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An American Family History

Petition of Mary Easty and Sarah Cloyce

 

Essex County Archives, Salem -- Witchcraft Volume 1. Page 127 )

 
The Salem witch trials were between February, 1692 and May, 1693.

Many factors led to the witchcraft accusations in Salem.

The humble Request of Mary Esty and Sarah Cloys to the Honoured Court.

Humbly sheweth, that whereas we two Sisters Mary Esty & Sarah Cloys stand now before the Honoured court charged with the suspition of Witchcraft, our humble request is first that seing we are neither able to plead our owne cause, nor is councell alowed to those in our condicion; that you who are our Judges, would please to be of councell to us, to direct us wherein we may stand in neede.

Secondly that whereas we are not conscious to ourselves of any guilt in the least degree of that crime, wherof we are now accused (in the presence of the Living God we speake it, before whose awfull Tribunall we know we shall ere Long appeare) nor of any other scandalouse evill, or miscaryage inconsistant with Christianity,

Those who have had the Longest and best knowledge of us, being persons of good report, may be suffered to Testifie upon oath what they know concerning each of us, viz Mr. [Joseph] Capen the pastour and those of the Towne & Church of Topsfield, who are ready to say somthing which we hope may be looked upon, as very considerable in this matter;

with the seven children of one of us, viz Mary Esty, and it may be produced of Like nature in reference to the wife of Peter Cloys, her sister.

Thirdly that the Testimony of witches, or such as are afflicted, as is supposed, by witches may not be improved to condemn us, without other Legal evidence concurring, we hope the Honoured Court & Jury will be soe tender of the lives of such, as we are who have for many years Lived under the unblemished reputation of Christianity, as not to condemne them without a fayre and equall hearing of what may be sayd for us, as well as against us. And your poore supplyants shall be bound always to pray &c.

Salem is in Essex County, Massachusetts and was a significant seaport in early America. John Endicott obtained a patent from England and arrived there in 1628. Salem originally included much of the North Shore, including Marblehead. Salem Village also included Peabody and parts of Beverly, Middleton, Topsfield, Wenham and Manchester-by-the-Sea.

The settlement of New Meadows was incorporated as the Town of Topsfield in 1650. The church "gathered" on November 4, 1663. The third Meeting House was built in 1703 with Rev. Joseph Capen as pastor.

 

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