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Martha Carrier Accused of Being a Witch
By Kevin Tulimieri COLCHESTER - In a special session of the court of Oyer and Terminer, held on August 2, 1692, Martha Carrier stood in the Salem Village Meeting House, accused of being a witch. From the beginning, Martha vigorously maintained her innocence, but the Puritan magistrates had the visionary "Salem girls" on their side. These young girls were believed to have the ability to detect the presence of the devil and provide "spectral evidence" to the court. Martha's response to the girls, "It is false and a shame for you to mind what these say, that are out of their wits!" only seemed to reinforce the magistrates' opinion of her guilt. Martha, her two oldest sons, and her seven and a half year-old daughter had been arrested and kept in jail for almost three months before the trial. All of the old disputes between Martha and her neighbors were brought up and reviewed for suspicious activity. At least four of Martha's neighbors from Andover came to testify that she had used witchcraft against them, killing livestock and causing illnesses. Martha's two teenage sons had been hung by their heels "until the blood was ready to come out of their noses," before they confessed to being involved with witchcraft. The magistrates didn't use the sons' confessions, but they did bring Martha's young daughter, Sarah, to testify against her mother.
Sarah's confession came six days after Martha was already convicted and sentenced to death. "It was asked by the Magistrates or Justices, John Hathorne, Esq., and others: How long hast thou been a witch? A. Ever since I was six years old. Q. How old are you? A. Near eight years old, brother Richard says I shall be eight years old in November last. Q. Who made you a witch? A. My mother, she made me set my hand to a book. Q. How did you set your hand to it? A. I touched it with my fingers and the book was red and the paper of it was so white.... Q. What did they promise to give you? A. A black dog. Q. Did the dog ever come to you? A. No. Q. But you said you saw a cat once; what did it say to you? A. It said it would tear me to pieces, if I would not set my hand to the book. Q. How did you afflict folks? A. I pinched them.... mother carried her thither to afflict. Q. How did your mother carry you when she was in prison? A. She came like a black cat. Q. How did you know it was your mother?
A. The cat told me she was my mother. She said she afflicted Phelps child last Saturday and Elizabeth Johnson helped her do it. She had a wooden spear about as long as the finger of Elizabeth Johnson and she had it of the devil.... This is the substance. Attest: Simon Willard."
The trial prompted the well known Boston cleric, Dr. Cotton Mather, to report, "This rampant hag, Martha Carrier, was the person of whom the confession of the rest agreed that the devil had promised her, she should be the Queen of Hell."
On August 19, 1692, Martha was taken in the back of a cart to Gallows Hill in Salem. Jeering crowds lined the streets and gathered at the scaffold to witness the hanging of Martha and four men, also "convicted" witches. Screaming her innocence from the scaffold, Martha never gave up. A report from the time describes the treatment of Martha and two of the men, including a Mr. Burroughs: "When he was cut down, he was dragged by a halter to a hole or grave between the rocks about two feet deep; his shirt and breeches were pulled off and an old pair of trousers of one of the executed put on his lower parts; he was so put in together with Willard and Carrier that one of his hands and his chin and a foot of one of them was left uncovered."
In May 1693, Governor Phips of Massachusetts returned from the Indian Wars and revoked all death sentences and released all those still held. The Governor also revoked the acceptance of "spectral evidence" in court, effectively ending the witch trials. Martha Carrier's name appeared on a 1711 list of sufferers whose legal representatives received compensation for imprisonment and death of relatives. The Carrier family received seven pounds, six shillings.
Belief in witchcraft was universal in the 17th century and was considered a major problem for the leaders of the time. The devil was an active force, constantly on hand to recruit new helpers in his fight against good Christians everywhere. In western Europe, some estimates claim nearly two million men and women lost their lives under accusations of witchcraft. In the Salem area, over 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft. Within three months of Martha Carrier's arrest, in Andover alone, 40 warrants had been issued, naming members of some of the most prominent families in town. At one point every woman in Andover was blindfolded and led before the Salem girls to prove their innocence or guilt. When Magistrate Dudley Bradstreet threw down his pen and declared he would sign no more warrants, he himself was accused of being a witch. He and his family had to escape the town, fearing for their lives. In Salem, the 23 people who were hung, tortured or died in jail were the ones who maintained their innocence. A testament to her courage, Martha Carrier was the only person, of all those accused, that maintained her innocence to the end, "I would rather die than confess a falsehood so filthy."
