The Witches’ Tree

Envy, turmoil, and perhaps even boredom, intertwine like the gnarled branches of an ancient tree in this story.

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The ease with which those deemed as other can be persecuted and made to suffer has been engraved on the hearts of men, inscribed in the annals of history, and continues to admonish humanity.

The year 1692 is remembered with sadness.

Rebecka Nurse, née Towne, (known to many as Rebecca Nurse from Arthur Miller’s The Crucible) was a cousin of Roger Conant, who had founded Salem after leaving Plymouth, which all at her trial knew.  Myles Standish, the governor of Plymouth was a relative of Rebecka Nurse and Roger Conant.

Nothing could save Rebecca Nurse from the gallows, that had been made of the Witches’ Tree in the ancient Wampanoag settlement called Naumkeag, now Salem.

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“The Witches’ Tree” as a Teaching Tool

The author presented this book in projected format in four High school English classes in which Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” was being read.

The instructor commented that “Grandma Rebecka and the Witches’ Tree” underscored Miller’s phrase “There are wheels within wheels in this village and fires within fires.”

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Rebecka’s acquisition of the Endecott Estate adds yet another layer combining with many “fires” to create an image of an ancient tree with gnarled and intertwined branches.”

Rebecka’s cousinship with Salem founder, Roger Conant, both being related to Myles Standish adds to the story.

Roger Conant: founder of Salem

CONANT, Roger 7Salem was founded by Roger Conant, a cousin of Rebecka (Rebecca) Nurse. This would have been known by all at her trial in 1692.

Roger Conant was Governor of the Cape Ann Colony 1625 – 1628.

Roger Conant was born in East Budleigh, Devon, England. His mother was Agnes Clarke (1548 – 1630), whose father was John Clarke (1503 – 1559)

John Clarke (1536 – 1610), the son of John Clarke (1503 – 1559), was the father of Elizabeth Alice Clarke (1569 – 1630)

Elizabeth Alice Clarke was the mother of William Towne (1599 – 1673), who was the father of Rebecka Blessing Towne (1621 – 1692), who was falsely accused and hanged as a witch.