Monday, December 2, 2013

Sarah Phelps of Andover

Thanks to Cheryl Follansbee with help on records. See FB Groups Descendants of the Salem Witch Trials
Phelps Genealogy in America

Sarah Phelps was a notable player in the Salem witch trials. Here is a little background genealogy to start and in the conclusion, her marriage and children. Map of Andover

Sarah Phelps was born in Andover MA October 16, 1682 daughter of Samuel Phelps and Sarah Chandler (married March 21 1679)
Sarah's father Samuel Phelps born in Newbury 1651 son of Edward Phelps and Elizabeth Adams
Sarah's mother Sarah Chandler born December 20, 1661 daughter of Thomas Chandler and Hannah Brewer.
Also important to note in connection to trials:
Eleanor Phelps (Sister to Samuel) was married to William Chandler (brother to Sarah Chandler)
Elizabeth Phelps (sister to Samuel) was married to Joseph Ballard
Siblings of Sarah Phelps:
Samuel b 1684  married Hannah Dane
John Phelps b 1686 married Sarah Andrews
Henry Phelps b 1693 married Abigal Lovejoy
Joseph Phelps b 1689 married Elizabeth Abbott
Thomas Phelps b 1695 married Mary Blanchard 
Elizabeth Phelps b 1698 married Jonathan Lovejoy
Anna Phelps b 1701 married John Stevens
Deborah Phelps b 1703 married Stephen Blanchard

See other Sources on Family Histories
Andover Townsman, October 16, 1975 Lawrence Eagle Tribune, May 29, 1946
Andover Historical Building Survery - Andover Special Collection
"Oldest home in town hits the market", Andover Townsman, February 2, 2006
"A little slice of history", Eagle Tribune, March 5, 2006.
"Town's oldest home will be renovated, not turned: Work begins on Chandler-Bigsby-Abbott house next month", Eagle Tribune, April 5, 2006.
"Life of Job Tyler: Andover's original pioneer," Andover Townsman, January 24, 2013, p.9.
This photo was taken by Angela Peters on Find A Grave

Sarah's father Samuel was "a clothier by trade; was one of the twenty men chosen to fight the Indians in 1695 under Captain Gardner. He and his wife Sarah, his brother Edward and wife, Ruth, deeded lands to Thomas Abbott in 1697. He took the oath of allegiance in 1678, and was admitted to the South Church, May 10, 1713. He died January 26, 1746, aged ninety-five years." (Cutter) He was a surveyor and town official.

In Early Records of the Phelps Family by Charlotte Helen Abbot Samuel was listed as a weaver Essex County Deeds 19:171:1697 Sam Phelps ans Ed Phelps of Andover, sell to Tim Abbott, 1 acre at Rattlesnake.....see below more records

Sarah's involvement in Salem Witchcraft Hysteria. She was one of the "afflicted" girls. Sarah claimed to have been afflicted by the children of Martha Carrier. She also claimed that Rose Foster, Elizabeth Johnson, Sr., Mary Parker, and Abigal Faulkner (daughter of Rev Francis Dane) had tormented her.
A full account of the the happenings in each day and town can be found in "The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege" by Marilynne K Roac, but here are some of the entries that began with Sarah's part.

August 6 1692  It started with Sarah on or about this date:
Sarah Phelps, a cousin of Phebe Chandler, and the niece of the late Elizabeth Ballard, was tormented Saturday night on into the Sabbath

August 8 1692  Sarah Phelps continues to have seizures 

August 9 1692   At the home of Sarah Phelps's uncle John Chandler in Andover: The scene of a dramatic spectacle that involved the spear-wielding specters of Martha Carrier's children, assorted Toothakers, Daniel Eames and some of Rev Francis Danes kinswomen."  Ephraim Davis's child, Sarah, and two visiting girls from Salem village (already afflicted) Ann Putman, jr. and Mary Walcott.

Sarah became a "reliable" witness shortly after this date as Bernard Rosenthal asserts as some of the accused confessed to afflicting her. Sarah Carrier, Martha Carrier's 7 year old daughter and Thomas her brother admitted to afflicting Sarah and the other girls. 

August 10 1692  Elizabeth (Betty) Johnson, Sarah and Thomas Carrier confess to Bradstreet in Anover that Martha Carrier, rather than the devil, had baptized them. Sarah said her mother had her lay her hands on the red book to in Andrew Fester's field. And the night before she visited her from jail to bring her a spear to torment, but she already knew how to use it and did so with Betty Johnson's help afflict Sarah Phelps and Anne Putman, jr.  Thomas Carrier said he had only been a witch for a week, since his mother heralded by a talking yellow bird, appeared with the book, and threatened obedience. she tore off his clothes, dunked him in the Shawsheen River, saying he was hers forever and ever, the ordered him to afflict Walcott, Putnam, and Phelps. He was at John Chandler's as well in the company of ten as well. Betty Johnson said the book was brought to her as well and said she would be saved..and baptized her with Sarah Carrier. She also confessed to attending the great Village witch meeting, and to hunting the girls and men with a spear.

Don Robb, Andover Historical Society published a wonderful article on the Andover events in the Andover Townsmen  Andover Stories: More accused witches here than in Salem

Here is an example from the examination of Mary Parker:
“Upon mentioning of her name, several afflicted persons were struck down as Mary
Warren, Sarah Churchill, Hannah Post, Sarah Bridges, Mercy Ward. And when she
came before the Justices, she recovered all the afflicted out of their fits by the touch of
her hand. She is accused for acting of witchcraft upon Martha Sprague and Sarah
Q. How long have you been in the snare of the devil?
R. I know nothing of it. There is another woman of the same name in Andover.
But Martha Sprague affirmed that this is the very woman that afflicted her: the said
Mary Parker looking upon Sprague struck her down and recovered her again out of
her [fit].” Records, 2:154
Below is a deposition of Sarah Phelps   click to view all records  

The depossistion of Sarah phelps who testifieth and saith that about the begining of August 1692 I was most greviously afflected and tormented by Abigail Falkner or hir Apperance: but most dread-full she did torment on the 11 August being the day of hir examination for if she did but loock upon me she would strick me down or almost choake me: also sence the begining of August I have seen Abigaill Falkner or hir appearance most greviously afflet and torment mary walcott Ann putnam and Martha sprague and I veryly beleve
in my heart that Abigail Falkner is a wicth and that she has very often affleted me and the afforesaid parsons by acts of wicthcraft The above named sarah Phelps affirmed before the Grand inquest that the above written evidence is truth upon her Oath the    17 Sept: 1692

See more great sources also
Ryan's Dead Ancestors
My Maine Ancestry
Minor Descent
Nutfield Genealogy 
17th Century American Witch 
History of Massachusetts blog  
Bewitchment: Ancestors in the Salem Witch Trial

Sarah married Samuel Fields Andover Vital Records. 

Samuel, death apoplectic fit, bur. Apr. 8, 1776, a. 57 y.
Sarah death April 28, 1771
Children: more info @ Fields/Phelps Line
And Family Trees of Merrimack NH

Children of Samuel & Sarah (Stevens) Fields Jr.:
1. +Henry, b: 17 Nov 1733/1743 in Andover, Essex, MA
2. +John, b: 9 Mar 1756 in Andover, Essex MA
3. +Joshua (Sr), b. 9 Feb 1747/48 in Andover, Essex MA
4. Marston b. 6 Apr 1745 in Andover, Essex MA; died at 16 days
5. +Marsten/Marston (Sr) (Marston), b: 29 Mar 1746 in Andover, Essex, MA
6. +Samuel, b. 13 Feb, 1752 in Andover MA
7. Sarah b. 20 Jan 1758 in Andover, Essex MA; m. Andrew Wilkins; resided in Merrimack NH
8. Twin FIELDS b: 2 Dec 1749 in Andover, Essex MA

There were four brothers and a sister of this family who came to this town from Andover, Mass. just before the Revolution, i.e. HENRY, MARSTEN, SALLY, JOSHUA and JOHN. Henry Fields settled on the Severns place, Marsten on the Lawrence place, Sally (wife of Andrew Wilkins) on the Woodward place, Joshua on the Joseph Foster place and John on the John H. Coburn place. [NOTE: it appears that there were FIVE brothers and a sister]

