Bassett
   Not all of our family histories are happy. In fact, the Bassett story is downright tragic.
   The name "Bassett" is English: from the Old French term 'basset', a diminutive of basse (‘low’, ‘short’), which could either be a nickname for a short person or a status name for someone of humble origins. The Coat of Arms features three red wavy bars on a gold shield. The Crest displays a Unicorn's head. The family motto, "Pro rege et populo," translates as "For King and people."
   The family was first found in the county of Glamorgan, Wales, where they had been granted lands by King William after the Norman Conquest in 1066.
   Our lineage to this family can be traced back to ROGER BASSETT, born at the beginning of the 1600's. On the 27th of April in 1623, Roger married ANN HOLLAND, at St. Martin's Church in Dorking, Surrey, England. Beyond this, all we know of Roger is that he died some time before 1635 in Dorking, Surrey, England, leaving a wife and son.
   That son, WILLIAM BASSETT, was born in 1624 in Dorking, Surrey, England, and was baptized there on the 30th of May, 1624. At some point after that his father died, and William then emigrated to America in 1635, aboard the Abigail, with Robert Hackwell, master, sailing from London in mid-July. William was nine years old. His name appears with the Burt family on the ship's manifest, however, leading some to conclude that William's mother married Hugh Burt after the death of her first husband, and that she and her second husband brought William with them to New England.
   William was definitely given enough education to read & write. He signed not only his own will, but that of Hugh Alley in 1673. His inventory also included books. And as an adult, he became a Husbandman.
   He was elected Sergeant in the Lynn, Essex co., militia by 20 October 1675, and served at that rank in Captain Joseph Gardener's company on the expedition against the Narragansett from December 1675-February 1676, during King Philip's War.
   Gardener's company fought first in The Great Swamp Fight. While the overall battle was an unexpected success for the English, they lost many officers in the fight—three Captains, several Lieutenants and many other officers. One was Captain Gardener, who fell, mortally wounded, nearly at the feet of Captain Benjamin Church.
   Regardless of these experiences, William Bassett, Sr. stayed in the militia. By 29 June 1682, he had been promoted to Quartermaster. He had been elected Ensign by the time he served on an Essex Grand Jury on 28 November 1682. During the King William's War—otherwise known as the War of the Grand Alliance of England & Spain against France—it is generally accepted that he was the "Captain William Bassett" who accompanied now Major Benjamin Church to a council of war at Scarborough, ME on 11 November 1689.
   William took the Oath of Fidelity in 1677/1678 and the Oath of Freeman on 18 April 1691.
   He served on the Essex grand jury on 28 November 1671, 25 June 1672, 28 November 1682, 25 November 1684 and 30 June 1685 and performed similar service on the Petit jury on 24 June 1662, 29 November 1664, 24 November 1668, 28 June 1670, 30 November 1675, 25 June 1678 and 28 November 1682. Finally, he served on the Coroner's jury on 4 December 1680.
   William was also named as selectman in June 1673, June 1674, June 1675, September 1677, November 1678, June 1679, November 1679 and June 1681[38], served as Constable in June 1666 and on a committee to lay out a cartway in June of 1678.
