Hawthorne’s Famous House and Infamous Great Grandfather (Salem, MA)

Another early start this morning. We were out and fishing by 6:30.

We had a blue fish and a bass on but lost them. We ventured into a place called “The Corner,” but our luck didn’t change there, so we called it a day.

I highly recommend taking a fishing charter with the Sandy B. Captain Ira worked his tail off for us. As suspected, he didn’t care for his crew member yesterday and had a new one today.

After getting off the boat, we took our fish back to the apartment. Then we had dinner at Cape Inn Brewery. I had fish and chips. Jake had a BBQ sandwich. Trey had the chicken wings and Evan ate a cod sandwich. He also tried a couple of their microbrews.

We took a scenic route to Salem. All the guys crashed, but I enjoyed the view.

We arrived in Salem at the House of Seven Gables. The mansion was built for Captain John Turner in 1668. Three generations of Turners owned the house, but John Turner III lost the family fortune and the house. At that time the Ingersolls took possession of the mansion.

Nathaniel Hawthorne, a relative of the Ingersolls, spent a lot of time in the home as a child. The house had gone through several changes over the years, and during Hawthorne’s time, the house only had three gables. But his cousin Susannah Ingersoll told him about the history of the house and its original seven gables, which inspired his novel “The House of the Seven Gables.”

Speaking of Hawthorne, his great-grandfather was John Hathorne “The Hanging Judge.” He was the only judge during the Salem witch trials who never showed remorse for the hangings. Out of shame and to disassociate himself, Nathaniel added a “w” to the spelling of his last name.

After visiting the house, we took a walking tour of a Salem to learn more about the history of the witch trials. At first, I don’t think the guys were thrilled about this, but when it was over, we all had a good time and enjoyed it.

If you ever have a chance to study the witch trials, please do. I never realized how much the travesty of those events played a role in our current judicial system. What’s more, I truly understand now what the expression “witch hunt” means. The women and men accused were innocent, yet killed because a group of young girls got into some trouble and were coerced into blaming their actions on witchcraft and were then forced to name names. So to save their own hyde, they just started pointing out people in the community who were not very well liked.

From that, the entire situation spiraled out of control as neighbors who wanted the land adjoining theirs would accuse their neighbor of being a witch. The accused were tried, convicted, all their belongings stripped from them; they were killed, and the accuser acquired their possessions.

As the frenzy continued and people started having doubts about the girls’ stories, the girls would accuse those who started questioning them of being a witch.

We saw the courthouse where the accused were held. We visited the second oldest cemetery in the U.S and saw the Witches Memorial. We learned that Salem was the birthplace of the National Guard. We saw the most haunted place in Salem, the Joshua Ward house. George Washington stayed here and left after one night, saying – never again.

We also learned that it was in Salem that the Parker Brothers created most of their board games. And we saw the actual house where the murder took place that inspired the board game Clue.

I enjoyed the day spent in Salem, but it is a very different culture than that of Gloucester.

My recommendation is to stay in Gloucester if you like the fishing village atmosphere and Salem if you like the witch/wizard environment.

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