17th Century New England, with special emphasis on the Salem Witchcraft Trials

(Petition of John Parker and Joseph Parker)

To his Excellency the Governor, and Councill and Representatives; now sitting in Boston

the humble Petition of John Parker, & Joseph Parker of Andover sheweth,

That whereas our mother mary Parker of Andover, was apprehended upon suspition of witchcraft, and being brought to a tryall at Salem Court, was condemned: since her death the sherriff of Essex sent an officer to seise on her estate. The said officer required us in their majestyes name to give him an Account of our mothers estate, pretending it was forfeited to the King; we told him that our mother left no estate; (which we are able to make appear) notwithstanding which, he seised upon our cattell, Corn & hay, to a considerable value; and ordered us to go down to Salem and make an agreement with the sherrife, otherwise the estate would be exposed to sale. We not knowing what advantage the Law might give him against us, and fearing we should sustain greater Damage by the loss of our Estate, went to the sherriff accordingly, who told us he might take away all that was seised, if he pleased, but was willing to do us a kindness by giveing us an oppertunity to redeem it. He at first demanded ten pounds of us, but at length was willing to take Six pounds, which he has obliged us by Bill to pay him within a moneth. Now if our Mother had left any Estate, we know not of any Law in force in this Province, by which it should be forfeited upon her condemnation; much less can we understand that there is any justice or reason, for the sherriff to seise upon our Estate And tho it is true our own act has obliged us to pay him a Summ of money, yet we declare that we were drawn to it partly by the officers great pretences of Law for what he did, partly to prevent the loss of our estate which we feard would be immediately sold.

How we humbly pray this Hon'red Court to consider our case, and if it be judged that so much money ought not to have been demanded of us, upon the forementioned account: we pray that we may be discharged from that obligation, which the sherriff, taking advantage of our ignorance hath brough us under And yo'r Petition'rs as in duty bound shall ever pray &c -

Dated at Andov'r
7'th Novemb'r 1692
John Parker
Joseph Parker

(Mass. Archives, Vol. 135 No. 65)

from The Salem Witchcraft Papers, pp.636-637

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This page was last updated 07/04/11 by Margo Burns, My email address.