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Abigail (Dane) Faulkner (October 13, 1652-February 5, 1730) was an American woman accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials in 1692. In the frenzy that followed, Faulkner’s sister Elizabeth Johnson, her sister-in-law Deliverance Dane, two of her daughters, two of her nieces, and a nephew, would all be accused of witchcraft and arrested. Faulkner was convicted and sentenced to death, but her execution was delayed due to pregnancy. Before she gave birth, Faulkner was pardoned by the governor and released from prison.
Faulkner’s grandson, Colonel Francis Faulkner, led a company at the Battle of Concord, and commanded the regiment that guarded General John Burgoyne while he was a prisoner of war.
Nothing in the court records of Andover indicates that Abigail Faulkner had been accused, let alone found guilty, of any crimes or misconduct prior to 1692. However, her sister, Elizabeth Johnson Sr., was something of a scarlet woman, having been tried for fornication several years before.
The one feature that distinguishes the Danes and the Faulkners from their neighbors is their comparative wealth. In 1675, roughly twelve years before his death, Edmund Faulkner bequeathed the bulk of his estate to Francis Faulkner, his eldest son, then just twenty-four. Making young Francis an influential figure in Andover, while his contemporaries were still working their parents’ land, destined to wait several more years before they could accumulate enough money to marry and become landowners. In 1687, Edmund Faulkner died, and Francis inherited the remainder of his father's estate, excepting only a very minor portion left to his sisters and brother.
Not long after his father's death, Francis Faulkner became ill, suffering from convulsions, confusion and memory loss, leaving him unable to manage his own affairs. Abigail Faulkner was granted control of her husband's estate until their sons came of age. As the manager of his estate, Abigail wielded more power than most of the men in Andover, including her own brother-in-law.
Another bone of contention within the community concerned Abigail Faulkner's father. Reverend Dane had served as Andover's minister for more than forty years when the witchcraft trials began in 1692. As the frenzy in Salem progressed, Dane openly expressed doubts regarding the accusations made by Ann Putnam and others; he was disturbed by the fanatical nature of the proceedings.
Reverend Dane was accused of witchcraft in 1692, but was never charged. It is known that a decade prior to the witch trials, Dane had sued the residents of Andover for a salary increase. The court found in Dane’s favor, ordering the town to raise his salary, and to provide an adequate sum to pay for an assistant to be hired. Dane had also opposed a proposal by several residents that Andover be divided into two precincts.
Economic tensions and her husband’s illness, in addition to the doubts her father expressed regarding the accusers, may have caused Faulkner to become an object of suspicion, envy, and resentment within her communit
Things came to a head in early August 1692, when Elizabeth Johnson’s daughter and namesake, was accused of witchcraft and arrested. Faulkner’s niece quickly confessed, telling her examiners on August 10, that she had consorting with the devil, meeting him at a gathering of “about six score”.
Faulkner was soon accused of witchcraft by neighbors who claimed she had “afflicted” their children. On August 11, she was arrested and taken to Salem, where she was interrogated by Jonathan Corwin, John Hathorne and Captain John Higginson.
Most of her accusers were young women from Salem, among them, Ann Putnam and Mary Warren. An exception to this, was the middle-aged William Barker, Sr., who stated under examination that he had been afflicted for three years by the devil. He confessed that he had signed the devil's book, and that Satan had promised to "pay all his debts" and allow him to live in luxury. He stated that George Burroughs was the "ringleader", but claimed that Faulkner and her sister, Elizabeth Johnson Sr., were his "enticers to this great abomination."
When Faulkner entered the room, her accusers would fall down to the floor in hysterics. She held a handkerchief in her hands while she was examined, and whenever she would squeeze or twist the cloth, her accusers would have "grievous fitts". When magistrates demanded to know why she harmed the girls, asking her to look at their distress, Faulkner told the magistrates that she was "sorry the girls were afflicted," but that she had not afflicted them, "it is the devil [who] does it in my shape." The magistrates responded by asking, if she was innocent, why did Faulkner shed no tears over the girls' suffering. She refused to confess, insisting "God would not have her confess that [which] she was not guilty of."
At one point during the examination, Mary Warren fell into "fitts", and was "pulled under the table," apparently unable to come out from under it, but after receiving "a touch of said Faulkner" she was freed.
On August 29, Faulkner's eleven-year-old niece and fourteen year-old nephew, Abigail and Stephen Johnson, were also arrested on charges of witchcraft.
Faulkner was reexamined the next day in prison, still insisting that she had never consorted with the devil, nor signed his book, she did admit to feeling animosity toward her family’s accusers. She suggested that the devil had taken advantage of this, in essence framing her for the crime of witchcraft. She had been "angry at what folks said" when her niece was "taken up" for witchcraft. Neighbors had crowded round the Johnson home, laughing, taunting Faulkner, telling her that soon her sister would also be arrested for witchcraft:
On August 31, her sister and nephew confessed to witchcraft. They testified that they had attended a gathering where they were baptized by the devil, who promised them “happiness and joy”, and that at the devil’s behest, they had afflicted Martha Sprague and several people in Andover. They refused to implicate anyone else in their activities.
