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Salem Witch Trials (1692)

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Profiles

  • Mary Osgood (c.1637 - 1710)
    Capt John Osgood married, November 15, 1653, Mary Clement, of Andover, born about 1637, eighth and youngest child of Robert Clement, an immigrant from England, who came from Coventry, Warwickshire, abo...
  • Mary Williams (1668 - 1706)
    Witchcraft accused Sarah Hale and Sarah Good in 1692 in Salem notes From Mary Endicott Wife of Isaac Williams Not the wife of Joseph Herrick "Mary Endecot, daughter of Zerubbabel, was baptized ...
  • Capt John Allen (1648 - 1697)
    John, b. Oct. 9, 1648, son of William Allen and Ann; m. Aug. 24, 1674, Mary Andros, widow of Jedediah Andros and daughter of Major Robert Pike; she d. April 28, 1695; he d. Feb. 27, 1696/7. He was call...
  • Sarah (Warren) Prince Osborne (c.1643 - 1692)
    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 abou...
  • Martha Corey (b. - 1692)
    Martha (England - 22 September 1692), became the third wife of Giles Corey on 27 April 1690. Two years later she was convicted of witchcraft and executed by hanging during the 1692 Salem witch trials. ...

Overview and Scope of Project

The goal of this project is to discover our ancestors involved in the notorious Salem Witch Trials, validate their family trees and our own connections to them, and create nigh-quality, genealogically-valid mini biographies for their Profiles.

About the Salem Witch Trials

The Salem Witch Trials were a series of hearings before local magistrates followed by county court trials to prosecute people accused of witchcraft in the Massachusetts counties of Essex, Suffolk, and Middlesex, between February 1692 and May 1693. Despite being generally known as the Salem witch trials, the preliminary hearings in 1692 were conducted in a variety of towns across the province: Danvers, Salem Village, Ipswich, Andover, and Salem Town. The best-known trials were conducted by the Court of Oyer and Terminer in 1692 in Salem Town.

Over 150 people were arrested and imprisoned, with even more accused but not formally pursued by the authorities. At least five of the accused died in prison. All twenty-six who went to trial before this court were convicted. The four sessions of the Superior Court of Judicature in 1693, held in Salem Village, Ipswich, Boston, and Charlestown, produced only three convictions in the thirty-one witchcraft trials it conducted. Altogether twenty-nine people were convicted of the capital felony of witchcraft. Nineteen of the accused (fourteen women and five men) were hanged. One man, Giles Corey, refused to enter a plea and was crushed to death under heavy stones in an attempt to force him to do so.

The episode has been used in political rhetoric and popular literature as a vivid cautionary tale about the dangers of isolationism, religious extremism, false accusations, lapses in due process, and governmental intrusion on individual liberties.

Causes

Salem Village, Massachusetts, was established in the late 1630s when a group of farmers moved five miles from Salem Town. Although legally part of Salem Town, from the 1660s they began petitioning for independence. In 1672 Salem Village established a separate parish and built a meeting house and hired their own minister. In 1689 the village hired Reverend Samuel Parris.

In the cold winter of 1692, the colonists of Salem Village were at war with the Indians, the weather was harsh, and the villagers relied on the Church for some sense of safety. It was during this time that two little girls, Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams, the daughter and niece of Salem Village minister Samuel Parris, began to practice fortune telling, even though it was regarded as a demonic activity in the Puritan community.

Soon Elizabeth and Abigail became strangely ill, having fits, spouting gibberish, and contorting their bodies into odd positions. Reverend Samuel Parris was sure that prayer could cure their odd behavior, but his efforts were ineffective.

Many Theories

Modern thought is that these so-called "fits" may have been caused by some combination of stress, asthma, guilt, boredom, child abuse, epilepsy, and delusional psychosis.

Convulsive Ergotism: Another theory first presented in a 1976 article in Science magazine by Dr. Linnda R. Caporael, of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, argued that a disease called “convulsive ergotism” might have been to blame. The disease is brought on by ingesting rye grain infected with ergot, a fungus that can invade developing kernels of rye, especially under warm and damp conditions. These conditions were present in 1692 Salem. Furthermore, one of the Puritans' main staples was rye cereal and bread. Convulsive ergotism causes violent fits, a crawling sensation on the skin, vomiting, choking, and, hallucinations. In fact, the hallucinogenic drug LSD is a derivative of ergot. Many of the symptoms of convulsive ergotism seem to match those attributed to Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams.

Memorable Providences: Another theory that might explain the girls’ symptoms involves Cotton Mather. Mather, minister of the Old North Church in Boston, published a bestselling book called Memorable Providences in 1689. The book detailed an episode of supposed witchcraft involving an Irish washerwoman named Goody Glover. Mather's account, describing the symptoms of witchcraft, was widely read and discussed throughout Puritan New England and just happened to be in the meager library of Reverend Samuel Parris. Interestingly, Elizabeth Parris' and Abigail Williams' behavior mirrored those described in Cotton Mather’s book. With their interest in fortune telling, might these young girls taken it a step further and read the book?

Mass Hysteria: But what of the many others that exhibited similar afflictions throughout 1692? Rye might still be the culprit but mass hysteria might also be attributed. Mass hysteria, also called collective hysteria and group hysteria, is the spontaneous manifestation of the same or similar hysterical physical symptoms by more than one person. Mass hysteria typically begins when an individual becomes ill or hysterical during a period of stress and others begin to manifest similar symptoms. Scientists have found a clear preponderance of female victims over the years.

Stress: Stress was certainly present in 1692 Salem. The community was at war with the Indians, the people strongly believed that Satan was present on earth and very active, many watched as their friends and family were arrested and hanged, and a large proportion of the "afflicted" were orphans or completely alone. Having little hope for the future and no financial or emotional support from family members, their marriage prospects looked especially grim. Further, some researchers have suggested that their dramatic performances gained them respect and attention of the community, which helped them with dealing with the oppression they felt within Puritan society.

Afflicted by Witchcraft

Their parents tried to discover what was causing their distress, and village doctor William Griggs gave his opinion that the girls were the victims of witchcraft. Asked who was causing their afflictions, the girls accused three village women, and warrants were sworn out for their arrest.

On 1 March 1692, magistrates conducted an examination at the Meeting House. Two of the women were examined and as they answered the questions put to them, the "afflicted" girls went into horrific fits. To all present, the girls were obviously victims of these women's witchcraft. Though the two protested their innocence, one made a confession of meeting with the devil and stating there were still other witches in the neighborhood.

This evidence was sufficient for the magistrates, and the three women were jailed. The girls' afflictions did not stop, however, and still more villagers became "afflicted."

Soon more accusations were made, and by the end of March two devout church members were also arrested, examined and jailed. No longer were just the lowly being accused, but people in good standing in the community. By May, scores of "witches," both men and women, had been examined in Salem Village, and jails were being filled with accused persons from many towns, including Salem, Topsfield and Andover. Dozens of people under excruciating religious, civil and family pressures found themselves confessing to being witches.

In May, Governor William Phips called a special court to try the cases of those accused witches who had not confessed. Convening in Salem in June 1692, the court quickly condemned Bridget Bishop to death. During July, August and September eighteen people were hanged. At least five others died in jail.

By the new year the colony was becoming exhausted with the witchcraft frenzy, and learned persons were speaking against the validity of "spectral evidence" being used in court. When the trials resumed, this former evidence was disallowed. Without it, there was insufficient proof to condemn any other accused. The witch horror was over. Of the nineteen people who were executed during this tragic yet heroic period, twelve came from the Salem Village area, dying rather than confessing to what they had not done.

Aftermath

On 22 September 1693, the last of the so-called "witches" were released from prison in Salem, Massachusetts, marking the official end of the Salem Witch Trials. During the preceeding year, almost two hundred people in the Salem area had been imprisoned. Twenty-four died and fifty-five were coerced into confessions of witchcraft.

Only one of the six "afflicted girls" apologized. Most lived relatively normal lives afterwards; they were not particularly persecuted nor were legal actions taken against them for giving false testimony. Betty Parris, for example, married and had four children.

Ann Putnam, Jr. had accused sixty-two people of witchcraft and was the only accuser to publicly apologize. In 1706 she stood up in church and said that she was extremely sorry, and felt as though she was truly taken by the devil. "I desire to be humbled before God for that sad and humbling providence that befell my father's family in the year about ninety-two; that I, then being in my childhood, should, by such a providence of God, be made an instrument for the accusing of several people for grievous crimes, whereby their lives was taken away from them, whom, now I have just grounds and good reason to believe they were innocent persons; and that it was a great delusion of Satan that deceived me in that sad time."

Judge Samuel Sewall, one of the judges during the trials, felt that he had made many bad decisions. He stood up in the South Church during service and admitted to "blame, and shame." Twelve jurors also stood up and said that their actions were "sadly deluded and mistaken."

Samuel Parris also took some blame for his actions in 1694, saying "I may have been mistaken." It was too late for this much-disliked minister to save his position, though. In 1696 he was replaced by Thomas Green, who spent the rest of his life trying to repair the reputation of the church.

Another important event in the healing of Salem was when Governor Phips was replaced by his Lieutenant Governor, William Stoughton. It was widely believed that Phips had known that people were being falsely condemned, and did nothing to help them. Following the dissolution of the court of Oyer and Terminer, Phips tried to shift blame for the trials to Stoughton. Stoughton had served as head judge of the court Oyer and Terminer, where he made many questionable decisions but was felt to have been overall a relatively fair judge. Phips was recalled to England in 1694, and Stoughton served as Governor of Salem until his death on 7 July 1701.

Timeline of the Salem Witch Trials

Before Salem's "Afflicted" Girls

  • 1626: Salem founded by original group of settlers led by Roger Conant, after abandoning their original settlement in Gloucester. Conant serves as the settlement’s governor. A fishing and farming settlement, Salem is originally named 'Naumkeag', meaning “fishing place,” by the Native Americans who lived there.
  • 1628: John Endicott and a group of settlers from the New England Company arrive with a patent from England that gives them legal rights to Naumkeag. Conant peacefully surrenders control of Naumkeag to Endicott.
  • 1629: Naumkeag is renamed Salem (for 'shalom', a Hebrew word meaning peace) in honor of the peaceful agreement between Conant and Endicott. The settlement separates into an agricultural area where the lower class live, known as Salem Village, and a more urban area where the upper class live, known as Salem Town.
  • 1641: Witchcraft is made a capital offense.
  • 1684: England declares that the colonies may not self-govern, and revokes the charter of the Masssachusetts Bay Colony.
  • 1688: Following an argument with Irish washerwoman Goody Glover, Martha Goodwin (age 13) begins exhibiting bizarre behavior. Days later her younger brother and two sisters exhibit similar behavior. Ann Glover is arrested and tried for bewitching the Goodwin children. Reverend Cotton Mather meets twice with Glover following her arrest in an attempt to persuade her to repent her witchcraft. Glover is hanged. Mather takes Martha Goodwin into his house. Her bizarre behavior continues and worsens.
  • 1689: Mather publishes "Memorable Providences, Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions", which includes his account of Glover and the Goodwins
  • November 1689: Samuel Parris named the new minister of Salem. Parris moves to Salem from Boston, where Memorable Providences was published.
  • 16 October 1691: Parris denounces Salem Town inhabitants as greedy and unPuritanlike. They in turn vow to drive Parris out of Salem and stop contributing to his salary. Salem Villagers support him, creating a rift in the colony. The British government issues a new charter, placing many restrictions on the colony, also causing tension amongst the colonists. Witchcraft accusations begin.

The "Afflicted Girls"

  • 20 January 1692: Nine-year-old Elizabeth Parris and eleven-year-old Abigail Williams exhibit strange behavior, such as blasphemous screaming, convulsive seizures, trance-like states and mysterious spells, very similarly to the way the Goodwin children acted three years earlier. Soon Ann Putnam, Jr. and other Salem girls demonstrate similar behavior.
  • circa 15 February 1692: A local doctor (historically assumed to be Doctor Griggs), attends to the "afflicted" girls, and suggests that witchcraft may be the cause.
  • circa 25 February 1692: Prayer services and community fasting conducted by Reverend Samuel Parris in hopes of relieving the evil forces that plague them. Tituba, following the instructions of neighbor Mary Sibley, bakes a "witch cake" and feeds it to a dog. According to an English folk remedy, feeding a dog this kind of cake would counteract witchcraft. The cake is fed to a dog because the dog is believed a "familiar" of the Devil. Pressured to identify the source of their affliction, the girls name three women as witches.
  • 29 February 1692: Magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin issue warrants to arrest Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne for afflicting Betty Parris, Abigail Williams, and Elizabeth (Betty) Hubbard.
  • 1 March 1692: Magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin interrogate Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and Tituba in the meeting house in Salem Village. Although Osborne and Good maintain innocence, Tituba confesses to seeing the devil who appeared to her "sometimes like a hog and sometimes like a great dog". Tituba also testifies to a conspiracy of witches at work in Salem.
  • Over the next weeks, other townspeople come forward and testify that they, too, have been harmed by or had seen strange apparitions. As the witch hunt continues, accusations are made against many different people, especially women whose behavior or economic circumstances were somehow disturbing or unconventional. Some of the accused had previous records of criminal activity, including witchcraft, but others were faithful churchgoers and people of high standing in the community.
  • 11 March 1692: Ann Putnam, Jr. shows symptoms of affliction by witchcraft. Mercy Lewis, Mary Walcott, and Mary Warren later allege affliction as well.
  • 12 March 1692: Martha Corey is accused of witchcraft by Ann Putnam, Jr.
  • 19 March 1692: Rebecca Nurse is accused of witchcraft by Abigail Williams, and a formal complaint is filed by Edward Putnam and John Putnam.
  • 21 March 1692: Martha Corey is examined before Magistrates Hathorne and Corwin
  • 23 March 1692: Four-year-old Dorcas Good, daughter of Sarah Good, is accused of witchcraft by Ann Putnam, Jr. and Mary Walcott and arrested
  • 24 March 1692: Rebecca Nurse is examined before Magistrates Hathorne and Corwin
  • 26 March 1692: Hathorne and Corwin interrogate Dorcas Good
  • 28 March 1692: Elizabeth Proctor is accused of witchcraft by Mercy Lewis
  • 3 April 1692: Sarah Cloyce, after defending her sister, Rebecca Nurse, is accused of witchcraft
  • 7 April 1692: The Proctors' servant and accuser, Mary Warren, admits to lying and accuses the other girls of lying
  • 11 April 1692: Elizabeth Proctor and Sarah Cloyce examined before Deputy Governor Thomas Danforth and members of the Governor's Council. During this examination, John Proctor, who protested the accusation and examination of his wife, becomes the first man accused of witchcraft and is jailed.
  • 13 April 1692: Ann Putnam Jr. accuses Giles Corey of witchcraft and alleges that a man who died at Corey's house also haunts her.
  • 19 April 1692: Abigail Hobbs, Bridget Bishop, Giles Corey, and Mary Warren are examined. Abigail Hobbs confesses to practicing witchcraft. Mary Warren reverses her statement made in early April and rejoins the accusers.
  • 22 April 1692: Nehemiah Abbott, William and Deliverance Hobbs, Edward and Sarah Bishop, Mary Easty, Mary Black, Sarah Wildes, and Mary English examined before Hathorne and Corwin. Easty is another of Rebecca Nurse's sisters. Only Nehemiah Abbott is cleared of charges.

"I will deny it until my dying day." - William Hobbs

"I will speak the truth as long as I live." - Dorcas Hoar

  • 4 May 1692: George Burroughs arrested in Wells, Maine
  • 7 May 1692: George Burroughs is returned to Salem and placed in jail
  • 9 May 1692: Burroughs examined by Hathorne, Corwin, Sewall, and William Stoughton, and is subsequently moved to a Boston jail. One of the afflicted girls, Sarah Churchill, is also examined.
  • 10 May 1692: George Jacobs, Sr. and his granddaughter Margaret examined before Hathorne and Corwin. Margaret confesses and testifies that both her grandfather and father, as well as George Burroughs, are witches. Sarah Osborne dies in Boston prison.

"They told me if I would not confess I should be put down into the dungeon and would be hanged, but if I would confess I should save my life." - Margaret Jacobs

  • 14 May 1692: Reverend Increase Mather returns from England with the new governor, Sir William Phips. They bring a new charter establishing the Province of Massachusetts Bay.
  • 18 May 1692: Mary Easty is released from prison, but arrested a second time, due to the protests of her accusers. Roger Toothaker is also arrested on charges of witchcraft.
  • 24 May 1692: Mary Toothaker is accused of witchcraft by Mary Warren and Mary Ireson

Court of Oyer and Terminer

  • 27 May 1692: Governor Phips set up a special Court of Oyer and Terminer comprised of seven judges to try the witchcraft cases. Appointed were Lieutenant Governor William Stoughton, Nathaniel Saltonstall, Bartholomew Gedney, Peter Sergeant, Samuel Sewall, Wait Still Winthrop, John Richards, John Hathorne, and Jonathan Corwin. These magistrates base their judgments and evaluations on various kinds of intangible evidence, including direct confessions, supernatural attributes (such as "witchmarks"), and reactions of the afflicted girls. Spectral evidence, based on the assumption that the Devil could assume the "specter" of an innocent person, was relied upon despite its controversial nature.
  • 31 May 1692: Martha Carrier, Captain John Alden, Jr., Wilmott Redd, Elizabeth Howe, and Phillip English examined before Hathorne, Corwin, and Gedney. English and Alden later escape prison and do not return to Salem until after the trials end.
  • 2 June 1692: Initial session of the Court of Oyer and Terminer. Bridget Bishop becomes the first to be pronounced guilty of witchcraft and condemned to death.

"I am no witch. I am innocent. I know nothing of it." - Bridget Bishop

  • c.2 June 1692: Soon after Bridget Bishop's trial, Nathaniel Saltonstall resigns from the court, dissatisfied with its proceedings.
  • 10 June 1692: Bridget Bishop hanged at Gallows Hill in Salem, the first official execution of the Salem witch trials. Following her death, accusations of witchcraft escalate, but several townspeople sign petitions on behalf of accused people they believe to be innocent.
  • 15 June 1692: Reverend Cotton Mather writes a letter requesting the court not use spectral evidence as a standard and urging that the trials be speedy. The Court of Oyer and Terminer pays more attention to the request for speed and less attention to the criticism of spectral evidence.
  • 16 June 1692: Roger Toothaker dies in prison.
  • 29-30 June 1692: Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Sarah Wildes, Sarah Good and Elizabeth Howe tried for witchcraft and condemned.

"Oh Lord, help me! It is false. I am clear. For my life now lies in your hands...." - Rebecca Nurse

Witch Hunt Spreads to Nearby Towns

  • c.15 July 1692: In an effort to expose the witches afflicting his life, Joseph Ballard of nearby Andover enlists the aid of the accusing girls of Salem, marking the beginning of the Andover witch hunt.
  • 19 July 1692: Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Elizabeth Howe, Sarah Good and Sarah Wildes are hanged at Gallows Hill.

"If it was the last moment I was to live, God knows I am innocent..." - Elizabeth Howe

"I have no hand in witchcraft." - Susannah Martin

  • 22 July 1692: Martha Emerson, daughter of Roger Toothaker, is accused of witchcraft by Mary Warren and Mary Lacey Jr.
  • 23 July 1692: John Proctor writes a letter to the Boston clergy describing the torture used against the accused and asks that the Salem witch trials be moved to Boston. Martha Emerson is arrested and examined by Judge Gedney.
  • 30 July 1692: Mary Toothaker is examined by Judge Gedney, Judge Hathorne, Judge Corwin and Judge Higginson.
  • 2-6 August: George Jacobs, Sr., Martha Carrier, George Burroughs, John and Elizabeth Proctor, and John Willard tried for witchcraft and condemned.

"I am wronged. It is a shameful thing that you should mind these folks that are out of their wits." - Martha Carrier

  • 19 August 1692: George Jacobs, Sr., Martha Carrier, George Burroughs, John Proctor, and John Willard hanged on Gallows Hill. Elizabeth Proctor is not hanged because she is pregnant.

"I am falsely accused. I never did it." - George Jacobs

  • 20 August 1692: Margaret Jacobs recants her testimony that accused her grandfather George Jacobs Sr. and Reverend George Burroughs.
  • 3 September 1692: Margaret Prince and Elizabeth Dicer of Gloucester are accused of witchcraft by the Salem village girls and arrested.
  • 9 September 1692: Martha Corey, Mary Easty, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator, Dorcas Hoar, and Mary Bradbury tried and condemned.

"I do plead not guilty. I am wholly innocent of such wickedness." - Mary Bradbury

  • 13 September 1692: Joan Penney of Gloucester is accused of witchcraft by Zebulon Hill
  • 17 September 1692: Margaret Scott, Wilmott Redd, Samuel Wardwell, Mary Parker, Abigail Faulkner, Rebecca Eames, Mary Lacy, Ann Foster, and Abigail Hobbs tried and condemned.
  • 19 September 1692: After two days under a crushing weight of stones piled on his chest, Giles Corey dies due to refusal to enter a plea
  • 21 September 1692: Dorcas Hoar was the first of those pleading innocent to confess. Her execution was delayed.
  • 22 September: Martha Corey, Margaret Scott, Mary Easty, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator, Wilmott Redd, Samuel Wardwell, and Mary Parker hanged.
  • 3 October 1692: Reverend Increase Mather, President of Harvard College and father of Cotton Mather, denounces the use of spectral evidence.

Spectral Evidence Disallowed

  • 8 October 1692: After twenty people had been executed in the Salem witch hunt, Thomas Brattle wrote a letter criticizing the witchcraft trials. This letter had great impact on Governor Phips, who ordered that reliance on spectral and intangible evidence no longer be allowed in trials.
  • 12 October 1692: Governor Phips writes the Privy Council of King William and Queen Mary saying that he has stopped the proceedings and referring to "what danger some of their innocent subjects might be exposed to, if the evidence of the afflicted persons only did prevail," i.e., "spectral evidence."
  • 29 October 1692: Phips prohibits further arrests, releases many accused witches, and dissolves the Court of Oyer and Terminer.
  • 3 November 1692: Rebecca Dike, Esther Elwell and Mary Rowe of Gloucester are accused of witchcraft and arrested
  • 14 November 1692: Sarah Noyes Hale, wife of Reverend John Hale, is named as a witch but is never formally charged or arrested
  • 25 November 1692: The Massachusetts General Court creates the Superior Court to try the remaining witchcraft cases in the spring.
  • 3 January 1693: Judge Stoughton orders execution of all suspected witches who were exempted by their pregnancy. Phipps denied enforcement of the order causing Stoughton to leave the bench.
  • January 1693: 49 of the 52 surviving people brought into court on witchcraft charges are released because their arrests were based on "spectral evidence."
  • Tituba released from jail and sold to a new master
  • May 1693: Remaining cases brought to trial; no convictions

Aftermath

  • 14 January 1697: The General Court orders a day of fasting and soul-searching for the tragedy at Salem. Moved, Samuel Sewall publicly confesses error and guilt. A Declaration of Regret was signed by the jury foreman and members, apologizing for their part in the Salem tragedy.
  • 1697: Samuel Parris is ousted as minister in Salem and replaced by Joseph Green
  • 1700: Abigail Faulkner, Sr. requests that the Massachusetts General Court reverse the attainder on her name
  • 1702: The General Court declares the 1692 trials unlawful
  • 1706: Ann Putnam Jr. stands before her church and offers an apology for her part in the witch trials
  • 1711: The colony passes a legislative bill restoring the rights and good names of those accused of witchcraft and grants 600 pounds in restitution to be divided among the heirs.
  • 1752: Salem Village is renamed Danvers; Salem town keeps the name Salem
  • 1957: Massachusetts formally apologizes for the events of 1692
  • 1991: Town officials announce the winning design for a new Salem Witch Trials memorial. Playwright Arthur Miller gives a speech at the announcement ceremony and reads from the last act of “The Crucible.”
  • 1992: On the 300th anniversary of the trials, a witchcraft memorial designed by James Cutler is dedicated in Salem by Nobel Laureate Eli Wiesel
  • 2001: The Massachusetts legislature amends the 1957 apology and officially exonerates five victims not named in the 1711 bill or the 1957 apology: Bridget Bishop, Susannah Martin, Alice Parker, Wilmot Redd and Margaret Scott.

List of people of the Salem Witch Trials

Accused

Please note that some people who appear on various lists of Colonial American witches, but there is no proof that formal charges were ever filed against them; some were involved as afflicted girls, spouses, or even among the leadership, but their names have ended up on some lists as witches; others are clearly mistaken versions of the names of persons who were accused and tried as witches; and a few can simply not be confirmed in any documented list. These people are noted with explanations in the list below.

  • Mr. Abbott, of Billerica - probably Arthur Abbott of Topsfield
  • Nehemiah Abbot, Sr., of Andover - described by afflicted girls, confused with son Nehemiah Abbott, Jr.
  • Nehemiah Abbot, Jr., of Andover - accused but not indicted
  • Captain John Alden, Jr., of Boston - tried, convicted, and escaped
  • Daniel Andrews, of Salem Village - evaded arrest, never tried
  • Mr. Andrews, of Billerica - unknown, unless he is Daniel Andrew of Salem
  • Mrs. Ebenezer Baker, of Andover - see Abigail (Wheeler) Barker
  • Abigail (Wheeler) Barker, of Andover - acquitted
  • Mary Barker, of Andover - acquitted
  • William Barker, Jr., of Andover - acquitted
  • William Barker Sr., of Andover - indicted by a grand jury, but never tried
  • William Barry, of Andover - unknown on any confirmed list
  • Mary Bassett - mistake for Sarah Bassett
  • Sarah (Hood) Basset, of Lynn - imprisoned for seven months
  • Abigail (Somes) Bennett - indicted but not tried
  • Goodwife Sarah Bibber, of Salem Village - an afflicted adult, accused but not indicted
  • Bridget Bishop, of Salem Village - executed 10 June 1692
  • Edward Bishop, Jr., of Salem Village - accused
  • Edward Bishop III, of Salem Village - accused
  • Sarah (Wildes) Bishop, of Salem Village - accused, escaped from jail with her husband
  • Katerina Biss - Nothing is known of her other than she was accused of witchcraft but not indicted.
  • Mary Black, of Salem Village - imprisoned for nine months
  • Mary (Perkins) Bradbury, of Salisbury - found guilty; not executed
  • Anne (Wood) Bradstreet - named, but no arrest warrant issued
  • Colonel Dudley Bradstreet - named, but no arrest warrant issued
  • John Bradstreet, of Andover - named, but no arrest warrant issued
  • Mary Bridges(12 years old) - acquitted
  • Mary (Tyler) Bridges - acquitted
  • Sarah Bridges, of Andover - acquitted
  • Hannah Bromage
  • Sarah (Smith) Buckley, of Salem Village - imprisoned eight months, then tried and acquitted
  • Sarah Buckley, Jr. - probably confused with her mother, Sarah Buckley, or sister Mary
  • Sarah Bulkley, of Beverly - mistake for Sarah Buckley
  • John Buxton, of Salem Village - was part of the leadership, never accused
  • Reverend George Burroughs, of Salem Village - executed 19 August 1692
  • John Busse, minister in Wells, Maine - named, but no arrest warrant issued
  • Candy, of Salem Village (slave) - indicted, found not guilty
  • Elizabeth Carey, of Andover
  • Elizabeth Cary, of Charlestown
  • Nathaniel Carey - husband of Elizabeth, attended trial, never accused
  • Hannah Carrell - arrested, disposition unknown
  • Andrew Carrier - imprisoned, later released
  • Martha (Allen) Carrier, of Andover - hanged 19 August 1692
  • Richard Carrier, of Andover - imprisoned, later released
  • Sarah Carrier (8 years old) - released on bond
  • Thomas Carrier Jr. - released on bond
  • Bethia (Pearson) Carter, of Woburn - imprisoned, eventually released
  • Bethia Carter, of Woburn - accused but not indicted
  • Elizabeth (Walker) Cary - her husband helped her escape from jail
  • Captain Nathaniel Cary - accused by Mary Warren
  • Katherine (Schneider) Cary - escaped
  • Sarah Cave, of Andover - either mistake for Sarah Carrier, or daughter of Thomas Cave
  • Rebecca (Addington) Chamberlain - died in prison, nothing further known
  • Mary (Johnson) Davis Clarke of Haverhill, Massachusetts - indicted
  • Rachel (Haffied) