was happy to see that this obituary confirmed what I pretty much already knew, she was one of Martin and Winifred Cain’s children.

Here is her short obit:

From a Rhode Island paper of unknown origin.

Back in Norway again…

Well it has been a few weeks since I found out the origins of half of my Norwegian side. (The jury is still out on Amund Amundson.) So I thought I would give an update.

The Norwegian digitalarkkivet site has greatly improved since I visited it 10 or so years ago. I am not sure how much is not on their site, but they do have church book records, censuses and emigrant lists. I have found many actual digitized church records for Jorgina’s family and a few census records from 1801 and 1865. The church records for Drangedal go back to the late 1600s and if one has the patience to read them you can find loads of data.

Having been aware of a series of books called Bygebøker that are specific to Norwegian research, and the history of particular farms/areas of Norway, I checked to see if there is one for Aase or Drangedal. Thankfully there is, so I interlibrary loaned Drangedal med Tørdal Bygdebøk. I have spent the last 3 weeks going “googly-eyed” from using Google translate and my Bygdebøk, typing in paragraphs of Norwegian text trying to figure out who, what and where.

I am happy to say that I finished with the book this last weekend, and I am now more cognizant of Norwegian. Although not conversant. Now, the books themselves are notorious for having errors, I found many in the dates, by comparing with actual records, when I found them, but on the whole they are very informative resources for this type of research. I still plan on trying to find original source material to co-oberate the data I have found, but that is for the future. Right now I have a family tree for Jorgina that goes back, in a few cases, to the later part of the 1500s. In the case of one family we are directly descended from three siblings.

I am still waiting for an English version of the book so I can acquire the specifics, some of the information in the book contains a few very intriguing stories about some of our relatives that need a true translation to better understand.

So I am including a chart, for your amusement, of the family so far, although it is unreadable on this blog at least you can see the trees size. Jorgina and her siblings are the last line on the bottom. At least three came to the US in 1869, Gunlech, Anne Karine and Jorgina, along with their parents. I know that the eldest son Stian inherited the farm and stayed in Norway. He had several daughters all of whom stayed in Norway, so we could still have cousins there.


Skeleton found…

A little while ago I mentioned that I had probably found Almyra Johnson’s brother Samuel Johnson and his family had moved to West Springfield. Well this is Almyra’s nephew. Samuel Johnson, Junior. I think the articles below tell the story. He doesn’t appear to have been murdered, just died by misadventure. I have entered the newspaper articles in order of publication, which is in November of 1909.

MAY BE BONES OF LOCAL MAN
No this isn’t the actual skeleton, just a pic of one to enhance the mood.

Hanged till thou be Dead..

It is again my favorite month of the year, and not just because I was born on All Hallows Eve. This month I have decided to focus on the more macabre of our family stories. Today’s is all about murder and ‘justice’.

The first major war to occur in the New World involving the European’s was King Philip’s War of 1675-1678. It was named after the American Indian Metacomet, who was also known as King Philip. I won’t go into the details of the war, those can be read in any history book. Let’s just say relations between the New Englanders and the local tribes had gotten bad and war was the result.

The war had a devastating effect on New England colonies many towns were completely destroyed, the  economy was in ruin, a large percentage of the population had been killed. Over half of the towns that had been established had been affected in some way by the attacking American Indian warriors. No doubt all of this contributed to the actions described below:

