My Family Connection to the Salem Witch Trials

I’ve always been fascinated with American history. Even in my last semester of college, when I could have chosen to take a bull shit class, I decided to take American history until the Revolution. It was one of the subjects that I could never get enough of.

I could never get enough about how our country was founded or our seedy past. One of my favorite points had to deal with the Salem Witch Trials. I could never fully wrap my head around how a whole town went into mass hysteria by the accusations from two girls ages 9 and 11.

A few years ago, my mom forwarded me an email from my great aunt, who had been digging into our family’s genealogy. What she unearthed was how deep our roots go into the founding of our country.

I have found out that we, the Felton’s, are direct descendants of Captain Myles Standish, of Plymouth MA, sailing on the Mayflower from Lanashire, England, in the summer of 1620. “Standish played a leading role in the administration and defense of Plymouth Colony from its inception.”

He was first married to Barbara Mullens, who died, then he married Rose. He & Barbara Standish had a son named Alexander Standish (plus 10 other kids!!)

Alexander married Sarah Alden & they had 8 children, one of whom was Lydia Standish.

She married Isaac Sampson & they named one of their sons Isaac, too. If this gets a little confusing, bear with me.

This son, Isaac Sampson, married Mercy Caswell & they had a daughter named Olive Alton Sampson.

She married James Felton (I’ll explain this guy’s history in a bit) & they had a son, David Felton.

David & his wife Amy Maxon gave birth to Sampson A. Felton, who married twice, one of whom was Laney Hogland.

Their son, Joseph Frank Felton, is my/our great grandfather!! He married Agnes E. Luke & it was their son, Erwin Samuel Felton, who was my/our Dad’s father!

Erwin Samuel Felton married Jane Eleanor Littlewood (aka “Nellie) & they had Aunt Pearl, Aunt Eleanor, Aunt Ethel & my/our Dad, Charles Franklin Felton & the rest is history!

I can take the Felton side all the way back to Lt. Nathaniel Felton, who was born Notingham, England. There are records of the family property, 40 acres on Felton Hill in Salem, MA, where he died.

“The history of the Nathaniel Felton Sr. House is quite complex. The land for the property on which the House was built was granted to the Feltons in 1636. The hillside location overlooking settlements along what was then the Waters River was carefully chosen by Nathaniel Felton as a location from which his neighbors could be warned of approaching danger. In 1644, after clearing the land, Nathaniel Felton Sr. built a house on the property.”

Then… Now.

There are 2 homes still preserved & cared for by the Peabody Historical Assoc. During the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, the Felton’s prepared & circulated a letter of support for a friend accused of witchcraft. He was a constable & lived to be 78. Signing such a letter required great courage; all signers literally put their lives & fortunes at risk by challenging the anti-witch hysteria of that period.

This is just a brief synopsis of all that I’ve discovered. It goes on & on! I’m stumped with my mom’s side of the family. The poor Irish didn’t keep records like the English did.

Hope you find this as fascinating as I do. Tonight I just found 16 more of our generations of Felton’s, going back to 1205!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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