Power is something that most people strive to attain in their lives. If not power, than money. But with the gain of power or wealth comes unexpected setbacks, especially in the case of Rachel Clinton, where growing up in a wealthy and influential family didn’t save her from being targeted during the infamous Salem Witch Trials. With that stated, if she had not been in such a position of wealth, could she have not been a target at all?
Rachel (Haffield) Clinton was born the daughter of Martha and Richard Haffield in 1629. Richard Haffield had two children from a previous marriage, a considerable fortune, and many properties under his name at the time when Martha had married him. Martha however, came from a poor family and did not particularly enjoy the social standing that came with being his wife, which she let be known by the way she treated her step children, whose mother came from an even wealthier family. Martha’s disposition towards her stepchildren and towards her position of wealth was possibly one of the reasons leading to Rachel’s demise.
When Rachel was six years old, her family moved to Ipswich, Massachusetts, where they soon grew to be one of the most powerful and wealthy families in the area. Later, in 1639, Rachel’s father died abruptly, leaving his fortune to be split up evenly between his wife and five daughters. Though his will stated that it be evenly distributed, it caused the bitterness between his wife and the two children from his previous marriage to seep out into the open. Martha ended up getting the bulk of the fortune to distribute to the five daughters, which caused even more resentment in the family. This disturbance within the Haffield family spread into the town of Ipswich, who believed that th...
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... of their jealousy and in 1692 she was imprisoned for months under these false accusations and in early 1963 was released. Though newly freed and with the charges dropped in court, the townspeople still held their vendetta against her or more precisely, her family name. Over the next couple years she lived as a beggar and in 1695 she died destitute.
Because of the wealth and power that surrounded her family name, Rachel became the victim. If not for all the drama caused by owning much of the land and her family flaunting their fortune, the community of people ready to solve their problems or vendettas by crying witchcraft may have overlooked Rachel. Though money and power have been sought time after time, they often have their downsides. Rachel’s family and their search for wealth did not grant them happiness, but it may have been the main factor in Rachel’s death.
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