   Beyond the public eye, William was also a trusted neighbor. He was named overseer of Christopher Linsy's will on 9 April 1669. In addition, William was part of a group of 12 men who "...petitioned against their neighbor John Hawthorne for serving too much strong drink despite the 'advice of his friends to the contrary'..." This John Hawthorne or a near relative with the same name was later a judge at the Salem Trials which so plagued the Bassett family.
   Although he was too young to have received any land in the Lynn, Essex co., MA land grants during the early history of the town, William did a fair amount of real estate transactions. On 1 June 1660, William Bassett of Lynn, husbandman, with the consent of Sarah his "now wife," sold to Andrew Mansfield, husbandman, 3 acres of meadow in Lynn, Essex co., MA.
   In the 7 October 1661 will of his stepfather, Hugh Burt, "my son Will[iam] Bassitt" received 2 acres of salt marsh, 5 acres of upland, and "my wearing apparel."
   Before 1647 when William was 23, he married SARAH [surname not known—possibly BURT], in Lynn, Essex co., MA. On 23 February 1664/5, William Bassett of Lynn, husbandman, and Sarah his wife sold to Allen Bread of Lynn, husbandman, 2 acres of salt marsh in Rumney Marsh, Suffolk co., MA. On 29 October 1667, Edward Richards of Lynn, joiner, and Ann his wife sold to William Bassett of Lynn, husbandman, 12 acres of land, presumably in Lynn, Essex co., MA. On 15 April 1675, Benjamin Chadwell of Lynn, husbandman, with the consent of Elizabeth his wife, sold to William Bassett of Lynn, husbandman, 8 acres of salt marsh in Rumney Marsh, Suffolk co., MA. On 28 June 1680, Thomas Wheeler of Stonington, yeoman, sold to William Bassett, Sr. of Lynn, yeoman, 9 acres of fresh marsh, location unknown.
   On 4 June 1685, the General Court answered a petition by William Bassett and others of Lynn, Reading, Beverly and Hingham, by granting a tract of land "in the Nipmug country, of eight miles square, for their encouragement & others that were serviuceable to the country in the late Indian War [King Philip's War]". As with the later government promise of "40 acres, and a mule", no settlement was made on this grant. However, in 1728 many of these petitioners were among those granted land at Narraganset Township No. 3, now Amherst, New Hampshire. (William Bassett, Sr. was long dead, but his grant was claimed by 'William Bassett, grandson'.)
   William Bassett, Sr. wrote his will on 10 February 1701/2 and it was probated on 22 May 1703. In it, "...'William Basset' of Lynn, being 'of good old age,' bequeathed to 'my dear and loving wife' the improvement of the whole estate during her natural life, all moveables to be to her absolute disposal; to 'my eldest son William Bassett.' £5; to 'my son Elisha Bassett.' 50s; to 'my son Samuell Bassett.' 50s; to 'my daughter Elizebeth Bassett alias Richards.' 40s; to 'my daughter Sarah Ellwell.' 40s; to 'my daughter Merriam Sandy.' 40s; to 'my daughter Mary Rich.' 40 s; to 'my daughter Rachel Silsbe.' 40s; to 'my daughter Rebecca Bassett.' 40s; to 'my daughter Hannah Lille.' 40s; 'my son William Bassett' sole executor..."
   "The inventory of the estate of 'William Basset of Lyn.' taken 23 April 1703, totalled £110 14s., of which £74 was real estate: 'one old house, half a barn " seven acres " half of land.' £67 10s.; and 'one piece of salt marsh lying by the beach.' £6 10s..."
   William and Sarah had the following children:

