Ancestors of Audrey Blanche Carrier - Audrey Blanche Carrier is my mother and her father, Hobart, lived into his nineties and saw Halley's Comet twice in his lifetime; his father Euphrastus was one of 19 children.
Ancestors of Darius Carrier - Darius Carrier, according to family records was quite a tall man and had three wives; he was preceded by four Thomases.
Ancestors of Thomas Carrier - Thomas (Morgan) Carrier was the patriarch of the Carrier family; he never again married after Martha's death and moved with his entire family at 70 years old to Connecticut.
From the time I was a child, I remember hearing about the lives
of Martha Carrier and her family from my mother and grandmother. The remarkable stories they told about this singular, courageous woman were not recited as dry history lessons, of dates and events long past, but in the exciting way fairy tales are told. I listened with fascination to the stories of the witch trials and of the hysterical Salem girls who made malicious and unwarranted accusations against their own neighbors, mostly women and children.
I was told about the 19 men and women hanged, who went to their deaths rather than confess and live. And about how my great-grandmother, back 9 generations, not only professed her innocence, but harshly admonised her judges not to listen to "these girls who are out of their wits." It was my mother who first told me that Cotton Mather, one of the greatest theologians of his days, named Martha Carrier "The Queen of Hell," not for her evil character, but because of her bold and assertive manner.
Family gatherings were opportunities to relate stories of daily Carrier life which I incorporated into the narrative of the book to give the story an authentic feel of rural American life; of the cow that was fed pumpkins and gave golden milk, and of the Carrier children who practiced shooting objects off their heads with bow and arrows.
But most importantly, it was conveyed to me in the strongest terms that these men and women were not witches—Devil sympathizers, or participants in rituals of dark magic—but rather brave and unfortunate victims of intolerance, superstition and greed. As my grandmother was fond of saying, with not a little pride, "Martha was not a witch. Merely a ferocious woman!"