Elsie’s Ancestor Ended Salem Witch Trails

24 Mar

March is recognized in the USA as Women’s History Month. I love reading about historical women and the contribution they have made to history. Elsie was a great story teller and I loved hearing her recount family stories. Often it is after it is too late to question our family that we become interested in the old family stories. Perhaps because we are so busy creating our own story that we fail to realize how important history within our own family is.
I remember Elsie telling me a story about the Hale side of the family. I knew Nathan Hale, the martyr spy, was way back there in our family history. My brother was named Daniel Hale Beishline in honor of the Hale side of the family. Elsie had often told the story about Rev. John Hale, born in Massachusetts in 1636, graduated from Harvard in 1657. He was the pastor of the church in Salem, Massachusetts from 1668 for 33 years. John Hale was present during the witchcraft trials in Salem. In 1692 Rev. John Hale’s wife Sarah Noyes Hale was accused of witchcraft. Elsie had always told me that Sarah Hale was of such good character that public faith was shaken in the trials after that. The community was convinced that the accusers had perjured themselves, thus Sarah’s life put a close to the tragedy of the witchcraft trials in Salem. Years after Elsie death I watched a movie called “The Crucible” (which I would not recommend) and there before me was the story of the end of the witchcraft trials and Sarah Hale’s role in that, just like Elsie had told me. Sad that a movie helped validate what Elsie had described to me as a child. Thank you Elsie for telling me stories.
Here is the answer from a question about Elsie’s sisters for a reader.
Hylinda married Dec, 1919 to Absalom Urshan and had 2 children, Sarah and Sam- Hylinda died in 1934.
Elsie’s only child was my mother Catherine May Beishline born in 1918.
Alice and Ernest Burley had 7 children. Two of Alice’s children, Rosalyn and Cameron are still living.

1978- Elsie age 90 surrounded by books and grandchildren Carin, Christopher & Dan Waite

1978- Elsie age 90 surrounded by books
and grandchildren Carin, Christopher & Dan Waite

Elsie -age 97- her ever present smile. 1985

Elsie -age 97- her ever present smile. 1985

2 Responses to “Elsie’s Ancestor Ended Salem Witch Trails”

  1. Barb Waite March 24, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

    Here is a link for article that says :
    “About Sarah Hale (Noyes)
    Died young.

    Married Rev. John Hale of Beverly, 3 Mar 1684, as his second wife

    and had by him four sons, the youngest Samuel, b. 1687, was

    grandfather of Nathan Hale, the “hero spy.” It is related of her that

    when accused of witchcraft, in 1692, that “her worth was so well

    known, her husband and all the people were convinced that the

    accuser had perjured herself, and reasoned if so in her case, what

    not in other cases! From that time, they looked at things from a new

    side, and the spell was broken.”
    Interesting Lithograph picture of the witch trials on website.


  2. Candy Adams Terry March 24, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

    I, too, love learning of the historical contributions that people, especially women, have really made! The tie of a real live person (once alive) to history absolutely makes history come alive for me! This is especially true if I’m aware that the one tied to history is also tied to someone in the present, maybe even in my sphere of acquaintance in one way or another.

    It’s so interesting that you apparently accidentally found verification of your grandmother’s stories about her ancestors in Salem! Thank you so much for sharing this!

    I wonder how many folks have had similar experiences in which something verified some family story for them. I have heard of a book that tells of my great grandfather in Andersonville Prison in the Civil War, but it seems that the book, once in the possession of our family, was lost somehow. I never saw the book, but I heard of its description, so I have a subconscious eye kept out for it.

    I think that a special bonus of the story you had verified was the fact that the upstanding character of Elsie’s (and your) ancestor was what made all the difference! Pretty neat! I’m so glad that you had the great benefit of listening to so many of your grandmother’s stories!

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