Flowers for Rebecca


It has been a year since I have mentioned her on this website, but ancestral karma has once again twisted my arm.

On 26 September 1692, in the Massachusetts Cambridge prison, Rebecca Shelley Addington died at the age of 67.

Last Tuesday, three days prior to the anniversary, I first fell ill with a mild cold. On the day before and day of, I was completely laid up on the couch with fatigue and sharp body aches in my lower back. There was no fever. Only thirst, and deep fatigue. Three days after her anniversary I am well again.

She was wife to Constable William Chamberlaine, and had 13 children.

She was a compassionate, wise and hilarious woman, and she did not deserve to die in a prison cell not much larger than a kitchen cupboard.

There will always be scapegoats, those blamed for the supposed wrongs of others, and history shows us how hysteria can get the better of us, especially if it is clouded with ignorance.

Today, in her memory, I say again a blessing for all those wrongfully imprisoned, wrongfully murdered, and wrongfully tortured and left to die, alone, cold, and dis-eased.

322 years has passed since the Salem Witch Hysteria, and roughly 787 years since the Burning Times of Europe. The current year is 2014, yet still we continue to choose to believe in our assumptions of a person, as apposed to actually taking the time to learn their stories. Yet still there are those who are tortured, enslaved and discriminated against.

I have written a post here, detailing some previous research I have done.

If you are a fellow ancestor of Rebecca’s please feel free to reach out to me and to leave a note and flowers on her virtual grave.

If you have any additional information or research, please let’s work together!

“Portrait of a Bride” by Johannes Cornelisz Verspronck, 1640
“Portrait of a Bride” by Johannes Cornelisz Verspronck, 1640

Here is a good representation of what Rebecca would have looked like in her late teenage years. “The color black is also very 17th century. Black was the color of wealth, modesty, and respectable mourning, so it’s a bit surprising that the somber color was attached to witches. Most “witches” accused in the Salem trials and elsewhere were often of the lower classes and would not have been able to afford expensive black cloth.” – The Pragmatic Costumer

“Portrait of Mrs. Salisbury and her Grandchildren Edward and Elizabeth” by John Michael Wright, 1675

“Portrait of Mrs. Salisbury and her Grandchildren Edward and Elizabeth” by John Michael Wright, 1675

This is the closest painting that I can find depicting the fashions of the time which were around the same age as Rebecca at the time of her death. Since she was a Constable’s Wife she would have had more money to spend on more luxurious black coloured attire. (Although now upon further reading Constables were usually unpaid keepers of the peace so my previous statement may be incorrect. But it is known that both William Chamberlain, Rebecca’s husband, and she were left a considerable amount of wealth and land making them upper-middle class.)

“These hats were worn by every level of society from rich to poor. These big, funny-shaped hats seem really comical to our modern eyes, but they were considered a common essential for protecting your face from the sun and, for women especially, a sign of modesty.” -The Pragmatic Costumer


Rebecca Shelley Addington (1625-1692) + William Chamberlain

  1. Edmund Chamberlain (1660) + UKNOWN
  2. Edmund Jr. Chamberlain (1685-1766) + Sarah Forbush
  3. Dorcus Chamberlain (1720’s) + William Johnson
  4. Calvin Johnson (1755-1843)+ Sarah Armstrong
  5. Calvin Jr. Johnson (1785-1863) + Temperance Morse
  6. Henry Johnson (1824-1860) + Sarah Ann Gibbs
  7. Roisa Ama Johnson (1850-1905) + Harley Titus
  8. Sadie Titus (1881-1968) + William Cromp
  9. Harley Cromp (1907-1998) + Lillian Soulia
  10. Peggy Cromp (1942) + Thomas Soucia
  11. Tonya Soucia (1968) + Darrell Healey
  12. Derek J. Healey (Me 1987)




3 thoughts on “Flowers for Rebecca

  1. Thank you, Derek, for reminding us that we are, in this issue, still living in the Dark Ages. Interesting that you became ill while mourning her passing. The best flowers we can give Rebecca is to be kind in all our actions and send healing energy to all who suffer and to those who cause suffering. sd

      1. Thank you for your research and visit to Cambridge and Billerica. I too am a descendant of Rebecca Shelley (Addington) Chamberlain and have attempted to research her history and burial. No gravesite is apparent in Billerica. Nothing there for William her husband either. Since he moved to Chelmsford after her death and died there perhaps he was buried in Chelmsford. He may have collected her body from prison and had her buried there too. I plan to do further research…

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