And a history lesson of interest to those following unfolding events.
In this area, as you might imagine, there are few wifi connections available. We account for two here, the first Harriet, named for my great-grandmother Harriet Foster Pillsbury. Harriet was a descendant of at least nine of those accused of witchcraft during the 1692 Trials held in Salem. Salem paid reparations for these wrongful prosecutions, the theft of property, and wrongful death in 1711.
This marks the only time in history when anyone admitted to having violated the rights of individuals so accused. But since that is not nearly as exciting as viewing these mostly staunch and committed Congregationalists as imps of the occult that is not generally known.
While the original 'accusers,' including Abigail Williams were young girls who are now generally believed to have become exciting by the fortune telling of the Indian slave, Tituba. The girls involved were 12 and younger.
Adults involved noticed that since these were capital offenses the property of those accused could be seized without even bringing them to trial. The names of those accused over the year period began with vulnerable women living in poverty and ended with the wife of the Royal Governor, Sir William Phips, who was appointed Governor of Massachusetts just prior to the Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692.
The first action taken by the accusers, the adults at least, after Governor Phips called the whole thing off, was to rush to the Governor and beg his protection from the just retribution which, they said, would soon follow. The Governor refused and no such retribution ever took place.
But a long lasting impression had been made on the accused and their families. It would be five generations before there were any marriages between the descendants of the accused and their accusers.
Many prominent members of the Transcendental Movement were descendants of the Accused. My family included abolitionists, activists for the rights of women, educationists and more, all descendants. The accusers appear to have produced a significant number of politicians, as opposed to those who serve their communities locally with little or no compensation.
I came into this story while visiting the North Andover Historical Society in the early 90s. I noticed the number of deaths taking place in my family lines in 1692 and asked if there was a plague that year to account for this. The two librarians said they had never seen so many of the accused in one person's genealogy.
This subject had never been discussed when I was young, though Harriet, who received her M.D. from the Women's Infirmary of NY in 1880, was fondly remembered. A life-long supporter of the rights of women she died in 1917 never having been able to cast a vote.
Today, what was once South Andover purchased the right from the original Andover, MA for $500. Harriet attended Bishop, which is now part of Phillips Andover Academy.
So much still be be accomplished, you know. The Equal Rights Amendment still has not been ratified and human slavery remains rampant around the world. These problems, and others, need to be resolved. I try to do my small part.
And may I recommend the work of Andrew Kreig, a respected journalist who started the Justice Integrity Project and wrote Presidential Puppetry, the book which brought the assassination of John F. Kennedy by the CIA out of dismissal as 'conspiracy theory, and into the mainstream acceptance of a growing number of Americans.