Towne Family Association, Inc.

Witchcraft in Salem - 1692: An Historical Perspective
by Virginia Towne

I have seen many people ask why people acted the way they did in 1692. In the latter half of the 1600s the Age of Enlightenment started in Europe among the thinkers there. It slowly gained adherence by the upper class and finally slipped across the ocean and by 1725 scientific method was being accepted. But in 1692 people acted on what they had been taught. We must understand witchcraft beliefs go back to before written history, and apparently in most or all cultures. Continue reading to gain some perspective on what happened in Salem in 1692...

Hoover Book Sold Out

The 3rd printing of Lois P. Hoover's prize winning book Towne Family, William Towne and Joanna Blessing- Salem, Massachusetts- 1635-Five Generations of Descendants, is now sold out. A handful of copies remain which will be raffled off at upcoming annual reunions.

Lois had generously granted rights to the book to Towne Family Association. Plans for a 4th edition have yet to be discussed. Check the listing below to find where you may access the book in person.

The National Genealogical Society has one copy in their holdings at the St. Louis County Library which is available for interlibrary loan through your local library. You do not need to be a member of NGS to borrow the book.

Here is the link to the library catalog: NGS Library Catalog

Type Towne in the search bar and the book will show up near the top of the list. You will then need to take the catalog printout to your local library to request the book.

If you have specific questions about the first five generations, you may also contact

Have you already purchased this book either for yourself or someone else? If so, a free download of several pages of corrections and additions is now available. It has been prepared so that once it has been downloaded it will slip right inside the book.

Erratus of Book Corrections & Additions

A number of the books sold have been purchased as donations for organizations and libraries around the country. If you would like to read an article in the Salem Gazette about our book donation to the Salem, MA library written by John Goff, click the following link:

New Towne Book in Salem Library

In addition to the Salem MA Library, books are also available at the following libraries:

  • Allen County Public Library, Ft. Wayne, IN
  • California State Library, Sutro Branch, now at SF State University, San Francisco, CA
  • Charleton Historical Society, Charleton, MA
  • Clayton Library, Houston, TX
  • Connecticut Society of Genealogists Library, Glastonbury, CT
  • Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT
  • Contra Costa County Library, Heritage Collection, Pleasant Hill, CA
  • Cuyahoga County, Ohio Public Libraries, Fairview Park Branch, Fairview Park, OH
  • Dallas Public Library, Dallas, TX
  • Daughters of the American Revolution Library, Washington, DC
  • Daughters of the American Revolution Library, Washington State, Yakima, WA
  • Daughters of the American Colonists Library, Washington DC
  • Family History Library LDS, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Family History Library LDS, Kirtland, OH
  • Framingham Public Library, Framingham, MA
  • Genealogical Forum of Oregon, Portland, OR
  • Hampton Falls Library, Hampton Falls, NH
  • Library of Congress, Local History & Genealogy Collection, Washington, DC
  • Library of Congress, Copyright Office
  • Lynnfield Library, Essex Society of Genealogists, Lynnfield, MA
  • Mid-Continent Public Library, Midwest Genealogy Center, Independence, MO
  • Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City, MO
  • National Genealogical Society Library Book Loan Collection, St. Louis County Library, MO
  • Newbury Library, Chicago, IL
  • New England Historic Genealogical Society Library, Boston, MA
  • Norfolk Records Office, Norwich, England
  • Ohio Genealogical Society Library, Bellville, OH
  • Oxford Free Public Library, Oxford, MA
  • Peabody Institute Library of Danvers, Danvers, MA
  • Penn Center, Laura M. Towne Archives & Library, St. Helena Island, SC
  • Pennsylvania Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA
  • Placer County, California Public Libraries, Auburn Branch, Auburn, CA
  • Regional History Genealogy Center Library - Germantown, TN
  • Salem Public Library, Salem, MA
  • San Diego Genealogical Society Library, San Diego, CA
  • Santa Clara County, CA Public Libraries, Central Park Library, Santa Clara, CA
  • Seattle Public Library, Seattle, WA
  • Sons of the American Revolution Library, Louisville, KY
  • State Library of Massachusetts, Boston, MA
  • Topsfield Library, Topsfield, MA
  • Towne Family Association Archives, Danvers, MA
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
  • Vermont Historical Society Library, Barre, VT
  • West Valley Genealogical Society, Youngstown, AZ
  • Western Reserve Historical Society Library, Cleveland, OH

In 2011, when the book was published, Lois P. Hoover received awards from The National Genealogical Society and The Connecticut Society of Genealogists, Inc. You can read more about these awards in the September 2011 issue of About Towne.

Lois' work was also recognized in the Oct/Dec 2011 issue of the National Genealogical Society Magazine (Vol. 37, No. 4, p. 9),in a segment titled Books by Members. After her name, the title and publication information, the following was printed:

"Hoover's well-documented and indexed family history is a must for descendants of William Towne and Joanna Blessing."

