Mary Esty: Victim of the Salem Witch Hunt – Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast
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In this episode of ‘Thou Shalt Not Suffer, The Witch Trial Podcast’, hosts Josh Hutchinson and Sarah Jack delve into an intriguing conversation with Mary Louise Bingham about their mutual ancestor, Mary Esty, who was executed during the Salem Witch Trials. They explore their genealogical connections to Mary Esty, discuss her life and tragic fate, and shed light on the historical context of the time. Hear Mary Esty’s own words from original documents, including her impassioned plea to end the witch hunt.
[00:00:10] Josh Hutchinson: Welcome to Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast. I'm Josh Hutchinson. [00:00:16] Sarah Jack: And I'm Sarah Jack. In this episode, Josh and I talked to Mary Louise Bingham about our mutual ancestor, Mary Esty, who was hanged for witchcraft during the Salem Witch Hunt. [00:00:26] Josh Hutchinson: And stay tuned at the end for a special announcement [00:00:30] Sarah Jack: We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. [00:00:32] Josh Hutchinson: And enjoy any other holidays you celebrate this time of year. [00:00:36] Sarah Jack: One thing I know you'll enjoy is our chat with Mary. [00:00:41] Josh Hutchinson: Sarah, how are you connected to Mary Esty? [00:00:44] Sarah Jack: So Mary Esty was the second Towne connection, direct connection that I found. I knew that I descended from Rebecca since the nineties. That was something my family had passed down. And then when I was doing my own [00:01:00] research, I realized the Mary line was there. I couldn't believe it. Their grandchildren married. So John Esty, their son, married and then had Hannah, and Francis and Rebecca had Elizabeth who married William Russell and William Russell married Hannah. And then my Russell's go all the way to my fifth great grandmother's maiden name was Russell. [00:01:28] Josh Hutchinson: So you're connected to Mary through a grandchild, and I'm connected to Mary through her son, Isaac Jr., who married Abigail Kimball, and they had a daughter, Sarah Esty, who married Joseph Cummings. How did you say you were connected, Mary, through Isaac Jr. also? [00:01:51] Mary Louise Bingham: Yes, I'm connected through Isaac Jr., as well. But in terms of the Towne family, so Mary's siblings, [00:02:00] I descend from Edmund, who I found out about first, Jacob, Joseph, and then it was Gail Garda who discovered Mary Esty, and that was such a surprise. I had no inkling about that, it was such a surprise. In fact, it's one of those where I remember exactly where I was when I found out that Mary Esty was my nine times great grandmother. [00:02:28] Josh Hutchinson: I just found out that I'm an Edmund also. [00:02:33] Mary Louise Bingham: Here we go again, Josh! [00:02:37] Sarah Jack: I think it's interesting that Mary Esty, Mary Towne, was not any of ours first known link to the Salem Witch Trials. She was our secondary find. All of us. Second or third, third, fourth, fifth, maybe for Josh, and with history, she always, you know, is a little less known than her [00:03:00] sister. [00:03:01] Mary Louise Bingham: And that's why I think this episode is very historic, because it's the first episode where we're telling the story of Mary Esty. I don't think I've ever heard any other podcast episode about the Salem Witch Trials even mention her name. They name a lot of the others, but Mary Esty is not one of them. [00:03:25] Sarah Jack: I'm so excited that we're gonna talk about her today. [00:03:29] Josh Hutchinson: And if you've listened to this podcast at all, you've probably heard me tell the story about how it was at Mary Esty's sister's house, the Rebecca Nurse Homestead, where I found out my first connection to the witch trials through my ancestor, Joseph Hutchinson, and that inspired me to get into the genealogy, which then led to a cousin in Massachusetts who had our connection to Mary [00:04:00] Esty researched. One Towne led to another in my tree. And now I've got Edmond Towne also in my tree. [00:04:11] Mary Louise Bingham: Edmund is also an ancestor of Lucille Ball. [00:04:16] Josh Hutchinson: So I'm a little bit closer to Lucille Ball than I was before. Like, one step on the genealogy. [00:04:25] Mary Louise Bingham: It really is exciting. [00:04:28] Sarah Jack: When we first teamed up last year on the Connecticut Witch Trial Exoneration Project, Mary Bingham and Sarah Jack knew that they were related through Mary Esty, but we didn't know Josh was yet. So three Mary Estys teamed up to work on the exoneration for Connecticut. [00:04:48] Sarah Jack: That's [00:04:49] Mary Louise Bingham: Yes. [00:04:50] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah, without realizing it. [00:04:55] Mary Louise Bingham: I know that's wonderful though. That's our connection, our spiritual [00:05:00] connection to each other, too, so as far as I'm concerned. [00:05:03] Sarah Jack: right. [00:05:04] Josh Hutchinson: It's imprinted into our