The Trial of Martha Carrier, at the Court of Oyer and Terminer, Held by Adjournment at Salem, August 2, 1692.
I. Martha Carrier was Indicted for the Bewitching of certain Persons, according to the Form usual in such Cases. Pleading Not Guilty, to her Indictment, there were First brought in a considerable number of the Bewitched Persons; who not only made the Court sensible of an horrid Witchcraft committed upon them, but also deposed, That it was Martha Carrier, or her Shape, that Grievously Tormented them, by Biting, Pricking, Pinching, and Choaking of them. It was further deposed, that while this Carrier was on her Examination, before the Magistrates, the Poor People were so Tortured that every one expected their Death upon the very Spott; but that upon the binding of Carrier they were eased. Moreover the Look of Carrier then laid the Afflicted People for Dead; and her Touch, if her Eye at the same Time were off them, raised them again. Which things were also now seen upon her Trial. And it was Testifyed, that upon the mention of some having their Necks twisted almost round, by the Shape of this Carrier, she replyed, "Its no matter, tho' their Necks had been twisted quite off."
II. Before the Trial of this prisoner, several of her own Children had frankly and fully confessed, not only that they were Witches themselves, but that this their Mother had made them so. This Confession they made with great shows of Repentance, and with much Demonstration of Truth. They Related Place, Time, Occasion; they gave an account of Journeyes, Meetings, and Mischiefs by them performed; and were very credible in what they said. Nevertheless, this Evidence was not produced against the Prisoner at the Bar, inasmuch as there was other Evidence enough to proceed upon.
III. Benjamin Abbot gave in his Testimony, that last March was a twelve month, this Carrier was very Angry with him, upon laying out some Land, near her Husbands: Her Expressions in this Anger, were, That she would stick as close to Abbot, as the Bark stuck to the Tree, and that he should Repent of it afore seven years came to an end, so as Doctor Prescot should never cure him. These words were heard by others, besides Abbot himself; who also heard her say, She would hold his Nose as close to the Grindstone, as ever it was held since his Name was Abbot. Presently after this, he was taken with a swelling in his Foot, and then with a pain in his side, and exceedingly Tormented. It bred into a sore, which was Lanced by Doctor Prescot, and several Gallons of Corruption ran out of it. For six weeks it continued very bad; and then another sore bred in his Groin, which was also Lanc'd by Doctor Prescot. Another Sore then bred in his Groin, which was likewise Cut, and put him to very great Misery. He was brought unto Deaths Door, and so remained until Carrier was taken, and carried away by the Constable; from which very day, he began to mend, and so grew better every day, and is well ever since. Sarah Abbot also, his Wife, testify'd, that her Husband was not only all this while Afflicted in his Body, but also that strange, extraordinary and unaccountable Calamities befel his Cattel; their Death being such as they could guess at no Natural Reason for.
IV. Allin Toothaker testify'd, That Richard, the Son of Martha Carrier, having some Difference with him, pull'd him down by the Hair of the Head. When he Rose again, he was going to strike at Richard Carrier; but fell down flat on his Back to the ground, and had not power to stir hand or foot, until he told Carrier he yielded; and then he saw the Shape of Martha Carrier go off his Breast.
This Toothaker had Received a Wound in the Wars; and he now testify'd, that Martha Carrier told him, He should never be Cured. Just afore the Apprehending of Carrier, he could thrust a knitting Needle into his Wound, four Inches Deep; but presently after her being Siezed, he was thoroughly Healed. He further testify'd, That when Carrier and he sometimes were at variance, she would clap her hands at him, and say, He should get nothing by it; Whereupon he several times lost his Cattle, by strange Deaths, whereof no Natural Causes could be given.
V. John Rogger also testifyed, That upon the threatning words of this malicious Carrier, his Cattle would be strangely Bewitched; as was more particularly then described.
