She was a beautiful, young Irish maid, working in a wealthy English household. Her employer’s oldest son fell in love with her. When he announced intentions to marry her, his parents said they would disown him. He married her anyway. Then, bride and groom ran away to live happily ever after. “Her name was Mary Cordial,” my maternal grandmother Marilyn Matilda Dietz told me, that distinct glimmer of pleasure in her eyes—the one she always had when she retold this story. “And you are her legacy.”

This blog is a resource for those who want to--have to--find out more about who they came from.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Daughter of a Witch


I'm proud to announce that I've received my acceptance letter from the Associated Daughters of Early American Witches, a genealogical society made up of women who can prove descent from a woman who was accused of, tried for or executed for witchcraft in Colonial America prior to 1699.

I discovered on a particularly steamy night last July that my 11th great grandmother (via my maternal grandfather's line), Rebecca Greensmith, was executed by hanging in Hartford, Connecticut for the crime of witchcraft. She was arrested after neighbor Ann Coles began having unexplained fits. Rebecca confessed to a number of Puritan high crimes, including dancing, "drinking sack" and having relations with the devil--and this after having being held in jail for weeks, denied food and subjected to continuous bible readings. She was hanged alongside her third husband Nathaniel Greensmith (who she indicted in her confession) on January 25th, 1662.

I am very much looking forward to the ADEAW convention, which will be held in Washington DC in April of next year.

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