DNA. We're supposed to be friends. [00:05:14] Sarah Jack: Mary, please tell us the story of the mutual ancestor who brought us all together. [00:05:20] Mary Louise Bingham: Mary was the sixth child born to William and Joanna Towne about the year 1634 at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England. And William was a farmer and a basket weaver in this seaport town, known for its smoked herring, and he lived on a three acre house lot. [00:05:38] Josh Hutchinson: You can learn more about the lives of William and Joanna Towne in Great Yarmouth by listening to our December 29th, 2022 episode, Rebecca Nurse of Salem with Dan Gagnon, and our November 10th, 2022 episode, Witch Hunts in Great Yarmouth and Salem with Dr. Danny Buck. [00:05:55] Mary Louise Bingham: So why did the Townes leave? [00:06:00] Well, William wanted to worship as what we term today as a Puritan, but back in the 1600s, that term was considered to be derogatory. William would have considered himself and his family to worship as a community of believers known as the people of God. Their belief centered on reading the scripture without the superstitious articles in the church that had significant monetary value. During William and Joanna's time, some of those items were sold, smashed, or demolished, as in many of the side altars. And according to author Dan Gagnon, the Townes probably attended, and I quote, and unquote, 'unofficial services,' where they hired their own clergy to preach on Sunday afternoons and market days. [00:06:51] Mary Louise Bingham: The new Archbishop of Canterbury in 1633 further reformed the liturgy to resemble that of the Catholic [00:07:00] tradition, and that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Two years later, between April and September of 1635, William and Joanna decide to leave everything behind, making a dangerous journey across the Atlantic Sea with four children, including one year old Mary, to worship as they saw fit in new surroundings of which held both mystery, danger, and hope. [00:07:30] Mary Louise Bingham: Upon their arrival, the Townes ended up at the northeastern part of Salem today, which is known as Danversport in Danvers, Mass, current day North Shore Avenue on what was a nine and a half acre farm. Their first house would have probably been an English wigwam, which did not protect well from the outside elements, though there was a fireplace, but the fireplace was made of wood, of all [00:08:00] things. About a year after their move, there was a hurricane, which caused great damage and wiped away many of the homes. So sometime after that, William would have had a more colonial wooden structure built. It was at this residence where the final two Towne siblings were born, Sarah and Joseph. [00:08:22] Mary Louise Bingham: Young Mary would have learned how to operate the day-to-day activities of the household, such as cooking, sewing, weaving, spinning, using a cheese press and a butter churn, eventually milking the cows, taking care of the chickens, as long as the activity was in the home, in the herb or kitchen garden, or in the barn. Mary would master each skill with precision to perfection. In time, Mary would have to teach her own daughters what she herself was taught by her own mother. [00:08:54] Mary Louise Bingham: Rebecca moved out of this residence about 1645, when she [00:09:00] married Frances Nurse. Then in 1652, William and Joanna moved the rest of the family more inland to Topsfield on a 40 acre farm, a definite move up for 18-year-old Mary and her family. Eventually, as William and his sons were granted and purchased land neighboring their parents, the entire Towne and Esty families owned the whole length of the seven mile drumlin running from east to west from what is now Essex County Co-op and the Fairgrounds all the way out to Beverly. [00:09:37] Mary Louise Bingham: What is not certain, however, is whether or not Mary knew Isaac Esty while she was living in Salem or met him when they both lived in Topsfield. The first time Isaac appeared in the court records was in 1652, where he acknowledged judgment to Edmund Botter at a court held at Salem on November [00:10:00] 30th, but this entry does not specify where Isaac was living at that time. Also, 18 years old was considered young for a woman to get married, so she probably was married when she was 20 or 21. And since the Topsfield records from its incorporation in 1650 to 1658 were lost in a house fire, we can't be certain when Mary and Isaac were married and exactly when their eldest child, Isaac Jr., was born. In fact, Isaac Jr. is not even mentioned in the Massachusetts Vital Records to the year 1849 for the town of Topsfield. [00:10:42] Mary Louise Bingham: But we do know that Mary eventually moved just across the street from her parents after her marriage to Isaac. And we know that Isaac loved Mary, as he demonstrated in both words and action. He said in his petition to the General [00:11:00] Court after he reviewed his travel and jail expenses, as well as the cost to provide provisions for