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Smartin2whit

Susannah Martin reading her bible in Boston Prison.

Examination-of-susannah-martin

Examination of Susannah Martin which expresses the shape of her breasts.

Susannah Martin was the articulate, smart mother of nine children. 

Personality in Suffer a WitchEdit

Susannah Martin is only mentioned in passing as she and Mary Easty are living with the Amish in Pennsylvania. 

Historic SusannahEdit

Susannah Martin was a smart, articulate housewife. She was born the youngest child and the fourth daughters to Richard and Joan North of Buckinghamshire, England. Her family immigrated to New England around 1639. She married George Martin, a blacksmith and widower, when she was twenty-one years old. She and George had nine children. They lost one child in infancy.

Susannah was charged with witchcraft once before in 1669 when William Sergent Junior, who is believed to have been in love with Susannah , claimed that she had had a son prior to marriage and "wringing its neck" and that her son Richard was her "imp." Her husband countersued for slander. The suits were later dropped, however the criminal charge of witchcraft stood. The records have either not survived or have not been found as to how this suit was dispensed. 

Like Sarah Good, Susannah and her sisters were cheated out of a large inheritance. In Susannah's case there was a discovery of a (likely fabricated) new will. Susannah and George, as well as her sisters, became involved in a long, drawn out law suit which they lost on five appeals. These matters reached their end in April 1674, and Susannah fades from the public record. In the meantime, her last remaining sister and her husband had died. Many historians report that she was poor.

Significant things about Susannah:

  • Given the type of testimony made against Susannah by men, it's likely that Susannah was attractive, if not beautiful. The historical record describes her as thin. In her physical examination, her breast were noted to be full as if with milk. 
  • Susannah laughed at the girls' antics in the court of Oyer and Terminer and called them folly.
  • Unlike Rebecca North and some of the others, Susannah was articulate. 
  • For her defense, Susannah quoted directly from the bible, making it likely that Susannah could read and write. 
  • Cotton Mather took a particular dislike to Susannah. In his book, Wonders of the Invisible World, Cotton Mather called her "one of the most impudent, scurrilous, wicked Creatures in the World," who had the effrontery to claim "that she had lead a most virtuous and holy life." [1]
  • She was known to speak her mind. Many of the people who testified against her did so after she had scolded them over some matter. 
  • With her husband and sisters gone, Susannah would have been vulnerable in the Boston Prison. She was assumed to have sexually improper, was good looking, and without supporters on the outside. We should assume she had a significantly difficult time during her prison time.

Smart, articulate, good looking Susannah Martin was hanged on July 19, 1692 with Sarah Good , Elizabeth Howe , and Sarah Wildes .  We should note that these four women were poor and would have been unable to pay for their prison rent. 

If you are a descendent of Susannah Martin, there is a private Facebook page to help you with the details of your genealogy. 

ReferencesEdit

  1. Karlsen, Carol F. The Devil in the Shape of a Woman(New York, NY: W.W. Norton and Co, 1987) pp. 93

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