VI. Samuel Preston testify'd, that about two years ago, having some Difference with Martha Carrier, he lost a Cow in a strange Preternatural unusual manner; and about a month after this, the said Carrier, having again some Difference with him, she told him, He had lately lost a Cow, and it should not be long before he Lost another! which accordingly came to Pass; for he had a Thriving and well-kept Cow, which without any known cause quickly fell down and Dy'd.
VII. Phebe Chandler testify'd, that about a Fortnight before the apprehension of Martha Carrier, on a Lords-Day, while the Psalm was singing, in the Church, this Carrier then took her by the shoulder and shaking her, asked her, where she Lived? she made her no Answer, although as Carrier, who lived next door to her Fathers House, could not in reason but know who she was. Quickly after this, as she was at several times crossing the Fields, she heard a voice, that she took to be Martha Carriers, and it seem'd as if it was over her Head. The voice told her, she should within two or three days be Poisoned. Accordingly, within such a Little time, One Half of her Right Hand became greatly swollen, and very painful; as also part of her Face; whereof she can give no account how it came. It continued very Bad for some dayes; and several times since, she has had a great pain in her Breast; and been so siezed on her Legs, that she has hardly been able to go. She added that lately, going well to the House of God, Richard, the Son of Martha Carrier, Look'd very earnestly upon her, and immediately her hand, which had formerly been poisoned, as is abovesaid, began to pain her greatley, and she had a strange Burning at her stomach; but was then struck deaf, so that she could not hear any of the prayer, or singing, till the two or three last words of the Psalme.
VIII. One Foster, who confessed her own Share in the Witchcraft for which the Prisoner stood indicted, affirm'd, That she had seen the Prisoner at some of their Witch-Meetings, and that it was this Carrier, who perswaded her to be a Witch. She confessed, That the Devil carry'd them on a Pole, to a Witch-Meeting; but the Pole broke, and she hanging about Carriers Neck, they both fell down, and she then Received an Hurt by the Fall, whereof she was not at this very time Recovered.
IX. One Lacy, who likewise confessed her share in this Witchcraft, now Testify'd, That she and the Prisoner were once Bodily present at a Witch-meeting in Salem-Village; and that she knew the Prisoner to be a Witch, and to have been at a Diabolical Sacrament, and that the Prisoner was the undoing of her and her Children, by Enticing them into the Snare of the Devil.
X. Another Lacy, who also Confessed her share in this Witchcraft, now Testify'd, That the Prisoner was at the Witch-Meeting, in Salem Village, where they had Bread and Wine Administred unto them.
XI. In the Time of this Prisoner's Trial, one Susanna Shelden in open Court had her Hands Unaccountably Ty'd together with a Wheel-band, so fast that without Cutting it could not be Loosed: It was done by a Spectre; and the Sufferer affirm'd, it was the Prisoners.
Memorandum. This Rampant Hag, Martha Carrier, was the Person, of whom the Confessions of the Witches, and of her own Children among the rest, agreed, That the Devil had promised her, she should be Queen of Hell.
Having thus far done the Service imposed upon me, I will further pursue it, by relating a few of those Matchless Curiosities, with which the Witchcraft now upon us has entertained us. And I shall Report nothing but with Good Authority, and what I would Invite all my Readers to examine, while tis yet Fresh and New, that if there be found any mistake, it may be as willingly Retracted, as it was unwillingly Committed.
FROM " THE WONDERS OF THE INVISIBLE WORLD," BY COTTON MATHER, 1693 ___________________________
Salem Witch Trials - Martha Carrier Biography
- She was arrested upon the complaint of Joseph Holton and John Walcott.
- Four of her five children were taken with her to jail.
- Her eight-year-old daughter, Sarah, admitted to being a witch since she was six. She told the court that her mother baptized her a witch in Andrew Foster's pasture.
- Richard and Thomas Carrier also confessed to witchcraft, and blamed their mother for making them witches. Numerous others confessed that she also made them witches.
- Martha denied the charges of witchcraft and making others witches.
- She spoke her mind freely on her feelings of the Court of Oyer and Terminer and its methods.
- The Rev. Francis Dane spoke in her defense and stated that she was a victim of gossip.
- Almost 10 years after her hanging, her surviving family was paid 7 pounds and 6 shillings in restitution for her death.
