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Margaret (Skillings) Prince (abt. 1626 - 1706)

Margaret Prince formerly Skillings
Born about in Englandmap
Daughter of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Wife of — married 1645 in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusettsmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts Baymap
Profile last modified | Created 12 Sep 2010
This page has been accessed 2,034 times.

Biography

Margaret (Skillings) Prince was in the Salem Witch Trials

Origins and Birth
Some have asserted that Margaret (Skillings) Prince was born about 1625 in England to mother Janet Mcllwraith.[1] The birth date is a reasonable estimate given her marriage year. A possible father candidate is recorded in John Babson's "History of Gloucester, Cape Ann and Rockport..." which includes with the name of Thomas Prince who was Margaret's future spouse, one "Thomas Skellin" both being among the early Gloucester settlers. [Babson quoting from Gloucester town records] [2]

Marriage and Children
She married Thomas Prince in Gloucester in 1649 in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Thomas was among the early Gloucester settlers at its time of permanent settlement to the close of 1650.[2] The couples known children were (not necessarily a complete list) :

  • Thomas Prince, (Jr.), son of Tho. & wife Margaret, b. "24th 10mo 1650" (old style) [3]
  • John Prince, son of Tho. & wife Margaret, b. "12th 9mo 1653" (old style) [3] ; noted in 1713 as owning a "sloop" (Capt. John) and being one of three fisherman who "were captured by the Indians at Cape Sable" [Babson's History of Gloucester, Mass. p.380; also in Babson's Notes & Additions, p.90-92]
  • Mary Prince, dau. of Tho. & wife Margaret, b. 19 Jul 1658 (old style) [3]
  • Isaac Prince, son of Tho. & wife Margaret, b. 7 Nov 1663 (old style) [3]

Residency and Witchcraft Accusation
As with her daughter Mary (Prince, Rowe) Ellwell she was accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials. She was released in December 1692 and appears to have never been tried. [1]

Death
She died February 24, 1706 in Gloucester, Massachusetts Bay [4] [3] Her husband Thomas (Sr.) passed away 17 January 1690. [3]

Addendum: Massachusetts Witch Trial Remediation

  • 17 October 1710, Convictions Reversed, The General Court of Massachusetts Bay, An act, the several convictions, judgments, and attainders be, and hereby are, reversed, and declared to be null and void. [5]
  • 17 Dec 1711, Compensation to Survivors, Governor Dudley, GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY, approved compensation to such persons as are living, and to those that legally represent them that are dead
  • 28 Aug 1957, No Disgrace to Descendants, General Court of Massachusetts, ...such proceedings, were and are shocking, and the result of a wave of popular hysterical fear of the Devil in the community, and further declares that, as all the laws under which said proceedings...have been long since abandoned and superseded by our more civilized laws, no disgrace or cause for distress attaches to the said descendants or any of them by reason of said proceedings.[6]
  • 31 Oct 2001, Additional Victims Included, Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives in General Court, An Act Relative to the Witchraft Trial of 1692, chapter 145 is hereby further amended by adding Bridget Bishop, Susannah Martin, Alice Parker, Margaret Scott and Wilmot Redd. [7]

Some further details about witchcraft accusations in Gloucester, Essex county, Massachusetts

"Abigail Rowe was the 15-year-old daughter of Hugh and Mary Prince Rowe of Little Good Harbor. The fact that she was only fifteen years old in 1692 shows the peculiarity of her case. While it was certainly not unheard of for children to be accused of witchcraft, they were generally accused along with other family members. Seeing a teenaged girl accused along with two adult women is quite unusual, but she was not the only woman in her family accused of witchcraft. The family had a large amount of land in the Little Good Harbor area. Abigail’s mother and her grandmother, Margaret PRINCE, were also accused.
"Hugh Rowe and his older brother John received equal portions of their father John’s estate of £205 16s. 10d. Five years later, Hugh and John entered into an agreement witnessed by Robert Elwell, who owned land near theirs. In 1685, Hugh Rowe received three parcels of land from his “father-in-law” William Vinson, likely the father of his first wife, Rachel Langton. Hugh and Rachel Rowe’s daughters married sons of Anthony Day. Another of Anthony Day’s sons, Timothy, married Phoebe Wilds, one of the women mentioned in the Ipswich petition.
"Thus Hugh and Mary Rowe lived near Robert Elwell and had a close relationship to William Vinson and the Day family. Mary was also the daughter of Margaret Prince. All of the Gloucester women whose accusations are known only from the Ipswich petition were connected to the Rowe family. This provides clear evidence that there was a connection between their accusations and the accusation against Esther Elwell, Rebecca Dike, and Abigail Rowe. The likely cause of the accusations was animosity between different members of the town elite, which spiraled out of control in the context of the witchcraft panic and other tensions facing Massachusetts at the time.
"Fortunately for the accused, it appears that these cases never went to trial because the use of spectral evidence was banned in October of 1692, giving prosecutors little evidence to go on, and the special court set up to hear the Salem Witchcraft cases was disbanded. In November, public officials set up the Superior Court of Judicature to hear the remaining witchcraft cases but between January and May of 1693, most of the accused were released due to a lack of evidence or tried and found not guilty."

Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 Legends of America. Accessed May 19, 2020. https://www.legendsofamerica.com/ma-witches-o-p/2/.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Babson, John James, ed. "History of the Town of Gloucester, Cape Ann, Including the Town of Rockport" p.52-3, quoting from Town Records. pub. Gloucester, Mass., USA: Procter Brothers, 1860. E-book available for free at www.play.google.com/books
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Babson, John G. (Transcriber) "Transcript of Births, Deaths & Marriages, 1640-1728: Town of Gloucester, Massachusetts" p.220. Authorized by the City Council, pub. 1874. Reprinted (subscription online db) Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. Accessed 17 Aug 2021. https://www.ancestry.com/sharing/25343268?h=ce313e
  4. Gloucester Deaths; Massachusetts Vital Records Project
  5. Upham, Charles Wentworth “Salem Witchcraft with an Account of Salem Village, and a History of Opinions on Witchcraft and Kindred Subjects: Vol.2" p.479. Cambridge, Mass., USA: Press of John Wilson & Son, 1862.https://archive.org/details/salemwitchcraft04uphagoog/page/n497/mode/1up?q=Convictions+Reversed
  6. https://www.mass.gov/doc/resolves-of-1957-chapter-145/download
  7. https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2001/Chapter122

See Also

  • Babson, John L. "History of Gloucester, Massachusetts: Notes & Additions, 2nd Series" p.90-92. pub. Salem, Mass., USA: Salem Press Publishing & Print Co., 1891. Source text: "John Prince, year 1713, fisherman, captured by the Indians in harbour called Owl's Head." text continues to give a full account. https://archive.org/details/notesadditionsto00babs/page/90/mode/1up?q=Prince

Acknowledgements

  • Contributions by the original gedcom upload(s) and the early New England Witch Trial's research
  • Contributions by direct descendant Leigh Anne (Johnson) Dear


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S  >  Skillings  |  P  >  Prince  >  Margaret (Skillings) Prince

Categories: Gloucester, Massachusetts | Salem Witch Trials | Accused Witches of New England