|The area currently occupied by Salem Center, in
Westchester County in upper
New York, was originally home of a tribe of Seneca Indians. The Seneca's
selected the site due to its proximity to an area commonly known to
the tribe to be a source of spiritual and mystical power. By
1600, however, the Senecas
had suffered some serious defeats by their neighboring Iroquois
tribe, and vacated the region as the first European settlers
started to move into the
The town of Salem Center was founded in 1643 by the founding fathers, lead by Jebadiah Zaine. The calm of this quiet farming community was shattered by a occurrence that spread across the New England region of the time: Witch Craft Trials. Led by Jebadiah Zaine the town council convicted three women, Sarah Farmer, Jane Mycroft, and Jessica Standish. On October 29, 1646, the three women were convicted and hung on top of a small hill in the center of town. The hill is now a feature of Claremont Park, in the center of town.
During the Revolutionary War, many of the townships young men dedicated themselves to the cause of the Continental Army. The fore most of those men was Jonathan Barryman. Enlisting in the militia, Barryman's courage and strength allowed him to rise to the rank of Major, and he became a hero at the battle of Cayuga Pass.
The Civil War also was supplied with men from the town of Salem Center. The men of Salem Center gave a good accounting of themselves, but suffered a high rate of mortality. Fifty-three percent of the men from Salem Center that marched off to war, found themselves returning to rest in The Shady Grove Cemetery, just west of town.
In the middle years of the war, a
prosperous Dutch sea captain, Fennimore Xavier retired to the region,
building a stately mansion in the area north of the township, along what
would later become state route 6. Being a superstitious man, Fennimore
heeded the advice of a fortuneteller he encountered in Cairo, and sought
a "place of spirits" to build his new home. Using the legends
of the Seneca Indians, Fennimore located his mansion, that he was to
build of locally cut stone, at the spot believed to be the most haunted:
near the shores of Breakstone Lake.
Through the years of the modern era, Salem Center has managed to remain a small town with the quite lifestyles and values of a rural community. Recently, however, there have been rumors of odd happenings centered around the Mansion north of town. Members of what the press has dubbed "the mutant" community have been spotted in the area, and several known mutants have made themselves known in the Salem Center community. While there is still a level of apprehension in regard to these newcomers, the Xavier institute has developed a very positive reputation in the community, and has the full support of the Town council.