CAPT. HENRY-3 FIELDS, son of Samuel & Sarah Fields, was b. 17 Nov 1743 at Andover MA; d. 23 June 1804 in Merrimack NH, and is buried at Turkey Hill Cemetery; He served in Merrimack as Juryman, Constable, Selectman, Fence Viewer, Surveyor of Highways, Treasurer; is on 1787 Tax List, District 7; he married 15 Aug 1768 to Rebecca Kittredge of Andover MA [she b 1747; d. 29 Oct 1825 and is buried at Turkey Hill Cemetery]. Henry Fields does not appear on a NH census until 1820, whereas his brothers John and "Masten" appear in 1810, along with their father, Samuel Fields. According to History of Merrimcak NH (1885) Henry Fields settled on the "Severns Place." In local cemetery records, the surname is also spelled "Seaverns." A 1959 postcard in the Merrimack NH Historical Society collection shows a photographic view of the former Field's Covered Bridge, also called "Severn's Bridge," which once stood on the upper Souhegan River. The bridge was a single span of the Town Lattice style with round portals. Henry's birth date on his tombstone is 1733. This conflicts with the Andover MA record book date of 17 Nov 1743. The following epitaph appears on the tombstone of "Capt" Henry Fields:
Beneath this stone I turn to dust
But I hereafter shall rise
And he in whom I put my trust
Will bear me upward to the sky
Children of Capt. Henry & Rebecca (Kittredge) Fields:
1. Rebecca, b. 21 April 1771 in Andover MA; died 15 Mar 1856, buried at Turkey Hill Cemetery; m. 27 Dec 1792, Timothy Carlton*. Her children were Rebecca (settled in Nashua NH); John (settled in Lyndeborough NH); Sophia (married a Mr. Retterbush of Merrimack and had ch. Eliza, Sophia, Mary Ann and Henry); Eliza (married Joseph Wilson), Henry (killed in a mill at Lowell), Francis (carried on business at New Orleans and elsewhere, and died in Merrimack), Peter (settled in Merrimack), Susan (settled in Amherst), Isaac (died young), Isaac-2 (settled in Massachusetts).
2. +Henry, b 6 Oct 1773; d. 1816; settled in New York; buried at Turkey Hill Cemetery
3. John, b 12 Apr 1779; d. 31 May 1786, buried Turkey Hill Cem.
4. Susan (Susanna), bap 8 Apr 1787; m. 30 Apr 1812, Phinehas Whitney of Dunstable MA; settled in Nashua NH
5. infant, b. 10 Oct 1789; d. 11 Oct 1789, buried Turkey Hill Cem.JOHN-3 FIELDS, son of Samuel & Sarah Fields was b. 9 March 1756 in Andover MA; d. 4 Aug 1841; buried at Turkey Hill Cem; m. 10 July 1800 Elizabeth (King) Goss, widow of John Goss of Amherst NH [She b. 16 Dec 1840 and is buried at Turkey Hill Cemetery]. Reportedly he served through the entire 7 years of the Revolutionary war.
Children of John & Elizabeth (King) Fields:
1. Henry, b 1801; d. 15 March 1815, buried Turkey Hill Cemetery; unmarried
2. Elisabeth, b. 30 Oct 1803; d. 6 Dec 1888; m. John H. Colburn*. One of Elisabeth's children, Catherline, married John H. Upham of Amherst.

JOSHUA-3 FIELDS, son of Samuel & Sarah Fields was b. 9 Feb 1747/48 in Andover MA; Served in Merrimack as Petit Juror, Surveyor of Highways, Constable, and was on 1787 Tax List, District 7; he married 25 Jan 1777 to Sarah Tenny.
Children of Joshua & Sarah (Tenny) Fields:
1. Sarah (Sally), b. 24 Nov 1777, Merrimack NH; m. 16 Aug 1798 to Samuel Thompson Emerson; settled in Maine
2. +Joshua, b. 11 Oct 1779 in Merrimack NH
3. Jonas/Jonah, b. ?; m. 2 March 1812 Mercy Gilmore of Amherst NH; settled in New York
4. James; married 25 April 1811 to Sarah Davis; settled in Merrimack
5. John, settled in Maine

MARSTON-3 FIELDS, son of Samuel & Sarah FIelds, was b. 29 March 1746 in Andover MA; d. 28 July 1824, buried in Turkey Hill Cemetery. Served Merrimack as Constable, surveyor of Highways, Fence Viewer, Petit Juror, Selectman, 1787 Tax List, District 5; m. 19 Sep 1771, Hannah Osgood [She b. 7 Feb 1748, d. 5 March 1815, buried Turkey Hill Cem.]
Children of Marston & Hannah (Osgood) Fields:
1. +Marston Jr., b. 14 Aug 1772 Merrimack NH; d. 10 Oct 1815
2. Hannah, b 5 May 1774 Merrimack NH
3. +Samuel, b 1 March 1776, Merrimack NH; d. 1825
4. +Isaac, b 6 Nov 1781 Merrimack NH
5. Elisabeth (Betsy) Osgood, b. 26 Sep 1786 Merrimack NH
6. Priscilla, b. 25 Jan 1793 in Merrimack NH; m. 7 April 1818 to Seneca Greeley*

SAMUEL-3 FIELDS, son of Samuel & Sarah (Stevens) Fields Jr, b 13 Feb 1752 in Andover MA, d 23 Dec 1824; m. 29 Aug 1781 to Surviah Taylor, dau of Timothy* [She b. 27 Aug 1758].
Children of Samuel & Surviah (Taylor) Fields:
1. Zerviah, b 1 Nov 1780
2. Abigail, b 30 June 1787
3. Joseph, born in Amherst NH


  1. Lawrence Timothy PhelpsDecember 2, 2013 at 8:37 AM

    Excellent! Ever since I translated one of her accusations about 5 years ago, Sarah has fascinated me. Thanks!

  2. SOOO very grateful I didn't live back then! Great story!

  3. I had quite a surprise when reading about my ancestors Edward and Samuel Phelps. The name Martha Carrier came up. I've heard about her because she's part of my husbands extended family. What are the odds?!

  4. Zachary Connor PhelpsApril 24, 2023 at 10:28 PM

    Fascinating piece of family history. Apparently I'm descended directly from her uncle Jonathan Phelps and just learned about it.