Thursday, June 28, 2012

Salem vs. the Witches .. (part 6) Pardons


Burying Point Cemetery, Salem
Items reportedly belonging to Susannah (North) Martin on Display at the Macy Colby House
Items reportedly belonging to Susannah (North) Martin on Display at the Macy Colby House


~~Author Unknown~~

In 1692, the Massachusetts Bay Colony was the site of a major historical event. This infamous event, the Salem Witch Trials, was a major injustice in America’s history. Once the accusations started, all Hell broke lose. By the time the trials were over, nineteen people and two dogs were hanged, and one man was pressed. Of the 150 people imprisoned, fifty-five of them had confessed to witchcraft.

To begin to understand how civilized people could act in such barbaric ways, one needs to know some background information about the village and its citizens. The people who lived in Salem Village were Puritans. They followed and interpreted the Bible literally, and without question. As many people know, the Bible states, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" (Exodus 22.18). To the Puritans, this meant that if there was a witch, they had an obligation to kill him/her. Also, the people of Salem, like the people of Europe, believed that witches existed and that many of them were evil.

People believed in witchcraft, even when it contradicted scientific evidence proving that it did not exist. It is important to note that the magic that was "evil" was black magic, or magic that was used maliciously against another. Black magic witches were

The girls all had the same symptoms (which ranged from becoming mute and blind to having "fits"). On top of that, it was so long ago that their mistakes seem so foreign to us; we can’t really relate to what happened back then. In 1697, the General court proclaimed a fast day, and many of the jurors and judges that convicted "witches" publicly apologized. Many of the accused were easy targets of blame. During Bridget Bishop’s trial, Mercy Lewis screamed, "Oh goody Bishop did you not come to our house the last night?". Lewis was obviously referring to Bishop’s specter, for Bishop was in jail the whole time. As far as the trials having an impact on our lives today, I don’t think it really has one. The adults that led the witch hunts, namely the Putnams, wanted to regain control of Salem Village, and many of the people that were accused were ones standing in the Putnams’ way. If it didn’t happen, we’d still have the McCarthy era, so we didn’t really learn anything from it.

Before that though, in May 1692, the governor appointed the Special Court of Oyer and Terminer, which was comprised of seven judges. By the end of October, he disassembled the court of Oyer and Terminer. After Bridget Bishop was convicted, on June 2, Nathaniel Saltonstall resigned his seat as judge. This is what is believed the girls were doing. Another woman accused, though she admitted to being a witch, was Tituba, who was an easy target. One family, the Porters, who were against the Putnams from the beginning, were staunch objectors to witch trials.

Plaque Reads: "Here stood the house of Susanna Martin. An honest, hardworking, Christian woman. Accused as a witch, tried and executed at Salem, July 19, 1692. A martyr of superstition".

 Susanna North Martin – Name Cleared 288 years after being Hung

 It appears to be a copy / paste from a website but unfortunately doesn’t include the original source information or the authors name.  If you know the source, please let me know so proper attribution can be included.

We can interpolate the probable publication date to be 1999 given the number of years mentioned in the first sentence:

“When the chance came 288 years ago to clear Susannah Martin’s name after she had been hanged as a witch, none of the Amesbury woman’s children or grandchildren stepped forward in her defense.
Nine generations later, however, dozens who proudly draw their family roots to her are using the Internet to do what her children did not — convince the Massachusetts Legislature to give Mrs. Martin some long-awaited justice.

One of those descendants is Bonnie Johnson of Columbia, Md., Mrs. Martin’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter.

”There’s a lot of people who say, ‘What difference does it make? She’ll never know,”’ said Mrs. Johnson. ”But if you believe in an afterlife, you have to believe that she would know, and that she would care.”

Yesterday, Beacon Hill lawmakers held a hearing on a bill that would officially exonerate Mrs. Martin and four other accused witches of the charges of which they were convicted and executed for in 1692.

Mrs. Martin and the other women were overlooked in 1711, when a backlash against the witchcraft hysteria caused the colonial Legislature to drop the charges against accused witches and pay damages to the survivors of those who were executed.

But the Legislature ignored six women because none of their family members appeared in court.
Another attempt to finally absolve the women was made in 1957, but the law was badly written and only cleared one of them. Paula Gauthier Keene, a Salem, Mass., resident, discovered the error last year and filed a bill to correct it.

After stories about the bill appeared in The Eagle-Tribune and other newspapers and were posted on the Internet, word spread.

Through Internet chat rooms, postings on genealogy Web sites and e-mails, Mrs. Johnson contacted descendants across the nation, informing them an effort was afoot to clear her distant relative’s name.
”I posted information on (two Web sites) where I knew a bunch of folks were descendants of Susannah Martin,” said Mrs. Johnson. ”I also personally contacted 20 to 25 other people, and asked them to spread the word.”

As was the case in 1711, none of Mrs. Martin’s relatives came to the hearing yesterday to ask that her name be cleared. But several had already made their thoughts known through e-mail and letters to the Legislature.

”Some of the people I contacted sent me copies of the letters and e-mails they sent,” said Mrs. Johnson, who also submitted a letter. ”I would have given anything to be there today, but it’s a pretty long way.”

Craig D. Martin of Stow, a direct descendent, also sent a letter urging lawmakers to clear Mrs. Martin’s name.

”It’s hard to imagine the extreme pain and suffering that these women and their families experienced, knowing in their hearts of their innocence, not to mention the descendants who were tied to the stigma of witchcraft for years after the trials,” he wrote.

The Judiciary Committee, which held the hearing, waded through more than 130 bills yesterday and spent little time on the witchcraft bill. The bill is actually a ”resolution,” which the Legislature routinely passes.

Mrs. Martin was one of 20 people executed during the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692.

Like several other women who were accused of witchcraft, she was a strong-willed, outspoken, elderly widow who owned a sizeable amount of land. She had also run afoul of her neighbors in the past.

In 1669, she was accused of witchcraft, but the charges were dropped and her husband successfully sued for slander.

But when the witchcraft hysteria broke in 1692, some of her old enemies resurfaced and provided damaging testimony against her.

Mrs. Martin ridiculed much of the evidence against her, and laughed out loud when the ”afflicted girls” writhed on the floor and screamed — a sight that the judges deemed credible evidence of witchcraft.

Asked why she was laughing, she replied, ”Well, I may at such folly.”

Her vigorous defense and constant denials of witchcraft were ignored by the court, and she was sentenced to death June 26. Less than a month later, she and four other women were taken from their cells, put in a rickety cart, and driven to the gallows.

They were buried in a shallow grave there, and their bodies may still be there.

If the resolution passes, Mrs. Keene plans to hold a memorial service for Mrs. Martin.

Once again, the descendants plan to use the Internet to rally for Mrs. Martin and spread the word, said Mrs. Johnson.

”If the memorial service is held, I definitely plan to attend that,” she said.”

 Salem Memorial for those who died during the Salem Witch Trials

31 Oct 2001 | Boston, Massachusetts

On October 31, 2001, acting governor of Massachusetts, Jane Swift, signed a law that formally pardoned Susanna Martin, Bridget Bishop, Alice Parker, Margaret Scott, and Wilmot Redd.

This is the memorial park in Salem, Massachusetts dedicated to those who lost their lives during the persecutions in the early 1690's. Each stone protruding from the walls on the left and right bears the name and date of execution of one of the condemned.

Susannah North Martin Was Not A Witch

While reviewing death certificates in my filing cabinets recently, I found notes about the murder of my ancestor, Susannah North Martin, in Salem during the witch trials of 1692.

I assume that they were accidentally inserted there by one of our granddaughters when I was teaching them how to record and store documents associated with our lineage.

The notes referred to and at least partially quoted a newspaper article that I’d read years before that talked about the exoneration of Susannah and four others who were similarly murdered in Salem as witches in 1692.
The Massachusetts State Legislature in 1999 passed the “Massachusetts House Bill No. 4457 – The witchcraft trial of 1692” that was signed into law by the Governor of Massachusetts to eliminate the stigma associated with the deaths of the final five thus killed.

The text below is obviously a newspaper article but the scrap of paper containing the words does not accredit the author or publisher. We’ll say “Thanks” to them now hoping their words may continue to shed light on this tragic series of events and offer solace to the descendants of these women.

AMESBURY — The wheels of justice sometimes take a long time to grind out the truth. For Susannah Martin, the wait will be more than three centuries. 

The Amesbury woman was hanged as a witch 307 years ago, and her bones long ago moldered into dust. But lawmakers on Beacon Hill are only now preparing to clear her name and right the wrong done during the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692. 

The hysteria claimed 20 lives in all. 

Fifteen of the condemned later had their names cleared when family members petitioned the Legislature. But Mrs. Martin and four others who had no surviving relatives to speak up for them remained branded as witches. 

Paula Gauthier Keene, of Salem, hopes lawmakers will correct that within the next few months. 

”These five women . . . are the last five alleged witches whose souls I believe are still crying out for justice and vindication,” wrote Mrs. Keene in a letter to state Rep. Michael Ruane, D-Salem, who is sponsoring a bill to clear the women. 

Mrs. Keene, who described herself as a reformed witch who is now a Roman Catholic, said she hopes to organize a memorial Mass for the women in Salem once they are cleared. 

Mrs. Martin was a smart woman with a sharp tongue, living when Puritan society expected women to be meek and obedient, and in a world that believed the supernatural lingered behind every good and evil event. Her demeanor was viewed by her enemies as a sure sign that the devil was working inside her. 

According to local history, she was accused of witchcraft in 1660, and again in 1669.
The charges were dropped, in part, because her husband successfully sued for slander.
By 1692, however, her husband was dead and the 67-year-old woman lived alone in a house on Martin Street. 

Today, Interstate 495 passes over the site of the old Martin house, which stood a few hundred yards northeast of the Amesbury Sports Park. A stone memorial marks a spot near where her house stood.
As the witchcraft hysteria mushroomed beyond Salem, Mrs. Martin’s enemies again seized their chance to press charges against her. 

On April 30, 1692, an arrest warrant was issued. The trial continued through June, during which a steady parade of witnesses testified against her. 

One witness claimed that Mrs. Martin walked to Newbury on a muddy day in the 1670s but arrived with her dress unsoiled. 

The court decided Mrs. Martin must have flown there. 

After a spirited self-defense, and showing utter contempt for the charges, Mrs. Martin was found guilty and sentenced to death on June 30. She was hanged July 19. 

Due to throat surgery, Rep. Ruane was unable to comment on his bill to clear Mrs. Martin and the others, but he provided detailed information on why they were mot cleared along with the others. 

In 1711, the colonial General Court, the predecessor of today’s Legislature, set aside the convictions of all but six of the victims who had no family members petitioning to overturn the verdicts. 

Martha Carrier, of Andover, was one of the accused witches whose verdict was overturned. 

Over the next several years, efforts to overturn the remaining six convictions failed, in part because officials feared having to pay damages to descendants. 

In 1948, a Louisiana man who was related to one of the six renewed the effort. Nine years later, lawmakers passed a resolution exonerating the Louisiana man’s relative, Anne Pudeator, and ”others” who were never named. 

”Based on this technicality of omission, the last five alleged witches have never been legally cleared,” said Mrs. Keene. 

Rep. Ruane’s bill will clearly state the names of the other five women, officially ending this final chapter in the witchcraft trials. Besides Mrs. Martin, the women to be cleared are Wilmot Redd of Marblehead, Alice Parker and Bridget Bishop, both of Salem, and Margaret Scott of Rowley.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Salem vs. the Witches .. (Part 5) Death

Susanna was baptized in Olney, Buckinghamshire, England September 30, 1621. She was the daughter of Richard and Joan (Bartram) North. While she was still young her mother died. She came to America with her father, stepmother, and at least one sister. She married George Martin, a blacksmith, August 11, 1646 at Salisbury, MA and had eight children. During the first 23 years of her marriage, Susanna's name appears twice in public records. In 1647 or 48 she was fined 20 shillings for an unnamed offense and in 1667 her husband George objected to her seat placement in the meeting house. Perhaps he felt it was below her station. 

In 1669 Susanna was required to post 100 pounds bond to appear in court on a charge of witchcraft, a capital offense. At the same time George Martin sued William Sargent, Jr. for slander for saying that "...said Martyn's wife had a child at Capt. Wiggins and was wringing its neck in Capt. Wiggins' stable, when a man entered, and she took him by the collar and told him she would be the death of him if he told"; he sued William Sargent "...for saying his wife was a witch and he would call her a witch." George also sued Thomas Sargent "...for saying that his son George Marttin was a bastard and that Richard Marttin was Goodwife Marttin's imp," (a witch's familiar.) 

Charges were dropped against Thomas Sargent, William Sargent, Jr.. was found guilty of accusing Susanna of " fornication and infanticide" and George was awarded (in what appears to be a public insult) the amount of "a white wampam peague (colonial currency) or the eighth part of a penny damage" by the magistrates. William Sargent (Sr?) was acquitted of witchcraft slander, although, "the Court did not agree." The records of Susanna's first trial for witchcraft have not survived, but as she was around for another 23 years, we might assume that she was acquitted.

In October, 1669 George Martin was sued by Christopher Bartlett because Susanna had called him a liar and a thief. The verdict was against George and Susanna but they had other problems to deal with. At that same court session, their son Richard was " presented by the grand jury at the Salisbury Court, 1669, for abusing his father and throwing him down, taking away his clothes and holding up an axe against him." The court found him guilty and sentenced Richard to be "whipped ten stripes." 

