Goya Painting of WitchesSarah

Text by Rhonda Little

When I married, I inherited a witch as an ancestor for my children. Although I cannot claim descendancy, my poor daughters must live with the legacy.

Doing genealogy for my hubby's family seemed to come very easily, much easier than my own family. Most of his ancestors were prominent in business in the early Maine/Massachusetts area. One was the original grantee to allow ferry crossing the Piscataqua River between New Hampshire and Maine, one the first to "own" a license to operate a tavern in the region of York, Maine and another who seemingly lost his "millions" in the mid 1890's. The story of being rich is then lost.

Hubby's Auntie Kay had a treasure trove of family documents and letters. It seems his Great Grandmother and Great Great Grandmother had both become members of the Daughters of the American Revolution and in doing research for the applications, compiled a great desk full of letters, genealogies, notes, and assorted cryptic family pedigree charts for their applications. Those papers came to me after the passing of Auntie Kay last year.

I found in my possession assorted families, held in brown envelopes and neatly tied with a ribbon. Included in the papers were the original applications for DAR and Alden Kindred of America. One letter written from Chicago, IL in 1888 struck my fancy. Written in script and very small in size, a gentleman named Horatio Hill, penned many notes and letters to Carrie Lunt Wilde Stevens. This gentleman was in possession of the Royal Wild bible. As his wife was a descendant of Royal Wild, he was in charge of updating and revising the information held in the bible. He was generously offering to send to Carrie the information held within the sacred book. Further in the same year, 1888, Mr. Hill sent a 7 page genealogy which had references to the Braintree Records for documentation and included to the generation of Carrie Lunt WILD's father, Joseph.

In this 7 page letter is included the following: "The first mention of John Wild is found on the 53rd page of Braintree's Book of Records of Births, Marriages, and Deaths on which page is the first record of the birth of his sons John, Samuel and ______ (unreadable). He came to Braintree in the year on/or about 1690 and may have been the John Wild of Topsifeld MA, who was taxed there in the year 1688 for 2 heads 62 Real Estate. It is possible that he was a grandchild of the John Wilde aged 17 years an Emigrant from England in the year 1637."

Further correspondance with Mr. Hill resulted in the family story of a wife of an earlier John Wild who was executed during the Salem Witch Hysteria. Mere mention of this family story was included in another correspondance from Mr. Hill who further concluded that because John Wild, a magistrate, had sentenced a family member to death for witchcraft, John's own wife, Sarah Wild, was accused in retribution. Unable to force a retraction, he was forced to put his own wife to death. Sarah Wild's name is listed with 25 others persecuted and executed during the Salem Witch Hysteria. She was executed July 19 1692.

Although no actual data has come into my hands, it has been said by many Wild(e) researchers that John Wild, the magistrate, was probably the grandson of the immigrant John who came in 1635/7, and the son of Peter and Margaret who were married in 1640.

From James Savage's Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, "WILD, WYLDE, WILDES, or WILDE, EPHRAIM, Topsfield, s. of John the first, was constable 1692, and unhappily called to serve a warrant of the arrest of one charged as a witch, who cunningly confessed the truth of all the diabolical nonsense. By her, wh. thus saving her own live, was the emo. of this min. of the law accused of the same crime; and the s. thot. she had her full revenge, when his mo. was hanged."

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Also see another descendant's story of Sarah Wild.

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