Martha Carrier "...I am wronged. It is a shameful thing that you should mind these folks that are out of their wits."
August 19 George Jacobs, Sr., Martha Carrier, George Burroughs, John Proctor, and John Willard were hanged on Gallows Hill.
Case Martha Carrier Executed, August 19, 1692 Complaint (Complaint v. Martha Carrier, Elizabeth Fosdick, Wilmott Reed, Sarah Rice, Elizabeth How, John Alden, William Proctor, John Flood, Mary Toothaker and daughter, and Arthur Abbott) Warrant (Warrant for Arrest of Martha Carrier) Examination (Examination of Martha Carrier) Indictment (Indictment v. Martha Carrier, No. 1) Indictment (Indictment v. Martha Carier, No. 2) Summons (Summons for Witnesses) Summons (Summons for Witnesses) Section (Benjamin Abbott v. Martha Carrier) Deposition (Sarah Abbott v. Martha Carrier) Deposition (John Roger v. Martha Carrier) Deposition (Phoebe Chandler v. Martha Carrier) Section (Bridget Chandler v. Martha Carrier) Deposition (Allen Toothaker v. Martha Carrier) Section (Samuel Preston v. Martha Carrier) Deposition (Elizabeth Hubbard v. Martha Carrier) Deposition (Mary Walcott v. Martha Carrier) Deposition (Thomas Putnam and John Putnam, Jr. v. Martha Carrier) Section (Andrew Foster v. Martha Carrier, Mary Toothaker, and -- Toothaker)
The exact birth date of Martha is unknown, but she was one of six children born to Thomas Allen, an original settler in the town of Andover. Martha's family was not rich, but hard working farmers who held several hundred acres of land, that would insure the well being of the two sons. Martha married Thomas Carrier, a poor Welsh servant, in 1674, after naming him the father of her child. The couple moved to Billerica, and lived there for fifteen years. While in Billerica, they managed to alienate themselves from the community by associating themselves with a woman suspected of being a witch. When Martha's father died, the family, five kids in all, moved back to Andover, to help run the family farm. This was a great relief to the people of Billerica, but the people of Andover tried to warn them off. Martha's mother assured the authorities that she would take responsibility for the actions of the family, so they were allowed to stay. It was then that Martha and two of her children came down with smallpox, one of the most dreaded diseases of the day, and caused a small epidemic in the town. If things weren't bad enough, Martha demanded that the town assume financial responsibility until the family recovered, since they had contracted the disease in Andover. On May 28, 1692 Martha was the first person from Andover to be accused of witchcraft in the "hysteria of 1692". She was arrested, along with her two oldest sons and eight year-old Daughter, Richard, Andrew (18 and 17, respectively), and Sarah were taken to Salem. Her two sons were tortured until they admitted their own guilt and that of their mother. They stated that they had attended several witch meetings in Salem, and that the devil had promised to make Martha "Queen of Hell", a nickname that would be used throughout her trial and eventually be her title in subsequent books on the Salem witches. Her daughter confessed to just about anything, as she didn't seem to understand what was really going on. During her trial, five girls testified that Martha had tried to make them sign the devil's book. The girls would fall on the floor, roll their eyes, and utter outlandish things when they saw Martha. Other women who had already confessed to being witches also testified against Martha. Her neighbors also claimed that Martha had cast spells on their cattle, by clapping her hands at the end of a heated discussion, causing them to die. Martha was always defiant and possessed a sharp tongue. At one point she said "It is false; and it is a shame for you to mind what these say that are out of their wits" and "I would rather die than confess a falsehood so filthy". Of all the accused witches, Martha was the only one who never under any circumstances broke down and confessed. Martha was found guilty by the jury and was hanged on August 19 on Gallows Hill. Thomas made frequent efforts over the next several years to have a reversal. Finally, in 1711, the conviction was reversed, a public apology was made, and reparations granted.