Mary in 1692, that his total expenditures for that year for that travel was 20 pounds. Isaac continued, and I quote, 'besides my sorrow and trouble of heart in being deprived of her after such a manner which this world can never make me any compensation for,' end quote. Today, that dollar value might be about $2,070. Again, this dollar amount certainly does not include the trauma experienced by Isaac himself, his and Mary's children, and their grandchildren. Isaac traveled two times a week for five months, without fail, to bring provisions to Mary. These were long journeys, and Mary spent time in [00:12:00] three jails. The round trip from his home to the Salem jail was 14 miles. The round trip to the Ipswich jail was 14 miles. The round trip to the Boston jail was 44 miles. So this clearly demonstrated that Isaac was a devoted and loving husband to Mary and she a devoted wife to him. [00:12:26] Sarah Jack: Forty four miles was a long way to travel in those days. Even traveling by horseback, you'd be hard pressed to complete the trip without overnighting somewhere, and he would have had all his work at home waiting for him. [00:12:41] Josh Hutchinson: And Isaac Sr. wouldn't have been the only one in the family to be affected by this. As he was away, his adult children would have been helping tend to chores on his farm, therefore leaving their own families [00:13:00] and spending more time away than they would have, working extra hours, because they still had to work full time in their own professions and working their own farms and then go off and tend to their parents' farm. [00:13:17] Sarah Jack: And they were used to seeing their mother there if they were visiting. If they were there before this, they would have gotten to spend time with her. [00:13:26] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah, there was always that empty seat at the table. [00:13:31] Mary Louise Bingham: Mary and Isaac had nine children who lived into adulthood. At least two of her sons were active in town affairs as surveyors, constables, and bricklayers. Isaac Jr. learned the trade of cooper, presumably from his father. [00:13:49] Mary Louise Bingham: Both Mary and Isaac were members in full communion at the Topsfield Church before 1684. This meant that the community of believers believed that both [00:14:00] Mary and Isaac were God-fearing Christians and that they were going to heaven once they died. They were among the Elect who received communion once a month. [00:14:09] Josh Hutchinson: And most colonists were not church members, though they were required to attend services. [00:14:16] Sarah Jack: Before the Salem Witch Hunt, it was rare for a full church member to be accused of witchcraft. [00:14:22] Josh Hutchinson: Even in Salem, most of the population was not full church members, so most of the people that accused were not full church members, but there were enough church members accused that it stood out. [00:14:40] Josh Hutchinson: It's one of the contrasts between Salem and a regular witch trial, which only involved one or two suspects at a time. Those cases, generally, it was not church members. [00:14:53] Mary Louise Bingham: Mary was also known to tell someone if they spoke out of turn and to be very careful what [00:15:00] they say. She was also described by both the jail keepers at the Salem and Ipswich locations as a model prisoner. So we might assume that Mary did what she was supposed to do, but stood in the truth, or in her truth all the while. [00:15:20] Mary Louise Bingham: So how do we get from a woman who was totally accepted by her community to a woman accused of being in league with the devil? One reason could be that Mary's sisters, Rebecca and Sarah, were already in jail for the same crime, which increased the likelihood that Mary would also be charged at some point. [00:15:41] Mary Louise Bingham: Reason two, John Putnam Jr., who is a cousin-in-law to Ann Putnam Sr., said later that he heard Ann Putnam Sr. say something about the Townes sister's mother, gossip also most likely heard by two of Mary's chief [00:16:00] accusers, Ann Putnam, Jr. and Mercy Lewis, who was the Putnam servant living with Thomas Putnam Jr. and Ann Putnam. And please remember, it was believed that witchcraft could be passed from mother to daughter. [00:16:15] Josh Hutchinson: John Putnam Jr. testified that, 'I, the said John Putnam, had reported something which I had heard concerning the mother of Rebecca Nurse, Mary Esty, and Sarah Cloyce.' [00:16:27] Sarah Jack: And Ann Putnam Sr. testified that, quote, 'Young John Putnam had said that it was no wonder they were witches for their mother was so before them.' [00:16:37] Mary Louise Bingham: Sure enough, the warrant for Mary's arrest was issued or sworn out on April 21st, and her chief accusers were Ann Putnam Jr., Mercy Lewis, Mary Walcott, and quote unquote 'others.' She would have been brought to Nathaniel Ingersoll's tavern until it was her turn for her pre-trial examination, when she would have walked down the [00:17:00] street to the meeting house. And