The new semester begins in less than a month (my only class begins in exactly 3 weeks from today) which means I need to have the first draft of my thesis done soon. So naturally I’m suffering from writer’s block this morning and haven’t written anything that’s remotely usable. It’s getting close to the point where I’ll start panicking soon. But not yet. Instead, I just distract myself with other things (which I will probably regret in two weeks time when I’m really panicking about not having it done).
Today’s distraction? My 8x Great-Grandmother Mary Esty. If you look her up on Wikipedia you’ll discover that Grandma Mary (as I’ve come to affectionately call her) was hanged on September 22, 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts after being accused of witchcraft. I’ve always been somewhat fascinated by the idea of having an ancestor executed for witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials, but that fascination has increased since I learned we also share a birthday; I feel drawn to this woman and have a desire to learn everything about her that I can.
Over the weekend my mom and I spent several hours at a local library’s book sale. While there, my mom discovered a book on the Salem Witch Trials that included a letter that had been written by Mary Esty, an appeal to the court not to preserve her own life, but to take more care not to condemn any more innocent women to die.
This morning, while randomly searching for information about her, I came across scans of a book titled, More Wonders of the Invisible World which had been compiled by Robert Calef throughout the trials and published in the year 1700. Below are images of the book’s entry on Grandma Mary:
It’s fascinating to read words written by my own great x8 grandmother from over 300 years ago. I’d like to think that, based on the fact that she wrote such an appeal, she herself was a writer as well and that we have something in common, more than just our birthdays.
If you ever visit Salem, Massachusetts, say hello to Grandma Mary for me. There is a a statue of Mary and her sisters Rebecca and Sarah in the Salem Wax Museum of Witches and Seafarers. I’m hoping to one day take a road trip up there myself and see what I can discover about Grandma Mary by touring around Salem.
Now I suppose I should attempt to get back to work on that thesis I’m supposed to be writing…