Monday, June 18, 2007

Aunt Sarah and others from way back...

Here's a link to more info about the first Averills in America, including William (born in 1600 in Ash, Kent, England, the son of Nicholas Averill and Dorcas ) & Abigail (Hinton) Averill.

Here's some information that complements Jacky Averill's research about Ipswich town politics that ultimately led to accusations against Sarah Averill. This comes from the book "Mormon Roots."
-Laura Gunderson Suo (Edgar Francis Averill)

William Smith and Rebecka Keas married at Topsfield on July 6, 1657, and were among the earliest Massachusetts Bay Company settlers. Salem Village was settled in 1639 (40)and Topsfield township became its neighbor with lines established between them in 1658. (41) When Witchcraft Hysteria gained attention, three of those put to death, (42) all women, were from Topsfield -- Mary Esty, Elizabeth How and Sarah Averill Wildes. (43) William Smith and Rebecka Keas had by then (1692) been married for thirty-five years and their son Samuel was twenty years old but apparently old enough to pass for twenty-five and sign a deposition against Mary Esty:
The deposition of Samuell Smith of Boxford about 25 yers who testifieth and saith that about five years sence I was one night att the house of Isaac Estick sen'r. of Topsfeild and I was as farr as I know to Rude in discorse and the above said Esticks wife [Mary Esty] said to me I would not have you be so rude in discorse for I might Rue it hereafter and as I was agoeing whom that night about a quarter of a mille from the said Esticks house by a stone wall I Received a little blow on my shoulder with I know not what and the stone wall rattleed very much which affrighted me my horse also was affrighted very much but I cannot give the reson of it . . . .

/s/ Sam'll Smith ag'st. G. Easty 44 _______________________39 The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, Vol. X, pp l31-47, 1893, Houghton Mifflin & Co.40 Historical Data Relating to Counties, Cities and Towns in Massachusetts, 1975, prepared by Paul Guzzi, Secretary of the Commonwealth, p 58.41 Ibid.42 A total of 25 "Innocents" died and more than 100 accused. There is a 1992 (Tercentennial) monument at 176 Hobart Street, Danvers (Old Salem Village) MA, to commemorate the events of 1692. 43 Engraved into a Granite Stone on the Topsfield Common, approximately 75 feet from the town's impressive 95' (+/-5') timber flag pole, directly opposite the white spired Congregational (formerly Puritan) Church of Topsfield, within a home run shot from the 1683 Parson Capen House and surrounded by community buildings, historical landmarks and other monuments commemorating past wars. 44 The Salem Witchcraft Papers, Verbatim Transcripts of the Legal Documents of the Salem Witchcraft Outbreak of 1692, Vol. 1, Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, pp 301-2.
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Other Smith ancestors had been involved in "Witchcraft Hysteria." One of the accused, Sarah Averill Wildes, (45) was John Wildes' second wife. (46) His first, Priscilla Gould, (47) was the daughter of Zaccheus Gould, a seventh generation ancestor of Joseph Smith, Jr., and sister to John Gould. When Priscilla died in 1663 (48) "It would seem that the relations between the Wild and Gould families became strained after the death of Priscilla . . . The fact that John Wild, Jr.'s, will was made in 1676, in order 'that my father may com to no trobell by any claims of my onkel gould,' is further evidence toward this conclusion . . . When the terrible Witchcraft delusion swept over Essex county, the Wild family were among the greatest sufferers. The wife, two daughters, and a son-in-law of John Wild, were all imprisoned, but all escaped except his wife . . . ."(49) The problems that precipitated Witchcraft Hysteria centered around property disputes and ancestors of Joseph Smith -- John Curtis and Mary (Looke) Curtis -- were personally involved in the middle of those disputes, having been accused by neighbors in order to take Curtis' land, a ploy that failed -- John and Mary Curtis prevailed against their neighbors -- but agitation was ongoing.

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