Salem Witch Trial History

Bloodlines of Salem is a new family history group of descendants of English colonists who participated in the infamous 1692 Salem Witch Trials. The group, created by trials researcher David Nelson, will remember the trials that unfolded more than three centuries ago.

“As amateur and professional Salemologists,” Nelson said, “we may focus on our infamous ancestors in our work, but it’s the celebration of their memories and mysteries that continue to fascinate new generations of their families and the public.”

Bloodlines of Salem launched its website on the 315th anniversary of the end of the trials. The group promotes better understanding of the trials and their participants through genetic and documentary research and popular culture.

Family returns to Salem
The 27th annual Towne Family Association (TFA) reunion brought together descendants of William and Joanna Towne to commemorate the history of the Towne family, intertwined with the Witch Hysteria of 1692.

William and Joanna Towne, parents of eight children, arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, from England in 1635. Daughters Rebecca, Mary and Sarah were falsely accused of witchcraft in 1692. Rebecca and Mary were hanged.

The reunion offered the Townes an opportunity to connect to their ancestry in tangible ways as they toured Salem and Danvers. “The Rebecca Nurse Homestead is the closest we have to a family location. We have not found graves for William and Joanna or their children,” explained Lois Payne Hoover, a descendant of Sarah.

In a ceremony of solidarity, the TFA congregated in the meetinghouse at the homestead for prayer and song by the Nurse Homestead Singers. The TFA also visited the Witch Trials Memorial in Salem to lay flowers among granite benches in memory of those innocents who were convicted and hanged.

Numbering more than 100 cousins, the TFA remembered their ancestors, the history of witchcraft hysteria and lessons reaped from it so many years later.

Contact information:

Rebecca Nurse Homestead
PO Box 456
Hathorne MA 01937

Towne Family Association, Inc.
Executive Office
1214 SW 124th St Apt. B – 200
Burien WA 98146

From a story by Carolyn Moore in the Danvers Herald, Beverly, Massachusetts.