About Sarah Osborne (Warren)
Sarah Osborne (c. 1643 – 10 May 1692), variously spelled Osbourne, Osburne, or Osborn, was one of the first three women to be accused of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials of 1692. Born about 1643 to unknown parents, she married (1) Robert Prince, with whom she had three known children; and (2) Alexander Osborne. She died at the age of 49 in Boston Jail on 10 Mary 1692 while awaiting trial for witchcraft.
Marriages and Children
- Robert Prince (1630 - 1674), married 5 April 1662
- Joseph Prince (born 19 January 1665 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts)
- James Prince (born 15 August 1668 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts)
- Elizabeth Prince (born 1669 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts)
- Alexander Osborne, married after 1675
Sarah Warren married (1) Robert Prince, the brother of a woman who married into the prominent Putnam family. Sarah and Robert Prince moved to Salem Village in 1662, where the couple had two sons and a daughter: Joseph, James, and Elizabeth. Robert Prince died in 1674. Sarah then married Alexander Osborne; there were no children of this union.
Sarah became one of the first persons accused of witchcraft at the beginning of the year 1692, when Betty Parris and Abigail Williams became ill with an unknown sickness. Both girls claimed that Sarah Osbourne, along with Sarah Good and the servant Tituba, had been afflicting them. Elizabeth Hubbard also accused Sarah Osborne of afflicting her, describing it as her pinching and poking her with knitting needles.
All three women were considered social outcasts, albeit for different reasons. Sarah Osbourne had not attended church in almost three years due to a long illness, and was also still dealing with legal issues with the Putnam family. Ann's accusation of Osbourne was most likely the product of powerful suggestions from the Putnam family. The warrant for Sarah Osborne's arrest was written 1 March 1692.
Report of Examination of Sarah Osborne
Salem Village March the 1'st 1691/2
Sarah Osburne the wife of Alexander Osburne of Salem Village. brought before us by Joseph Herrick Constable in Salem, to Answer Joseph Hutcheson & Thomas putnam &c yeomen in s'd Salem Village Complainants on behalfe of theire Majest's against s'd Sarah Osburne , for Suspition of Witchcraft by her Committed, and thereby much Injury done to the Bodys of Elizabeth parris Abigail Williams Anna putnam and Elizabeth Hubert all of Salem Village aforesaid, according to theire Complaint, according to a Warrant, Dated Salem febu'y 29'th 1691/2
Sarah Osburne upon Examination denyed the matter of fact (viz) that she ever understood or used any Witchcraft or used any Witchcraft, or hurt any of the aboves'd children.
The children abovenamed being all personally present accused her face to face which being don, they ware all hurt, afflicted and tortured very much: which being over and thay out of theire fitts thay sayd that said Sarah Osburne did then Come to them and hurt them, Sarah Osburn being then keept at a distance personally from them. S. Osburne was asked why she then hurt them, she denyed it: it being Asked of her how she could soe pinch & hurt them and yet she be at that distance personally from them she Answered she did not then hurt them.nor never did.she was Asked who then did it, or who she Imployed to doe it, she Answered she did not know that the divell goes aboute in her likeness to doe any hurt. Sarah Osburn being told that Sarah Good one of her Companions had upon Examination accused her. she nottwithstanding denyed the same, according to her Examination, w'ch is more at Large given in as therein will appeare
[John Hathorne] Assis'ts [Johnathan. Corwin] Assis'ts
Sarah Osburn her examination
Hathorne: what evil spirit have you familiarity with Osburne: none. Hathorne: have you made no contract with the devill Osburne: no I never saw the devill in my life Hathorne: why doe you hurt these children Osburne: I doe not hurt them Hathorne: who do you imploy then to hurt them Osburne: I imploy no body Hathorne: what familiarity have you with Sarah Good Osburne: none I have not seen her these 2 years. Hathorne: where did you see her then Osburne: one day agoing to Town Hathorne: what communications had you with her, Osburne: I had none, only how doe you doe or so, I did not know her by name Hathorne: what did you call her then Osburn made a stand at that at last said, shee called her Sarah Hathorne: Sarah good saith that it was you that hurt the children Osburne: I doe not know that the devil goes about in my likeness to doe any hurt
