CORSON, WESCOTT, MULLIN, BERRY, AVERILL, LINDSAY OF MAINE:Information about Sarah Averill
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Sarah Averill (b. 1627, d. July 19, 1692)Sarah Averill (daughter of William Averill and Abigail Hinton) was born 1627 in Chipping, Oxford, England, and died July 19, 1692 in Salem Mass.She married John Wilde on November 23, 1663 in Topsfield, Essex, MA.
Notes for Sarah Averill:
Sarah, like Martin, was born in England.She was born Sarah Averill c. 1627 in Chipping Norton co., Oxford, England.She was also baptized there.She was one of seven children of William and Abigail (Hynton) Averill.Like Susannah, Sarah came to America with her family.She settled in Topsfield MA.It was there that she met and married John Wildes.That’s when the trouble began.
John Wildes had been previously married to Priscilla Gould, daughter of Zaccheus Gould, in 1645.The Goulds were cousins to the Putnams, an important fact to note.One night, John Gould, John Wildes’ brother-in-law, was being a bit vocal about his views on a political matter and, for whatever reason, was turned in for treason by John Wildes and subsequently hanged.Priscilla, John’s wife, died in 1662.John remarried to Sarah Averill on November 23, 1663.Priscilla’s only surviving sibling was angry at John’s quick remarriage.Mary (Gould) Reddington, wife to John Reddington and next door neighbor to John Wildes, was not happy.She accused John’s wife, Sarah Wildes, of witchcraft and spread rumors starting in 1686.John Wildes threatened to sue John Reddington if Mary’s gossiping was not retracted.John Reddington promised John Wildes that no further rumors would be spread, but the damage to Sarah’s reputation had already been done.
Sarah’s reputation was far from good, even before the accusations.When she was young, she was known to be wild and was arrested twice for “lewd behavior”, once for wearing a brightly colored scarf.
More accusations followed that of Mary Reddington.Sarah and John’s only child, Ephraim Wildes, held the positions of town treasurer and constable during the entire episode.He was ordered to arrest Deliverance Hobbs, who later made a jailhouse confession implicating Sarah Wildes as a witch.She also accused several of John’s children.The door was then open for people to target John and his family.The official complaint was made, of course, by Thomas Putnam.As more rumors sprung up and more jailhouse confessions were made, John Wildes’ children and his wife, Sarah, were again accused, and Ephraim Wildes was sent to arrest them.He was, however, spared the duty of arresting his own mother.
Sarah Wildes was accused of sitting in a cart of hay so the owners couldn’t use it, and appearing in the form of a small animal and scaring their oxen, causing the cart to overturn.During her trial on April 21, like that of Susannah Martin, the afflicted claimed to see Sarah in the rafters. She was sentenced on June 29, 1692 along with Sara Good, Elizabeth How, Susannah Martin and Rebecca Nurse.Like Susannah Martin, Sarah Wildes spent 2½ months in a rat and disease infested jail before she was hung on Gallows Hill in Salem, MA on July 19, 1692.
People were blamed for everyday occurrences, and it was absolutely absurd.These days, the testimony and “evidence” mounted against Sarah would be considered inadmissible as hearsay, or at the very least, circumstantial.Sarah was no angel, but she was no witch.Witchcraft was never proven, however it was never disproved, so she was found guilty.
In 1717, restitution was to be paid to the survivors of the witchcraft homicides.Most families received financial restitution.The Wildes family, however, never received any.Ephraim Wildes, Sarah’s only son, even went to the trouble to figure the cost of lost wages- time spent visiting Sarah in jail, court fees, etc.
(Death Warrant for Sarah Good, Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Elizabeth Howe, and Sarah Wilds)
To Goerge: Corwine Gent'n High Sheriff of the county of Essex
Whereas Sarah Good Wife of William Good of Salem Village Rebecka Nurse wife of Francis Nurse of Salem Village Susanna Martin of Amesbury Widow Elizabeth How wife of James How of Ipswich Sarah Wild wife of John Wild of Topsfield all of the County of Essex in thier Maj'ts Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England Att A Court of Oyer & Terminer held by Adjournment for Our Severaign Lord & Lady Kind Wiliam & Queen Mary for the said County of Essex at Salem in the s'd County onf the 29th day of June [torn] were Severaly arrigned on Several Indictments for the horrible Crime of Witchcraft by them practised & Committed On Severall persons and pleading not guilty did for thier Tryall put themselves on God & Thier Countrey whereupon they were Each of them found & brought in Guilty by the Jury that passed On them according to their respective Indictments and Sentence of death did then pass upon them as the Law directs Execution whereof yet remains to be done: Those are Therefore in thier Maj'ties name William & Mary now King & Queen over England &ca: to will & Command you that upon Tuesday next being the 19th day for [torn] Instant July between the houres of Eight & [torn] in [torn] forenoon the same day you Safely conduct the s'd Sarah Good Rebecka Nurse Susann Martin Elizabeth Howe & Sarah Wild From thier Maj'ties goal in Salem afores'd to the place of Execution & there Cause them & Every of them to be hanged by the Neck untill they be dead and of the doings herein make return to the Clerke of the said Court & this precept and hereof you are not to fail at your perill and this Shall be your sufficient Warrant given under my hand & seale at Boston th 12't day of July in the fourth year of Reign of our Soveraigne Lord & Layd Wm & Mary King and Queen &ca:
Annoq Dom. 1692
Salem July 19th 1692
I caused the within mentioned persons to be Executed according to the Tenour of the with[in] warrant
*George Corwin Sherif
More About Sarah Averill and John Wilde:
Marriage: November 23, 1663, Topsfield, Essex, MA.
Children of Sarah Averill and John Wilde are:
- Ephraim Wilde, b. 1665, d. date unknown.