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WITCH TRIALS
and our family
Page 14

 

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SARAH (TOWNE) CLOYCE
Part 1

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born: 11 Jan 1637 at Salem, Essex, MA
married: 1682 in Salem, Essex Co, Ma to Peter Cloyce (Clayce)
died: 1703 in Framingham or Salem, Essex, Ma

Sarah (Towne) Cloyce is the sister of
Rebecca (Towne) Nurse, (see page 7)
and Mary (Towne) Estey (see page 12)


Sarah Towne Cloyes was put into prison, and later released.
She pressed charges for her unlawful arrest and the killing of her sisters.
She received three gold sovereigns for each of them.
The movie, Three Sovereigns For Sister Sarah is about this event.


According to: 'Salem Possessed, The Social Origins of Witchcraft', 1974,
Paul Boyer & Stephen Nissenbaum, p 149.
The mother of Sarah, Rebecca, and Mary; Joanna (Blessing) Towne,
was also accused of witchcraft though never arrested or brought to trial.

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Sarah (Towne) Cloyce
is the 12th cousin 13 times removed
of Sarah Elizabeth Rose

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She stormed out of church services on Sacrament Sunday, most probably
outraged by the meaning of the minister's message. A meaning that implied
her sister, Rebecca Nurse, was a Devil. To stand up for a sister accused
of witchcraft (during Puritan times) was enough to be named as a witch in
and of itself, as Sarah Cloyce would find out in Salem Village in 1692.

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A few days before this particular Sunday in history, a well-known Reverend
Lawson had visited Salem Village to assist with the witch crisis. It seems
the teen girls of the village were now seeing more and more witches in their
midst - the village was full of fear.Rev. Lawson's sermon supported the use of
spectral evidence in the trials, feeling it was better to accuse the innocent
than to allow a Devil to go free. The sermon was rushed into print with the
endorsement of many of the most prominent ministers in that time and region.

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Then Salem's own minister, Reverend Parris, gave a similar sermon during
Sacrament Sunday on April 3rd - Just after Sarah's sister, Rebecca Nurse, was
accused of witchcraft. The service opened peacefully and the afflicted girls
were present, as usual. The title of the sermon that day was "Christ knows
how many Devils are in his church and who they are." The title would bring
to mind Sarah's sister, as Rebecca was the first active church member accused of
witchcraft in the community. A stunning event for just about everyone because
Rebecca had been a model Puritan citizen during her ~70 year-long life.

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Reverend Parris went on to name a Biblical text about Judas that states, "I have
chosen you twelve and one of you is the Devil." At this, Sarah stood up
and left the church - some say she slammed the door and others say the door was
slammed shut by the wind when she left so abruptly. What matters, however, is
that she left the church in defiance just after the text was read.

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In such times, it is no wonder that Sarah became the next witch to be cried out upon by
the young girls.  In fact - this happened before the service concluded that day -
they soon claimed to see her spector in communion with the Devil.Oh Goodwife
Cloyce, I did not think to see you here. Is it time to receive the sacrament?
You ran away on the Lord's Day and scorned to receive it in the meeting house, and is
this a time to receive it?  I wonder at you!stated one of the girls in testimony.

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Sarah was younger than her sisters, Rebecca Nurse and Mary Easty: She is only 48 in 1692.
The Movie, Three Sovereigns for Sara depicts Sarah as the most rebellious of the three
accused sisters. She had time to flee due to a delay in her arrest warrant.
She chose to stay and to fight during the hearings, despite the urgings of male family
members who told her she was only one woman and could not hope to win. She fought
based on her own interpretation of the Bible and  cause of the witch hunts.
She could even recite the Lord's Prayer perfectly in court (something a witch could not
do), only to have the girls fly into fits - saying they could see the Devil whispering
the words into her ear on the witness stand. At this point in the trial, Cloyce
nearly fainted. She asked for water, only to have the afflicted girls accuse her
spirit of leaving the court (with the fainting) to visit her sister, Rebecca, in jail.

