Our Family

Contributed Articles, Writings and Miscellaneous From Torontos Everywhere

The True History of Bridget Bishop
An Interesting Toronto/Felt Link to the Salem Witch Trials

By Barbara Morrell

Click here to download a PDF copy


Bridget Playfer Waselby Oliver Bishop was the first person falsely convicted and executed as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. She is also the fourth great grandmother of both Nathaniel Henry Felt and his first wife, Eliza Ann Preston (See the Felt & Bridget Bishop Family Tree). Bridget has been greatly misunderstood because of a historical mistake in her identity. It is important to set the record straight by writing her history in as much accurate detail as possible for her descendants. We owe a great debt to David Greene, who unearthed the errors in Bridget’s history and published his findings in 1981 in The American Genealogist. Robert Anderson of Salt Lake City continued Greene’s research, uncovering records of Bridget’s first marriage which he published in TAG in 1989. Thanks to Jonathan Felt and Helen Wilcox for their help and encouragement with this project. Thanks especially to the librarians at the Phillips Library of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem for their willing help with the research.For those who want to read more extensively about Bridget and the Witch trials, most of the books referenced can now be accessed on the internet.

The Felt & Bridget Bishop Connection

The first Felt in America, George Felt, landed in Charleston, near Boston, in 1638. A few years later he settled on Casco Bay in Maine, then the American frontier. George was a founding father of North Yarmouth, Maine (Rowe, 1937). Felt’s Falls, the site of George’s mill, can still be located on the coast of Maine using Rowe’s map and a detailed map of the coast. In the 1600’s Felt’s Falls must have been a roaring river to have powered a mill, but it is now only a shallow stream surrounded by luxury homes.

Nathaniel Henry Felt is descended from George’s oldest son, also named George. George Junior was killed by… Continue reading →

In Search of the Toronto Cave
by Joe Toronto

My cousin-once-removed Sylvia Marshall, commented on my blog wondering if the Toronto Cave still exists? Most Torontos have heard about when Giuseppe Taranto lived there and herded cattle for Brigham Young, but is it just lore or is there really a “Toronto Cave”? Sylvia wrote the following…

“Today in the travel section of the newspaper was an article about an annual bison roundup on Antelope Island… That reminded me of the stories of Giuseppe running cattle there…”

… and got my exploring instincts going by also emailing me:

“From directions on some of the other websites we found, we tried to figure out where the Toronto Cave was on Google Earth. It looks like it is in an area with a lot of mining activity, and I wonder if it is even still there. Have you ever been to see it yourself? If so, how recently? I thought it was interesting that in Giuseppe’s book, in the section on Eleanor, some of the children were scared/fascinated by the tales of the Indians that the cave had been a burial ground–and several of the website’s said that sometime in the sixties or seventies they did an archaeological dig there, and found many Indian relics from 4,000-7,000 years old.

Well, there’s enough tantalizing lore there to excite the exploring fantasies of any self professed adventurer of which I am one. Thereupon, your faithful and trusty intrepid blogger-explorer set out to find…. Continue reading →

Greetings From Tahiti
by Maria Moody

I thought you might be interested in this note I sent to Cousin Scott Miller after the last General Conference:

Hi Scott, It is always a delight to see and hear you on the Tabernacle Choir broadcasts. We see them live here in Papeete every Sunday morning at 5:30 am on BYUTV. I like to think about the audience on the other side who also rejoice in your gift of voice, starting with your Dad and Wally & Martha.

I asked my brother John to send me your email address so I could share this Conference insight with you —

A Conference insight — I was quite touched today by what I felt was a “tender mercy.” After President Monson concluded his talk with references to the Rome Temple, the choir sang The Spirit of God. The first tenor voice to sing was Scott Miller. Scott is a great-great grandson of Joseph Toronto. How special to have a descendant of Giuseppe singing just after the Prophet talked about the Rome Temple. Just a coincidence? President Monson had referred to Elder Lorenzo Snow, Elder Stenhouse and Elder Toronto in his comments at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Rome Temple. Anyway I thought that was worth noting.”

And just to keep you posted: Here is… Continue reading →

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