The BACK Story ...
Susannah North was one of a handful of accused witches during the Salem Witch Trials who did not actually live in Salem. She was born, 30 Sept 1621 in Buckinghamshire, England to Richard North and his wife Joan (Bartram). Her mother died only a few short years after Susannah's birth. Now, my records indicate Susannah's mother Joan died in 1624 (possibly 1630), but her Father Richard had already married his second wife, Ursula, in 1620... most likely they got married in 1623, though, after Joan had died and he needed help with the five surviving children. I also have records of several other children. Only one of which I could solidly confirm with a baptismal record, but I haven't dug too far yet. There was Martin North who was born in 1611, died around the age of 6 in 1617. John North was born in 1617 and died in infancy in 1617 or 1618. Mary North was also born in 1617, I'm assuming her and John were twins. Hester North was born in 1618 and died before her father did in 1648. Sarah North was born in 1619 and had possibly married a man by the name of Oldham, and having a daughter named Ann. I wonder if Sarah had died in childbirth of Ann, as that was pretty common in those days. There is no record of her husband's first name, or when they were wed. After Sarah was born there was another John North born in 1620. He survived until 1649. Then Susannah had been born in 1621. I wonder if, after Susannah, childbirth had just taken so much of a toll on Joan. She was older then most woman having babies, as her and Richard had started late ..... It is suggested they got married in 1610 Nov. 29. I found several birth years for Joan, the two making the most sense would be 1585 (her mother would have been about 17) or 1590 (her mother would have been about 22.) .... So lets go with 1590, just cuz. Richard was also born in 1590. That would have made them 20 when they got married in 1610. They started having children in 1611. By the time Susannah was born she would have been in her 30s. And she died shortly after Susannah's birth. At least two of her children had died, and possibly more we don't really know about. It's hard.
I have found some things that might suggest that Joan and Ursula were related, possibly cousins?
Susannah relocated with her father and stepmother to the Merrimack plantation in Salisbury, Massachusetts in 1639. Records indicate Mary went with - also, as she died in Massachusetts ... however - records show - whatever reason, true of false, that Hester died in England.
The North family were some of the first settlers of Salisbury, which is located 40 miles north of Boston and was originally called Colchester before being renamed Salisbury in 1640. The family lived with the other settlers on plots along the “circular road,” now known as the triangle formation of Elm street, School street and Bridge road in Salisbury square.
At the time, the area was inhabited by Pennacook Native Americans, wolves and wild animals. The Pennacook, also known by the names Merrimack and Pawtucket, were a North American people that primarily inhabited the Merrimack River valley of present-day New Hampshire and Massachusetts, as well as portions of southern Maine.
After Susannah grew up, she married a blacksmith from Salisbury named George Martin in 1646 and eventually gave birth to eight children. In 1654, George and Susannah moved to nearby Amesbury.
Susannah wasn't any sort of stranger to being accused of witchcraft. Much like the other accused witches, Susannah was also viewed by others as a troublemaker and her name appears numerous times in court records prior to the Salem Witch Trials. Like Bridget Bishop, Susannah had also been accused of witchcraft twice before 1692.
During her first witchcraft case, she was accused by William Browne of tormenting his wife Elizabeth with her spirit. After her arrest, Susannah was released on bail and the charges were eventually dropped.
She was accused again in 1669, this time by William Sargent Jr, who also said he witnessed Susannah give birth to and kill an illegitimate baby. Susannah posted bail, promising to return to court for her trial but, again, the charges were dropped. Her husband, George, later sued Sargent for slander. The court held Sargent libel for slander in accusing Susannah of fornication and infanticide but the court sided with Sargent on the witchcraft accusations.
In public gossip, however, her reputation as a witch appears to have continued.
At the same time as the first accusations of witchcraft Susannah and her husband were involved in a series of legal battles over her inheritance. In 1667 (possibly 1668) her father, Richard North, died leaving two daughters (Susannah and Mary, the rest of the children had died), a granddaughter, and his second wife to share his sizable estate. **Now, as a note, Susannah and Mary both had several children by the time their father died, so saying he was survived by ONE granddaughter is an understatement, as there were - by my count - eleven boys and eight girls between them, they each had lost at least one child at this point).... it is possible and he and Ursula had raised Sarah's daughter, Ann, however, and that is the one granddaughter they are referring to. Seems to make sense if you think about it that way ....
To the surprise of Susannah and her sister, they received only a tiny portion while the bulk of the estate passed to his second wife, who died soon after her husband. Susannah's stepmother left the majority of North's estate to his granddaughter, continuing the exclusion of Susannah and her sister. From 1671 to 1674 Susannah's husband and her sister pursued a series of appeals, all of which were ultimately unsuccessful.
With the death of her husband in 1686, and all the failed attempts at acquiring her due inheritance, Susannah was left a poor, defenseless widow.
When she was accused of witchcraft for the final time in 1692, she had no one to come to her rescue.