About the 9th of August [1676] there happened a very sad accident, relating to the poor christian indians, viz. a horrid murder committed by some Englishmen upon two squaws, wives to two of our Indian soldiers…and one young woman, and three children, whereof one was a nursing infant…
These two squaws and their company aforementioned, being allowed (in this time of their straits for food) by the English authority, went forth to gather hurtleberries, as a place called Hurtleberry Hill, about four miles from Watertown Mill, within the bounds of that town; were the English, who were about eleven or twelve in number, and were on horseback, first met those indians. There was one Indian man with them called John Stoolemester, one that had been bred with the English; they disarmed him of a carbine belonging to the county, for he was newly come in from the army, and had not been delivered his arms. After they had disarmed this fellow, they threatened to kill him; but he, speaking english interceded strongly for his life, and so they dismissed him, and he came home; but the squaws being among the bushes not far off, he left them there; the english came to them and sat down, and smok’d[sp] it where they were, and exchanged with them bread and cheese for some hurtleberries; and then the English left the squaws and children, but being not gone a mile, four of the English left their company and went back to the squaws, and drove them before them unto the north end of the hill, into a secret place, and there murdered them all, and stript[sp] such as had coats on. Having committed the murder, these men went to their habitations.
The next day after the squaws were missing, and came not home to their wigwams, Capt. Pitimee, being then at home, came to Major Gookin at Cambridge and acquainted him with his fears, that some evil had befallen his wife, sister and their company, and desired an order and some help of Englishmen, two or three as least, to go and search for them; which being so reasonable a request, it was granted. So he went forth and searched a day or two, but could not find them; as last, having procured about fifteen or sixteen Indians, and two english, they made a more strict search, and at last found the dead bodies, not far from one another, cruelly murdered, some shot through, others their brains beat out with hatchets; to be short, this murder was afterward discovered, and the four murders seized, tried, and condemned, and two of the four executed, and the other two pardoned by the General Court. This murder was very much decried by all good men, and it was some satisfaction that some of them were make examples. I know the murderers pretended a law to warrant the act, but the juries and judge were not of their mind in the matter. I know, also, there are some among the English that have a very ill conceit of all the Indians, and will not admit them so much charity, as to think that any of them are sober or honest.
An Historical Account of the Doings and Sufferings of the Christian Indians in New England, In the Years, 1675, 1676, 1677, by Daniel Gookin; page 513, 514

Wartime situations can bring out the best and worse in humans beings. In this case I believe the worst showed its face in actions of one of my ancestors as two of the four men were relatives of mine. Daniel and Stephen Goble of Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts were two of the perpetrators of this atrocity. Daniel is my 8xgreat grandfather. Stephen was his nephew.

What makes things even worse for them is the fact that the war was over. King Philip had been killed. People had no more patience for these kinds of acts and so it was decided that these men were to be made an example of. The communities reaction was most likely a political ploy for the sake of peace. An act meant to prove to the Indians that any Whites committing such acts were treated as harshly as Indians. So the four men were promptly arrested, tried, and found guilty. The Reverend Mr. Rowlandson attended them in jail, wrote and witnessed their wills. Daniel’s nephew Stephen was the first to hang on a dreary and cold day in September. From all accounts it appeared that the whole of Boston had turned out to see the show including a Samuel Sewell who wrote the following:

“Mr. Mighil prayed. Four others sat on the gallows, two men and two impudent women, one of which as least, laughed on the gallows.” She was there to be whipped for adultery. The Hangman read the record which was the same for all four men, except for their names.: Stephen Goble of Concord thou art indicted by the name of Steven Goble for not having the fear of God before thy eyes and being instigated by the Devil and thy Accomplices at or on the seventh of August at or near Hurtleberry Hill in the woods in the vicinity of Concord or near thereabouts did murder and kill three Indian women and three Indian children contrary to the grace of our sovereign Lord thy king his crown and signity the law of land and of this Jurisdiction. After the libel testimony in the Case provided wear Read Comitted to the Jury and are remaining on file w/ the records of this Court the Jury brought in their verdict & the found him Guilty, Accordingly the sentence of Death pronounced upon him that he should Goe from hence to the place from whence he Came & thence to the Gallows and there be hanged till thou be Dead.”

A week later Daniel, too ill to walk, was drawn upon a cart to the place of execution and hanged in the company of five Indians.

During the trial of the four men, two of them got off because their families had money and influence. Our ancestral relatives were not so blessed. I have to say that I can not be sorry that they were punished for their actions. They committed murder and should have been punished for it. What is unfortunate is that the other two got away.

Daniel’s son Daniel, jr inherited land his father was awarded for his service in the war. He sold it off. His mother Hannah had married again so forfeited her inheritance of the property. She moved to Lancaster Massachusetts. In an unfortunate twist of fate, Hannah and her second husband Ephraim Roper were killed by Indians about 20 years later.