Saturday, November 14, 2015

Society Saturday - Witches in Salem

I have posted about Associated Daughters of Early American Witches before, and many of you know that this is one of my favorite lineage groups.  For the last 28 years (since our founding), we meet in Washington, DC in April during Lineage Week.  This makes sense because so many of us are involved in other lineage groups that meet during  this time.

A few years ago one of our members asked on facebook "Why don't you meet in Salem where our ancestors were?"  That simple question developed into the first Fall Meeting of ADEAW.  While not all of our ancestors were in the Salem witch hysteria of 1692, about half were.  So it seemed like a fitting place to hold this little fall experiment.

After over a year of planning, we met in Salem this past weekend.  We were blessed with beautiful weather - 60+ degree highs - which is unseasonable for New England in November.  We were at the Hawthorne hotel - an old historic hotel in downtown Salem.

Our weekend started with a meet and greet on Friday evening.  Most attendees had arrived in time to enjoy some hors d'oeuvres and a drink.  It was wonderful to meet many members who don't usually come to DC.

The label on our Registration packet - it contained our nametag, meal and event tickets, tourism info about Salem and a cauldron of candy
Saturday was our touring day.  We started by walking across the common to the Salem Witch Museum.  There we saw an exhibit telling the chronology of the 1692 Witch Hysteria and an exhibit telling how witches have been portrayed throughout history.


We are anxiously awaiting the opening of the museum.

After a break for lunch (had to have a lobster roll), we boarded a trolley for a trip to Danvers (formerly Salem Village).  This was where the hysteria itself started, although most of the trials were held in Salem.  In Danvers we visited the Rebecca Nurse Homestead - built in the 1670's.  There was also a reconstructed meeting house on the property.

Our guide explaining the history of the Nurse Homestead

The reconstructed 17th century meeting house.

Inside the meeting house

Rebecca Nurse's house

There were 2 spinning wheels in the house.

Both spinning wheels are still in use today

Along the way, our trolley guides commented on various sights and some historical tidbits of Salem.  Our next stop was the Salem Witch Memorial.  This lovely spot was dedicated in 1992 to the 20 people who were killed during the hysteria.  It is adjacent to the Salem Burying Ground - one of the oldest cemeteries in New England.

Old Burying Ground of Salem

Salem Witch Memorial

The memorial consisted of 20 stone benches - each bearing the name of an executed person.

Yes, the ladies in period clothing were part of our group

Saturday evening was our banquet.  Our speaker was Paula Keene, a Salem resident who lobbied for the exoneration of five remaining "witches".  These five were not included in previous exonerations and they were: Bridget Bishop, Susannah Martin, Alice Parker, Wilmot Redd and Margaret Scott.  She told of her efforts, which culminated in their exoneration in 2001.  She is now working on having Gallows Hill named a National Historic Site.

Paula Keene

Shari Worrell, descendant of Susannah Martin, Paula Keene, and Kimberly Nagy ("Head Witch"
On Sunday morning, we met again for breakfast and a brief meeting.  Everyone told "Which Witch" they descend from, and it was fun to meet distant cousins.  We memorialized the twenty innocent people who were hanged or pressed to death in 1692.

Chaplain General Nancy Merwin conducting the Memorial service.

Kimberly Nagy, Karlene Cupp, and Debbie Cupp - all descendants of Mary Bliss Parsons


All in all, the weekend was a total success.  There were nearly 80 people in attendance from as far away as California, Oregon, Colorado, Texas, North Carolina, and many states in between.  There were families and spouses, all of whom seemed to enjoy themselves.  Our attendees ranged in age from 9 to 90.

Table favor at Saturday's banquet

2 comments:

  1. Hi Kimberly,
    I'd like to start the application process but the adeaw.us or .organization website doesn't seem to be working. Edward Farrington is my approved witch. I just became a dar member for his granddaughter so have most of the paperwork ready.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Kimberly,
    I'd like to start the application process but the adeaw.us or .organization website doesn't seem to be working. Edward Farrington is my approved witch. I just became a dar member for his granddaughter so have most of the paperwork ready.

    ReplyDelete