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An Ancestor of the Salem Witch Trials in Fairfield, NJ: Rev. Noyes Parris and the Fairfield Presbyterian Church, 1692-1748

Brittney Ingersoll

Working in a research and genealogical library, it is common for people to be excited to share their ancestry and the great figures of the past that they are related to. Seldom, though, do you hear of the sketchy individuals lurking amongst the branches of people’s family trees – those family members who have left a black mark in history. While people are thrilled to share the lineage they are proud of, those dark parts tend to be hidden in the notes and sources of the family’s genealogy research. Why? Is it because we feel ashamed of the bad parts of our family history? Do we feel responsible for those actions and those people within our trees that we do not approve of?

In 1724, Rev. Noyes Parris began his service at the Fairfield Presbyterian Church in Fairfield, Cumberland County, NJ. He worked at Fairfield for only a short time – leaving in 1729. During that period he also served on the Philadelphia Synod, a governing power within the Presbyterian Church. His departure seemed to be a hasty one as his absence at a synod meeting on September 18, 1729, was questioned. It was then that the synod was notified that he had “disorderly withdrawn, and gone to New England, under imputation of scandal.” The details of Parris’ scandal have yet to be uncovered. (1)

What Parris thought of his family history is unknown,  although some sources cannot discuss his life without mentioning his father – Rev. Samuel Parris of Salem, Massachusetts. Within Samuel’s Salem household, some seven years before Parris’ birth,  the historical event known as the Salem Witch trials began. 

Between February of 1692 to May 1693, Salem, Massachusetts was plagued with hysteria and jealousy that caused nineteen individuals to lose their lives. The birth of the witchcraft accusations occurred in Rev. Samuel Parris’ home when his daughter, Betty Parris, and his niece, Abigail Williams, were having fits that were assumed to be supernatural attacks on them. This conclusion was drawn after the local doctor was unable to diagnose the girls. Three women were accused of using witchcraft against the girls – one of them being Tituba, Rev. Parris’ slave. Throughout the duration of the Salem Witch Trials, over 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft. (2)

Rev. Samuel Parris

Although the trials seemingly were fueled by fear and the village’s devotion to God, historians have shown this was not fully the case. Salem was divided into three sections – the town, the village, and an area in between – Ipswich. The town of Salem was on the bay and was metropolitan due to its access to trade. The rural village was cut off from the ports and did not have access to the same financial opportunities as Salem Town. The people of Ipswich existed simultaneously in both areas – they were close enough to the town and benefitted from the financial ventures of it and also were connected to the village. Economic rivalry and challenges of societal norms played a large part in the trials and those who either benefitted from the financial success of the Salem town or who unintentionally broke from the norms of society were the most susceptible to being accused of witchcraft. (3)

The financial growth of the town was seen as a threat to the village’s religious piety. Because of the success of the people of Ipswich, many of the accused happened to live there. Women were also vulnerable to accusations – especially if they were older, single, and financially well-off, which led them to be independent. While some men, such as Giles Corey, were accused of witchcraft, the defendants were overwhelming women. (4)

After the trials, the families of the victims who had lost their lives during the trials filed lawsuits against Parris. The village was in turmoil due to Rev. Parris’ presence – he eventually was dismissed in 1697 and moved to Concord, Massachusetts. Two years later, on August 22, 1699, Noyes Parris was born in Newton, MA to Rev. Samuel Parris and his second wife, Dorothy Noyes. Rev. Parris died on February 27, 1720. His death was described as “ …choking in the blood of the witchcraft victims…” in the Biographical sketches of graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, vol. 6. (5)

Noyes Parris attended Harvard University, a school that his father did not finish. After leaving Fairfield in 1729, Noyes returned to New England – serving as Chaplain of the Castle William in Boston. After failing health, he moved to Sudbury to live with his brother, Samuel. Roughly around 1748, Noyes Parris died. He, like all of us, possessed a family history that he may not have been proud of, and for a short time, his lineage connected Fairfield to the Salem Witch Trials.


