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Lyr Req: Suzannah Martin / Susanna Martin

31 Jan 02 - 11:28 PM (#639780)
Subject: Suzannah Martin

01 Feb 02 - 12:07 AM (#639803)
Subject: Lyr Add: SUSANNA MARTIN
From: alison

I'm sure its in the database but I can't get the search engine to work at the moment so here you are...


Susanna Martin was a witch who dwelt in Amesbury
With brilliant eye and saucy tongue she worked her sorcery
And when into the judges court the sheriffs brought her hither
The lilacs drooped as she passed by
And then were seen to wither

A witch she was, though trim and neat with comely head held high
It did not seem that one as she with Satan so would lie
And when in court the afflicted ones proclaimed her evil ways
She laughed aloud and boldly then
Met Cotton Mathers gaze

"Hast thou bewitched these maids," he asked, and strong was her reply
"If they be dealing in black arts, ye know as well as I"
And then the afflicted ones made moan as she approached near
They saw her shaped upon the beam
So none could doubt 'twas there

The neighbors 'round swore to the truth of her Satanic powers
That she could fly o'er land and stream and come dry shod through showers
At night, twas said, she had appeared as a cat or fearsome being
"Avoid she-devil,"they had cried
To keep their spirits clean

The spectral evidence was weighed, and stern the parson spoke
"Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live, tis written in the Book"
Susanna Martin so accused, spoke with flaming eyes
"I scorn these things for they are naught
But filthy gossips lies"

Now those bewitched, they cried aloud, and loud their voice did ring
they saw a bird above her head, an evil yellow thing
And so, beneath a summer sky, Susanna Martin died
And still in scorn she faced the rope
Her comely head held high

Repeat 1st verse



01 Feb 02 - 03:04 AM (#639862)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Suzannah Martin
From: alison

supersearch is working again... and it is in the dt



01 Feb 02 - 08:15 AM (#639959)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Suzannah Martin
From: MMario

missing the tune, I do believe.

01 Feb 02 - 01:20 PM (#640111)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Suzannah Martin
From: Desert Dancer

It's uncredited in the DT. According to this site, "By John Allison and Claudine Langille of the band Touchstone, first recorded on their album The New Land." They have an MP3 of a performance by Liza Kay.

~ Becky in Tucson

01 Feb 02 - 08:37 PM (#640327)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Suzannah Martin
From: Irish sergeant

I have Touchstone's version of it and I have to say I dig Claudine Langille's voice. How true the lyrics were remains debatable. My research indicates that Susannah Martin was in her sixties and the rest of it might well be true. I believe the jacket notes stated that the lyrics were taken from the court transcripts. I guess even in 1692 they couldn't bring themselves to admit they were persecuting old women. None the less, it's a great song. Kindest regards, Neil

03 Feb 02 - 10:02 AM (#641262)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Suzannah Martin
From: Jeri

Does anyone have the album Witches and War Whoops? I swear the song is on it, but my copy of the album seems to be hiding from me at the moment.

Salem Witch Trials Memorial

03 Feb 02 - 10:11 AM (#641267)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Suzannah Martin
From: Jeri

Well, as soon as I posted that, the album came out from hiding. Susanna Martin (that's how it's spelled) IS on the album, recorded in 1962. Witches and War-Whoops contains songs collected and sung by John Allison. It's on Folkways FH5211 A.

I'll have a listen later and see if they lyrics are similar/the same as the one in the DT and above.

03 Feb 02 - 10:11 AM (#641269)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Suzannah Martin
From: Peg

I think portraying Suzannah as an attractive younger woman makes it a completely different song; certainly more romantic. Yet if one thinks about the gender implications of the witch trials in Europe and Colonial America (which have really only received intensive study and commentary in recent years; sex was not a major factor in earlier studies), one of the very significant facts of this phenomenon has to do with the prejudice against older women: their invisibility, their threat to community cohesiveness (because of their solitude or intractability or need for care from non-family members as they approached advanced age), and in MANY cases their access to the property of their dead husbands...which, frequently, they would choose to bequeath to the families of second husbands, and not the children or relatives of their FIRST many cases in the Colonies (not necessarily Salem, which was a whole other kettle of fish) the accusations were motivated by land appropriation...

03 Feb 02 - 06:27 PM (#641544)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Suzannah Martin
From: Jeri

I still haven't listened to the album, but Desert Dancer said it was by John Allison and Claudine Langille. The site DD linked to has a link to which calls the song traditional. It's probably the same John Allison who recorded my album, so it's probably the same song.

There's another song on the album about Goody Nurse. I haven't heard for a while, but I remember it being a lot more in touch with the truth

03 Feb 02 - 09:53 PM (#641671)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Suzannah Martin
From: Barry Finn

Tune was by Claudine Langille, a real guttsy singer & fine banjo player. Barry

03 Feb 02 - 10:05 PM (#641679)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Suzannah Martin
From: Jeri

Barry, how do you know she wrote the tune? I can't find anything except "traditional." Maybe she wrote a newer tune? I don't remember being that impressed by the one on the album.

04 Feb 02 - 11:00 AM (#642017)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Suzannah Martin
From: lamarca

My memory from talking to Claudine was that John Allison collated court transcripts and wrote the words to Susannah Martin, and Claudine set it to a tune. If Allison had a tune of his own, perhaps Claudine hadn't heard it or didn't like it. Sally Rogers recorded Claudine's setting, too. I've been singing it for almost 20 years, and like it a whole lot!

04 Feb 02 - 03:37 PM (#642254)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Suzannah Martin
From: Irish sergeant

It's a great song. I have Touchstone's version but the other does intrigue me. As I remember from my readings on the Salem witch trials many of the accusations were politically based meaning that there was land disputes etc going on. The initial accusations were made by two or three girls from well to do families who blamed a Caribeean born slave named Tituba. Tituba,, understandably, confessed and implicated others to save her neck. If memory serves, those who confessed were not put to death and suffered little if any punishment save possibly losing land. In the cases of Susanna Martin, Goody Nurse and the Coreys among others. They refused to confess to something they were not guilty of Martin, Nurse and Mrs. Corey were hung. Giles Corey was pressed to death. The witch hunt finally ended when someone accused the governor's wife of witchcraft. Hutchinson finally put an end to the trials in 1694 and I believe approximately ten years later the Salem judges in charge of the trials apologized for using "excessive zeal in vanquishing God's enemies." Have a lovely evening all, Neil

04 Feb 02 - 05:42 PM (#642380)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Suzannah Martin
From: Jeri

Thanks, lamarca. I'm working with very limited information - just the record. (I bought it used, hence, not even a jacket.) All it says is "Early New England ballads collected and sung by John Allison." Of course, back then, I believe copyrights weren't always identified...or claimed.

03 Apr 10 - 01:40 PM (#2878835)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Suzannah Martin / Susanna Martin
From: GUEST,Dave

I have the record and the song is on it and it has the jacket with it and the words.

25 Feb 17 - 03:26 PM (#3841530)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Suzannah Martin / Susanna Martin
From: GUEST,Jeffrey J Stark

If anyone is truly interested in the story their is a book by a Marin called "A Witch in the Family." I am a descendant of Susannah North Martin. Allot of extraneous matters in the book but it tells the story.
I also visited Salem last summer and actually found the land she owned, in Amesbury, and their is a rather large stone marker dedicated to her.
The street is aptly known as North Martin St. The cul de sac is where her farm was. I also located the spot where she was hanged. Anyone interested in contacting me can at

26 Oct 20 - 03:17 PM (#4076929)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Suzannah Martin / Susanna Martin
From: GUEST,Marc Bernier

For what it's worth; I know Claudine Langille personally. She states she frequently encounters folk that claim this to be a Trad. Song, and insists that she did in fact write it.

16 Feb 21 - 03:15 PM (#4093428)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Suzannah Martin / Susanna Martin
From: GUEST,woodyguth3

FYI, pertaining to this thread.
Witches and War-Whoops
Folkways album with preview audio of Susanna Martin as sung by John Allison. The melody is different from that on the Touchstone record, which apparently was written by Claudine Langille.

Album liner notes
I can't find any reference to the authorship of the lyrics of this song in the liner notes. The implication is that John Allison collected it from some unspecified source. That said, John Allison does claim copyright for "All ballad items" in his liner notes.

Tom Smith

19 Feb 21 - 01:04 PM (#4093855)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Suzannah Martin / Susanna Martin
From: GUEST,#

There is a good history at that link also.

20 Feb 21 - 06:20 AM (#4093959)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Suzannah Martin / Susanna Martin
From: Reinhard

German trio More Maids sang Susanna Martin on their 2002 CD More Maids Live. The credited the song to "words: John Allison, taken from the transcripts of 'The Salem Witch Trials', 1692, music: Claudine Langille".