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Mary Perkins Bradbury
Convicted Witch??
 
Taken from the Book "Ancestors of Charles Brush Perkins and Maurice Perkins"
This is not to be used for profit

 

 
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This story might be of Particular interest to those of the Perkins Gater lines!
This just hot off of the press in time for Halloween!

Mary Perkins was born in 1620 in England and died in Salisbury, Ma. in 1700.  The daughter of John and Judith Perkins, she came to America with her father and mother in Lyon, arriving at Boston in February, 1631,at the age of fifteen.  She and Thomas Bradbury, were for many years prominent citizens of Salisbury, Ma., he being a magistrate and deputy.  She is described in one document (the indictment against her) as, "wife of Captain Thomas Bradbury, of Salisbury, in the County of Essex, Gentleman".
    In 1692, Mary was charged with witchcraft, and testimony against her was given by Richard Carr and Zarubabel Endicott to the effect that they had seen a "Blue Boar" come from her yard and re-enter the yard and window.  The boys were about twenty and fifteen at the time  this occurrence is supposed to have taken place.
    Richard Carr's father, George Carr, had had a disagreement of fifteen years standing with Mary Bradbury and had influenced his son and his son's friend in their testimony.  Samuel Carr, a brother of Richard, also testified that he had seen Mary perched on the capstan of a ship at sea when things were going badly.  It is of interest to note that all but one of the depositions against Mary were recorded in his own handwriting by Sergent Thomas Putman, whose wife was Ann Carr of Salisbury.  One Carr, William, however, testified that there was noting he knew against Mary and referred to a broken love affair between the families.
          Mary's reply to the indictment Follows:
          "I plead 'Not Guilty'. I am wholly innocent of any such wickedness through the goodness of god that hat kept me hitherto.  I am the servant of Jesus Christ, and have given myself up to him as my only Lord and Savior, and to the diligent attendance upon him in all His holy ordinances, in utter contempt and defiance of the Devil and all his works, as horrid and detestable, and accordingly, have endeavored to frame my life and conversation in accordance with His Holy word: and , in that faith and practice, resolve, by the help and assistance of God, to continue to my life's end.

"For the truth of what I have to say, as to matter of practice, I humbly refer myself to my brethren and neighbors that know me, and unto the Searcher of all hearts, for the truth and uprightness of my heart therein.  (Human frailties and unavoidable infirmities excepted, of which I bitterly complain every day).
                                                          Mary Bradbury"   
    Mary's husband, Thomas, also made affidavit as to her character:

witch (wich) n. 1. a person, esp a woman who professes or is supposed to practice magic, esp.blackmagic;sorceress-
Ranndom House Dictionary

Thomas Bradbury's affidavit:

    "June 28, 1692______Concerning my beloved wife, Mary Bradbury, this is what I have to say:  We have been married 55 years and she has been a loving and faithful wife to me.  Unto this day, she hath been wonderful laborious, diligent and industrious, in her place and emploment, about the bringing up of our family (which have been seven children of our own and four grandchildren).  She was both prudent and provident, and of cheerful spirit, liberal and charitable.  She being now very aged and weak, and grieved under her affliction, may not be able to speak much for herself, not being so free of speech as some others may be.  I hope her life and conversation have been such amongst her neighbors as gives a better and more real testimony of her than can be expressed by words.
                                        Owned by me, THO. Bradbury"

The Rev. James Allin also made similar affidavits as did Robert Pike, a Magistrate, Justice for Norfolk, and one of the council that succeeded to the House of Assistants, when under the new charter, Massachusetts became a royal province.  In addition to these statements, one hundred and seventeen of her neighbors, mostly heads of families, signed the following statement:

"Concerning Mary Bradbury's life and conversation, we, the subscribers, do testify, that it was such as became the gospel:  she was a lover of the ministry, in all appearance, and a diligent attainder upon God's holy ordinances, being of a courteous and peaceable disposition and carriage.  Neither did any of us (some of whom have lived in the town with her above fifty years) ever hear or ever know that she ever had any differences of falling-out with any of her neighbors, man, woman or child, but was always ready and willing to do for them what lay in her power night and day, though with hazard of her health, or other danger.  More might be spoken in her commendation, but this for the present."

The above information is from Witchcraft at Salem Village, History of Witchcraft in Massachusetts and Salem Witchcraft.

It is difficult for us to understand the climate of thought that could allow for such actions as the Salem Witchcraft trials, although Congress has approached such hysteria at various times.  According to Sally Smith Booth in Witches of Early America:
"Colonials charged their neighbors with witchcraft for many different reasons, some based on simple financial gain--some allegations were subtle form of blackmail.

Mary Bradbury escaped from custody, perhaps with the convince of some of her may friends.  On December 17, 1711, after Mary's death, the governor and council authorized payment to twenty-three persons condemned at Salem.  Her descendants received twenty pounds, and a petition to reverse the attainder of twenty-two puns, and a petition to reverse the attainer of twenty-two of the thirty-one citizens convicted was passed by the Massachusetts general Court in 1711.  In 1957, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts reversed the stigma of all those not covered by previous orders.

I found this in the Essex County Archives, Salem--Witchcraft Vol 2. page 38.
I have copied this exactly as it was written.  Spelling errors are intentional
(Mary Warren V. Mary Bradbury)

The Deposition of Mary Warren who testifieth and saith that I have been along time afflected by a woman which tould me hir name was Mis Bradbery and that she came from Salisbury but on the 2th day of July 1692: being the day of the examination of mis Mary bradbery I then saw that she was the very same woman which tould me hir name was mis Bradbery and she did most greiously Afflect and torment me dureing the time of hir
examination  for if she did but strick look upon me she would strick me down or allmost choak me also on the day of her examination I saw mis Bradbury or hir appearance most grievously afflect and torment mary wallcot Sarah Vibber Eliz Hubbard and ann Putnam and I beleve in my heart that mis Bradbery is a witch & that she has very often afflected and tormented me and several others by hir acts of witchcraft.
mary warrin ownid this har testimony one the oath which she hath taken before the grand Inquest this 9th of September 92
(reverse)

Mary Warren Deposition


Learn more about the Salem Witch Trials and Mary Bradbury's role

National Geographic Story on Salem

Folklore and Witchcraft

The Salem Witch Trials of 1692

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