Mr Harthorn desired all the children to stand up and look upon her and see if they did know her which they all did and every one of them said that this was one of the woman that did afflict them and that they had constantly seen her in the very habit that shee was now in, thiere evidence do stand that shee said this morning that shee was more like to be bewitched than that she was a witch Mr Harthorn asked her what made her say so shee answered that shee was frighted one time in her sleep and either saw or dreamed that shee saw a thing like an indian all black which did pinch her in her neck and pulled her by the back part of her head to the dore of the house
Hathorne: did you never see anything else Osburne: no. [it was said by some in the meeting house that shee had said that shee would never be teid to that lying spirit any more.] Hathorne: what lying spirit is this hath the devil ever deceived you and been false to you. Osburne: I doe not know the devil I never did see him Hathorne: what lying spirit was it then. Osburne: it was a voice that I thought I heard Hathorne: what did it porpound to you. Osburne: that I should goe no more to meeting but I said I would and did goe the next Sabbath day Hathorne: were you never tempted furder Osburne: no Hathorne: why did you yeild thus far to the devil as never to goe to meeting since. Osburne: alas. I have been sike and not able to goe her housband and others said that shee had not been at Meeting this yeare and two months.
Deposition: Elizabeth Hubbard v. Sarah Osborne
The Deposistion of Elizabeth Hubburd aged about 17 years who testifieth and saith that on the 27'th of february 1691/92 I saw the Apperishtion of sarah osborn who did most greviously tortor me by pricking and pinching me most dreadfully and so she continewed hurting me most greviously tell the first of march 1691/92: being the day of hir examination and then also sarah osborn did tortor me most greviously by pinching and pricking me most dreadfully and also severall times since sarah osborn has afflected me and urged me to write in hir book
Deposition: Ann Putnam, Jr. v. Sarah Osborne
The Deposistion of Ann putnam who testifieth and saith that on the 25'th of february 1691/92 I saw the Apperishtion of sarah osborn the wife of Allexandar osborn who did immediatly tortor me most greviously by pinching and pricking me dreadfully and so she continewed most dreadfully to afflect me tell the first day of march being the day of hir examination and then also she did tortor me most dreadfully in the time of hir examination: and also severall times sence sarah osborn has afflected me and urged me to writ in hir book
(Reverse) Ann putnam ag't Sarah Osborne
Deposition: Abigail Williams v. Sarah Osborne , Tituba , and Sarah Good
The testimony of Abigail Williams testifyh & saith that severall times last February she hath been much afflicted with pains in her head & other parts & often pinched by the apparition of Sarah Good, Sarah Osburne & Tituba Indian all of Salem Village & also excessively afflicted by the said apparition of said Good , Osburne , & Tituba at their examination before authority the. 1'st March last past 1691/2
Farther the said Abigail Williams testifyeth that she saw the apparition of said Sarah Good at her examination pinch Eliz: Hubbard & set her into fits & also Eliz: Parris, & Ann Putman The mark of Abigail Williams.
Testified before us by Abigail Williams Salem May: the.23'd 1692 [John Hathorne] [Jonathan Corwin] p ord'r of the Govern'r Councill
Testimony of Mercy Lewis v. Sarah Osborne
Murcy lewes agged about 19 years who testifieth and [torn] of April 1692 the Apperishtion of Sarah Osborn [torn] flected me urging me to writ in hir book
(Reverse) Sarah Osborn
In Popular Culture
Goody Osborne is mentioned in the original version of Arthur Miller's largely fictional drama The Crucible but does not appear as a character. Osborne was portrayed by actress Ruth Maleczech in the 1996 film adaptation.
Sources and Further Information
- Essex County Archives, Salem -- Witchcraft Vol. 1 Page 6-7, 10
- Salem Witch Trials Documentary Project
Sarah (Warren) Prince Osborne's Timeline
April 5, 1662
January 19, 1665
August 15, 1668
May 10, 1692
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts