An American Family History

Sarah Towne Bridges Cloyes

Framingham, Middlesex County, Massachusetts was first known as Danforth’s Farms. In 1701 the  Framingham Church was organized with the Rev. John Swift as the town's first minister. In 1706 the town hired its first schoolmaster and in 1716 the first schoolhouse was built.
Middlesex County, Massachusetts was created on May 10, 1643. The county originally included Charlestown, Cambridge, Watertown, Sudbury, Concord, Woburn, Medford, Wayland, and Reading.

Sarah Towne Bridges Cloyes was born in 1639. She was baptized on September 3, 1648 in Salem, Massachusetts. Her parents were William Towne and Joanna Blessing.

She married her first husband, Edmund Bridges on January 11, 1659/60 in Topsfield. Edmund was born in 1637. His father was Edmund Bridges. Edmund was a farmer.

Sarah and Edmund's children included:
John M. Bridges,
Edmund Bridges (1660),
Elizabeth Bridges (1662),
Benjamin Bridges (1664/65),
Mary Bridges (1667),
Hannah Bridges (1669),
Sarah M. Bridges (1672)
Caleb Bridges (1677), and
Alice Bridges (1680).

Sarah became a widow when Edmund died in 1682. Shortly after he died, she married her second husband, Peter Cloyes (Cloyce) in Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. Peter was born on May 27, 1640 in Watertown. His parents were John and Abigail Cloyes.

Sarah and Peter's children included:
Benoni Cloyes (1683),
Hepzibah Cloyes (1685), and
Mary Cloyes (1687). 

In 1692 she was accused and imprisoned for witchcraft. She was not hanged. After the witch hysteria, they relocated to Framingham. Her sisters, Rebecca Nurse and Mary Easty were executed.

She died in 1703 in Framingham, Massachusetts and is buried there. Peter died on July 18, 1708.
Old Style Calendar
Before 1752 the year began on Lady Day, March 25th,. Dates between January 1st and March 24th were at the end of the year. Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are used to indicate whether the year has been adjusted. Often both dates are used.
Children of William Towne
and Joanna Blessing
  • Rebecca Towne Nurse
  • John Towne
  • Susannah Towne
  • Sergeant Edmund Towne
  • Jacob Towne
  • Mary Towne Estey
  • Joseph Towne
  • Sarah Towne Bridges Cloyes
  • map
    1677 Map of New England
    click to enlarge

    Many factors led to the witchcraft accusations in Salem.

    Essex County, Massachusetts was created on May 10, 1643 by the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, when it ordered "that the whole plantation within this jurisdiction be divided into four sheires."


    Learn more about the Towne family.

    from Services at the Bi-Centennial of the First Parish of Framingham.

    The first meeting-house stood on the rising ground, near the east side of the old burial ground. When it was raised is not known, but it does not seem to have been completed for some years, if it ever was. It must have been a very rude affair. It was shingled, boarded and clapboarded, but it was not painted, nor was it lathed and plastered. It faced the south and was entered on that side by a great door. The men who gathered there on Sundays were of a sturdy race. Some of them had witnessed dreadful scenes, as is indicated by the name given the place where they located, "Salem End."

    They had seen their friends the victims of the terrible mania of witchcraft, some had come up out of great tribulation, and one Sarah Town Cloyes, wife of Peter Cloyes, had been in prison for months under the sentence of death. And now, in their new homes, they were for more than a generation listening for "the Injun's cracklin' tread," and dreaded Indian captivity for themselves and their children more than death itself. In times of alarm they kept a watch on Bare Hill (now called Normal Hill) while they attended service at the meeting-house.

    Three daughters of William Towne and Joanna Blessing were wrongly accused of practicing witchcraft in Salem. Rebecca Towne Nurse, Mary Towne Estey, and Sarah Towne Bridges Cloyes were persecuted in 1692. The children of people in the line below are all descendants of Mary Estey.

    William Towne,
    Mary Towne Estey,
    Isaac Estey,
    Aaron Estey
    Mary Estey Dwinnell
    Israel Dwinnell,
    Isaac Davis Dwinnell, Sr.,
    Isaac Davis Dwinnell, Jr.
    Victoria Zellena Dwinnell
    Robert Wilson Miller, Sr
    Robert Wilson Miller, Jr.
    The New England Meetinghouse was the only municipal building in a town. Both worship and civil meetings were held there. It was customary for men and women to sit separately and the town chose a committee once a year to assign seats according to what was paid, age, and dignity.

    from Family Memorials, Volume 1 by Henry Bond

    John Cloyes [Cloyse, Cloyce, Clayes] a mariner, of Wat.. 1652, and then adm. freeman;

    by wife Abigail, had,
    1. John, b. in Wat., Aug. 26, 1638.
    2. Peter, b. May 27, 1639.
    3. Nathan, b. Mar. 6, 1642-3. May 3, 1656, he and wife Jane, then of Charlestown, sold to Samuel Stratlon, for £30 sterling, his barn and land in Wat., where his mansion had been burnt; also his interest in the meeting-house.


    Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County, Massachusetts by Ellery Bicknell Crane, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1907

    Edmund Bridges, son of Edmund Bridges (l), was born in 1637 and died in 1682. He settled in Topsfield. Massachusetts, removed thence to Salem in 1668. He was a farmer. He married (first). January 11, 1660, Sarah Towne, daughter of William Towne. She married (second) Peter Cloyes, Sr., and during the witchcraft delusion came near being hanged for a witch.

    The children of Edmund and Sarah Bridges were:
    Edmund, born October. 4, 1660, at Topsfield;
    Benjamin, born January 2, 1664-5, settled at Framingham, Massachusetts;
    Mary, born April, 1662, at Topsfield;
    Hannah, born at Salem, June 9, 1669;
    Caleb, born June 3, 1677, of whom later.

    The Salem witch trials were between February, 1692 and May, 1693.
    Colonial Maryland
    Colonial New England
    Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
    Quakers & Mennonites
    New Jersey Baptists
    German Lutherans
    Watauga Settlement
    Pennsylvania Pioneers
    Midwest Pioneers
    Jewish Immigrants

    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
    An American Family History is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program,
    an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
    As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.