Before there was the Salem witch hysteria there was….

IMG_4905And yes, these are our great grandparents.

Well, John is. He’s our 13th great grandfather. We are descended from John’s son John Carrington, JR.  and his first wife, Mary.  Joan Carrington is our 13th great grand stepmother. They were hanged 6 April 1651.


John Jr.’s daughter Hannah Carrington is the mother of Joshua Holcomb. Joshua is the father of Capt. Hezekiah Holcomb. Capt. is the father of Timothy Holcomb. Timothy is the father of Matilda Holcomb. Matilda is the mother of Jacob Gumm.  Jacob is the father of Jacob Gumm, Jr.  Jr. is the father of Lydia Gumm. Lydia Gumm is the mother of Ailsey Jones. Ailsey is the mother of Elijah Jones Armstrong. Elijah is the father of our great grandfather Ryal Armstrong.

When Lydia Gumm was widowed she married Shadrack Skaggs. Shaddrack was the son of Henry Longhunter Skaggs, our 6th great uncle, so who knows what additional relationship Lydia Gumm Jones Skaggs is to us.

Why have we never heard any witch stories?


The Salem witch trial were held  between February 1692 and May 1693. Connecticutt witch trials started in the mid-1600’s.  “The Witchcraft Delusion in Connecticut 1647-1697”, John M. Taylor lists thirty-five cases between 1647 and 1697, as well as two more in the 18th Century, of which a total of eleven resulted in executions.


4 responses to “Before there was the Salem witch hysteria there was….

  • sjerseygrrl

    Too bad I didn’t publish this post last Friday, then it would have been our 13th great grandfather on Friday the 13th.

  • keith kurman

    Hey Sylvia, this is great stuff. a friend of mine’s mother, Juliet Haines Mofford, published a book, “The Devil Made Me Do it!- Crime & Punishment in Early New England.” The Carringtons’ witchcraft case appears on p. 108-109. She was thrilled to hear about the connection. I wrote to her: I wonder where they got the idea that his strength was “above the course of nature”? Perhaps because of his name, ‘Carrying-a -ton’? It must have been pretty dull out there in the woods before cable and stuff…

    • sjerseygrrl

      Ha! They looked to the weak for scapegoats, weak in the financial sense, weak in good standing with the neighbors. Selling the guns to the Native Americans made his neighbors mad. John was also in trouble for a debt. I didn’t interpret the “acts above nature” as feats of strength, rather being able to do things others couldn’t, you know like Samantha or Endora could.

  • keith kurman

    here’s more from Julie:
    The “Connecticut Witch Hunt” begins on p. 108, followed the case of John Carrington & his wife of Wethersfield, on page 109 of my book The Devil Made Me Do It! Crime & Punishment in Early New England(Globe Pequot Press, 2011). I don’t have much more information than what you sent since I also referred to that same original document you posted on F B. My other sources were Entertaining Satan by the always incredible & eadable Yale scholar, John Demos, and Witch Trials of Connecticut: The First Comprehensive Documented History by R. G. Tomlinson(Hartford, CT:Bond Press, 1978). The laws laid down by Connecticut Puritans were much stricter and their magistrates much less flexible than those of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In fact, John Davenport, Thomas Hooker and the other religious fanatics who founded Connecticut left Massachusetts because they considered the courts of Boston and Plymouth too lenient.

    According to these books, the wife who came with John to the New World in 1635 was named Mary, while the chick he accompanied to the gallows when he was 45 years old, was his second wife, Joane. As your record partly explains, John was a carpenter whose crime was that he had way too much strength for any normal human being so obviously, had the devil’s help in committing “works above the course of Nature.” He also got in big trouble for selling guns to the Indians which was most definitely against the law(though seldom a hanging crime). Even worse, the Carrington couple was convicted of having “familiarity with Satan” so they simply had to hang in Hartford

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