Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Salem Witch Bloodline by Jack Heath

Salem Witch Bloodline
by Jack Heath

It’s no secret I feel fortunate to be aware of the fact that my ancestral bloodline is pretty rare, historically speaking in America.  I wouldn’t have been so passionate about writing my first novel Salem VI: Rebecca’s Rising, along with author John Thompson if I wasn’t so passionate about my heritage.  As a boy, I was told by my grandparents and later my father that I was a direct descendant to Rebecca Nurse and her family as well as to the Putnam’s.  Even along the bloodline path to the Nurse family (who were known at the Towne family when they lived in England) and the Putnam clan, there are some fascinating ancestors I am aware of such as Judge Thomas Bancroft Newhall.  Newhall was a major force in early Lynn, Massachusetts and quite famous for his legal and judicial career.  A painted portrait of the good Judge Newhall hangs in my living room to this day.  Israel Putnam was a famous revolutionary war General.  His photo is also in our living room.  But the bloodline going directly back to the both the Putnam line and Rebecca Nurse line is most fascinating to me. 

I was born John Andrew Heath III, and was told I was the 9th direct John Andrew Heath.  My great-grandfather, John Andrew Heath was born October 27, 1850 in NY and married Caroline Putnam Newhall.  There is the first direct cross of the bloodline with the Newhall’s and Putnam’s.  Thomas Bancroft Newhall, Caroline’s father, married the well-known Susanna Silver Putnam.  Judge Newhall died in 1893 and Susanna Putnam died in 1895. 

As I go back another generation, my bloodline crosses the Tarbell family line when Sarah Tarbell (born February 15, 1744) married Asa Newhall (born 1732 and died in 1814.)  The Tarbell bloodline is significant in that it runs directly back to the Nurse family, when John Tarbell (born 1652 and died March 3, 1715 in Salem) married Mary Nurse of Salem (born 1659 and died June 28, 1749) in Salem.  Mary Nurse was the daughter of Francis and Rebecca Nurse.  Rebecca was named Rebecca Towne when she was born in Norfolk, England in 1621, while Francis (Nourse) later Nurse, was also born in Norfolk, England on January 16, 1618 and died on November 22, 1695 in Salem.  It was on July 19, 1692, when Rebecca was hanged as a witch in Salem Town. 

It really hits me today, almost 320 years to the day when old Rebecca was tried, found innocent of witchcraft but then convicted and hanged at Gallows Hill.  I wonder what she really thought; being arrested in her farm house in nearby Danvers, dragged from her home and locked up in what must have been a dreadful, dark and smelly jail cell.  I am sure she probably thought just surviving the voyage from England to Salem was enough hell to live through.  Raising a family and surviving on a farm in those harsh days of the Salem area must have been challenging enough.  But to be arrested in her 70’s of witchcraft and then hanged, surely is something no one could ever imagine happening then or today.  But Rebecca along with her sister Mary Eastey and 17 others were hanged at a place that today shows not one sign, memorial or monument for the men and women who were executed at that godforsaken place.  What makes matters worse, at the site of the real Gallows Hill, stands a Salem water tower with a big, black pained witch flying on a broomstick.  More shame on Rebecca and the others. 

So, I live with a bloodline that crosses the accused witches and the accusers, which is a strange but a real force I respect and bear.

Salem VI: Rebecca's Rising
Book One in the Salem VI trilogy
By Jack Heath and John Thompson

Pressque Publishing
July 19, 2012 (eBook)
September 28, 2012 (hardcover)

ISBN-10: 0985793708
ISBN-13: 978-0-9857937-0-8
ISBN-10: 0985793716
ISBN-13: 978-0-9857937-1-5

Number of pages: 275
Word Count:   77,084

Short Synopsis

Former primetime television reporter John Andrews thought he’d lost everything when his wife died but as timeless bloodlines, first crafted during the Salem witch trials, are redrawn he realizes he has more at stake. Salem, Mass isn’t what it used to be—or is it?

Extended Synopsis

Having stepped off the fast track of primetime network television news, John Andrews has chosen a quieter life as editor of Salem News, a small paper in a quiet New England town. Life is perfect until Andrews’ wife is killed in a tragic accident. After several years of trying to numb the pain with alcohol, Andrews is visited by the spirit of a long dead ancestor who opens a door to a shocking family history. After he experiences a surreal glimpse into the past, Andrews must confront the question of whether he is losing his mind or whether for several hundred years his ancestors have been engaged in a secret battle with a coven that worships Satan. Fueled by the need to understand whether his wife's death was really an accident or something far more sinister, Andrews, along with his beautiful assistant editor, risk everything to discover a truth so horrifying it threatens to destroy everything and everyone he knows and loves. 

About the Authors

Jack Heath

Jack Heath is the host of NH Today, New Hampshire’s only live afternoon radio talk show, and cohost of Sport Legends of New England with Bob Lobel, which can be seen throughout New England on Comcast Spotlight. A direct descendant of Rebecca Nurse, the last person to be tried and hanged during the Salem Witch Trials, and Ann R. Putnam, one of her accusers, his first novel, Salem VI, is an altogether modern take on Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.

John Thompson

John Thompson spent twenty-five years as an investment banker in New York before retiring to write full time. He is the author of the Brent Lucas trilogy, The Girl from Felony Bay, and coauthor of Salem VI. He lives with his wife and daughter and divides his time between Charleston, South Carolina and Hawley, Pennsylvania.

Author web links: