Mary Nason, Witch of York

I thought it would be a fun post for Halloween about one of my ancestors–Mary Nason, who was reputed to be a witch.

I actually visited her grave in 1986 with my dad (Eugene Nason Doherty) and my sister, Sharon. We went to visit Sharon who was teaching in Berwick Academy in So. Berwick, not far away from York. The first Nason arrived from England in 1629, and the family spread out from Kittery Point, ME. to the surrounding areas. She is buried in the Old Burying Yard on Rt. 1A in York, Maine.

Mary Nason was 29 when she died on August 18, 1774. According the local lore, Mary Nason had been a respected herbal healer (probably a Wiccan) and she was also skilled at ridding people of evil spirits or hauntings.

The eerie portrait of her on the tombstone, and the heavy stone placed over her grave spooked the three of us.   It didn’t help that we found her grave close to sunset, and long shadows from the trees crossed the graveyard.   Her portrait is pretty weird, too.   I thought a portrait with breasts visible was a little risque or unusual for that period, and I did think her eyes looked slightly demonic. (It could be the carving, but still….) The crows that frequent the cemetery are supposed to be her “familiars.”   I vaguely remember one or two around.   All three of us had a bad feeling by the grave.   It may have been she was a good witch, but any kind of supernatural power is still frightening.   We were glad to get back in the car and head off.

Some souls have suggested that Samuel Nason, her husband, put the stone over her grave to make sure it was protected from cattle and pigs grazing. However, it is the only grave in the cemetery with this type of stone covering.

Baloney. It was to keep her from “walking.”

Samuel Nason had a beautiful inscription on her stone, but he didn’t stay in York to mourn.   He and the children left for Rhode Island shortly after her death.

I do mean to get back there one of these days.   In middle of the morning.








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