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After the trial, a Putnam family member (a close friend of Reverend Parris and active in
the witch hunt hysteria) is said to have stated that is was no surprise about Rebecca and
Sarah being witches - for their mother was an accused witch years before. Shortly after,
Putman's eight week old baby died and Putman felt the cause of the death was that the child
had been tortured by Nurse and Cloyce because of what he had said about them. His testimony
about the death of his child is an example of spectral evidence and was an important part of
the convictions against both sisters.

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Unlike her sisters Rebecca and Mary, Sarah lived.
Her trial was, for some reason, delayed (perhaps because of over crowding of the jails
during the witch craze) until after the trials had been stopped.  Sarah was imprisoned
for nearly a year - and during a time when accused witches immediately lost all their
possessions and had to pay room and board to their jailors.

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One can only imagine what went through Sarah's mind during and after her imprisonment and
the loss of her two sisters.  One can only wonder if she struggled with survivor guilt,
post traumatic stress dysorder, or rage during her latter years on earth. According to some
sources, she did everything she could to clear her sisters' names after the witch hunts came
to an end. It seems likely that she fought the injustice she saw until her dying days - just
as she had in church on April 3rd, 1692. Perhaps the words that the afflicted girls used
against her (when she nearly fainted) were not so far from the truth - that her spirit was
imprisoned along side her sister(s), even when she was physically absent from them.

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The above is from Cathy Hartt, RN, CNM, MS. Thank you Cathy for sharing with us.

http://www.pearllakehist.com/witchsarah.html


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"The widow of Edmund Bridges and her children were ordered out of Topsfield by the constable,
on September 12, 1682. She was Sarah Town, daughter of William, and had probably returned to
Topsfield after the death of her husband which had occured a few months earlier. She soon
became the second wife of Peter Cloyse and was accused of witchcraft but was not executed."
(History of Topsfield) 1/17/1683; Petition for settlement of a small estate left the
undersigned by their father, who died ten years ago leaving no will, but left his estate in
the hands of their mother who was appointed administatrix and the estate remained unsettled
until her death, and now they desire that the following division may be allowed: the land to
be divided equally to his three sons, Edmond, Jacob, and Joseph and the moveables equally to
the three daughters, Rebecca, Mary, and Sarah; also the three brothers to pay all debts now
due and what charges shall arise in settlement of the estate to be equally borne by all six.
Signed by Mary (her mark) Towne relict of Edmond,
Jacob Towne,
Joseph (his mark) Towne,
Francis (his mark) Nurse with the consent of Rebecca,
Mary (her mark) Esty formerly Mary Towne,
Sarah (her mark) Bridges.
Witness:
John How,
John Pritchet

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Allowed by the court at Ipswich April 10, 1683 (Ipswich Deeds, Vol 4 page 515)
1692; not attending church. (Salem Witchcraft Vol II by Upham)
April 3, 1692; Sunday - left church during services, slamming door behind herself due to
nature of sermon (devils). (The Devil Discovered by Enders A. Robinson)
*April the 3d*. Being Sacrament Day at the Village, Sarah Cloys, Sister to Goodwife Nurse,
a Member to one of the Churches, was (tho' it seems with difficulty prevail'd with to be)
present; but being entred the place, and Mr. Parris naming his Text, 6 John, 70. *Have not I
chosen you Twelve, and one of you is a Devil* (for what cause may rest as a doubt whether upon
the account of her Sisters being Committed, or because of the choice of that Text) she rose up
and went out, the wind shutting the Door forcibly, gave occasion to some to suppose she went out
in Anger, and might occasion a suspicion of her; however she was soon after complain'd of,
examin'd and Committed."