the meeting house would have been packed on the inside, and people peering in the windows on the outside, making it very difficult to see. The atmosphere inside would have been incredibly noisy and disruptive. But Mary stood her ground against her accusers and the magistrates, even though they tried to bully her into a confession with leading questions such as, 'What do you say? Are you guilty? And, what have you done to these children?' Mary replied, 'I can say before Christ Jesus, I am free. I know nothing.' The magistrates then ask, 'how can you say that? You see that these tormented and accuse you. You know nothing'? Then Mary turned the tables and questioned the magistrates, 'would you have me accuse myself?' they reply, 'yes, if you were guilty.' Then they continue to badger her. 'How [00:18:00] far have you complied with Satan, whereby he takes this advantage against you?' Mary replied, 'Sir, I have never complied but prayed against him all my days. I have no compliance with Satan in this. What would you have me do?' And then they repeat, 'confess if you'd be guilty.' Mary doesn't waver, 'I will say it if it were my last time. I am clear.' [00:18:28] Mary Louise Bingham: After Mary's pretrial examination was done, she was taken to the Salem jail and stayed there until possibly May 13th, when she may have been transferred to Boston. And this, we are not sure of because Margo Burns has stated that that particular document has a tear in it and it's missing one of the names. But we suppose that that's Mary Esty, because all of the others in Topsfield who the warrant went out [00:19:00] for that same day were all transferred to Boston at that time. [00:19:03] Mary Louise Bingham: It seems that three of Mary's accusers changed their minds regarding her guilt, and she was released from prison on May 18th to the home of her son, Isaac. Her family must have been relieved, and the Nurse and Cloyce families must have received hope that maybe Rebecca and Sarah might be returned to their homes, as well. [00:19:26] Mary Louise Bingham: So why not go home to her husband? One might surmise that Isaac, Sr. may not have been able to adequately nurse Mary back to health and since Isaac, Jr. only had his wife Abigail and their infant daughter at their house, he and Abigail may have been the best choice to care for Mary until she could return to her home. Sadly, that did not happen. [00:19:52] Mary Louise Bingham: There were a lot of people in and out of John and Hannah Putnam, Jr. 's house on May 20th. The [00:20:00] reason? Because their servant, Mercy Lewis, who previously was a servant to John's cousin, Thomas Putnam, Jr., was violently sick in both mind and body. In fact, Samuel Abbey got wind of Mercy's condition, and he went to the Putnam household to see what was happening. [00:20:20] Mary Louise Bingham: He saw Mercy in bed and unable to speak. Because John was not home, Hannah asked Samuel to retrieve Ann Putnam Jr. so that she could ID the specter who tormented Mercy. Samuel returned with Ann and Abigail Williams, and possibly Sarah Trask, who was along for the ride. So Ann and Abigail ID'd the specter as the quote unquote 'woman who was sent home the other day,' end quote. [00:20:50] Mary Louise Bingham: The other specters were visiting as well, namely Anne Whitridge and John Willard. According to Ann and Abigail, they all seemed to be [00:21:00] attacking Mercy while she lay still and unable to speak. But that changed, and Mercy, when she was able to speak, begged God not to let the specters kill her. She further declared that Mary's specter would kill her by midnight, because Mercy remained steadfast in her belief that Mary was a witch, when the others basically cleared her. [00:21:24] Mary Louise Bingham: Mary Walcott entered the scene at some point that same day and said Mary's specter told her that she would kill Mercy by midnight if she was able. So finally, Constable John Putnam returned home about 8 p. m. with his friend, Marshal George Herrick, as well as Benjamin Hutchinson. [00:21:45] Josh Hutchinson: Benjamin Hutchinson was my ninth great granduncle, and this isn't the only time he stuck his nose in it. In fact, we'll have tales of some of his adventures in future episodes. [00:21:56] Josh Hutchinson: And Mercy Lewis is my cousin. [00:22:00] So I'm related to so many of the characters in this episode. It's really personal to me and to see my relatives, Mercy Lewis and Benjamin Hutchinson being deployed almost against Mary Esty, my grandmother, is very weird to me to think about all my relatives fighting for life in such a way. We got Mercy and everybody, Benjamin Hutchinson, thinking that Mercy's going to die by midnight if they don't go and arrest Mary Esty, and just so tense for both sides. And I'm related to people on either side and that itself being related to the people who did the accusations, who made the arrests, that is a weighty [00:23:00] kind of ancestry, and the way I tried to use that to understand why accusations were made, and that helps to learn how we can stop witch hunts if we understand how they started in the first place, and having ancestors who accused gets me thinking about that a lot. [00:23:28] Mary Louise Bingham: They seriously thought that Mary's specter would kill Mercy before midnight. Now the rush was on to apprehend Mary. Though John and Benjamin's travels for the next three hours or so are not recorded, George Herrick's travels are, and it's possible that they all may have traveled together. Anyhow, Herrick would have traveled south five miles to John Hathorne's house so that Hathorne could sign the complaint. Then [00:24:00] Herrick travels north 8 miles to Isaac Esty Jr. 