Image: Rev. Samuel Parris, WikiCommons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Samuel_Parris.jpeg

(1)Lawrence C. Roff, Fairfield Presbyterians: Puritanism in West Jersey from 1680, (New Jersey: Adams Printing Specialties, 1980), p. 6; Records of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America Embracing the Minutes of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, from A.D. 1706 to 1716, Minutes of the Synod of Philadelphia, from A.D. 1717 to 1758, Minutes of the Synod of New York, from A.D. 1745 to 1758, Minutes of the Synod of New York and Philadelphia, from A.D. 1758 to 1788, (Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1841), p. 93

(2) Rebecca Beatrice Brooks, “Reverend Samuel Parris: Was He to Blame for the Salem Witch Trials?” History of Massachusetts Blog, (Accessed 10/06/2021), https://historyofmassachusetts.org/reverend-samuel-parris/.

(3) Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft, (Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1976)., Carol F. Karlsen, The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England, (New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 1989).

(4) Ibid.

(5) Rebecca Beatrice Brooks, “Reverend Samuel Parris: Was He to Blame for the Salem Witch Trials?” History of Massachusetts Blog, (Accessed 10/06/2021), https://historyofmassachusetts.org/reverend-samuel-parris/., Biographical sketches of graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, vol. 6., Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, MA, Call Number REF. LD2139 .S5

An Ancestor of the Salem Witch Trials in Fairfield, NJ: Rev. Noyes Parris and the Fairfield Presbyterian Church, 1692-17482022-05-08T10:30:35-04:00

The Mystery of the Buried Box

Brittney Ingersoll

The Cumberland County Historical Society received a donation in November of a small little metal box (2.25 in x 1.25 in ), with cards in it for a Tak-A-Tik company in Bridgeton, NJ that was owned by Isadore William Goldberg. This small little box found buried in the ground led us to learn more about individuals and businesses in Bridgeton that we are excited to share!


Who was Isadore William Goldberg?

On October 18, 1888, Isadore William Goldberg was born in Rahway, New Jersey, to Russian-Jewish immigrants Max and Esther. Isadore was the eldest child out of seven children. His siblings, from oldest were Katie, Minnie, Ida, Maurice, Gertrude, and Rose. By 1905, the Goldbergs were living in Bridgeton, New Jersey. Three years later, Isadore married Katherine Goldberg of Bridgeton at Atlantic City on November 15, 1908. Together they had four children, Margaret, Bernice, Susan, and Joseph. Sometime between 1941 and 1946, Isadore married a second time, to a woman named Marion.(1)

Business History:

By 1905, Max owned and operated a variety store in Bridgeton, New Jersey at 42 E. Commerce Street. Isadore worked for his father until about 1914 when he started the Gastine Company. Around 1914, Isadore had opened up his own shoe shop on 31 South Laurel Street, he ran his shoe shop while starting the Gastine Company. (2)

Gastine Co. sold gastine tablets that were advertised as being able to save gasoline and remove carbon. Bridgeton Evening News reported that Gastine tablets were exported all over the world – Yemen, China, Philippine Islands, Belgium, Canada, and South Africa. Isadore hired field representatives to further push the product. In September of 1919, Isadore closed his shoe shop – selling all of his stock to an export business. He used his shoe shop as a temporary store for Gastine Company. 31 South Laurel Street only housed Gastine for a month, when Isadore purchased 24 Cedar Street, where the Gastine Company plant was to be constructed and the old school would be used for storage and packaging. The Gastine Company spread across the country and by 1920 the firm planned on opening 200 stores.(3)

In 1921, while running the Gastine Company, Isadore started the Tak-a-Tik Company that manufactured small boxes made of some form of metal that were meant to hold tickets. The patent for the ticket holders was filed on May 12, 1921 and was given patent number 150.619. The company appears to have been short lived as nothing further has been mentioned of it.(4)

When exactly Isadore’s work with Gastine ended is unknown. But by 1928, Isadore had returned to his father’s department store, Goldberg’s Department Store on 37-47 E. Commerce Street. Ads for Gastine Co. in Bridgeton continued to be printed in the newspapers and in 1938 Isadore filed a patent for “…doing business as The Gastine Company.” (5) A Federal Trade Commission Decisions report of July 1, 1950 to June 30, 1951, stated that Isadore was no longer allowed to advertise Gastine – expanding:

8084. Preparation for Automotive Machinery – Improving Qualities. –

Isadore W. Goldberg, an individual operating under the trade name of The Gastine Co., with his principal office and place of business located in Bridgeton, N.J., advertiser-vendor, engaged in the business of offering for sale and selling a product for use in automotive machinery, designated “Gastine Tablets,” in interstate commerce, entered into an agreement, in connection with the offering for sale, sale and distribution thereof, to cease and desist from disseminating any advertising in regard thereto which represents directly or by implication:

