Elizabeth Proctor: The Salem Witch Trials Widow

Elizabeth Proctor, wife of Salem Village farmer John Proctor, was accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials in 1692.

The Proctors were a wealthy family who lived on a large rented farm on the outskirts of Salem Village, in what is now modern day Peabody. Elizabeth, Proctor’s third wife, married Proctor in April of 1674, two years after the death of his second wife, Elizabeth Thorndike.

Elizabeth Proctor, whose maiden name was Bassett, was also the granddaughter of Goody Burt, a folk healer from Lynn who had been tried, but acquitted, on charges of witchcraft over 30 years earlier.

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William Dawes: The Forgotten Midnight Rider

William Dawes was a Boston tanner and one of the riders sent by Dr. Joseph Warren to alert John Hancock and Samuel Adams of the approaching British army on the night of April 18th, 1775.

Dawes was born in Boston on April 6, 1745. He was the second of twelve children born to William Dawes and Lydia Boone. He married twice, first to Mehitable May, who died in October of 1793, and then to Lydia Gendall.

On October 28, 1767, Dawes was one of 650 Boston citizens who signed a “nonimportation agreement,” promising not to buy goods imported from Britain, which included furniture, clothes, nails, anchors, gauze, shoe leather, malt liquors, loaf sugar, starch and glue. To further support this cause, the Boston Gazette states that Dawes also wore a suite made entirely in America on his wedding day.

In April of 1768, Dawes joined the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, a private training organization for militia officers, and was also promoted to second major of the regiment of the Boston militia. Dawes was also a member of the patriotic group the Sons of Liberty and was a Freemason, although it is not clear which Boston lodge he belonged to.

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