's house. Isaac probably saw Herrick approach the house, gathered Mary, and swiftly brought her downstairs into the basement, which would have been a small root cellar at that time And she was probably crouched, most likely in a fetal position, by the cornerstone. Words were most likely exchanged between Isaac Jr. and Herrick. I cannot even let my mind and heart begin to imagine the gripping fear Mary experienced as she heard everything going on, then to hear those footsteps approach closer and closer until they find her and she is arrested yet again. And lore states that Herrick was not patient with those whom he arrested. [00:24:54] Mary Louise Bingham: Then Herrick, with Mary, was required to travel nine miles south to [00:25:00] Beedle's Tavern in Salem. This must have been harrowing again for Mary. The men testified that they had returned to John Putnam, Jr. 's house by midnight only to discover Mercy was still not well, and she continued to have seizure like fits, complained of severe stomach issues until she fell asleep at dawn. [00:25:22] Josh Hutchinson: When they put the time, the midnight deadline in here, it really gets very dramatic and intense. It's like watching a Hollywood thriller with that bomb ticking down and are they going to be able to defuse it in time? [00:25:42] Sarah Jack: It's like a scene. It gives us the opportunity to see this commotion and this reaction and this fear and these men going after, hunting the witch. And I, personally, a lot of times I'm thinking of just that courtroom [00:26:00] and people riled up and, backing each other, but this is different. [00:26:04] Josh Hutchinson: And it shows you the intensity of the fear of witchcraft that they're willing to travel all these miles at top speed trying to arrest her before the deadline so that Mercy's affliction would stop and she wouldn't be murdered. They think they're preventing a murder by doing this. [00:26:30] Sarah Jack: Was John Hathorne asleep or was he waiting? He was probably asleep and they didn't mind waking him to stop the murder. [00:26:39] Josh Hutchinson: It's a warrant getting issued to call the judge in the dead of the night and try and get a suspect apprehended or a site searched in a hurry. And This guy's dead asleep, passed out, who knows what condition he's in.[00:27:00] [00:27:00] Sarah Jack: is recovering, presumably. [00:27:04] Josh Hutchinson: Presumably that family doesn't know what's going on at the Putnam house, because they're all in bed for the night. And they're thinking she's a free woman and she's going to be okay. And then it gets pulled back. That's, gut wrenching. It's ripping your heart right out of you. Imagine what both of the Isaacs felt at that moment and the rest of the family. [00:27:31] Josh Hutchinson: You think your wife and mother is in the clear and then she's just jerked away from you. [00:27:39] Sarah Jack: And they know she's innocent. It's like a community betrayal to them. [00:27:44] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah, it would be so easy just to be angry at basically half the community is lining up against them. So many powerful people, the Putnams being involved and getting [00:28:00] George Herrick out in the dark of night. He also, the marshal of Essex County, would he have been asleep? Was he still awake on duty somewhere? [00:28:12] Josh Hutchinson: How did they get him over there to Salem Village so fast? [00:28:17] Sarah Jack: Not one of these men said, hold up, let's discuss this in the morning, because there wasn't time. [00:28:24] Josh Hutchinson: And they're just, yeah, because there's that midnight deadline, it's that ticking clock, just ticking down and they're desperate people at this time, willing to do basically anything. It's I picture, just horses zipping along rough trails and roads in the dark at night, people carrying lanterns or torches, maybe. [00:28:54] Sarah Jack: And Mercy's suffering. [00:28:56] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah, and Mercy the whole time is having this, these [00:29:00] seizures, these fits, and everybody around her is just gotta be so tense with worry. So everybody here is getting dragged through the emotional wringer this night. Nobody's winning this one. [00:29:19] Josh Hutchinson: So arresting Mary Esty, maybe it saved Mercy Lewis's life in these people's minds, but it didn't stop her afflictions altogether. So what does that mean? What