In 1671, George and Susanna (her sister Mary Jones would join them later) became involved in lengthy litigation over Richard North's estate. In October 1674, their inheritance would be lost when the court found against them. 

Descriptions of Susanna say that she was short, slightly plump, active, and "of remarkable personal neatness." She was also said to be very outspoken, contemptuous of authority, and defiant in the face of slander which had followed her for years. 

The Rev. Cotton Mather said about Susanna, "This woman was one of the most impudent, scurrilous, wicked creatures of this world; and she did now throughout her whole trial discover herself to be such a one. Yet when she was asked what she had to say for herself, her chief plea was that she had led a most virtuous and holy life." Mr. Merrill, in his History of Amesbury described Susanna differently---------- "The idea of snatching this hardworking, honest woman from her home to be tried for her life by those who never knew her , and witnesses who were prejudiced against almost too much for belief. ...Allowed no counsel, she was her own lawyer, and her answers are remarkable for independence and clearness. She showed herself to be a woman of more than ordinary talent and resolution." 

On April 30, 1692 a warrant was issued for Susanna's arrest on a charge of witchcraft and she was arrested an May 2nd. "When she saw Orlando Bagley approaching on the morning of her arrest, little did she dream of his errand. He was a personal friend of long standing, and we can but faintly imagine her surprise when..." he read the warrant.

During her preliminary examination the at same day, she vigorously answered the charges against her. When the " afflicted girls" began having fits, she laughed out loud. When the magistrates asked why she laughed, she responded, "Well I may at such folly." She refused to express any thoughts on what may have ailed the girls but bluntly stated that she didn't think they were bewitched. Her further testimony show that she realized the seriousness of her situation and she adamantly maintained her innocence. 

"The mental anguish and suffering of the two and a half months while she lay in Salem beyond our power of description." Susanna Martin underwent the indignity of a physical examination on June 2 1692. She examinations were intended to discover whether the accused had any physical abnormalities, especially anything that could be used to suckle a familiar or even the devil himself. Susanna was examined twice during the same day; at neither examination was any abnormality discovered, but at the first her breasts appeared to be full and at the second slack. Doubtless the magistrates found this apparent indication that she had actually suckled even more satisfactory than an abnormal "witch's teat."

On June 26, 1692 her trial began. Susanna pleaded not guilty, but in the end she was found guilty and condemned to death. 

On Tuesday, July 19, 1692 Susanna Martin, Sarah Good, Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Wilde, and Elizabeth Howe were taken from their cells, put into a cart and driven up the rocky road to Gallows Hill. While Rebecca Nurse prayed, Rev. Nicholas Noyes exhorted Sarah Good to confess saying, "You are a witch, and you know you are a witch." She replied, calling him a liar and saying that she was no more a witch than he was a wizard and...if you take away my life, God will give you blood to drink." Tradition says that Rev. Noyes died of an internal hemorrhage, bleeding profusely from the mouth. 

"The bodies...were thrust into a shallow grave in a crevice of felsite." There is historical evidence that the body of at least one of these women, Rebecca Nurse, was secretly removed and given Christian burial; "this was the hour and the power of darkness when a son could not say where he had buried his mother."

In 1711, the General Court granted compensation to many of the victims or their heirs, but Susanna's children made no application to the authorities and they received nothing. Susanna was not among those whose attainder was lifted.

Let Goody Martin rest in peace, I never knew her harm a fly,
And witch or not - God knows - not I?
I know who swore her life away;
And as God lives, I'd not condemn
An Indian dog on word of them.

John Greenleaf Whittier

27 Jun 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts
Subpeona for Susanna Martin

12 Jul 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts
Judge William Stoughton

Execution Warrant cover and report.

On Tuesday, July 19, 1692 Susanna Martin, Sarah Good, Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Wilde, and Elizabeth Howe were taken from their cells, put into a cart and driven up the rocky road to Gallows Hill.

19 Jul 1692

Salem vs. the Witches .. (part 4) more Testimony

29 Jun 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


The Deposition of Joseph Knight aged about 40 years. This Deponent do testify and say that on the 20th day of October or thereabouts in the year of our Lord 1686 Nathaniel Clark Junior of Newbury together with this Deponent going out into the woods together to fetch up horses there met with Suanna Martin of Amesbury with a little dog running by her side and in my sift she took up said dog under her arm, but coming up near to her she had a keg or a half firkin under the same arm. This deponenet then looked her in the face and told her that that keg was a little dog, but now Nathaniel Clark said so it was and then passing from her we found our horses and brought them to a small causeway but could not get them over, but there being a small knoll of land near our horses ran round about it the greatest part of that day we often bringing them up to the Causeway but then they turned to that knoll and ran about it the same way, but at length there came a young man with a yoke of oxen to go over the Causeway who with some difficulty got them over for although the Causeway was very good yet one of the oxen hung back as though he were frightened, but at length were forced over and then we got over our horses.

Joseph Knight owned this his testimony to be the truth on his oath before the Jurors of Inquest this 29 of June 1692.

29 Jun 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


Elizabeth Clark who then was the wife of the abovesaid Nathaniel Clark do testify that when my said husband Nathaniel Clark came home he told me this deponent the matter mentioned in Joseph Knight’s testimony and he related to me the whole of the matter and all the circumstances related in said testimony excepting that my husband told Joseph Knight that the keg undr Goodwife Martin’s arm was or had been a dog. This deponent do further testify that Goodwife Martin abovesaid came to our house the same day mentioned in Joseph Knight’s testimony before my husband came home and coming into the house our dog bit her by the leg as she said whereupon she being angry said that he was a churl like his master.
Elizabeth Clark owned this her testimony to be the truth on the oath which she had taken before the Jury for Inquest this 29 of June 1692.