That Gastine Tablets have any beneficial effect on the performance of automotive engines. (1-22663, Dec. 15, 1950) (6)

Isadore took over his father’s business, after his passing. Between 1940 and 1945, Isadore opened a new furniture store at 114 Broad street. Isadore continued acting as vice president of the store at 37-47 E. Commerce. Isadore died in Miami Beach, Florida on February 15, 1952 at age 63. The stores that became a family business continued to operate after Isadore’s death. (7)


  1. Isadore W. Goldberg’s WWI Draft Card; Bridgeton, NJ Census Records 1905; “No Change in Name for Fair Bride,” Bridgeton Evening News (Nov. 16, 1908).; “Bridgeton Merchant Dies in Miami Beach, Fla,” The Millville Daily, (Feb. 15, 1952). Bridgeton City Directories 1940, 1945, 1947.
  2. Bridgeton, NJ Census Records 1905; “No Misrepresentation Here!,” Bridgeton Evening News, (Sept. 18, 1914)
  3. “Foreign Shipment,” Bridgeton Evening News, (Nov. 24, 1916); “New Field Representative,” Bridgeton Evening News, (July 9, 1919); “Retires from Shoe Business.” Bridgeton Evening News, (Sept. 24, 1919); Plant for the Gastine Co.” Bridgeton Evening News, (Oct. 4, 1919); “New Firm Plans to Open Some 200 Stores,” The Morning Call, (Paterson, New Jersey), Aug. 4, 1920
  4. Bridgeton City Directory 1921-1922; Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office (January 1922), p. 223; XIX
  5. US Patent Office November 22, 1938
  6. Federal Trade Commission Decisions: Findings, Orders, and Stipulations July 1, 1950 to June 30, 1951 Vol. 47 “Agents,” The San Francisco Examiner, (Nov. 15, 1931); Bridgeton City Directory 1928-1929; Bridgeton City Directories 1930-1931, 1937-1938, 1940, 1945, 1947, 1949, 1950-1951, 1953
The Mystery of the Buried Box2022-05-08T10:30:19-04:00


Due to the closure and cancellation of winter and spring events, I felt it was necessary to write directly to you about the occurrences of the Cumberland County Historical Society. Our closure, though work has continued but at a slower pace, has allowed us to re-evaluate how we can adapt and function within this new world, leading us to assess our online presence. During the closure, we started a YouTube channel and have posted videos spotlighting Potter’s Tavern, our recent make-up exhibit at the Gibbon House, and uploading recordings of past author series. More videos are in the works! To view the videos, go to YouTube.com and type “Cumberland County Historical Society NJ”. We are the first channel to pop up!

The virus, state protocols, and the concern over everyone’s welfare has caused us to examine our fall events. Unfortunately, after attempting to organize the 49th Annual Artisans’ Faire and Marketplace, forces outside of our control have made it impossible to move forward with the event this year. We are deeply saddened by having to make this call. The Artisans’ Faire is an enjoyable and fun event that we look forward to year after year. While we are upset at the cancellation of the Faire, we move forward knowing next year’s Faire will be a huge event!

As of right now, we do not have dates for 2021 Hearthside Dinners. We will re-evaluate whether or not holding the dinners are possible at a later date.

We are moving forward with our Annual Business Meeting, which will be held on November 7, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. at the Greenwich Baptist Church, located at 928 Ye Greate St, Greenwich, New Jersey 08323. Due to COVID-19, a dinner will not be offered after the meeting, nor will there be a speaker this year. Because of the changes to the program, there will be no cost for attending the meeting.  We are happy to accept donations which will be given to the Greenwich Baptist Church for allowing us to use their facility.

Although we are looking forward to the day that COVID-19 is a thing of the past, we do not want to continue waiting and lose more time hoping for the old normal. As we move onward, we are working on how we can still hold programs within the world of masks, social distancing, and a pandemic. Which has led us to the conclusion that the best way, while ensuring the safety of our staff, volunteers, and visitors, is to do some events virtually. The virtual events will be the Halloween Ghost Walking Tours and Christmas in Greenwich. While this is and will be very different, we are excited by the challenge to try something new, and to continue growing as an institution!

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