According to Susannah’s arrest warrant, she was accused by the afflicted Salem village girls: Mary Walcott, Abigail Williams, Ann Putnam and Mary Lewis. Since they lived in different villages, it is not known how these girls knew Susannah, but it is possible they heard about her bad reputation from others and made the decision to accuse her.
|Susannah Martin's Arrest Warrent .... 30 April 1692|
To the Marshall of the County of Essex of his Lawful Deputies or to the Constable of Amesbury:
You are in their Majests names hereby required forthwith or as soon as may be to apprehend and bring (before us) Susanna Mertin of Amsbury in ye county of Essex Widdow at ye house of Lt. Nathaniel Ingersalls in Salem village in order to her examination Relating to high suspicion of sundry acts of Witchcraft donne or committed by her upon ye Bodys of Mary Walcot, Abigail Williams, Ann Putnam and Mercy Lewis of Salem village or farmes whereby great hurt and damage hath beene donne to ye bodys of said persons according to complt of Capt. Jonathan walcot & Serg Thomas putnam in behalf of their Majests this day exhibited before us for themselves and also for several of their neighbors and here you are not to fail at your peril.
Dated Salem Aprill 30th 1692.
|APPREHENSION - 2 May 1692|
Salem Village this 2d May 1692
Const of Amsbury
There are two documents out there with initial testimony on it. In this transcrpt they have been combined for better understanding...
Preliminary Trial, May 2nd 1692
For the crime of witchcraft and sorcery, Susanna Martin pled not guilty. As soon as she came in many had fits.
Magistrate: Do you know this woman?
Abigial Williams saith it is Goody Martin, she hath hurt me often. Others by fits were hindered from speaking. Eliza Hubbard said she hath not been hurt by her. John Indian said he had not seen her. Mercy Lewis pointed to her and fell into a little fit. Ann Putnam threw her glove in a fit at her. The examinant laughed.
Magistrate: What! Do you laugh at it?
Martin: Well I may at such folly.
Magistrate: Is this folly, the hurt of these persons?
Martin: I never hurt man or woman or child.
Marcy Lewis cried out, she hath hurt me a great many times and pulls me down. Then Martin laughed again. Mary Walcott saith this woman hath hurt me a great many times.
Magistrate: What do you say to this?
Martin: I have no hand in witchcraft.
Magistrate: What did you do? Did not you give your consent?
Martin: No, never in my life.
Magistrate: Pray, what ails these people?
Martin: I don’t know.
Magistrate: But what do you think ails them?
Martin: I do not desire to spend my judgment upon it.
Magistrate: Do not you think they are bewitched?
Martin: No, I do not think they are.
Magistrate: Tell us your thought about them then.
Martin: No. My thoughts are my own when they are in, but thwen they are out they are another’s. Their master.
Magistrate: You said their master. Who do you think is their master?
Martin: If they be dealing in the black art, you may know as well as I.
Magistrate: Well, what have you done towards this?
Martin: Nothing at all.
Magistrate: Why, ’tis you or your appearance.
Martin: Well, I cannot help it.
Magistrate: Is it not your master?
Martin: I desire to lead myself according to the word of God.
Magistrate: Is this according to God’s word?
Martin: If I were such a person I would tell you the truth.
Magistrate: How comes your appearance just now to hurt these?
Martin: How do I know?
Magistrate: Are not you willing to tell the truth?
Martin: I cannot tell. He that appeared in the shape of Sam[uel] shape a glorified saint may appear in anyone’s shape.
Magistrate: Do you believe these do not say true?
Martin: They may lie for aught I know.
Magistrate: May not you lie?
Martin: I dare not tell a lie if it would save my life.
Magistrate: Then you will speak the Truth.
Martin: I have spoke nothing else. I would do them any good.
Magistrate: I do not think you have such affections for them whom just now you insinuated had the devil for their Master.
Eliz Hubbard was afflicted and then the Marshall who was by her said she (Martin) pinched her hard. Several of the afflicted cried out they saw her upon the beam.
Magistrate: Pray God discover you, if you be guilty.
Martin: Amen, Amen. A false tongue will never make a guilty person. < P> You have been a long time coming to the Court today; you can come fast enough in the night, said Mercy Lewis.
Martin: No, sweetheart.
Then Mercy Lewis and all many of the rest were afflicted. John Indian fell into a violet fit and said it was that woman, she bites, she bites, and then she was biting her lips.
Magistrate: Have you not compassion for these afflicted?
Martin: No, I have none.
Some cried out there was the black man with her and Goody Vibber who had not accused her before confirmed it. Abigail Williams upon trial could not come near her. Nor Goody Vibber, nor Mary Walcott. John Indian cried he would kill her if he came near Hear but he was flung down in his approach to her.
Magistrate: What is the reason these cannot come near you?
Martin: I cannot tell. It may be the Devil bears me more malice than another.
Magistrate: Do not you see how God evidently discovers you?
Martin: No. Not a bit for that.
Magistrate: All the congregation think so.
Martin: Let them think what they will.
Magistrate: What is the reason these cannot come near you?
Martin: I do not know, but they can if they will, or else if you please I will come to them.
Magistrate: What is the black man whispering to you?
Martin: There was none whispered to me.
Be sure to tune into more about Susannah and the other Witches from Salem ....