Joseph Parsons and Elizabeth Strong

THE BANNS HAD been posted on the Meet­ing House door. Young Joseph Par­sons was to wed Eliz­a­beth Strong. In Northamp­ton, when the eldest son of a wealthy man mar­ried the daugh­ter of a church elder, the whole town was invited to the cel­e­bra­tion. Because of its near­ness to mown mead­ow­land with room enough for towns­folk to ram­ble, all par­ties agreed that Joseph Par­sons’ house was the best loca­tion for the wed­ding feast, though some in the town planned to stay away in protest.

I was delighted to dis­cover the book My Enemy’s Tears: The Witch of Northamp­ton by Karen Vor­beck Williams includes the wed­ding of Joseph Par­sons and Eliz­a­beth Strong, daugh­ter of Elder John Strong and Abi­gail Ford. The book goes on to state that the bride’s fam­ily was not opposed to a lit­tle merry-making, and we con­tinue the wed­ding through Chap­ter XVI.

The book is based on the author’s ances­tor Mary Bliss Par­sons, who as the mother of Joseph Par­sons became our Eliz­a­beth Strong’s mother in law.

I have not yet read the entire book. Here is the publisher’s description:

She was real. She was rich and beau­ti­ful. She was tried as a witch in 1675–and survived.

Based on the lives of Mary Bliss Par­sons and Sarah Lyman Bridge­man, My Enemy’s Tears: The Witch of Northamp­ton, takes us back to life in the Puri­tan set­tle­ments along the Con­nec­tict River, a ter­ri­fy­ing wilder­ness full of war­ring natives, nat­ural won­ders and disasters–portents of God’s anger or a witch’s med­dling curse.

Mary and Sarah grow up amid Puri­tan super­sti­tion and piety, busy with their house­hold chores, one imag­in­ing a life dif­fer­ent from her mother’s and the other eager to marry and bear sons. They spend their mar­ried lives in the vil­lages of Spring­field and Northamp­ton, where a youth­ful dis­agree­ment fes­ters into a rea­son to hate and then to fear. As the years pass, one accuses the other of mur­der by witch­craft, prompt­ing a trial before the Court of Assis­tants in Boston–17 years before the infa­mous Salem Witch Trials.

This fic­tional account of a true story describes two lives in conflict–one cursed and one blessed–and the tran­scen­dent power of for­give­ness.
My Enemy’s Tears: The Witch of Northamp­ton took 1st place for gen­eral fic­tion at the New Eng­land Book Fes­ti­val, Jan­u­ary 2012.

About the Author
KAREN VORBECK WILLIAMS has lived more than thirty-five years in New Eng­land where she found the inspi­ra­tion, set­tings, and spirit for My Enemy’s Tears: The Witch of Northamp­ton, his­tor­i­cal fic­tion based on the life of her ances­tor Mary Bliss Par­sons. This is her first novel. She’s been an edi­tor for four­teen years and is a prize-winning photographer.

Posted in Family Web Log.

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