Windrow family

Warren Windrow death mask
Zebulon Windrow

The name Windrow is sure to strike terror even in the most wicked-hearted of souls – a family of witches and warlocks in and around New England active (in some form or fashion) from at least the mid-19th Century to the mid-20th Century [The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull; The Revenge of the Wizard's Ghost].

The happy Windrow Clan

Little is known of the family’s origin and evil ways except that Dr. Charles Coote – having researched their lineage – supposes some sort of magical talisman may have been the source of their power [Revenge; 46].

The earliest documented family member was Warren Windrow, who lived on an island in Penobscot Bay off the coast of Maine in the 1840s. Described as having long, stringy blond hair; his mouth often drawn into sullen scowl; and an ugly scar across the bridge of his nose and part way down one cheek [Revenge; 19], tales of Warren’s ghost being spotted in the New England area persisted into the 20th Century [Spell; 125]. When gold was discovered on January 24, 1848 in California, it sparked a mass migration of over 300,000 people, including Warren Windrow. Though he found no gold, he did get into a fight with another easterner, Lucius Childermass. Warren later accosted Childermass a second time, but was found guilty of attempted murder and hanged [Spell; 126].

Members of the “happy Windrow clan” continued to prosper back east where during the 1880s Zebulon Windrow became wealthy from years in the lumber trade. His estate in downstate New York, known the region over for its gothic church with 400-foot steeple, served as the final resting place for numerous Windrow family members as well as the hiding place for whatever enchanted item that served as their source of power. The property was guarded by a familiar spirit, a ghastly creature seemingly called into creation by Zebulon.

The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull

During a winter trip to New Hampshire, Johnny Dixon and Professor Roderick Childermass come across the Childermass family’s heirloom clock. Built by the professor’s father, the miniature room built into the clock’s base is a diorama celebrating the professor’s grand-uncle, Lucius, who died under mysterious circumstances. Professor Childermass vanishes without a trace shortly after his encounter with the clock, having been the member of his family that accidently stumbled into an enchanted trap laid by Warren Windrow after his death over a century ago. Windrow’s plans are thwarted through the efforts of Johnny Dixon.

The Revenge of the Wizard's Ghost

Months later Johnny Dixon has a series of dreams involving Zebulon Windrow who says the spirit of Warren still walks the earth. This spirit slowly overtakes Johnny in retribution for interrupting what Windrow’s had planned for the Childermass family, while Professor Childermass and Fergie Ferguson must travel to the Windrow estate in New York and track down the one magical amulet that could conceivably stop the Windrows once and for all.

Naming

  • A windrow is defined as "a row of cut grain or hay allowed to dry in a field” or “a line of leaves heaped up by the wind."
  • Of the known members of the "happy Windrow clan", Warren is so far the only one to have an alliterative name (sort of like Isaac Izard in that matter).
  • There are a couple of historical Zebulons that may have inspired Bellairs: a Biblical character who was one of Jacob's twelve sons and thus the ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Outside the Bible the most noteworthy Zebulon is Zebulon Pike (1779-1813) is the namesake of Colorado's Pike's Peak.
  • Other family members include names that one would expect Bellairs to come up with, pompous and silly-sounding but with historical and/or Biblical antecedents:
    • Ensign Edmund “Ulysses Theodore” French [45], the man who married Zebulon's daughter and who, before his death, adopted U.T. initials.
    • Ulysses Theodore Windrow [81], buried in the crypt on the Windrow estate.
    • Elijah Rehoboam Windrow [82], buried in the lower crypt on the Windrow estate.
    • Symphorosa Windrow [81], buried in the crypt on the Windrow estate.
    • Ulrica Tadcaster Windrow [45], mentioned as sharing the U.T. initials as many family members do.
    • Ursula Tench Windrow [82], buried in the lower crypt on the Windrow estate.
    • Uther Tench Windrow [45], mentioned as sharing the U.T. initials as many family members do.
    • Uther Tintagel Windrow [81], buried in the crypt on the Windrow estate.