top of page

"Entertainments of jurors and witnesses"

 Gedney House, Salem


Running the witch trials was a big production and all the participants who came to Salem for the event needed food and drink and a place to stay. Two of my ancestor families played a role in this function through the services provided by their taverns.


John Gedney (1603-1688) and Mary Bartholomew (1610-1648)

William (1605-1647) and Catherine (1608-1648) Clarke/Cleark

Hannah Clarke (1647-1696) and Bartholomew Gedney (1640-1698)


This family group illustrates the intermarrying that occurred within families. John Gedney and Mary Bartholomew and William and Catherine Clarke are two sets of my 10th great-grandparents. John Gedney was born in Norfolk, England about 1603 where he was admitted as Freeman in 1629. He was a worsted weaver. In 1637, he traveled from Great Yarmouth to Salem on the Mary Ann along with his first wife Sarah and two daughters and one son. In 1638, John was made Freeman in Salem and also received a grant of 80 acres of land. In December 1639, John Gedney received consent from the town to run an inn, his establishment known as Ship Tavern. John’s wife died soon after their arrival in Salem and John remarried Mary Bartholomew. John and Mary (Bartholomew) Gedney were parents of four children including my ancestor Bartholomew Gedney. John Gedney served as selectman in Salem in 1655.


William Clark was born about 1605 but his origins in England are not known. His wife was Catherine, but she had not been identified. William and Catherine lived in Salem and were parents of five children including my ancestor Hannah Clarke. William Clarke was also chosen to keep an inn in Salem in 1645.


William Clarke died in Salem in 1647. John Gedney’s wife Mary Bartholomew died about 1648. John Gedney then married William Clarke’s widow Catherine. On 22 December 1662, Bartholomew Gedney son of John and Mary (Bartholomew) Gedney married Hannah Clarke daughter of William and Catherine (-) Clarke. The marriage of step-siblings was not uncommon. In addition, Hannah Clarke’s sister Susanna Clarke married Bartholomew Gedney’s half-brother John Gedney. Bartholomew Gedney and Hannah Clarke were parents of eight children including my ancestor Hannah Gedney. Hannah Gedney married Joshua Grafton the grandson of Joseph and Mary (Moore) Grafton who are featured in A Mariner and a Midwife (


This family group has connections to the Salem witch trials. Bartholomew Gedney was one of the magistrates during the trials. Bartholomew Gedney’s brother Eleazer built the historic Gedney house part of which was also a tavern (pictured). At the time of the witch trials in 1692, Eleazer Gedney’s widow Mary was licensed to sell drink out of doors from the Gedney house. At that time, Ship Tavern built by John Gedney was owned by John’s widowed daughter-in-law Susanna Clarke Gedney. Both the widow Gedneys billed the Province of Massachusetts for “entertainments of jurors and witnesses” during the trials.

The group sheet for John Gedney can be seen here:


The group sheet for William and Catherine Cleark is here:

Group sheet for Bartholomew Gedney and Hannah Clarke:



Waters, Henry Fitzgilbert. 1880. "Gedney and Clarke Families of Salem, Mass." Historical Collections of Essex Institute, volume XVI.



Search By Tags
bottom of page