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Mary Barnes the "witch"

Mary Barnes the "witch"

Posted: 27 Jan 2009 7:33PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 29 Jan 2009 8:31PM GMT
Surnames: Barnes, Andrews, Andrus
Looking for reliable info on Mary Barnes, the "witch" who was executed in Hartford in 1663 or thereabouts.

There is a lot of conflicting info out there.

1. Her maiden name -- was she a Brockett? Some say yes, but I have not found confirmation.

2. Which Thomas Barnes did she marry? It seems like there are two Thomases who are variously cited as her husband.

3. When was she executed? Was it 25 Jan 1663? Are we even certain she was executed?

4. Who is the Mary that was Thomas' second wife -- Andrews? Andrus?

5. How soon after the execution did Thomas remarry?

6. Who is Maybee Barnes? Is is the son of Thomas Barnes, and if so, of which Mary?

7. I have seen Maybee's birth listed as June 1663, which could mean he was born about 6 months after Mary the witch was executed. If so, was this a motive for Thomas to get rid of the first Mary? ... Was the second Mary already pregnant? ... Or was Maybee the son of a different Thomas Barnes? ... I have also seen Maybee's birth date as 25 Jan 1663, which is also oddly a common date given for Mary's execution.

Thanks for any reliable info.

Re: Mary Barnes the "witch"

Posted: 21 Feb 2009 8:28PM GMT
Classification: Query
The American Compendium of Genealogy Vol. II, p. 53 claims that Thomas BARNES *who died 1688 came from England to Plymouth 1630 and married first Mary ANDREWS who was convicted of witchcraft and executed, married second Mary ANDRUS who died 1689, daughter of John of Farmington.

If you haven't done so, check out the family tree of Frederic Barnes on Also, he has written
two books about the Barnes family, the most recent one is THE GENEALOGY OF THOMAS BARNES of HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT
8,591 Descendants, 14 Generations, 1615-2001. $79.95 for each two volume set. California Residents, add $5.89 tax for each set. Price includes Shipping & Handling.
Frederic W. Barnes
794 Chestnut Drive
Fairfield, CA 94533-1465
Phone: (707) 422-1794

Hope this helps.

Re: Mary Barnes the "witch"

Posted: 21 Jun 2009 8:59PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Barnes
Hello, I am descended from Maybee Barnes, and have the same questions as you. Have you made any progress? The CT State Library has some materials. One item in particular I would like to read if I can ever get there in person is: Linck, Bonnie. Records of Mary Barnes in the Early Court Records and Other Early Records of Connecticut. Hartford: Connecticut State Library, 2005. An example of researching a Connecticut colonial witchcraft trial case, using official records at the Connecticut State Library. In H&G Vertical File: “Connecticut—Witches & Witchcraft.”

I am very puzzled by the date of birth given for Maybee Barnes. If he was the son of Thomas' second wife, wouldn't everyone have known what he'd done? But the name Maybee itself seems odd - I haven't found another instance of this first name, is it perhaps indicative of his parentage? Perhaps Mary was not executed in January after all - could she have "pleaded her belly" and been executed after the birth? All speculation at this point. Although I don't think his marrying right away suspicious - with small children and a farm he would have needed a wife right away.


Re: Mary Barnes the "witch"

Posted: 22 Jun 2009 5:59AM GMT
Classification: Query
Thanks. The documentation that I have since found casts doubt on that account though. I'm convinced that his 2nd wife was Mary Andrews aka Andrus, daughter of John Andrews Sr. I haven't seen any reliable documentation on the maiden name of Thomas Barnes' first wife, the "witch."

Re: Mary Barnes the "witch"

Posted: 22 Jun 2009 6:06AM GMT
Classification: Query
Hi, I wish I had more info to share. I haven't pursued the Maybee Barnes questions because I'm not myself a direct descendant of him. It occurred to me that the birth date irregularity may be a result of the records alternating between the old calendar and the new, which would shift the date by a year.

Re: Mary Barnes the "witch"

Posted: 22 Jun 2009 4:48PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Barnes
I wondered about that myself, although everything I've seen so far says she was executed in Jan 1662/3, which would be earlier same year, about six months before his recorded birth. I did see a transcription of the baptismal record in the New Haven church that lists his birth as June 25, 1663, baptism July 20, 1663. Quite a mystery!

Re: Mary Barnes the "witch"

Posted: 26 Jan 2010 2:19AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Usselton, Barnes
Can anyone tell me Mary's children's names? I am looking for a Sarah Barnes Thanks Kay

Re: Mary Barnes the "witch"

Posted: 26 Jan 2010 6:00AM GMT
Classification: Query
Mary's daughter Sarah married John Scovel (aka Scovell, Scovill or Scoville) on March 29, 1666, in Farmington. Mary the "witch" and Thomas Barnes had at least two other kids - Joseph and Benjamin. (Thomas then married again and had more kids.)

Re: Mary Barnes the "witch"

Posted: 29 Jan 2010 2:30AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Barnes Usselton
I am looking for a Sarah Barnes b abt 1634 in Wenham or Wells, Mass. Does anyone know anything about Thomas' family. Sarah Barnes b. 1634 married Francis Usselton abt 1655 in Wenham, Ma. Her oldest child was Mary. Wondered if there could be a connection between Sarah and Thomas. Thanks

Re: Mary Barnes the "witch"

Posted: 7 Feb 2010 12:43AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Gilbert, Bassat, Barnes, Nurse

I am a direct descendant on my father's side of Lydia Bassett Gilbert who was hung at Hartford in about 1655.

The expert on the CT witchcraft hysteria is John Demos, a history professor at Yale. He wrote a book available in paper back "The Enemy Within" in which he discusses both the Hartford and the Salem witch hysterias.

He focuses on two of my direct ancestors, Lydia Gilbert and Rebecca Nurse, as examples of women who were hung without any justification (not to imply that any of them had any justification, it's just that some of the accused in Hartford and Salem were "the usual suspects", i.e. bitchy women, widows, who has pissed off people and/or were descended from women rumored to be witches).

I just looked in the index to the Demos book and see no mention of a Barnes. Another source may be the Connecticut Historical Society.

I tried to research Lydia Gilbert's trial, etc. but there were very few records preserved. In fact, until I read the Demos book I wasn't even sure she was hanged. She was and her husband remarried in 8 months and moved to MA.
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