Monday, August 20, 2012

Nathaniel Whittier and Mary Stevens Osgood

Mary Stevens, daughter of John and Katherine Stevens married firstly John Osgood.  He was the son of William and Elizabeth Osgood of Salisbury.  William was a very prominent man in the town and presumably his son was quite the catch. John was born in Salisbury in 1648, twenty years later he married Mary, she was born in 1647, also in Salisbury.  John and Mary were married for 15 years and had six children before his early death on November 7 1683 at age 35. Mary, a still relatively young woman with small children remarried August 25th 1685 a man ten years her junior, Nathaniel Whittier.  Nathaniel was the son of Ruth Green and Thomas Whittier  of Haverhill, he was born on August 14 1658.
They had only two children, probably because of Mary's age.  The first child Reuben was born March 17 1686/7. His birth must have been less than nine months after his parents marriage as they were presented and fined in court for fornication before marriage. Their second child was a girl named Ruth b. Oct 1688.

Nathaniel took the Oath of Allegiance in 1677 in Haverhill and was admitted as a Freeman in 1690.

witch trial
Mary and Nathaniel's lives had a brush with history during the Salem Witch Trials. In 1692 her name was on a list of witnesses called to a court of Oyer and Terminer for the trial of Susanna Martin. It is not known what, if any, testimony she provided, she did not testify at the actual trial.   One of the key witnesses in the Martin trial was a man from Salisbury named Joseph Ring.  He told lurid tales of witches and shape shifting and all manner of scary stuff.  Susanna Martin was found guilty and hanged, Joseph Ring was killed by Indians in 1704, Nathaniel would marry his widow a few years later. On a positive note Mary and Nathaniel both signed a petition to free Mary Bradbury, another accused witch, she survived her ordeal when she was "spirited away", she is also one of my ancestors.

Mary Stevens Osgood Whittier died May 11 1705. Nathaniel married second Mary Brackett Ring, daughter of Captain Anthony Brackett, widow of Joseph Ring of Salisbury.  Mary was the grand daughter of Anthony Brackett who was killed in  Brackett Lane Massacre on Sandy Beach. She herself had been kidnapped by Indians as a young girl but had escaped. You can't help but wonder what sort of emotional scars were left by all the horror and tragedy of her life.
 Nathaniel died July 18 1722, his widow in 1742.

Children of Mary Stevens and John Osgood:
Mary b. 1669 married Philip Favor
Joseph b. April 12 1670
William b. July 30 1673 m. Hannah Colby
John b. July 1 1677 m. Bethia Shepard
Timothy b. May 2 1680 d. Sept 2 1681
Hannah b.  Oct 19 1682

This line continues with Reuben Whittier and his wife Deborah Pillsbury.

Hoyt, Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts
Records of the Quarterly Court of Essex


Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

There are many good books about the Salem Witch trials. My favorite is Boyer and Nissenbaum's "Salem Possessed". Another good one is Mary Beth Norton's "In the Devil's Snare". Her hypothesis mirrors your comment about the horrors of witnessing the Indian raids on the frontiers. She explains how many of the accusing young women had lived in Maine or New Hampshire and had witnessed atrocities by "the devil". It is very interesting and it mentions your ancestor.

Robert said...

Thanks for the book recommendations, I am waiting for Amazon to send my copy of "In the Devil's Snare" can't wait!

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