Some well-deserved recognition!


article by Karen Johnsen

Descendents of Joseph Towne and Phebe Perkins will be glad to hear about a book written by Barbara Holt on The Deacons of Cornerhall. Our interest will be mainly in the preface to the book and the first chapter about Thomas Deacon c. 1565-1642. Barbara has just updated her book so be sure to check for new information.

On our trip to England in June 5, 2017, we will visit the town and see the home where Thomas Deacon lived. Not many of the homes of our ancestors are still standing. This will be a real treat to actually walk on the street where this family once lived and see the home.

Phebe Perkins, wife of Joseph Towne is the daughter of Thomas Perkins and Phebe Gould. Phebe is the daughter of Zaccheus Gould and Phebe Deacon. Phebe Deacon is the daughter of Thomas Deacon and Martha Field.

Thank you to Barbara Holt for sharing her 95 page book with the Towne Family Association via our web-site. Barbara lives in New Zealand. She has updated this latest version after learning more about the Deacon and Field families through our TFA newsletters and consulting with Charles Farrow.

Click to begin reading! Just a note - since this is an unedited scanned copy, you will see occasional blank pages, especially at the beginning, so just keep scrolling down. You will be impressed by this wonderful presentation.

Read The Deacons of Cornerhall by Barbara Holt


James John Howard Gregory (1827-1910) was born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, the son of James and Hannah (Hooper) Gregory. He always had a love of botany. At the age of four he had his first garden. Later on, answering an ad in the New England Farmer for a nice winter squash, JJH sent the author of the article some seeds from a squash that he had found to his liking. His father called it Marm Hubbard's Squash because a lady named Hubbard had given him the seeds. The gentleman liked the squash so much that he wrote an article about their desirability. Almost immediately JJH started receiving orders from all over the world for the seeds. Thus began the accidental start of the James J. H. Gregory Seed Company.

TFA Member, Shari Kelley Worrell, has written this book about her great, great grandfather's remarkable life.
Click to read more information

If you are interested in a copy of Shari's book, please contact her at:

Poetry Collection Focuses on Salem Witch Hunt

Ginny Lowe Connors' Toward the Hanging Tree is a devastating and inspiring collection of poems depicting the depths to which the human spirit can descend but also exalting the courage and humanity of that spirit in the reactions of many to the Salem witch hunt of 1692. As Clare Rossini notes, the poems seem to live inside the voices of these characters, the urgency of their fears and desires, their deep failings and triumphs. Vivian Shipley writes, This powerful collection transcends both time and geography, arriving at the universal truth that what does prevail through even the most brutal experiences is the force that cannot be silenced - the human heart. And this from Dick Allen: I've never felt the terror and pathos of the Salem witchcraft story as deeply as I have after reading Ginny Connors' masterful, carefully hewn poems centered on Sin (something coiled up and tight)... Empathy and major poetry skill combine to make Toward the Hanging Tree a gripping, illuminating recasting of our early American nightmare. Richard Trask, himself an expert on the events described in the book, says, This is a never-before attempted, delightful collection of poems relating to the entire story of the Massachusetts witchcraft outbreak of 1692. Through Ginny Lowe Connors' poetic artistry merged with solid research of historic facts, we glimpse the human heart's response to terrifying events.

Ginny Lowe Connors is the author of two previous poetry collections: The Unparalleled Beauty of a Crooked Line and Barbarians in the Kitchen , as well as a chapbook, Under the Porch, winner of the Sunken Garden Poetry Prize. In addition, she has edited several anthologies. Connors, who earned an MFA in poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts, has served as the poet laureate of her town, West Hartford, Connecticut, where she worked as an English teacher for many years. She also runs a small poetry press, Grayson Books.

You can find out more about her poetry by visiting her website:

Order through or directly from the publisher at

Lois Payne Hoover: TFA Reunion 2010
Photography courtesy of Sue Carson

Some LINKS you may find helpful!

Rebecca Nurse Homestead

Isaac Cummings Family Association
Cummings is the 3rd most common surname in our database! Their 2023 Reunion & Conference will be coming up July 20 - 23, 2023 in Massachusetts. See more information in the Genealogy Corner.

Delvee Family Association
Founded in 1886, the Delvee Family Association includes all descendants of Peter Delva (Delvee) and Lucy Town (descended from Jacob Towne) who settled in Warwick, Massachusetts. The database of over 8700 individuals is well documented and an excellent resource for this line.

Kimball Family Association
Abigail Kimball(1667-1760) married Isaac Estie, son of Isaac and Mary Towne Esty

Topsfield Historical Society

Boxford Historic Document Center

Penn Center
Preserving the legacy of one of its founders, Laura Matilda Towne

Rebecca Nurse Homestead in Danvers, MA: TFA Reunion 2007
Photography courtesy of Stablegirl Cindy

James J.H. Gregory
Photograph courtesy of Shari Worrell