Thursday, January 3, 2013


Meanwhile… back at the ancestral ranch:

I was given a gift of ANCESTRY.COM some time ago. I have been tracing back everyone and their mothers – literally. I have come to find out that my roots go back to THE SALEM VILLAGE WITCH TRIALS.


Only, none of my relations were accused of the craft. My relations were Quakers. They were Quakers in the middle of a Puritan community. It seems the Puritans weren’t so tolerant after fleeing England in order to escape… you know… religious intolerance.

Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick entertained two Quaker preachers in their home. They also held some writings of those preachers. The Puritans considered this heresy. The Southwicks were fined, left in abject poverty and were summarily excommunicated from the settlement. They were never to return as it was punishable by death. Their two children were then sold into slavery (Daniel and Provided) to pay off the court costs/fines. Provided Southwick is listed as the only white woman ever to be sold into slavery. [ - Slavery Comes to America]

As fate would have it – she never did become a slave. No one wanted any part of it.
“…none willing to take them thither. One master of a ship to whom he applied, in order to evade a compliance, pretended they would spoil the ship's company. Butler replied, no, you do not fear that, for they are poor harmless creatures that will not hurt anybody. The master rejoined, will you then offer to make slaves of such harmless creatures? and declined the invidious office of transporting them, as well as the rest. Disappointed in his designs and at a loss how to dispose of them, the winter approaching, he sent them home to shift for themselves till he could find a convenient opportunity to send them away.”

Provided married a man named Samuel Gaskill.

Provided spent her free time fighting heresy charges, protesting the intolerance of the status quo and relaxing in the town’s stockade on more than one occasion.


During the witch trials, a girl that Samuel’s parents had as a border (Abigail Somes) was charged and tried as a witch. Samuel Sr. was overlooked… but the Gaskill name stayed in the middle of the trials.

"You are in theire Majest's names hereby required to apprehen and forthwith bring before us Abigaile Soames Single Woman, now Liveing at the house of Sam'l Gaskill in Salem; who stand accused of Sundry acts of #[Sundry] Witchcraft, (or high suspition there of) donne or Committed by her Lately. on the Body of Mary Warren & faile not

Dated Salem, May the 13'th 1692 P us
*John Hathorne Assis't
*Jonathan. Corwin Assis't

(Reverse) Abigaile Soames
I heave Aprehended the person of Abigall Soams Acordinge to warrante exprest on the other side and heave broughte hir to the how of mr Thomas Beadles pr me *Peter Osgood Constable in Selem

May the 13; 1692” (Essex County Archives, Salem -- Witchcraft Vol. 2 Page 50)

More Relations with Bunnies

The documents of the trials shows that Provided Gaskill signed petitions for the defense of John and Elizabeth Proctor.
“To Constable peter Osgood
“We whose names are under witten havinge several yeares knowne John Procter and his wife do testefy that we never heard or understood that they were ever suspected to be guilty of the crime now charged apon them and several of us being their neare neighbours do testefy that to our aprehension they lived christian life in their famely and were ever ready to helpe such as stood in need of their helpe

Nathaniel Felton sen: and mary his wife
Samuel Marsh and Prescilla his wife
James Houlton and Ruth his wife
John Felton
Nathaniel Felton jun
Samuell Frayll and an his wife
Zachriah Marsh and mary his wife
Samuel Endecott and hanah his wife
Samuell Stone
George Locker
Samuel Gaskil & Provided his wife
George Smith
Ed Edward: Gaskile”
( Essex County Archives, Salem -- Witchcraft Vol. 1 Page 28 )

So there it is. I am proud to present my 7ggm –
PROVIDED GASKILL - a rebel - standing for human dignity and what she believed.

Thank-you, Great Grandmother Provided.
We women of the bloodline still fight the good fight.

No comments:

Post a Comment