On September 8, Faulkner's sister-in-law, Deliverance Dane, confessed to witchcraft under examination, though she would later recant insisting that she had “wronged the truth” by confessing Faulkner’s nine-year-old daughter Abigail was accused of witchcraft and arrested on September 16. The next day her twelve-year-old daughter Dorothy was arrested on the same charge. Faulkner's young daughters confessed soon after their arrest, and were persuaded to condemn their mother as a witch.
One day later, Ann Putnam testified that she had been "afflicted" by Faulkner on August 9, 1692, and that she had witnessed Faulkner or her specter tormenting two other young women.
Faulkner's sentence read:
Faulkner was pregnant when brought to trial, and for this reason, her execution was delayed.
In December 1692, four months after her arrest, Faulkner petitioned Governor Phips pleading for clemency. She explained that her husband was an invalid, and though his condition had been stable, her arrest caused him to suffer a relapse, leaving her children with no caretaker and "little or nothing to subsist on." Governor Phips granted her request; she was pardoned and released from prison.
Though released, her name had not been cleared. In 1703, Faulkner petitioned the court asking that she be legally exonerated.
Faulkner petitioned the court for eleven years before they finally granted her request, reversing the bill of attainder in 1711.
Faulkner’s daughters were released from prison in October 1692, along with their cousins Stephen and Abigail Johnson, on a 500 pound bond paid by Nathaniel Dane and John Osgood. Her niece, Elizabeth Johnson Jr., was found guilty of witchcraft, and sentenced to death in January 1693. Her death warrant was signed by William Stoughton. Elizabeth, like her aunt, managed to escape the gallows due to the intervention of Governor Phips. Faulkner’s sister, Elizabeth Johnson Sr., was acquitted and released in January 1693, but her attainder was never reversed. Faulkner’s sister-in-law, Deliverance Dane, was released in December 1692, when the case against her was dismissed.
Abigail (Dane) Faulkner died in Andover, Massachusetts on February 5, 1730. Her husband, Francis Faulkner, died in Andover two years later on September 19, 1732.
In Kathleen Duble's novel "The Sacrifice," Faulkner is a main character. However, because the story centers around her daughter Abigail, her name is changed to Hannah in order to avoid confusion. Faulkner is depicted as having instructed her daughters to accuse her of witchcraft in order to free them from prison, making "the sacrifice."
Dane had lived in Andover for forty-four years, and he was seventy-six years old when the Salem Witch Trials began.
On October 18, 1692, Francis Dane, Thomas Barnard, and twenty-three others wrote a letter to the governor and to the General Court publicly condemning the witch trials. Dane and his family were in danger as half a dozen family members stood accused, including Francis Dane himself. Another minister, George Burroughs, had been hanged, and thus Dane's status did not guarantee protection. He warned that his people were guilty of blood for accepting unfounded accusations against covenanted members of the church.
Two of Francis Dane's daughters, Elizabeth Dane Johnson and Abigail Dane Faulkner, and his daughter-in-law, Deliverance Dane, were all arrested. Abigail Dane Faulkner's two daughters, Abagail Faulkner and Dorothy Faulkner, were also accused of witchcraft.
Francis Dane's daughter, Abigail (Dane) Faulkner Sr., was convicted and condemned in September 1692 but given a temporary stay of execution because she was pregnant. She was later pardoned by the governor and released. Although Dane's extended family had the most accused of any family, none of his immediate family members was executed.
Although the Danes' extended family (including the How family) was most accused in the trials, none was executed except Elizabeth Jackson Howe (executed July 19, 1692), wife of James Howe (aka How) Jr. However, the members of Francis' large extended family, for the most part, experienced imprisonment and other harassment.[Ref 4]
Another relation of Drago her Father being :
Francis Dane Rev. (1615 - 1696)
is your 9th great grandfather
Hannah Dane (1666 - )
daughter of Francis Dane Rev.
John Goodhue (1685 - 1773)
son of Hannah Dane
Anna GOODHUE (1719 - 1787)
daughter of John Goodhue
James Haskell Jr (1740 - 1827)
son of Anna GOODHUE
Oliver Haskell (1768 - 1841)
son of James Haskell Jr
Susan Haskell (1813 - 1882)
daughter of Oliver Haskell
Elbridge D Merrill (1857 - 1905)
son of Susan Haskell
Laura E Merrill (1886 - 1967)
daughter of Elbridge D Merrill
Ernest Edward Westleigh (1915 - 2004)
son of Laura E Merrill
Trafton Carrol Westleigh (1945 - )
son of Ernest Edward Westleigh
Edward Allen Westleigh
Yes, Rev. Allen Michael Drago is the ordained name for the son of Trafton Carrol Westleigh
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