CHILDREN OF WILLIAM AND SARAH BASSETT

  • ELIZABETH BASSETT Elizabeth was born circa 1647 in Lynn, Essex co., MA. On 1 April 1674 when Elizabeth was 27, she first married JOHN PROCTOR, in Salem, Essex co., MA. Was arrested, tried and convicted of witchcraft. Two of her children were arrested and tried for witchcraft, as well. She ws sentenced to death, but spared because she was pregnant.
  • WILLIAM BASSETT, JR., b. 1648 in New Haven. Married SARAH HOOD, who was arrested and tried for withcraft. She was jailed, pregnant, in Boston until 12/3/1692, and gave birth to a child a week later who she named "Deliverance" in honor of her freedom. She was paid nine ponds for her troubles.
  • ELISHA BASSETT, b. 1649 in Lynn, Essex, MA. She married THOMAS EWELL on 11/23/1675 in Gloucester, Essex co., MA.
  • SARAH BASSETT, b. 1651 in Lynn, Essex, MA.
  • JOHN BASSETT, b. Nov 1653 in Lynn, Essex, MA.
  • MIRIAM BASSETT, b. Sep 1655 in Lynn, Essex, MA. She married EPHRAIM SANDIN.
  • MARY BASSETT, b. May 1657 in New Haven, New Haven, CT. Married MICHAEL DeRICH. Was arrested and tried for witchcraft.
  • HANNAH BASSETT #1, b. 25 Feb 1660 in Lynn, Essex, MA. She died in Lynn @ 160, at age 11.
  • REBECCA BASSETT, b. 1662 in Lynn, Essex, MA. She was still living on 2/10/1701, when she was named in her father's will.
  • SAMUEL BASSETT, b. 18 Mar 1664 in Lynn, Essex, MA.
  • RACHEL BASSETT, b. 13 Mar 1666 in Lynn, Essex co. She married EPHRAIM SISLBY on 1/23/1693.
  • Hannah Bassett #2 was born @ 1670 in Lynn, Essex co. She married JOHN LILLE.
  •    William died in Lynn, Essex county, Massachusetts, on the 31st of March, 1703; he was 79. He had survived the death of his father, emigration to America, and battles with Indians in both the King Philips' War & King William's War—only to see his children—the third generation of Bassetts in this line—absolutely decimated by the 1692 Salem Witchcraft Hysteria.
       Three of William & Sarah's 12 children were touched by the Salem Witch Hysteria prosecution. Their oldest daughter (and our ancestor), ELIZABETH, who married JOHN PROCTOR , lost her husband and everything they had built together.
       She was his third wife, and they were married for 18 years. They moved to Salem Town in 1666. She ran the family tavern, and appears to have been quite the feisty woman. Elizabeth fought on two occasions with Robert Stone over an unpaid bar tab. Her grandmother, Ann B. Lynn, was once suspected of witchcraft. With her family history and her temper, itwasn't long before her servant, Mary Warren, testified that Elizabeth tried to make her sign the "Devil's Book." Several of her children would face this accusation, as well:

    CHILDREN OF JOHN PROCTOR AND ELIZABETH BASSETT

  • WILLIAM PROCTOR, b: 6 Feb 1675 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts.
  • SARAH PROCTOR, b: 28 Jan 1676 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts. (Family listed below.)
  • SAMUEL PROCTOR b: 11 Jan 1687 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts. Married Sarah BRACKETT.
  • ELISHA PROCTOR b: 28 Apr 1687 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts. Death: 11 Nov 1688 in Salem, Essex, MA.
  • ABIGAIL PROCTOR b: 27 Jan 1689 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts.
  • JOHN PROCTOR III b: 27 Jan 1693 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts. Named after his executed father. Married and died @ 1745.
  •    Whatever the reason for the charges, here they are:

    WARRANT FOR THE ARREST OF ELIZABETH BASSETT PROCTOR

    Salem Aprill. 4'th 1692
    There Being Complaint this day made (Before us) by capt Jonat Walcott, and Lt Natheniell Ingersull both of Salem Village, in Behalfe of theire Majesties for themselfes and also for severall of their Neighbours Against Sarah Cloyce the wife of peter Cloyce of Salem Village; and Elizabeth Proctor the wife of John Proctor of Salem farmes for high Suspition of Sundry acts of Witchcraft donne or Committed by them upon the bodys of Abigail Williams, and John Indian both of Mr Sam parris his family of Salem Village and mary Walcott daughterof the abovesaid Complainants, And Ann Putnam and Marcy Lewis of the famyly of Thomas Putnam of Salem Village whereby great hurt and dammage hath beene donne to the Bodys of s'd persons above named therefore Craved Justice.
    You are therefore in theire Majest's names hereby required to apprehend and bring before us Sarah Cloyce the wife of peter Cloyce of Salem Village and Elizabeth proctor the wife of John Procter of Salem farmes; on Munday Morneing Next being the Eleventh day of this Instant Aprill aboute Eleven of the Clock, at the publike Meeting house in the Towne, in order to theire Examination Relateing to the premesis aboves'd and here of you are. not to faile. Dated Salem Aprill 8'th 1692
    To George Herick Marshall of the County of essex
    John Hathorne
    Jonathan Corwin Assists [Essex County Archives, Salem—Witchcraft Vol. 1 Page 24]

       Why this family was so plagued by this hysteria is a mystery. William Bassett, Sr. once signed petition against John Hathorne for serving strong drink. Either this John Hathorne or a near relative was the same John Hathorne who was one of the Salem Hysteria judges. Also, there were the charges against Elizabeth's grandmother, which probably raised suspicion. Mainly, though, they were just outsiders in the Salem community—prosperous outsiders, who owned a large home and ran a tavern (which in Puritan society signalled that you had made it). There was jealosy (especially from the established, less-successful Putnam family), there was distrust, and probably a lot of unpaid bar tabs.
       Whatever the reasoning, Elizabeth was arrested and jailed with the other "witches"—and basically treated like animals:

    Physical Examination of Bridget Bishop, Rebecca Nurse, Elizabeth Proctor, Alice Parker, Susannah Martin, and Sarah Good, No. 1

    1692 Salem June 2'd aboute 10 in Morning
    Wee whose names are under written being commanded by Capt George Crowine Esq'r Sherriffe of the County of Essex this 2'd day of June 1692 for to vew the bodyes of Bridgett Bishop alias Oliver
    Rebecah Nurse
    Elizabeth procter
    Alice parker
    Susanna Martine
    Sara Good
    The first three, Namely: Bishop: Nurse: procter, by diligent search have discovered apreternathurall Excresence of flesh between the pudendum and Anus much like to Tetts " not usuall in women " much unlike to the other three that hath been searched by us " that they were in all the three women neer the same place
    *J Barton Chyrurgen
    Alice pickering her marke
    Jane Woolings her marke
    Marjery Williams her marke
    Anna Stephens her marke
    Elizabeth Hill her marke
    Elanor Henderson her marke
    Rebecah Sharpe her marke
    Lydia Pickman
    *Hannah Kezer

    Sworne in court June 2'd 1692

    Attest * Step: Sewall Cle

    Physical Examination of Bridget Bishop, Rebecca Nurse, Elizabeth Proctor, Alice Parker, Susannah Martin, and Sarah Good, No. 2

    Salem aboute 4 afternoon June 2'd 1692 .
    We whose names are Subscribed to the w'th in mentioned, upon a second search about 3 or 4 houres distance, did find the said Brigett Bishop alias Oliver, in a clear & free state from any p'eter-naturall Excresence, as formerly seen by us alsoe Rebecah Nurse in stead of that Excresence w'thin Mentioned it appears only as a dry skin without sense, & as for Elizabeth procter which Excresence like a tett red & fresh, not any thing appears, but only a proper [ pro-cedeulia Ani,] & as for Susanna Martine whose breast in the Morning search appeared to us very full; the Nibbs fresh & starting, now at this searching all lancke & pendant which is all at pr'sent from the w'th in Memtioned subscribers and that that piece of flesh of Goodwife Nursess' formerly seen is gone & only a dry skin nearer to the anus in another place
    Rebecah Sharpe marke
    the marke of Elizabeth Hill
    Lidia Pickman
    Elanor Henderson her marke
    *J Barton Chyrurgen
    Alice Pickering marke
    *Hannah Kezer
    Marjery Williams
    marke Anna Stephens
    Jane Wollings marke

    Sworne in Court June 2'd 1692

    [Essex County Archives, Salem—Witchcraft Vol. 1 Page 35]

       Many Salem townspeople were arrested for witchcraft on the flimsiest of evidence. Elizabeth and her husband were tragic victims. John was accused of Witchcraft by his 20-year-old servant girl, Mary Warren. It is thought that John was rather outspoken and threatened to beat and/or beat Mary when she would have one of "her fits.".
       
