MARY BARNES EXECUTED AS A WITCH
every family can claim the dubious honor of having an ancestor executed as
a witch but the many descendants of Mary Barnes, first wife of Thomas Barnes
of Hartford, Connecticut can make this claim.
In 1662 a young girl named Ann Cole began naming certain townspeople as witches. Ann, who had suffered from epileptic or similar seizures for years, would cry out during these seizures that witches were tormenting her. She named three people as her primary tormenters: Nathaniel Greensmith, his wife Rebecca, and Mary Barnes.
In early January 1663/4 a trial was held to hear the various testimonies of the plaintiff and the defendants. Rebecca Greenfield quickly confessed to being a witch and, with many ludicrous tales, implicated her husband Nathaniel. Evidently, Mary defended herself and denied being a witch.
On January 25, 1663/4 both of the Greensmiths and Mary Barnes were found guilty. They were hanged that very day. No chance for an appeal was given. “Justice” was swift in those days. The so-called witches had the distinction of being the last 3 persons executed in Connecticut for this crime.
Thomas and Mary Barnes were the parents of 3 children: Sarah, Benjamin and Joseph.
Their daughter Sarah married John Scoville and this couple was among the first to settle in Mattatuck, now Waterbury, CT. in 1674. In 1686 they moved and, again, were among the early settlers of a new town called Haddam, CT. John and Sarah Barnes Scoville were the parents of John Jr., William, Edward and Benjamin.
William Scoville, born circa 1761, married Martha whose maiden name is unknown. William was wounded while on an excursion against the Indians and it was said his wound made it impossible for him to do heavy labor. In 1708/9 William was the schoolmaster in Haddam, CT. He and Martha had 2 sons: William and John.
William Scoville Jr., born June 1706, married Hannah Shailer in 1734. He later died in 1788 and she died in 1802. They were the parents of 14 children including Hannah Scoville who married Oliver Bailey. This couple followed some of their children to Bradford County, PA.
(See Bailey Family.)
Thus, today, there are many descendants of Thomas and Mary Barnes who can claim their lineage descends from a witch.
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