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(Robert Calef's - More Wonders of the Invisible World) April 4, 1692; Monday - complaint of
witchcraft brought against Sarah. (Salem Witchcraft Vol II by Upham: The Devil Discovered by
Enders A. Robinson)) April 8, 1692; Warrant issued for Sarah. (Salem Witchcraft Vol II by Upham)
April 11 -April 12, 1692; Monday - examination before the highest tribunal in the colony. Sarah
examined first. Refused to confess - sent to jail at Salem where her sister Rebecca awaited.
Placed in hand and leg irons.
Later was removed to Boston prison. (Salem Witchcraft Vol II by Upham: The Devil Discovered by
Enders A. Robinson]
June 1692; a declaration by John Arnold and wife Mary, prison keepers at Boston reports no ill
conduct but only sober and civil behaviors exhibited. (The Devil Discovered - Robinson)
June 6, 1692; petitioned court with Mary to receive some sort of counsel as none had been allowed,
and the right to have people testify in their defense. (The Devil Discovered - Robinson)
June 1692; Sarah and Mary moved to Ipswich prison. (The Devil Discovered - Robinson)
July 31, 1692; Account of blacksmith Robert Lord of Ipswich shows a charge of 1# 20.0 for four pairs
of iron fetters and 2 pairs of handcuffs for Sarah, Mary and two others. (The Devil Discovered -
Robinson) for making fouer payer of iron ffetters and tow payer of hand Cuffs and putting them on
to ye legs and hands of Goodwife Cloys, Estes, Bromidg and Green all att one pound aleven Shillings
money" (History of Ipswich, MA)
Aug 31, 1692; "......Brother Cloyse hard to be found at home being often with his wife in Prison in
Ipswich for Witchcraft...." (Danvers Church Records)
Sep 5, 1692; Account of John Harris, Deputy Sherriff of Ipswich: "For providing a jury to make
search upon Sarah Cloyce, Mary Easty, Rachel Clinton, Dorcas Hoar, Mary Bradbury, and Corey and his
wife...4s" (Records of the Peabody Institute Library, Danvers, MA) "An account from John Harris
sherife deputy of sondry charges at ye Corts of Iran terminer held at Sallem in ye yere 1692...Itt.
for providing a Jury to make search upon Cori & his wife & Clenton Easty: hore: Cloiss: & mrs.
Bradbury...4 #" (History of Ipswich, MA) Summons for witnesses to testify against Sarah Cloyce,
Mary East, Martha and Giles Corey. (Records of the Peabody Institute Library, Danvers, MA)
September 6, 1692; Mary and Sarah petition court to have some counsel for their case as none has been
allowed, and ask that others be able to testify in their defense. (The Devil Discovered - Robinson)

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Continued on page Sarah (Towne) Cloyce Part 2

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The above is from :
http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/ASAL_WA.HTM
and I thank them for it.

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a crystal ball with an open book inside.

E MAIL ME



PAGE 1
WITCHTRIALS
MARY
(PERKINS)
BRADBURY
PAGE 2
WITCHTRIALS
MARY
BRADBURY
Part 2
PAGE 3
WITCHTRIALS
ELIZABETH
KNAPP
PAGE 4
WITCHTRIALS
ELIZABETH
KNAPP
Part 2
PAGE 5
WITCHTRIALS
SUSANNAH
(NORTH)
MARTIN
PAGE 6
WITCHTRIALS
REBECCA
(TOWNE)
NURSE
PAGE 7
WITCHTRIALS
MARY
(BLISS)
PARSONS
Part1
PAGE 8
WITCHTRIALS
MARY
PARSONS
Part 2
PAGE 9
WITCHTRIALS
SARAH
WILSON
SR. & JR.
Part 1
PAGE 10
WITCHTRIALS
SARAH
WILSON
Part 2
PAGE 11
WITCHTRIALS
MARY
(TOWNE)
ESTEY
PAGE 12
WITCHTRIALS
INFANT DAUGHTER
DEWOLF
PAGE 13
WITCHTRIALS
SARAH
(TOWNE)
CLOYCE
Part 1
PAGE 15
WITCHTRIALS
SARAH
CLOYCE
Part 2
PAGE 16
WITCHTRIALS
ELIZABETH
(HUTCHINS)
HART
PAGE 17
WITCHTRIALS
ANNE
PUTNAM
PAGE 18
WITCHTRIALS
EARLY
CT
LAWS



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