NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

September 28, 2012

A harrowing piece of history

Salisbury families delve into family tree, arrive at Salem witch trials

(Continued)

“I was working on my family’s genealogy when I ran into Mary,” Small said. “A lot of Seabrook residents would find her in their family trees. Former fire Chief Jeff Brown is one of those.”

Brown, a lawyer, was intrigued when told of his famous ancestor.

“That’s really interesting,” he said. “I’m going to go to Salem and look up the trial.”

But as captivating as it might be to find a convicted witch among one’s relatives, the experience was terrifying for Bradbury herself.

Born in Hilmorton, England, to John and Judith Perkins in 1615, Perkins immigrated to America in 1631. Arriving at the age of 16, she married Thomas Bradbury of Salisbury five years later. According to all accounts, Thomas Bradbury was an upstanding citizen, often referred to as “Captain Bradbury,” and both he and his wife were considered prominent citizens in Salisbury before her tribulations.

Beverly Gulazian of the Salisbury Historical Society said her research indicates that Bradbury was living on Mudnock Road in Salisbury, when she was charged with witchcraft.

According to “The Family of John Perkins of Ipswich, Massachusetts,” written in 1882 by George Perkins of Salem, Bradbury was placed on trial because of bitterness attributed to the man she didn’t marry, George Carr, and their long-standing disagreement. Perhaps through his influence, his sons became her accusers, swearing she’d assumed animal form and ominously appeared out of nowhere on troubled ships.

According to Perkins, Richard Carr and Zarubabel Endicott gave testimony that they’d seen a blue boar come from and re-enter her yard and window. This spectral evidence was made even more damning when Richard’s brother, Samuel, told the court he’d seen her perched on the capstan of a ship at sea when things were going badly.

Carr family collusion again comes into the picture, for researchers found that all but one of the depositions against Bradbury were in the handwriting of Sgt. Thomas Putnam, who just so happened to be married to Ann Carr of Salisbury.

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