More About Martha Ingalls Allen and Thomas Carrier: Marriage: May 07, 1674
www.findagrave.com Birth: unknown Andover Essex County Massachusetts, USA Death: Aug. 19, 1692 Salem Essex County Massachusetts, USA
Salem Witch Trial Victim. Convicted of practicing witchcraft and hanged during the Salem Witch Trials. Twenty benches stand in a Memorial for the victims, one for each who were actively put to death (not counting those who died in prison). She was born between 1643 & 1650 to Andrew & Faith (Ingalls) Allen of Andover MA. She married Thomas Carrier, aka Morgan, a recently arrived bondservant, 7 May 1664, when she was 7 months pregnant with her eldest child. She unsuccessfully nursed her father & brothers in the 1690 smalpox epedemic, and thereby became a land owner in her own right. Some believe that she was accused of witchcraft in Salem in 1692 because she was a niece of the Rev. Francis Dane of Andover. (Over one third of the Salem accused were related to him or his wife in some way.) Martha's trial was fully transcribed at the direction of Cotton Mather, who believed this case to represent the strongest case for the use of spectral evidence. The evidence he found persuasive was the testimony of Martha's 16-year old-son, Richard, and her 12-year-old daughter, Sarah, that she made them become witches to "haunt" others at her direction. However, John Proctor (who was hung the same day as Martha) wrote the governor that he witnessed these children's torture in the jail where he was also imprisoned: they were reportedly tied neck to ankles (with a rope down their backs) and left that way until said what their interrogators wanted to hear. Salem erected a memorial in a downtown park for her and each other person hung (or, in one case, pressed to death) during the hysteria. The "witches" hung at Salem were dumped in a nearby ravine. (bio by: Linda Mac)
Family links:Parents: Andrew Allen (1623 - 1690) Faith Ingalls Allen (1623 - ____) Spouse: Thomas Carrier (1630 - 1739)* Children: Child Carrier (____ - 1690)* Richard Carrier (1674 - 1749)* Andrew Carrier (1675 - 1749)* Child Carrier (1675 - 1692)* Jane Carrier (1680 - 1680)* Thomas Carrier (1682 - 1739)* Sarah Carrier Johnson (1684 - 1772)* Hannah Carrier Wood (1689 - 1772)*
- Burial: Burying Point Cemetery
- Place: Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA
- Note: The lives of our ancestors were hard and trying. Thomas came to America around 1655 from England. Stories of his involvement in the English Civil War are mostly unsubstantiated, but enough "family tales" and early documents exist to lend credence to them.
- After 300 years it is hard to determine the relationship between Thomas and Martha, so all we can do is gather what information we can and each develop our own opinion. Martha's life was probably hard and turbulent, ending in her execution as a "witch" on August 19, 1692.
- The Salem witchcraft papers, Volume 1 : verbatim transcripts of the legal documents of the Salem witchcraft outbreak of 1692 / edited by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum. Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library | Table of Contents for this work | | All on-line databases | Etext Center Homepage | Martha Carrier Executed, August 19, 1692 (Complaint v. Martha Carrier, Elizabeth Fosdick, Wilmott Reed, Sarah Rice, Elizabeth How, John Alden, William Proctor, John Flood, Mary Toothaker and daughter, and Arthur Abbott) Salem May the 28'th 1692 Joseph Houlton and John Walcot both of Salem village Yeomen made Complaint in behalfe of theire Majes'ts against  Carrier of Andover the wife of Thomas Carrier of s'd Towne husbandman  fosdick of Maulden or charlstown  Reed of Marble- head the wife of Samull Reed of s'd place  Rice of Reding the wife of Nicholas Rice of s'd Towne  How the wife of James How of Topsfeild Capt John Alden of Boston Mariner, William procter of Salem farmes, Capt John flood of Rowley marsh on boston Mary Toothaker, the wife of Roger toothaker of Belrica, and  Toothaker the daughter of s'd Roger Toothaker  Abott that lives between Ips. Topsfeild & wenham for sundry acts of Witchcraft by them and Every one of them Committed on the Bodys of Mary Walcot, Abigail Williams Marcy Lewis Ann putnam and Others belonging to Salem Village or farmes Lately, to the hurt and Injury of theire bodys therefore Craves Justice. *Joseph houlton *John Walcutt Carrier of Andover -- -Marshall Essex Reed of Marblehead -- Const -- Rice of Reding -- Const -- -
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No known carriers of Martha's mitochondrial DNA have taken an mtDNA test.
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On June 8, 2014 Roger Carrier wrote: