William's Top 9 Matches
About William Stoughton, Salem Witch Judge
William later became Lt. Governor of Massachusetts. he was a member of the Class of 1650 at harvard. In 1651 enrolled in New College Oxford, England, where he graduated a masters degree and accorded a fellowship. For the next ten years he pursued his theology training and also studied law and filled a pastorate at Rumboldsyke in Sussex. He lsot his fellowship when the Stuarts under Charles II regained the throne of England and he returned to new England. In 1692 he was made Lt. Governor and governor Phips and he served in that office until his death in 1701.
In 1692 William was chief justive of the special court of oyer and terminer by which the Salem "witch" were tried; his treatment of them was relentess and he became known as the witch-hanging judge. He died unmarried and was buried in the Old North Burial Ground on Stoughton Street in Dorchester, MA. A part of the old town of Dorechester was re-named in his honor and is now called Stoughton, MA. -------------------- Born in England, he graduated from Harvard College in 1650, where he studied divinity. He returned to England and preached in Sussex. At the Reformation he refused to conform to standards required by the Church of England. He was deemed to be associated with Oliver Cromwell. He was a Puritan at a time when Puritans were strongly connected to Cromwell. The Puritans fell out of favor with the Restoration of Charles II of England to the throne.
Ejected from his fellowship, he returned to New England in 1662. He is the author of a famous jeremiad (sermon) entitled "New England's True Interest; Not to Lie", which talks about Americans as a chosen people. A famous quote from that sermon: "God sifted a whole Nation that he might send choice Grain over into this Wilderness."
He then entered politics. King James II appointed him deputy president of the Council for New England in 1686. He was aligned with Cotton Mather, who arranged for his appointment as lieutenant governor in 1692, when he was also named chief justice of the tribunal convened to deal with the witchcraft situation.
Stoughton admitted spectral evidence (dreams and vision) in the Salem trials. Governor Phips became alarmed at Stoughton's excessive zeal and reprieved 8 people whom Stoughton had condemned to death, which prompted Stoughton to resign.
Twenty people were executed as a result of the Salem trials, 19 by hanging and one by pressing with stones. Six people confessed to the charges. Four people accused died in jail.
An adroit politician, Stoughton served as governor of Massachusetts from 1694 to 1699 and from 1700 to 1701.
Soughton, who never married, was the largest 17th century benefactor to Harvard College. A building was constructed in his name. It was destroyed but replaced by another building at a different location, where it remains today.
In 1726 the town of Stoughton, Massachusetts was named in his honor.
He went to his grave never having publicly repented for his central role in the Salem witch trials.