Sunday, October 22, 2006

more on mary sanford and connecticut 'witches'

i understand wanting to clear your family name. i personally don't mind being identified as a witch but then again i also know what some, yes, even in 2006, think of witches
no, they don't worship satan (most don't even believe in satan). no, they don't sacrifice babies in the basement and yes, most celebrate thanksgiving (i remember a few years back someone at work said to me, 'i don't mean to offend you, but do you observe thanksgiving?'. odd, huh?)

at any rate

to be accused then murdered for having a drink on the town green? no no and no. mary sandford's name must be cleared

A Descendant's Duty Mary Sanford Was Hanged As A Witch, And Her Granddaughter (8 Generations Removed) Wants Her Exonerated

By WILLIAM WEIR Courant Staff Writer October 22 2006
For the last few weeks, Debra Avery's dining room home has become the unofficial center for exonerating the women of Connecticut executed as witches.Her 13-year-old daughter, Addie, pores over documents and occasionally corrects her mother on certain dates and names. Nearby is a short pile of books with such titles as "Damned Women" and "Entertaining Satan." Their e-mail and fax machines have been buzzing with correspondence from other descendants of those accused of witchcraft in the 17th century.For the past year Debra and Addie have, with increasing intensity, taken on a project to clear the name of their ancestor, Mary Sanford - one of four Hartford women accused of witchcraft and executed by hanging in 1662.But this was more than 350 years ago, people tell her, and most people already take it for granted that these women were subjected to injustice. Why go to all this effort for an official apology?Avery always knew that Mary was in her family tree somewhere. She just didn't realize that she was a direct descendant - she's Avery's great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother ("That's eight `greats' for me, and nine for Addie," Avery says). It was then that Avery felt an urge to right a wrong."Mary Sanford is our grandmother - it doesn't matter if she's eight generations back," she says."We're trying to fix a mistake," Addie chimes in.Like investigators at the outset of a case, they've considered a number of motives for why someone would charge her ancestor with "familiarity of Satan." Among other suspicious behavior, Sanford's accusers noted that she had partaken in "a bottle of sack" (liquor) on the Hartford town green. Avery guesses that perhaps such behavior ruffled the stodgy community.Chimney rage is another possibility. Mary's husband, Andrew Sanford, held the post of "chimney viewer" - one who makes sure everyone's chimneys are clean and in good condition. One could have made plenty of enemies with such a job.After Rebecca Greensmith (who would also be hanged) confessed to witchcraft and implicated Mary Sanford, the indictment against the Averys' ancestor listed her crimes as "not haueing the feare of God before thyne eyes" and for "knowing of secrets in a preternaturall way beyond the ordinary course of nature."Sanford's husband was also accused but eventually acquitted. That should be expected. Walter Woodward, the state historian, says women in Connecticut were four times more likely to be accused of witchcraft than men.................

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