    Sheriff George Corwin of Essex County, was especially sadistic in his attempts to extract "confessions" from the accused. In his letter to the Boston clergy, John Proctor describes the hog-tying of his teenage son in an attempt by Corwin to extract a confession of witchcraft from him. This was apparently not out of the ordinary for Corwin. (Legend has it that a curse was laid by Giles Corey, who was crushed to death as the sheriff tried to get his confession, upon anyone who holds the office of Essex County Sheriff...and enough odd events have befallen those who have done so to keep the legend alive into the 21st century).
       Robert Calef, in his More Wonders Of The Invisible World [reprinted in Narratives of the New England Witchcraft Cases, ed. George Lincoln Burr (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1914; reprinted by Dover, 2002)] writes this poignant description of what happened to the Proctor family in this regard. It applies all of the families of the convicted male witches (save Giles Corey):

    "...John Procter and his Wife being in Prison, the Sheriff came to his House and seized all the Goods, Provisions, and Cattle that he could come at, and sold some of the Cattle at half price, and killed others, and put them up for the West-Indies; threw out the Beer out of a Barrel, and carried away the Barrel; emptied a Pot of Broath, and took away the Pot, and left nothing in the House for the support of the Children: No part of the said Goods are known to be returned. Procter earnestly requested Mr. Noyes to pray with and for him, but it was wholly denied, because he would not own himself to be a Witch..." [pp. 361-2]

       Thomas Lecheford's letter describing how nasty the Sheriff was when he took everything from their home is heart-rending. Two of her children were arrested, tortured and tried and Elizabeth, herself, was convicted and sentenced to death. Only her pregnancy prevented her execution. By the time she had given birth, the Hysteria was over and she was not hung. William, Jr.'s wife, Sarah [Hood], was also arrested, tortured and tried for witchcraft. Finally, William Sr. & Sarah's daughter Mary, wife of Michael De Rich, was also arrested, tortured and tried for witchcraft.

    Mary Walcott and Elizabeth Hubbard v. John Proctor, Elizabeth Proctor, William Proctor, and Sarah Proctor:
    "The depo'ion of Mary Walcutt and Elizabeth Hubbard , s'd that on the 29 of May 1692 we came to see James holten, how lay grevesely tormented and we then saw John prockter and his wife his son Wm procter, Sarah procter, and all of them a presing of him w'h there hands one his stomack and tormenting of him most grevesely and then quckly after they fell upon us and afflected us most dredfully for a considerable time. Jurat in Curia by both ( Essex County Archives, Salem—Witchcraft Vol. 1, Page 16 )

       The trials, held in 1692, led to the execution of twenty people for allegedly practicing witchcraft. The trials are noted for the hysterical atmosphere in which they were conducted. Here were the charges against Elizabeth:

    THE CASE AGAINST ELIZABETH BASSETT PROCTOR

    Indictment. v. Elizabeth Proctor, No. 1: "Anno Regis et Reginae Willm et Mariae nunc Angliae &c Quarto Essex ss. The Jurors for our Sovereigne Lord and Lady the King and Queen p'esents That: Elizabeth Procter Wife of John Procter of Salem—the 11'th Day of Aprill in the fourth Year of the Reigne of our Sovereigne Lord and Lady William and Mary: by the Grace of God of England Scottland France and Ireland King and Queen Defenders of the faith &c and Divers other Dayes and times. as well before, as after, certaine Detestable Arts called witchcraft & sorceries, wickedly and feloniously hath usedractised and Exercised, at and within the Towneship of Salem in the County of Essex aforesaid in upon and ag't on Mary Walcott of Salem Villiage Singlewoman—by which said wicked arts the said Mary Walcott the II'th Day of Aprill in the forth Year as aboves'd and Divers other Dayes and times as well before; as after was and is Tortured afflicted Pined Consumed wasted and Tormented: and also for sundry other acts of witchcraft by said Elizabeth Procter Committed and donne be fore and since that time ag't the Peace of our Sovereigne Lord and Lady, the King and Queen and ag't the forme of the Statute in that case made and Provided." Witnesses. Mary Wolcutt [unclear] Sworn Ann Putman ; Mercy Lewis ; (Reverse) No. El. Procter bill a vera Procter & wife (Essex County Archives, Salem—Witchcraft Vol. 1 Page 24 )