are the implications of that? Does it mean there are other people afflicting her, or is Mary Esty somehow still doing damage from jail? [00:29:46] Sarah Jack: There would've been accused in the jail, right? [00:29:48] Josh Hutchinson: There would have been other accused people in the jail. [00:29:50] Sarah Jack: Yeah. So Mary arrives at the I can just imagine the wail, the wailings that could have happened, the gasping, [00:30:00] the shock, the disappointment, and the fear. [00:30:04] Josh Hutchinson: Right. [00:30:05] Sarah Jack: Big brother or Yeah, Big Brother. When the house is sequestered those, they're waiting to see who's gonna come to the sequester house. shocked who walks in. But this is not just somebody losing a game. [00:30:22] Josh Hutchinson: I'm just thinking about the people who were in jail already. They get awoken in the middle of the night, they're curled up on their piles of straw and trying to sleep on the rough floors of the really dank dungeon. And they had woken up and they're in their half. Asleep state seeing Mary Esty come to them thinking, Oh, I was so hopeful when she got released that the rest of us would soon be released. And now she's back. [00:30:59] Josh Hutchinson: [00:31:00] Totally stunned, totally caught off guard. Yeah. Just in shock, jaws dropped to the ground and just, still rubbing the sleep out of their eyes. Am I seeing this? This is Mary Esty? Yeah. And I'd be crying my eyes out just thinking, I thought I might have a chance to get out of here like she did. [00:31:22] Sarah Jack: Because nobody's been hanged at this point. [00:31:25] Josh Hutchinson: No, this is still early. Nobody's been tried yet. But there've been people sitting in jail for two months by this point and just more and more people getting thrown in jail. And finally, there's a ray of hope for all the prisoners when Mary's freed that, oh, maybe, they're coming to their senses and this madness is going to end and then she's back. [00:31:53] Sarah Jack: Absolutely. Because it's been several [00:32:00] people were hanged in the colonies. [00:32:02] Josh Hutchinson: But the recent Goody Glover hanging in 1688, just three and a half years before this is unfolding would have still been, [00:32:15] Josh Hutchinson: , [00:32:15] Josh Hutchinson: yeah. And that is tied to afflictions of children. And you're seeing that scenario play out but on this much larger scale. There's many more afflicted people, and they're pointing the finger at everybody. It doesn't matter your status or anything. They're coming after you. [00:32:39] Sarah Jack: Those afflictions were affirmed by the authorities just a few years before. [00:32:46] Josh Hutchinson: Cotton Mather himself had written his book, Memorable Providences, which featured the Goody Glover case and the so called possession or affliction of the [00:33:00] Goodwin children, the four children she was supposed to have tormented. And so that's fresh. People have read that book. They've heard that book being read. They've seen it around, they've heard sermons about witchcraft and everything, so it's all in their minds, and this is unfolding in real life, in their own lives. [00:33:29] Sarah Jack: Right before their eyes. [00:33:31] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah, it's just shocking. I would have been so bewildered and befuddled by Mary's return, panic stations right there. [00:33:46] Mary Louise Bingham: Since the records of her second pretrial examination do not exist, one can surmise that Mary was interrogated this time at Beedle's Tavern or at the Salem Town Meeting House. Either way, [00:34:00] Mary was sent to the Boston jail on May 23rd. Two days later, Rebecca Nurse and Sarah Cloyce were transferred to that same jail. This would be the last time that all three sisters were together and hopefully found some type of comfort in each other. [00:34:20] Mary Louise Bingham: In a deposition offered against all three Towne sisters, and most likely used at both Rebecca and Mary's trial, was that of John Putnam Jr. and his wife, Hannah. He spoke of his own afflictions, from which he recovered, and the afflictions of his infant child, who died. John and Hannah described the affliction of their baby as similar to those afflictions suffered by those who accused Mary. John and Hannah were so frightened for their child's life they sent for his mother and, later, a doctor. His mother believed the child was bewitched, and the doctor could not offer relief. John [00:35:00] said that the baby died such a violent death, and I quote, 'being enough to pierce a stony heart,' end quote. However, he does not say who bewitched the child. [00:35:15] Mary Louise Bingham: So the gossip of which John referred somehow morphed into Joanna Towne, Mary's mother, being accused as a witch about 22 years prior to 1692. After researching, I discovered that Joanna was never formally accused of being a witch. [00:35:34] Mary Louise Bingham: While Mary was in jail, her sister in law, Mary Browning Towne, who was the wife of Edmond Towne, was summoned to appear in court with all of her children on September 7th. They don't show up. Mary Towne issued a statement September 8th that the entire family was too sick to appear in court. At this time, her daughter, Rebecca, was [00:36:00] continually falling down for no apparent reason. [00:36:03] Mary Louise Bingham: A second summons was issued only for Mary and her daughter, Rebecca, to appear. The return for the summons does not exist, so one might assume that Mary doesn't show up again, and it turns out that her daughter, Rebecca, does accuse Sarah Cloyce of bewitchment. The fact that they don't show up for Mary's trial does not save Mary's life, but it may have helped to delay Sarah's trial and saved Sarah's life. You see, the indictment against Sarah, which involved her niece, was returned ignoramus, along with the other three indictments. Sarah Cloyce never stood trial. [00:36:48] Mary Louise Bingham: On September 9th, Mary and Sarah offered three suggestions to the magistrates. Number one, judges should offer legal advice to the accused, who did not have legal [00:37:00] representation. Number two, testimony should be heard from the family of the accused, their neighbors, and their religious leaders. And number three, balance the testimony of the afflicted with legal evidence. [00:37:16] Mary Louise Bingham: Furthermore, Mary's solo petition to the court, which was composed to save others from being hanged, though her date was already chosen, suggests that the magistrates examine the afflicted separately and try some of the people who confessed. Mary was confident that some of the confessors were actually innocent and believed that they were innocent. And they disguised the fact that they had nothing to do with witchcraft. [00:37:45] Mary Louise Bingham: Mary was hanged on September 22nd, 1692. Some of the family members start to petition to lift the stain from their family name in 1703. Isaac Esty, [00:38:00] Sr. and Jr., as well as Mary's daughter, Sarah Gill. And the same thing happened in 1709 and was signed by Isaac Esty and John Nurse, among others, who had other family members that were hanged. And then, of course, Isaac Senior's petition, spoken of earlier in 1710. October 17th, 1711, was Mary's reversal of attainder. Isaac had possibly passed away. His death date is not recorded, and Jacob is a subscriber for the Esty family. They were awarded the 20 pounds, and it was equally divided amongst their surviving children, who were Isaac Esty Jr., Joseph Esty, John Esty, Benjamin Esty, Jacob Esty, Joshua Esty, Sarah Gill, and Hannah Abbott. [00:38:59] Sarah Jack: [00:39:00] We would like to close this segment with a reading of a petition Mary Esty submitted to the governor, judges, and ministers. [00:39:06] Josh Hutchinson: The humble petition of Mary Esty unto His Excellencies Sir William Phipps, 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 into your judicious and pious considerations, that your poor and humble petitioner, knowing my own innocency, blessed be the Lord for it, and seeing plainly the wiles and subtlety of my accusers, I myself cannot but judge charitably of others that are going the same way of myself if the Lord steps not mightily in. I was confined a whole month upon the same account that I am condemned now for, and then cleared by the same afflicted persons, as some of your honors know. And in two days time, I [00:40:00] was cried out upon by them and have been confined, and now am condemned to die. The Lord above knows my innocency then, and likewise does now, as of the great day will be known to men and angels. [00:40:14] Sarah Jack: 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 it is that if it be possible, no more innocent blood may be shed, which undoubtedly cannot be avoided in the way and course you go in. I question not, but your honors does to the utmost of your powers in the discovery and detecting of witchcraft and witches, and would not be guilty of innocent blood for the world. But by my own innocency, 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 persons strictly and keep them apart sometime, and likewise to try some of these [00:41:00] confessing witches, I being confident, there are several of them has belied themselves and others, as will appear, if not in this world, I am sure in the world to come, whither I am now a going, and I question not but you'll see an alteration of these things. [00:41:15] Josh Hutchinson: ThEy say, myself and others, having made a league with the devil, we cannot confess. I know, and the Lord knows, as will shortly appear, they belie me, and so I question not but they do others. The Lord above, who is the searcher of all hearts, knows that, as I shall answer it at the tribunal seat, that I know not the least thing of witchcraft, therefore I cannot, I dare not, belie my own soul. I beg your honors 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. [00:41:56] Josh Hutchinson: Remember to stay tuned for a special announcement [00:42:00] following End Witch Hunts News. [00:42:01] Sarah Jack: Discover your