A Trip to Andover, Mass.

   This past Friday, I got the opportunity to give a talk at the Andover Historical Society about the background research and personal family history that went into the writing of The Traitor’s Wife and The Heretic’s Daughter.  We had a packed house and a lively conversation followed my presentation about how important the town of Andover was to the Salem witch trials.  In fact, about 50 people from Andover were accused of witchcraft and imprisoned—more than were arrested from Salem and Salem Village combined. 

   My grandmother back nine generations, Martha Carrier, was one of those people.  She was hanged in Salem as a witch on August 19, 1692.  One of her accusers was a close neighbor, a man named Benjamin Abbott, who had evidently drawn some of his boundary lines on Carrier property.  In confronting Benjamin over his trespasses, and letting him know that she had her eye on him, Martha told him, “I will stick as close to you as bark on a tree.”  (Source:  B. Abbott deposition)

   I had the privelege Friday afternoon of getting a private tour of the Abbott house in Andover (see photo above of the parlor), and marvelled at how much of the original building—with it’s beautifully worn wide-planked floors, square-headed nails, and period doors with fading paint—was still standing.   The day was dark and stormy, with heavy rain, and the owner, Kelly Novak, had lit some of the rooms by candlelight.  It wasn’t hard to imagine the nearby street noises fading away with the mist; replaced by the sound of a solitary rider passing by in the night, carrying the arrest warrant for the Abbott’s close neighbor, Martha Allen Carrier.

Andover Historical Society Event Calendar October: http://andoverhistorical.org/?page_id=181

“In the early morning hours of May 31st a cart approached the house and we heard the lurcher strain against his chain and bark viciously as John Ballard walked to our door.”  From The Heretic’s Daughter.





One comment on “A Trip to Andover, Mass.

  1. Mat says:

    The house was built in 1711; it had no connection to witchcraft. Dendrochronology proved the date, and it fits with the style- very wide fireplace (over 9 feet!) and feather-edge sheathing were typical of the early 18th century. It’s a great house, just not from 1685.

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