    Indictment. v. Elizabeth Proctor, No. 2: "Anno Regis et Reginae Willm et Mariae nunc Angliae &c Quarto Essex ss. The Jurors for our Sovereigne Lord and Lady the King and Queen 'esents that Elizabeth Procter. Wife of John Procter of Salem husbandman—the II'th day of Aprill in the forth year of the Reigne of our Sovereigne Lord and Lady William and Mary by the Grace of God. of England Scottland France and Ireland King and Queen Defenders of the faith &c and Divers other Dayes and times as well before as after, Certain Detestable Arts called Witchcrafts and Sorceries Wickedly and feloniously hath used Practised and Exercised at and within the Towneship of Salem in the County of Essex afores'd in Upon and ag't one Marcy Lewis of Salem Villiage in the County afores'd Singlewoman by which said wicked Arts, the said Marcy Lewis the II'th Day of Aprill in the forth year abovesaid and Divers other Dayes and times as well before as after was and is Tortured Afflicted Pined Consumed wasted & Tormented, And also for Sundry other Acts of Witchcraft by the said Elizabeth. Procter Committed and Done before and since that time. ag't the peace of our Sovereigne Lord and Lady the King and Queen and ag't the forme of the Statute, in that case made and Provided." Witnesses Mercy Lewis. [unclear]. Ann Putman. Sworn Eliz. Hubbard (Reverse) Bill a vera No. Eli. Proctor. (Essex County Archives, Salem—Witchcraft Vol. 1 Page 24)

    Examination of Sarah Cloyse and Elizabeth Proctor at a court held at Salem, April 1692, by the honoured Thomas Danforth, Deputy Governor.
    Q. John; who hurt you?
    A. Goody Procter first, and then Goody Cloyse.
    Q. What did she do to you?
    A. She brought the book to me.
    Q. John! tell the truth, who hurts you? have you been hurt?
    A. The first, was a gentlewoman I saw.
    Q. Who next?
    A. Goody Cloyse.
    Q. But who hurt you next?
    A. Goody Procter.
    Q. What did she do to you?
    A. She choaked me, and brought the book.
    Q. How oft did she come to torment you?
    A. A good many times, she and Goody Cloyse.
    Q. Do they come to you in the night as well as the day?
    A. They come most in the day.
    Q. Who?
    A. Goody Cloyse and Goody Procter.
    Q. Where did she take hold of you?
    A. Upon my throat, to stop my breath.

    [Thomas Hutchinson, History of Massachusetts-Bay, II, 21-23]

    (For all of the testimony, click here.)

    Ann Putnam, Jr. v. Elizabeth Proctor:
    The Deposistion of Ann putnam Jun who testifieth and saith that on the 3'th of march 1691/92 I saw the Apperishtion of gooddy procktor amongst the wicthes & she did almost choake me Immediatly and bite and pinch me but I did not know who she was tell the 6'th of march that I saw hir att meeting and then I tould them that held me that that woman was one that did afflect me: and severall times sence she hath greviously afflected me by biting pinching and almost choaking me urging me vehemently to writ in hir book: but on the II'th April 1692 the Apperishtion of Elizabeth proctor the wife of John procktor sen'r did most greviously torment me dureing the time of hir examination and also severall times sence by biting pinching and allmost choaking me to death urging me vehemently to writ in hir book: also on the II'th April it being the day of the examination of Elizabeth proctor I saw the Apperishtion of Elizabeth proctor goe and afflect the bodys of Mistris pope Mary walcott Mircy lewes Abigail Williams and also all the time of hir examination she and hir: Husband and Sarah Cloys did most greviously afflect Elizabeth Hubboard and would not let hir spake a word as I herd ann Putnam owned this har testimony to be the truth one har oath before the Juriars of Inqwest this: 30 dy of June; 1692. Jurat in Curia (Reverse) Ann puttnam ag't Eliza. procter (Essex County Archives, Salem—Witchcraft Vol. 1 Page 25)


