Nathaniel Hawthorne came of a stern, New England ancestry. The founder of the family in this country, William Hathorne (so spelled, but pronounced nearly as afterwards changed by Hawthorne), emigrated from England in 1630, and became a man of some prominence in the new country, a magistrate and deputy in the colonial assembly. His son, Judge John Hawthorne, was prominent in the Salem witchcraft persecutions, and earned an unenviable reputation for harsh judgments. His nature is well shown by the following account of a trial at which he presided.
Of one accused woman brought before him, the husband wrote: "She was forced to stand with her arms stretched out. I requested that I might hold one of her hands, but it was declined me ; then she desired me to wipe the tears from her eyes, which I did ; then she desired that she might lean herself on me, saying she should faint. Justice Hathorne replied she had strength enough to torture these persons, and she should have strength enough to stand. I repeating something against their cruel proceedings, they commanded me to
be silent, or else I should be turned out of the room."
The third son of Judge Hathorne was ...