George Martin married Susannah North 11 August 1646

George Martin was born about 1618 in Ramsey, Hampshire, England, and was one of the first settlers of New England. George came as a servant to Samuel Winsely and lived in Salisbury MA.  He married Hannah, and had a daughter Hannah born in 1644.  The mother died.

Susannah North was born 30 September 1621 in Olney, Buckinghamshire, England, the daughter of Richard North and Joan Bartram.  Susannah’s mother died in England, and Richard remarried and brought at least part of the family to Massachusetts. 

On 11 August, 1646, George married Susannah in Salisbury.  They had eight children, including two who died young.  George was a blacksmith.   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.”

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.

George died 23 Nov 1686, and left a will:  In ye name of God Amen I George Martin of ye town of Amsbury in ye County of Essex being through Gods goodness of prfect memory & understanding, doe make this my last will & testament in mannr as followeth Imprimis I commend my spirit to God whoe gave it, & and my body to ye dust decently to be buried (at ye chardges of my executr, whome I shall hereafter name and appoynt) in hopes of a [joy]full resurrection at ye last day unto life eternall 2dly I give & bequeath unto my natural [i.e. legitimate] Children viz: my Sonns Richrd Martin, & John Martin, & my Daughters, Hanna Wathen: Hester Gimson, Jane Hadley & Abigail Hadlock unto each & every of them five shillings apiece to be payd in good and merchantable pay within one twelvemonth next aftr my decease 3dly I give & bequeath unto my Grandchild John Hadlock five pounds in good & merchantable pay in case yt ye sd John live wth me or my wife or my son Will: untill yt he come unto ye full & compleat age of twenty one years. 4thly I give & bequeath all ye rest of my housing, lands stock & estate both moveable & Immoveable unto my wife Susanna during her Widowhood, & after her marriage, or decease (in case she marry not againe) unto my youngest son William. ffinally: I Doe appoint, Constitute & ordaine my Wife Susanna, to be exectutrix and my youngest son Will: martin to be executr in conjunction wth her unto this my last Will & testament. A[nd in] confirmat[ion] of ye promisees I have hereunto subscribed my hand & seale Dated the nineteenth day of January An: Dom: one thousand six hundred eighty & three or foure.  Source: Probate Records of Essex County, Massachusetts.

On April 30, 1692 a warrant was issued for Susanna’s arrest on a charge of witchcraft and she was arrested on May 2nd. On June 26, 1692 her trial began. Susanna pleaded not guilty, but in the end she was found guilty and condemned to death by hanging.  She died 19 July 1692.   

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 her….is 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.”

To read testimony and learn more, Google “trial of Susanna Martin”.   All of the above is from the Internet, mostly from http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nwa/sm.html 

 

 

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