The “Witches” of Massachusetts – D

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Reverend Frances Dane

Reverend Frances Dane

Reverend Frances Dane (1615-1697) – Decidedly against the concept of witchcraft, the Reverend himself was accused of being a witch but was never charged. The second pastor of the North Parish Church in Andover, Massachusetts, he served for 48 years before he died in 1697. See Full Article HERE.

Deliverance Haseltine Dane (1653-1735) – Living in Andover, Massachusetts, during the witch hysteria of 1692, Deliverance was originally from Rowley, born on January 15, 1653. She grew up to marry  Nathaniel Dane, the son of the Reverend Frances Dane. Deliverance was accused of witchcraft on September 7, 1692, during the “touch test” meeting conducted by the Reverend Thomas Barnard. Examined the next day, she would confess to witchcraft and even say that she and some other witches had brought her father-in-law’s specter along with them to torment the afflicted. As a result of her confession, she was indicted and sent to prison. Later, however, she would recant her confession, insisting that she had “wronged the truth.” She was released in December 1692, when the case against her was dismissed. She died in Andover on June 15, 1735.

Dane Male Slave – Though his name has been lost in history, a male slave who belonged to Nathaniel Dane, the son of the Reverend Frances Dane, was accused of witchcraft. It is known that he was imprisoned, but beyond that, no other information is known.

Mary Bassett DeRich (1657-1712) – The sister of Elizabeth Bassett Proctor, who would be found guilty of witchcraft and sentenced to die for the crime of witchcraft, Mary also got caught up in the hysteria. More information HERE.

Lydia Dustin/Dastin (1626?-1693) – Accused as a witch during the Salem hysteria, Lydia was found not guilty but died in prison before she could be released. Thought to have been born about 1626, little is known of Lydia Dustin, but at the time she was arrested, she was a widow, her husband, Josiah, having died in 1671. Though her husband had been one of the founders and leading landowners of Reading, a complaint was filed by Captain Jonathan Walcott and Thomas Putnam alleging that she had afflicted Mary Walcott, Ann Putnam, Mercy Lewis, and Abigail Williams. She was arrested in Reading, Massachusetts, on April 30, 1892, and examined on May 2 by magistrates Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne. She was then sent to Boston’s jail. Later, her daughters, Sarah Dustin and Mary Colson, were also arrested. Though a warrant was issued for her granddaughter, Elizabeth Colson, she had fled and couldn’t be found. It is unknown why Lydia was not immediately tried, but she remained in prison throughout the year. Lydia and her daughter, Sarah, were later found not guilty by the Superior Court of Judicature in January 1693. However, they could not be released until they paid jail fees. Lydia died in jail on March 10, 1693, unable to pay the fees.

Sarah Dustin/Dastin – The unmarried daughter of Lydia Dustin, Sarah was arrested shortly after her mother. Her father was Joshia Dustin, one of the founders and leading landowners of Reading, Massachusetts. She was arrested for witchcraft shortly after her mother (who was arrested on April 30, 1892). She was accused of afflicting Elizabeth Weston, the daughter of John Weston of Reading. Neither Sarah nor her mother were immediately tried, and both remained in prison throughout the year. In January 1693, they were found not guilty. Her mother died in jail, unable to pay the prison fees. However, Sarah must have found a way to pay and was released. Nothing more is known of her.

John Durrant (??-1692) – Though no legal documents remain for Mr. Durrant, he was known to have lived in Billerica at the time of the witchcraft trials and died in the Cambridge prison on October 27, 1692. On November 16, 1670, John Durrant married his neighbor Susanna Dutton, Thomas Dutton’s daughter. Just months after his wife, Susannah, died on August 27, 1684, he married a widow named Ruth Hooper on November 10, 1684. Ruth’s stepdaughter was Sarah Hooper Hawkes Wardwell of Andover, who was accused of witchcraft in August 1692. Sarah’s husband was Samuel Wardwell, Sr., who was hanged for witchcraft on September 22, 1692. Sarah and Samuel’s daughter, Mercy Wardwell, was also accused of witchcraft. Because of the timing and family ties to other alleged “witches,” historians believe that John Durrant was imprisoned for the charge of witchcraft.

Thomas Dyer – From Ipswich, Thomas Dyer is known to have been accused of witchcraft and imprisoned, but no further information is known about him.

©Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated January 2024.

Also See:

The Salem Witchcraft Hysteria (Main article)

Accused “Witches”

The “Afflicted” Girls

Procedures, Courts & Aftermath

Timeline of the Witchcraft Hysteria

Towns Involved