    Joan Allen as Elizabeth Bassett Proctor in Arthur Miller's play about the Salem with trials, "The Crucible."
       Elizabeth was tried and condemned for witchcraft, but was not hanged because she was pregnant at the time. John stood by her during the trials and was so vocal that the accusers started pointing their fingers at him, too, and he was charged to be a wizard. On the the 23rd of July in 1692, fearing that they could not get a fair trial in Salem village, John Proctor and other prisoners write a letter from prison to the Reverend Increase Mather, James Allen, Joshua Moody, Samuel Willard, and John Bayley in an attempt to gain their support for a change of venue. This letter changed the course of the trials—but not soon enough for John: He was tried on the 5th of August in 1692, and hanged on the 19th, along with George Burroughs, George Jacobs Sr., John Willard, and Martha Carrier at Gallows Hill.
       But John's letter may have saved his wife. The trials were stopped, and then in May of 1683, Govenor Phips pardoned the remaining accused of witchcraft.
       So, outside of losing the patriarch of the family, how did this affect the remains of the Proctor family? Their four oldest children—Martha, 26; John, 24; Mary, 23 and Thorndike, 20—were married and on their own by 1692. However, John's second family suffered as "greviously" as any in this madness. The two eldest children of Elizabeth—William, aged 18, and Sarah, aged 16—were accused and tried in their own right. John Proctor's letter of 23 July 1692, describes William's tortorous "examination" in prison, where they apparently hog-tied " left him for hours in an attempt to get William to confess to being a witch. Their three younger children were Samuel, aged 7; Elisha, aged 5 and Abigail, aged 3. One can only imagine what it was like for those three children to witness their mother " father dragged away and accused of horrific things with their mother thrown in jail and their father hanged. Not to mention witnessing the visit of the sheriff described below and the almost certain ostracision in the community.
       In addition, to the 17th century Puritan legal mind, it made perfect sense that when a wife died, the husband simply went out and remarried and the household stayed an intact unit. However, when the husband died, the entire household was inventoried and split up either per the husband's will or per the law if he died intestate. In other words, in the event of the death of the husband, the entire household unit was splintered apart by law with the survivors left to make new lives the best they could after the estate had been divvied up amongst them.
       In the case of a "confessed" witch, the law was entitled to take everything. This is why Giles Corey faced the horrific fate of being pressed to death. It was not intended to be a method of execution, but one of eliciting a confession. Since Corey died without "confessing his sin of being a witch", his estate remained safely within the family's ownership. To add insult to injury, the cost of imprisonment " execution was borne by the witch's family and sometimes the judges and executioners in witch cases would even throw themselves a party on the witch's nickel. In the case of Elizabeth, she was now alone to raise a newborn, three children under the age of ten, and two teenagers (who themselves were marked by the horrors of "examination")—she had no property or possessions. Although pardoned, she was still a convicted felon in the eyes of the law and barred from claiming any of her husband's property as a result. The farm was not returned and recompense took its time in coming: In 1696, Elizabeth Proctor petitioned the General Court for return of—at the very least—the dower that she and John agreed to in their pre-nuptial agreement.

    Petition of Elizabeth Proctor
       To: To the Honourable Generall Court Asembled at Boston may twenty seventh 1696
       The Humble petetion of Elizabeth procter widow and Relict of John proctor of salem decesed Humbly sheweth that in the yere of our Lord 1692 when many persons in salem and in other towns ther about were accused by son evill disposed or strangly Influenced persons, as being witches or for being guilty of acting witchcraft my s'd Husband John procter and my selfe were accused of such and we both: my s'd Husband and my selfe were soe farr proceded against that we were condemned but in that sad time of darkness before my said husband was executed it is evident som body had Contrived awill and brought it to him to sign wher in his wholl estat is disposed of not having Regard to a contract in wrighting mad with me before mariag with him; but soe it pleased god to order by his providence that although the sentanc was executed on my dere husband yet through gods great goodnes to your petitioner I am yet alive; sinc my husbands death the s'd will is proved and aproved by the Judg of probate and by that kind of desposall the wholl estat is disposed of; and although god hath Granted my life yet those that claime my s'd husbands estate by that which thay Call awill will not suffer me to have one peny of the Estat nither upon the acount of my husbands Contract with me before mariage nor yet upon the acount of the dowr which as I humbly conceive doth belong or ought to belong to me by the law for thay say that I am dead in the law and therfore my humble request and petetion to this Honoured Generall Court is that by an act of his honoured Court as god hath Contenewed my life and through gods goodnes without feare of being put to death upon that sentanc you would be pleased to put me Into acapacity to make use of the law to Recover that which of Right by law I ought to have for my nessesary suply and support that as I your petetioner am one of his magestyes subjects I may have the benifett of his laws soe Humbly prateng that fod would direct your honnours in all things to doe that which may be well pleasing to him I subscrib your honours humble petetioner
       Elizabeth procter widow Read 10th June. 1692[sic] in councill [Mass. Archives Vol. 135]

       On December 17, 1710, she was paid £578 pounds and 12 shillings in restitution for her husband's death, and £150 was awarded in 1711 as recompense for his execution and her imprisonment.
       It's assumed that Elizabeth returned to her parents' home after the nightmare of 1692. On 22 September 1699, when Elizabeth was 52, she married DANIEL RICHARDS, in Lynn, Essex co., MA. They must have then removed to another town, since there is no death record for either Elizabeth or Daniel in Lynn. Nor is their any marriage or death record for the two youngest Proctor children—Elisha and Abigail—in that town.
       Several of the Bassetts left the Puritan movement, as well, and married into known Quaker families.
       In the 20th century, Elizabeth and her family were immortalized by playwrite Arthur Miller in the award-winning play and film, The Crucible: In this drama, Elizabeth becomes an instrumental part of the play when she fires Abigail Williams, who is having an affair with her husband John. Elizabeth Proctor is portrayed as a very pious woman; however, she and her husband don't always attend church services, which makes Reverend John Hale suspect that they may be involved in witchcraft. Elizabeth is taken away to jail and it is up to her husband to defend her. She is a very honest woman and stays by John even in the midst of his adulterous affair. Although Elizabeth is portrayed as cold and aloof at times, she is a dedicated and devoted wife and mother.

    GENEALOGY

    ROGER BASSETT married ANN HOLLAND and begat...

    WILLIAM BASSETT, who married SARAH and begat...

    ELIZABETH BASSETT (b. 1650), who married JOHN PROCTOR (1632 - 1692) and begat...

    SARAH PROCTOR (1676 - 1744) who married EDWARD MUNYAN (1677 - 1747) and begat...

    JOSEPH MUNYAN (1712 - 1797), who married SARAH JOSLIN (b. 1722) and begat...

    JOSEPH MUNYAN (d. 1831), who married MARY MARSH (1750 - 1820) and begat...

    AMASA MUNYAN (b. 1800), who married SUSANNA HENNING (1802 - 1821) and begat...

    MARY ANN MUNYAN (1823 - 1899) married WILLIAM POTTER (1819 - 1894) and begat...

    LOUISA EDITH POTTER (1856 - 1891) who married ABRAHAM CANE WINTERS (1829 - 1893) and begat...

    NELLE WINTERS (1885 - 1974) who married WILLIAM PRITCHARD (1880 - 1958) and begat...

    DOROTHY PRITCHARD (b. 1918) who married ERWIN WENK (1910 - 1982) and begat...

    MARTHA WENK (b. 1940) who married CARLETON MARCHANT HAUSE, JR. (b. 1939) and begat...

    JEFF (who married LORI ANN DOTSON), KATHY (who married HAL LARSEN), ERIC (who married MARY MOONSAMMY), and MICHELE HAUSE (who married JOHN SCOTT HOUSTON).

    SOURCES

  • The Nova Anglia Company of Salem, Essex co., MA whose book "The Salem Witchcraft Trials: A Documentary History of 1692" provides the unvarnished original court documents in most of the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria cases. All transcriptions of the trial proceedings and other legal documents pertaining to the Salem Trials come from this source.
  • Top Illustration: THE TRIAL OF GEORGE JACOBS (BY T. H. MATTESON).