Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sarah Hood Bassett: Accused of Being a Witch

Accused of Witchcraft (3)

My 7th great aunt (4, 6), Sarah Hood, was accused of being a witch and jailed for months. There are several versions of her story. Here are two.


From the Salem Witch Museum:

"Sarah Hood Bassett was born in August of 1657 in Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts to Richard Hood and Mary Newhall. In her eighteenth year, on October 25, 1675 she married William Bassett, Jr., who was the brother of Elizabeth Bassett Proctor, wife of John Proctor.

Both John and Elizabeth Proctor were accused and tried for witchcraft; John was hanged on August 19th, 1692, whereas Elizabeth escaped persecution due to her pregnancy. Their daughter, Sarah Proctor, was also accused of witchcraft at age 16 on the same day as her aunt Sarah Bassett.

[A hired girl] claimed Elizabeth Proctor administered an ointment to her which she received from “Mrs. Bassits of Linn.” Only two days after the Putnam’s complaint against Sarah Bassett she was brought to jail in Boston on May 23, 1692, where she remained until her release on December 3, 1692.

Not long after the ordeal was over, Sarah gave birth to a daughter whom she named Deliverance as an ode to her freedom.  Sarah Bassett died at age 64 in 1721." (2)

The idea of a pregnant mother being jailed for months along with her toddler is chilling. And poor Elizabeth and John Proctor--he was hung and she was left a pregnant widow with her reputation in ruins. 

Witchcraft was thought to run in families, so there are many connections among those accused. Sarah Hood Bassett's sister, Mary Hood Deriche (or Derich, or Rich) was also accused and jailed. (5) 

Mary was also my 7th great aunt.

Next: More relatives accused, and more family connections

Sources and Notes

1. John Hood of Lynn, Massachusetts and Some of His Descendants, by Mary Jane Hood Bosson. Salem, Massachusetts, Essex Institute, 1909.

2. Sarah Hood Bassett (1657-1721), by Peter Murphy. Salem Witch Museum:

3. Accused of Witchcraft, By Douglas Volk. Corcoran Gallery, Washington, DC, Public Domain,

4. 7th great aunt: Short for great great great great great great great aunt.

5. An American Family History: Joanna Dwinnell Hood, by Roberta Tuller. 2017. 

6. How I am related to Sara Hood (1657 - 1721)

7th great-aunt

Richard Hood (1625 - 1695)
father of Sara Hood

Nathaniel Hood (1669 - 1748)
son of Richard Hood

Nathaniel Hood Jr. (1713 - 1755)
son of Nathaniel Hood

Susannah Hood (1745 - 1812)
daughter of Nathaniel Hood Jr.

Stephen Kinney (1771 - 1837)
son of Susannah Hood

John Shepherd Kinney (1802 - 1872)
son of Stephen Kinney

Sarah Ann "Anna" Kinney (1842 - 1935)
daughter of John Shepherd Kinney

David Jewett Crabtree Sr. (1875 - 1954)
son of Sarah Ann "Anna" Kinney

Elva Myrtle Crabtree (1914 - 1998)
daughter of David Jewett Crabtree Sr.

Clair Marie Harris
I am the daughter of Elva Myrtle Crabtree

1 comment:

  1. Very dark and creepy. Not to rationalize the whole horrible phenomenon, but I have to wonder how great a part fear played in motivating the accusers. I'm sure they were preached to incessantly and had it crammed down their throats the the dark forces were all around - often in familiar guises - and unspeakable horrors threatened he who hesitated to point the finger. Which makes me wonder how great a factor urgency was - we don't always think things through when we're in a rush, right? Especially if it's a scary situation. Were they so terrified of Satan that they rushed to judgement again and again? Ointment for cripes sake????? I mean, I know there are awful people who are in their element in that kind of atmosphere and jump at a chance to lord it over someone else and I know there are those who rise to power on the waves of hysteria, but for most of the folks in the pews, were they just scared to death of the devil? Again, not trying to rationalize, just trying to figure out what would drive people to terrorize and destroy each other like that. I'm curious about what goes into creating mass hysteria.


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