30 Jun 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


The deposition of Robert Downer of Salisbury aged 52 years who testify and say, That several years ago Susanna Martin the then wife of George Martin being brought to Court for a witch, the said Downer having some words with her (she at the time attending Mrs. Light at Salisbury). This deponent among other things told her he believed that she was a witch by what was said or witnessed against her at which she seemed not well affected, said that a she devil would fetch him away shortly at which this deponent was not much moved, but at night as he lay in his bed in his own house alone there came at his window the likeness of a cat and by and by come up to his bed took fast hold of his throat and lay hard upon him a considerable while, and was like to throttle him. At length he minded what Susanna Martin had threatened him with the day before. He strove what he could and said avoid thou she devil in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost and then it let him go and slumped down upon the floor and went out at window again.
Sworn by Robert Downer June 30 1692.
Before Robt. Pike Assist.
Jurat in Curia
30 Jun 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


Mrs. Mary Andrews aged 40 years testify that she did hear the said Susanna Martin threaten or tell the said Robt Downer that a she devil would fetch him away shortly. She further saith that from some of her father’s family she did hear that what the said Su Martin told them how said Downer was served that night that he was afflicted as abovesaid.
Sworn by Mrs. Mary Andrews June 30 1692.
Before Robt. Pike Assist.
Jurat in Curia
30 Jun 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


Moses Pike aged 26 years or more testify that he did hear Susanna Martin tell how Ro Downer was handled and as he remembers it was the next day after it was done at night.
Sworn by Moses Pike June 30 1692.
Before Robt. Pike Assist.
Jurat in Curia
30 Jun 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


The Deposition of Sam Parris aged about 39 years and Nathaniel Ingersoll aged about fifty and eight years and also Tho. Putnam aged about forty years all of Salem, testifieth and saith that Abigail Williams, Mercy Lewis, Mary Walcott, Susanna Sheldon, and John Indian were much afflicted at the examination of Susanna Martin of Amesbury, widow, before the honored Magistrates the 2 May 1692, and that Goody Vibber (who before had not accused her) and some others of the afflicted then and there testified that there was a black man whispering in her ear and also that the said Vibber, Abigail Williams and Mary Walcott and John Indian could not come near said Martin, whereupon in all they were ordered by the magistrates to attempt it and their agonies and tortures they charged said Martin as the cause of and also we further saw that when the said Martin bit her lips they were bitten and when the afflicted were ordered to go towards her they were knocked down.
Jurat in Curia
30 Jun 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


The Testimony of Abigail Williams witnesseth and saith that she had several times seen, and been afflicted by the apparition of Susanna Martin Amesbury widow at and before the 2 May 1692.
30 Jun 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


The deposition of Ann Putnam Junr who testifieth and saith some time in April 1692 there appeared to me the Apparition of an old short woman that told me her name was Martin and that she came from Amesbury who did immediately afflict me, urging me to write in her book, but on the 2 May 1692 being the day of her examination Susanna Martin did most grievously afflict me during the time of her examination for when she did but look personally upon she would strike me down or almost choke and several times since the Apparition of Susanna Martin has most grievously afflicted me by pinching me and almost choking me urging me vehemently to write in her book. Also on the day of her Examination I saw the Apparition of Susanna Martin go and afflict the bodies of Mary Walcott, Mercy Lewis, Elizabeth Hubbard and Abigial Williams.

11 May 1692 | Salisbury, Massachusetts


The deposition of John Pressey aged 53 and Mary his wife aged 46 or thereabouts testifying saith that some years after that the said John Pressey had given his evidence against the said Susanna Martin she, the said Martin, came and took these deponents to do about it and reviled them with many foul words saying we had took a false oath and that we should never prosper and that we should never prosper for our so doing particularly that we should never have but two cows and that if we were never so likely to have more yet we should never obtain it. We do further testify that from that time to this day we have never exceeded that number, but something or other has prevented it, tho never so likely (to obtain it) though they had used all ordinary means for obtaining it by hiring cows of others that were not their own, this for twenty years’ space. John Pressey made oath to the truth of all that is above written at my house in Salisbury the eleventh day of May Ano Domino 1692

Before Me
Robt. Pike Assist.

Mary Pressey testifieth to all the above Except Susanna her threatening of the not raising above two cows.

Jurat in Curia by both

Salem vs. the Witches .. (part 3) Testimony

May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts

The Deposition of Mercy Lewis aged about 19 years who testifieth and said that in the latter end of April 1692 there appeared to me the Apparition of a short old woman which told me her name was Goody Martin and that she came from Amesbury who did most grievously torment me by biting and pinching me, urging me vehemently to write in her book, but on the 2 May 1692 being the day of her examination Susanna Martin did torment and afflict me most grievously in the time of her examination for when she looked upon me personally she would strike me down or almost choke me and several times since the Apparition of Susanna Martin has most grievously afflicted me by pinching and almost choking me to death, urging me to write in her book, and also on the day of her examination I saw the Apparition of Susanna Martin go and hurt the bodies of Mary Walcott, Elizabeth Hubbard, Abigail William and Ann Putnam Junr.
Mercy Lewis

May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts

John Atkinson aged fifty six years or thereabouts, Testifieth that some time about five years since, one of the sons of Susanna Martin Senior of Amesbury exchanged a cow of his with me for a cow which I bought of Mr. Wells the minister which cow he took from Mr. Wells his house. About a week after I went to the house of Susanna Martin to receive the cow of the young man her son. When I came to bring the cow home notwithstanding hamstringing of her and halting her she was so mad that we could scarce get her along, but she broke all the ropes fastened to her. We put the halter two or three times round a tree which she broke and ran away and when she came down to the Ferry we were forced to run up to our waists in water. She was so fierce but after much ado we got her into the boat, she was so tame as any creature whatsoever, and further this Deponent saith that Susanna Martin muttered and was unwilling this deponent should have the cow.
Jurat in Curia

May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


The Deposition of Sarah Vibber aged about 36 years who testifieth and saith that on the 2 May 1692 the Apparition of Susanna Martin of Amesbury did most grievously tormet me during the time of her examination for if she did but look personally upon me she would strike me down or almost choke me and also the same day I saw the Apparition of Susanna Martin most grievously afflict the bodies of Mary Walcott, Mercy Lewis and Ann Putnam by pinching and almost choking them and several times since the Apparition of Susanna Martin has most grievously afflicted me by beating and pinching me and almost choking me to death, and that she believes the said Martin is a witch and that she is bewitched by her.
Jurat in Curia

May 1696 | Salem, Massachusetts


The Deposition of Elizabeth Hubbard aged about 17 years, who testified and saith that I have often seen the apparition of Susanna Martin among the witches, but she did not hurt me till the 2 day of May being the day of her examination, but then she did afflict me most grievously during the time of her examination for if she did but look personally upon me she would strike me down or almost choke me and several times since the apparition of Susanna Martin has most grievously afflicted me. Also on the day of her examinatioin I saw the apparition of Susanna Martin go and afflict and almost choke Mary Walcott, Mercy Lewis, Abigial Williams and Ann Putnam Jun.
(her Mark)
Eliz. Hubbard

May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts

 Sarah Atkinson aged forty eight years or thereabouts testifieth that some time in the spring of the year about eighteen years since Susanna Martin came unto our house at Newbury from Amesbury in an Extraordinary dirty season when it was not fit for any person to travel, she then came on foot. When she came into our house I asked her whether she came from Amesbury a foot, she said she did. I asked her how she could come in this time a foot and bid my children make way for her to come to the fire to dry herself. She replied she was as dry as I was and turned her coats on side and I could not perceive that the sole of her shoes were wet. I was startled at it that she should come so dry and told her that I should have been wet up to my knees if I should have come so far on foot. She replied that she scorned to have a drabbled tail.
Jurat in Curia

11 May 1692 | Salisbury, Massachusetts

The testimony of John Pressey of Amesbury aged 53 years or thereabouts taken before me at my house at Salisbury the eleventh day of May: Ano: Dom. 1692 is as followeth. That about twenty four years ago, he this deponent was at Amesbury Ferry upon a Saturday in the evening near about the shutting in of the daylight (which was about three miles From his house) and as he was going home a little beyond the field of George Martin at a hill called Goodal’s hill this deponent was bewildered and lost his way and having wandered a while he came back again to the same place which he knew by stooping trees in that place, which perceiving he set out again and steered by the moon which shone bright, and was again lost and came back again to the same place.

And then set out the 3rd time in like manner and was bewildered and came back but not so far as before but knew where he was and so set himself in his way as before and in Less than half a mile going he saw a light stand on his left hand about two rod out of the way; it seemed to be about the bigness of a half bushel, but this deponent kept on his way and left it and in a matter of seven or eight rod going it appeared again at the like distance from him as before and so it did again the 3d time, but the deponent passed on his way and in less than twenty rod going the same or such another light lay in his way and he having a stick in his hand did with the end of it endeavored to stir it out of the place and to give it some small blows with it and the light seemed to brush up and move from side to side as a turkey cock when he spreads his tail, but went not out of the place, which perceiving this deponent laid it on with his stick with all his might he thinks he gave her at least forty blows, and so was a going away and leave it but as he was going his heels were struck up and he laid on his back on the ground and was sliding into a deep place (as to him seemed) but taking hold of some brush or brushes and so recovered himself and having lost his coat which he had upon his arm went back to the light, saw his coat and took it up and went home without any more disturbance there.

He farther say he do not know any such pit to be in the place that he was sliding into. He also saith that when he did strike at the light he did certainly feel a substance with his stick. He further saith that after striking it and his recovering himself and going on his way as aforesaid, when he had gone about 5 or 6 rod he saw Susanna Martin then wife of George Martin of Amesbury standing on his left hand as the lights had done. There she stood and looked upon him and turned her face after him as he went along, but said nothing nor did nothing to this Deponent, but that he went home as aforesaid. Only he again over went his own house but knowing the ground that he was upon returned and found his own house, but being then seized with fear could not speak till his wife spoke to him at the door and was in such condition that his family was afraid of him, which story being carried to the Town the next day it was upon inquiry understood, that the said Goodwife Martin was in such a miserable case and in such pain that they swabbed her body (as was reported). This deponent further saith that these things being noised abroad, Major Pike sent for this deponent and had an account of the case, but seemed to be troubled that this deponent had not told him of it in season that she might have been viewed to have seen what her ail was. John Pressey aforesaid made oath to the truth of what is written in these two sides of the paper the eleventh day of May Anno Dom 1692.

Before Me
Robt. Pike Assist.
Jurat in Curia

16 May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


The deposition of John Kimball of Amesbury aged 45 or upwards testifying saith, That about 23 years ago this deponent being about to remove from Newbury to Amesbury having bought a piece of land of George Martin of Amesbury for which he was to pay him in cash or goods upon a certain day in March next following, and when the Day of payment was come Martin and hiw wife came for the pay and the said Kimball offered them the choice of three cows and other cattle but did reserve two cows which thy were not free to part with, they being the first that ever they had, and Martin himself was satisfied with other pay but Susanna his wife understanding from this deponent and his wife that they would not part with one of these 2 cows, the said Susanna Martin said (you had been as good you had) for she will never do you any more good (and so it came to pass) for the next April following that very cow lay in the fair dry yard with her head to her side (but stark dead) and when she was floaed [perhaps flayed] no impediment did appear in her for she was a stout lusty cow, and in a little while after another cow died and then an ox, and then other cattle to the value of 30 pounds that spring.

Sworn by John Kimball May the 16 1692.
Before Robt. Pike Assist.
Jurat in Curia

John Kimball of Amesbury aforementioned further deposeth that the same year after he was come to live at Amesbury and was dwelling in the house of Edmund Elliot he was needed to get a dog and hearing that the wife of said George Martin had a bitch that had whelps and this deponent went to her to get one of her, but she not letting him have his choice he did not absolutely agree for any but said he heard one Blesdell had a bitch by which he may supply, but if not there was no one else he would have heed of her price, but being upon that account at said Blesdell’s and marked the whelp that I agreed for, George Martin coming by asked me whether I would not have one of his wife’s whelps to which this deponent made answer on the negative.

The same day Edmond Elliot said that he was at the house of the said Martins and heard the said Martin ask his wife why this deponent were not to have one of her puppies and she said he have got one at Goodman Blesdell’s and he saw him choose it and mark it (to which his said wife said), "If I live I’ll give him puppies enough."

Within a few days after this I, this deponent, coming from his intended house in the woods to Edmond Elliot’s house where I dwelt about the sunset or presently after and there did arise a little black cloud in the n.w and a few drops of rain and the wind blew pretty hard. In going between the house of John Wood and the meeting house, this said deponent came by several stumps of trees by the wayside. He by impulse he can give no reason of that made him tumble over the stumps one after another through, though he had his ax upon his shoulder which put him in Danger and made him resolved to avoid the next but could not.

And when he came a little below the meeting house there did appear a little thing like a puppy of a darkish color. It shot between my legs forwards and backwards as one that were distract the hay and this deponent being free from all fear used all possible endeavors to cut it with his ax but could not hurt it and as he was thus belaboring with his ax the puppy gave a little jump from him and seemed to go into the ground.

In a little further going there did appear a black puppy somewhat bigger than the first but as black as a coal to his apprehension which came against him with such violence as its quick motions did exceed his motions of his ax. Do what he could and it flew at his belly and away and then at his throat and over his shoulder one way and go off and up at it again another way and with such quickness seized and violence did it assault him as if it would tear out his throat or his belly while he was without fear, but at least I felt my heart to fail and sink under it that I thought my life was going out and I recovered myself and gave a start up and ran to the fence and calling upon God and naming the name Jesus Christ and then it invisibly away my moaning as it looked that out but this deponent made it not known to anybody for fretting his wife.

The next morning Edmond Elliot (as he told aborad and in his own house) said that he was going toward the house of said Martin to look his oxen went in to light his pipe and the said Martin’s wife asked him where Kimball was (said Elliot said abed with his wife for aught he knew) (she said they say he frightened last night) with what said Elliot she said with puppies. Elliot replied that he heard nothing of it and asked where she heard of it and she said about the Town which story said Elliot having told it was all the Town over when this deponent came home at night for he had been all day alone in the woods at work at his frame work.

John Kimball made oath to the truth of all that is written on both sides of this paper May the 16th 1692.

Before Me
Robt. Pike Assist.
Jurat in Curia

11 May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


The Deposition of William Brown of Salisbury aged 70 years or thereabouts, who testifying saith, That about one or two and thirty years ago Elizabeth his wife being a very rational woman and Sober and one that feared God as was well known to all that knew her and as prudently careful in her family, which woman going upon a time from her own house towards the mill is Salisbury did there meet with Susanna Martin the then wife of George Martin of Amesbury. Just as they came together the said Susanna Martin vanished away out of her sight which put the said Elizabeth into a great fright. After which time the said Martin did many times afterward appear to her at her house and did much trouble her in any of her occasions and this continued till about feb, following, and then when she did come it was as birds pecking her legs or pricking her with the motion of their wings and then it would rise up into her stomach with pricking pain as nails and pins of which she did bitterly complain and cry out like a woman in travail and after that it would rise up to her throat in a bunch like a pullet’s egg and then she would turn back her head and say, witch you shan’t choke me.

In the time of this extremity the church appointed a day of humitting [humility, ie., fasting] to seek God on her behalf and thereupon her trouble ceased and she saw Goodwife Martin no more for a considerable time for which the church instead of the day of humiliation gave thanks for her Deliverance and she came to meeting and went about her business as before. This continued till April following at which time summonses were sent to the said Elizabeth Brown, Goodwife Osgood by the Court to give their evidences concerning the said Martin and they did before the Grand Jury gave a full account.

After which time the said Elizabeth told this deponent that as she was milking of her cow the said Susanna Martin came behind her and told her that she would make her the miserablest creature for defaming her name at the Court and wept grievously as she told it to this deponent.

About 2 months after this deponent came home from Hampton and his said wife would not own him but said they were divorced and asked him whether he did not meet with one Mr. Bent of Abbey in England by whom he was divorced. And from that time to this very day have been under a strange kind of distemper frenzy incapable of any reasonable action though strong of body and healthy of body. He further testifieth that when she came into that condition this deponent procured Doctor Fuller and Crosby to come to her for her relief but they did both say that her distemper was supernatural and no sickness of body but that some evil person had bewitched her.
Sworn the eleventh day of May Anno Dom 1692

Before Me
Robt. Pike Assist.

16 May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts

Wm. Brown made oath that the above is a true relation according to his wife’s complaint. Concerning the truth of what is sworn by William Brown concerning his wife with respect to her being a Rational woman before she was so handled and of her now present condition and her so long continuance all that then knew her and now know her can testify to the truth of it for she yet remains a miserable creature of which myself is one as witness my hand 16 May 1692.
Robt. Pike

11 May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


The deposition of Bernard Peach aged 43 or thereabouts, who testifying saith, That about six or seven years past this deponent living at the house of Jacob Morell in Salisbury being in bed on a Lord’s Day night he heard a scrabbling at the window, he this deponent saw Susanna Martin wife of George Martin of Amesbury come in at the window and jumped down upon the floor. She was in her hood and scarf and the same dress that she was in before at meeting the same day. Being come in she was coming up towards this deponent’s face, but turned back to his feet and took hold of them and drew up his body into a hoop and lay upon him about an hour and half or 2 hours in all which time this deponent could not stir nor speak, but feeling himself beginning to be loosened or lightened he beginning to strive he put out his hand among the clothes and took hold of her hand and brought it up to his mouth and bit three of the fingers (as he judge) to the breaking of the bones. Which done the said Martin went out of the chamber down the stairs and out of the door.

And as soon as she went away this deponent called to the people of the house and told them what was done and that said Martin was now gone out of the door this deponent did also follow her but the people did not see her (as they said) but without the door there was a bucket of ___ on the left hand side and there was a drop of blood on the handle too, more upon the snow for there was a little flight of snow and there were the print of her two feet about a foot without the threshold, but no more footing did appear.

He further deposeth that some time after this as he supposeth about 3 weeks after, the said Martin desired this deponent to come and husk corn at her house the next Lord’s Day night, say that if I did not come it were better that I did, but this deponent did not go being then living with N___ Osgood of the said Salisbury and that night lodged in the barn upon the hay and about an hour or 2 in the night, the said Susanna Martin and another came towards this deponent. He having a quarter staff made a blow at them but the roof of the barn prevented it and they went away, but this deponent followed them and as they were going toward the window made another blow at them and struck them both down but away they went out at the shop window and this deponent saw no more of them. And the rumor went that the said Martin had a broken hand at that time but the deponent cannot speak to that upon his own knowledge.

Sworn May the eleventh 1692
Before Me
Robt. Pike Assist.

13 May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


Javis Ring of Salisbury maketh oath as followeth, That about seven or eight years ago he had been several times afflicted in the night time by somebody or something coming up upon him when he was in bed and did sorely afflict by laying upon him and he could neither move nor speak while it was upon him, but sometimes made a kind of noise that folks did hear him and come up to him and as soon as anybody came, it would be gone. This it did for a long time before and since but he did never see anybody clearly, but one time in the night it came upon me as at othr times and I did then see the person of Susanna Martin of Amesbury. This deponent did perfectly see her and she came to this deponent and took him by the hand and bit him by the finger by force and then came and lay upon him awhile as formerly, and after a while went away. The print of the bite is yet to be seen on the little finger of his right hand for it was hard to heal (he further saith). That several times he was alseep when it came, but at that time when bit his finger he was as fairly awake as ever he was and plainly saw her shape and felt her tooth as aforesaid.

Sworn by Jarvis Ring above said May the 13th 1692
Before Me
Robt. Pike Assit. at Salisbury
Jurat in Curia

13 May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


The deposition of Joseph Ring at Salisbury aged 27 years being sworn saith, That about the latter end of September last being int he wood with his brother Jarvis Ring hewing of timber, his brother went home with his team and left this deponent alone to finish the hewing of the piece for him, for his brother to carry when he came again, but as soon as his brother was gone, there came to this deponent the appearance of Thomas Hardy of the great Island at Patascataway and by some impulse he was forced to follow him to the house of ___ Tucker which was deserted and was about half a mile from the place he was at work in, and in that house did appear Susanna Martin of Amesbury and the aforesaid Hardy and another female person which the deponent did not know. There they had a good fire and drink, it seemed to be cider, there continued most part of the night, said Martin being then in her natural shape and talking as she used to do, but toward the morning the said Martin went from the fire, made a noise and turned into the shape of a black hog and went away and so did the other two persons go away and this deponent was strangely carried away also and the first place he knew was by Samuel Wood’s house in Amesbury.

Sworn by Joseph Ring May the 13th 1692

Before Me
Robt. Pike Assist.
Jurat in Curia

13 May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


Joseph Ring of Salisbury aged 27 years having been strangely handled for the space of almost two years maketh this Relation upon oath as followeth, viz: That in the month of June next after Casco Bay fort was taken this deponent coming between Sandy Beach and Hampton Town met with Thomas Hardy of Great Island and a company of several other creatures with him which said Hardy demanded of this deponent two shillings and with that dreadful noise and hideous shapes of these creatures and fireball, this deponent was almost frightened out of his wits and in about a half an hour (or indeed he could not judge of the time) they left him and he came to Hampton. About ten days after as the deponent came from Boston this deponent was overtaken by a company of people on horseback who passed by him and after they were passed by him, the aforesaid Thomas Hardy turned about his horse, and ame back to this deponent with his horse in hand and desired this deponent to go to Mrs. White’s and drink with him, which being refused he turned away to the Company and they all came up together such a weth (i.e. with so many horses) that it seemed impossible to escape being trod down by them, but they went all past and then appeared no more.

About October following coming from Hampton in Salisbury Pine Plain a company of horses with men and women upon them overtook this deponent and the aforesaid Hardy being one of them came to this deponent as before and demanded his 2 s of him and threatened to tear him in pieces to whom this deponent made no answer, and so he and the rest went away and left this deponent. After this this deponent had divers strange appearances which did force him away with them into unknown places where he saw meetings and feastings and many strange sights, and from August last he was dumb and could not speak till this last April. He also relates that there did use to come to him a man that did present him a book to which he would have him set his hand with promise of anything that he would have and there were presented all Delectable things, persons and places imaginable, but he refusing it, would usually and with most dreadful shapes, noises and screeching that almost scared him out of his wits, and this was the usual manner of proceeding with him. And one time the book was brought and a pen offered him to his apprehension there was blood in the ink horn, but he never touched the pen. He further say that they never told him what he should write nor he could not speak to ask them what he should write. He farther in several of their merry meetings he have seen Susanna Martin appear among them.

And that day that his speech came to him again which was about the end of April alst as he was in bed she did stand by his bed’s side and pinched him.

Joseph Ring abovesaid made oath of the truth of all that is above written this 13th day of May 1692.

Before Me
Robt. Pike Assist.
Jurat in Curia the substance of it viva voce.

It is to be understood that the matter about that two shillings demanded of said Ring was this, viz: That when Casco was assaulted before it was taken, Capt. Cedric Walt was going from Great Island in Patascataway with a party for their relief of which party said Ring was one and said Hardy coming up into the room where said Ring [was] before they sailed and played at shovelboard or some such like game and urged said Ring play, said Ring told him he had no money and said Hardy lent him 2 s and then said Ring played with him. Said Hardy who won his money away from him again so he could not then pay him this account was by said Ring given to me.

Robt. Pike Ast

7 Jun 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


The deposition of Lt. John Allen of Salisbury aged 45 years testifying saith That in or about the year ____ this deponent was hauling timber for Mr. George Carr for building a vessel at Amesbury at Mr. Goodwin’s building place and having done and bout to go hom, Susanna Martin the wife of George Martin desired this deponent to cart staves for them which this deponent refused to do because of his oxen which were weak and neede now to get flesh, but she seemed to be discontent (and as James Freeze and others then present told this deponent) (that she said) I had been as good I had (for my oxen should never do me much more service) upon which this deponent said, dost threaten me thou old witch or words to that effect resolving to throw her into a brook that was fast by which to avoid she flew over the bridge and so escaped. But as he was going home one of his oxen tired that he was forced to unyoke him to get him home. And after they were come home, put the said oxen to Salisbury beach where several othr oxen and cattle usually are put where they had long range of meadow to feed on and where cattle did use to get flesh, but in a few days all the oxen upon the beach we found by their tracks were gone to the mouth of the River Merrimack but not returned from whence we thought they were run into the said river, but the next day sending to Plum Island found their tracks there to be come ashore which tracks they followed to the other end of said island and a considerable way back again and then sat down which being apprised by those that sought them they did use all Imaginable Gentleness to them to some acquaintance which some of them seemed to attend, but all on a sudden away they all ran with such violence as if they their motion had been diabolical till they came near the mouth of Merrimack River and then turned to the right hand and ran right into the sea all but two old oxen (which had before left their company) and all the rest went to sea as far as they could see them, and then one of them came back again with such swiftness as was amazing to the beholders who stood ready to ___ him and help his tired carcass up, but letting him loose away he ran up into the Island and from there through the marshes up into Newbury town and so up into their woods and there was after a while found about Hartechok river over against Amesbury. So that of 14 good oxen only that was saved, the rest were all cast up some at Cape Ann some in one place and some in other of they only had their hides, he further saith that the abovesaid James Freeze did often move the prosecuting of the said Susanna Martin in the case being confident that she was a witch.
Lt. John Allen made oath to the truth of all that is above written June the 7th 1692.

Before Me
Robt. Pike Assist.
Jurat in Curia

20 May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts

 (never seemed to be translated)

Related to real King Duncan of Shakespeare's Macbeth

 What do you do when you find out that you are related to the real version of a character in a Shakespeare play????

Yep, well - minus the tongue ........ while thinking ............. O.M.G.!

In Shakespeare's play Macbeth he met up with King Duncan of Scotland - and killed him.  Yep, Macbeth murdered my ancestor.....

ISN'T THAT COOL!?!?!!?! 

The things that amuse me.........   here are three "stories" attached to him on ....

Duncan I of Scotland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Donnchad mac Crínáin (Modern Gaelic: Donnchadh mac Crìonain)[2] anglicised as Duncan I, and nicknamed An t-Ilgarach, "the Diseased" or "the Sick"[3] (died 14 August 1040)[1] was king of Scotland (Alba). He was son of Crínán, hereditary lay abbot of Dunkeld, and Bethóc, daughter of king Malcolm II of Scotland (Máel Coluim mac Cináeda).