Towne family heritage with the Towne Family Association, dedicated to preserving the history of William Towne, Joanna Blessing, and their six children, including the three sisters from the Salem Witch Trials, Rebecca, Sarah, and Mary. Open to all interested in Towne family history, membership costs 22 for individuals and 25 for families annually. Take advantage of the special two year memberships at $40 for individuals and $44 for families. Join the community on Facebook in the Towne Cousins Facebook group to connect with over 2,000 other Towne family descendants. Embrace your roots. The Towne Family Association gets together every year for a reunion. In 2024, it will be in Salt Lake City, Utah. Find out more, visit the Facebook group Towne Cousins today. [00:42:52] Sarah Jack: End Witch Hunts urges collective action to end witch hunting practices worldwide. [00:42:57] Sarah Jack: At End Witch Hunts, we firmly believe in the power of [00:43:00] collective action to bring about positive change. In alignment with our mission, we proudly support the International Network Against Accusations of Witchcraft and Associated Harmful Practices. Explore the impactful work of this global network and its affiliated advocacy organizations at theinternationalnetwork.org. Take a moment to visit their website, where you can scroll to the bottom of the homepage and subscribe to receive their latest news and updates. By staying informed and sharing what you learn in your daily conversations, you contribute to a deeper understanding of ongoing initiatives worldwide. [00:43:35] Sarah Jack: Join us in actively participating in these crucial efforts. Our podcast episodes feature insightful conversations with experts deeply involved in the network. Hit play to gain valuable perspectives from Damon Leff, Leo Igwe, Govind Kelkar, Samantha Spence, Amit Anand, and Miranda Forsyth. By listening to their experiences, you'll not only broaden your knowledge but also become a part of the movement against witch hunts. [00:44:00] Together, let's make a difference. [00:44:02] Sarah Jack: Are you a part of the Massachusetts Witch Hunt Justice Project? It is seeking exoneration for wrongfully convicted individuals in Boston's witch trials. We aim to secure formal apologies for all formerly accused of witchcraft in Massachusetts. Give your support by signing and sharing the petition at change.org/witchtrials. If you're in Massachusetts, engage your representatives in proposing the amendment. And if you're a voting member of the Massachusetts General Court, lead or collaborate on this amendment effort. Reach out to us for support. Let's unite to close this chapter of American history. Take action now. [00:44:38] Sarah Jack: Thank you for supporting our projects by listening to and sharing our podcast episodes. If you'd like to further contribute, please consider a financial contribution. Your financial support empowers us to continue our education and advocacy efforts. During this holiday season, we invite you to keep End Witch Hunts in mind when considering your charitable gifts. We have [00:45:00] donate buttons on our websites. Your gift is tax deductible. Your support is instrumental in driving positive change and bringing an end to the dark history of witch hunting practices. For more information and to contribute, visit endwitchhunt.org. [00:45:16] Josh Hutchinson: Thank you, Sarah. [00:45:17] Sarah Jack: You're welcome. [00:45:19] Josh Hutchinson: now we have our special important announcement. [00:45:25] Josh Hutchinson: Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast will be renamed Witch Hunt and the change will take effect January 1st, 2024 when the ball drops in New York City. [00:45:41] Sarah Jack: Josh and I will continue to host the show with important contributions from Mary. [00:45:46] Josh Hutchinson: Witch Hunt will feature interviews with leading scholars and advocates. [00:45:50] Sarah Jack: Topics will include past witch trials, modern extrajudicial witch hunts, and everything in between. [00:45:58] Josh Hutchinson: We will also continue [00:46:00] to create 101 episodes about specific events, regions, and topics. [00:46:05] Sarah Jack: As well as bonus episodes focused on representations of witches and witch hunts in popular culture. [00:46:12] Josh Hutchinson: So thank you for continuing to listen to Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast, and for listening to Witch Hunt next year. [00:46:21] Sarah Jack: Join us next week. [00:46:23] Josh Hutchinson: Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. [00:46:26] Sarah Jack: Visit thoushaltnotsuffer.com. [00:46:29] Josh Hutchinson: Which will become witchhuntshow.com January 1st. And remember to tell your friends about Witch Hunt, coming January 1st, and stay tuned for more great episodes of Thou Shalt Not Suffer all through December. [00:46:46] Sarah Jack: Thou Shalt Not Suffer and Witch Hunt are presented by End Witch Hunts. Visit endwitchhunts.org to learn more. [00:46:54] Josh Hutchinson: Have a great today and a beautiful tomorrow.