Thursday, October 31, 2013

Rebecca Shelley Chamberlain

Not so very long ago, a woman in her sixties, a woman who seemed overfond of her cat and most certainly a woman alone would have been the subject of local gossip. Rebecca Chamberlain was in her sixties, respectable, married and the mother of 12 living children. She lived in Billerica, Massachusetts with her husband William. How she got caught up the hysteria is not known. In fact, not much is known about Rebecca beyond these basic facts.  She was arrested on the charge of "mischief"and was jailed in Cambridge. Later accounts state that she was accused of witchcraft- "mischief" was the common euphemism for that charge. Rebecca, my ninth great grandmother, died in jail in September 1692 before a trial could be held.  On this day, when modern mischief has an entirely different meaning, it's good to reflect a moment on how far we've come.


  1. Your ninth great-grandmother wow you have really dug a long way back in the tree.

  2. Yes, that side of the family goes back a loooong way in New England.

  3. She is my eighth great grandmother, hello cousin!