Unlike the "King Duncan" of Shakespeare's Macbeth, the historical Duncan appears to have been a young man. He followed his grandfather Malcolm as king after the latter's death on 25 November 1034, without apparent opposition. He may have been Malcolm's acknowledged successor or tánaise as the succession appears to have been uneventful.[4] Earlier histories, following John of Fordun, supposed that Duncan had been king of Strathclyde in his grandfather's lifetime, ruling the former Kingdom of Strathclyde as an appanage. Modern historians discount this idea.[5]

Another claim by Fordun, that Duncan married the sister, daughter or cousin of Sigurd the Dane, Earl of Northumbria, appears to be equally unreliable. An earlier source, a variant of the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba (CK-I), gives Duncan's wife the Gaelic name Suthen.[6] Whatever his wife's name may have been, Duncan had at least two sons. The eldest, Malcolm III (Máel Coluim mac Donnchada) was king from 1057 to 1093, the second Donald III (Domnall Bán, or "Donalbane") was king afterwards. Máel Muire, Earl of Atholl is a possible third son of Duncan, although this is uncertain.[7]
The early period of Duncan's reign was apparently uneventful, perhaps a consequence of his youth. Macbeth (Mac Bethad mac Findláich) is recorded as his dux, literally duke, but in the context — "dukes of Francia" had half a century before replaced the Carolingian kings of the Franks and in England the over-mighty Godwin of Wessex was called a dux — this suggests that Macbeth was the power behind the throne.[8]

In 1039, Duncan led a large Scots army south to besiege Durham, but the expedition ended in disaster. Duncan survived, but the following year he led an army north into Moray, traditionally seen as Macbeth's domain. There he was killed, at Pitgaveny near Elgin, by his own men led by Macbeth, probably on 14 August 1040.[9]

Duncan and MacBeth

Duncan and MacBeth - famous names thanks to Shakespeare and the Scottish Play, 'Macbeth'.  But how historically accurate is Shakespeare's story, if at all?

For centuries, the clans had been waging war on each other. Viking warriors had been raiding the coasts of Scotland. King Malcolm of Scotia, king of the Scots and Picts, routed the Angles of Lothian in the Battle of Carham in 1018 and became the most powerful man in Scotland.  When King Owen of the Britons of Strathclyde died later that year without issue, Duncan (Malcolm's grandson) became the rightful heir  through marriage. Malcolm was therefore able to unite the Four Kingdoms of Scotland under one throne. Scotland in the early 11th century had finally become a single nation.

Duncan - King of Scotland 1034 - 40

 Duncan became King of Scotland upon the death of Malcolm in 1034. He was a much weaker character than Malcolm and a terrible leader. He led a disastrous campaign into Northumbria and was forced to retreat ignominiously back to Scotland. His cousin MacBeth, chief of the northern Scots, also had a claim to the throne through his mother. MacBeth formed an alliance with his cousin the Earl of Orkney, and they defeated and killed Duncan near Forres in 1040.

MacBeth - King of Scotland 1040 - 57

Mac Bethad mac Findláich or MacBeth as he is known in English, the Mormaer of Moray, claimed the throne on his own behalf and that of his wife Grauch, and after the death of Duncan made himself king in his place.  Respected for his strong leadership qualities, MacBeth was a wise king who ruled successfully for 17 years. He lived in a fortified castle at Dunsinane north of Perth. His rule was secure enough for him to go on a pilgrimage to Rome in 1050.  However the peace was not to last: Duncan's son Malcolm had fled to Northumbria after the defeat of his father and had never given up his claim to the throne. In 1054 with the support of  Earl Siward, he led an army against MacBeth, defeating him at the battle of Dunsinnan. MacBeth remained king, restoring Malcolm's lands to him.  But in 1057 at Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire on 15th August, MacBeth was finally defeated and killed and Malcolm became King.

Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'

Shakespeare's 'Macbeth', written nearly 400 years ago, is widely accepted as one of his great tragedies and rated alongside 'Hamlet', 'King Lear' and 'Julius Caesar'. But how historically correct is it?

It is generally accepted that Shakespeare wrote the play sometime between 1604 and 1606, when there was a new king on the throne, King James I and VI of Scotland. Shakespeare would have gained approval for a Scottish play from the new King. Especially one with witches in it, for it was well known that the King was interested in witches, witchcraft and the supernatural (in 1597 James had written a book on spirits and witchcraft called 'Daemononlogie').

Shakespeare appears to deliberately mix fact and fiction in the play.  Apparently using Holinshed's 'Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland' (1587) as his source, Shakespeare sets the battle between Duncan and MacBeth in 1040 at Birnam Hill in Perthshire, rather than Forres where it actually took place.  In the play MacBeth dies at Dunsinane whereas in reality it was at Lumphanan where he was defeated and killed in 1057.

Shakespeare's play takes place over a year whereas in reality, MacBeth ruled for 17 years.

Charles Kean and his wife as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, in costumes aiming to be historically accurate (1858).

As for the personalities of the two main characters, Duncan and MacBeth, again Shakespeare's portrayal is not historically correct. In the play Duncan is portrayed as a strong, wise and elderly king whereas in reality he was a young, weak and ineffective ruler. Shakespeare's Macbeth has virtually no legitimate claim to the throne whereas the real MacBeth had a respectable claim through his mother's side - indeed both MacBeth and his wife were descended from Kenneth MacAlpin. Shakespeare also gives MacBeth the title 'Thane of Glamis' but in fact Glamis was not known as a thanage in the 11th century.

In Shakespeare's play, MacBeth's friend Banquo  is shown as a noble and loyal man, resisting evil, a contrast to the character of Macbeth. In Holinshed's 'Chronicles' however, Banquo is shown as exactly the opposite: he is an accomplice in MacBeth's murder of Duncan. The new king,  James I and VI of Scotland, claimed ancestry from Banquo through the Stewart line of kings. To have shown Banquo as a murderer of kings would not have pleased James! Indeed there is debate as to whether or not Banquo actually existed at all in history.

All in all, the confusing mix of fact and fiction which runs through the play is bewildering.

However it has to be asked - who would have heard of these two Scottish kings had it not been for Shakespeare and the 'Scottish Play'?

KING DUNCAN I MACCRINAN2 OF SCOTLAND (Crinan the Thane1) of Scots, son of (1) Crinan the Thane1, Abbot of Dunkeld and (ABS-21) Bethoc (or Beatrix) (of SCOTLAND), was born between 992 and 1017, and died on 14 Aug. 1040 near Elgin. He married (AK-2) (WIFE), daughter of (AK-1) Siward, Earl of Northumbria. [11, 4]
King of Scots 1034-1040
Murdered by Macbeth
He besieged Durham, 1035.
"1034. Duncan, the son of Crinan, abbot of Dunkeld, and Bethoc, daughter of
Malcolm, the son of Kenneth, reigned six years." Now being on solid ground,
with the backing of CP and SP, we leave Ritson's Annals of the Scots. The
above unbroken succession of the kings of the Scots from Fergus to Malcolm II is
thus soundly and convincingly authenticated.
AR: (170-20)
KING MALCOLM III CANMORE3 OF SCOTLAND of Atholl, Perthshire, Scotland, b. in 1031; d. on 13 Nov. 1093 in Alnwick, Northumberland, England, United Kingdom; m. (1) in 1059 INGEBORG; m. (2) in 1067 in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland (AOS-34) MARGARET "ATHELING" OF ENGLAND, QUEEN OF SCOTLAND, b. in Hungary in 1045[46, 59], d. in Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland on 16 Nov. 1093, daughter of (AOS-32) Prince Edward the Aetheling and (VP-12) Agatha (of HUNGARY).