Ever since reading The Crucible in 9th grade I have had a fascination with the history of the Salem Witch Trials. I've read many books about it and finally in 2007 was able to take a trip to Salem, MA and visit the various sites there. Months and months ago when I ran across the name Mather in my family line I wondered if they were related Cotton Mather, a Puritan minister who was a prominent figure involved (albeit indirectly) with the witch hysteria due to his publications and preachings, declaring that the Devil was at work in Salem. He was the one who urged the use of "spectral evidence" which was one of the items used to convict the witches of Salem. Well after speculating I moved on in my history research and promptly forgot about this possible link, until tonight when I stumbled across the surname "Mather" again on my family tree. After a brief search on the Internet I was able to extend the Mather line in my tree and discovered that my 10th great grandfather, Richard Mather, was also the grandfather of Cotton Mather...so there is the link that I knew must be there. Although it is a very distant link, I now have my little piece of family attachment to the Salem Witch Trials.
2 weeks ago