Last night, I was exploring Google Books. I began by searching for some stuff on my Ward family. My ancestor, Rev. Nathan Ward, was married to Tamasin Ireland. (1) Tamasin's father was Abraham Ireland. (2) While trying to find more information on Abraham Ireland, I came across a most curious story in a juvenile non-fiction work. "Fourteen-year-old Abraham Ireland of Charlestown wrote a contract for his soul in 1685. The court ordered him to be whipped, not for being a witch, but for making such a dangerous invitation to evil spirits." (3)
Naturally, I began to wonder if this was my Abraham. My Abraham died 24 January 1753 and was 81 years old at the time of his death. (4) This would mean that he was born about 1671, making him fourteen in 1685. While I cannot yet prove that there is not another fourteen-year-old Abraham Ireland living in Charlestown, it seems likely that this is my ancestor. I would love to find the court records for this since my documentation is resting on a work of juvenile non-fiction without source citations. I find it curious that the daughter of a person who "sold his soul to the devil" would marry a Congregational minister and be the "devoutly pious woman" described by Cogswell. (5)
(1) William Cogswell, "Congregational Churches and Ministers in Rockingham County," The New Hampshire Repository: Devoted to Education Literature and Religion, vol. 2, no. 1 ( October 1846), p. 104; digital images, Google Books (http://books.google.com: accessed 18 October 2007).
(2) William Richard Cutter, editor, Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1910), vol. 1, p. 229; digital images, Google Books (http://books.google.com: accessed 18 October 2007). D. Pane-Joyce in his documented genealogy on the Family of Joseph Ward & Esther Kenrick published at http://aleph0.clarku.edu/~djoyce/gen/report/rr09/rr09_121.html cites Charles Martyn's The William Ward Genealogy: The History of the Descendants of William Ward of Sudbury, Mass., 1738-1925 as the source for his claim that Abraham is Tamasin's father. I have not examined the latter.
(3) Marilynne K. Roach, In the Days of the Salem Witchcraft Trials (2003), p. 22; digital images, Google Books (http://books.google.com: accessed 18 October 2007). An attempt to locate a 2003 version of this book in WorldCat (http://worldcat.org) was unsuccessful; however, there is an edition published in 1996 by Houghton Mifflin of Boston.
(4) Cutter, Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts, 1: 229.
(5) Cogswell, "Congregational Churches and Ministers in Rockingham County," p. 104.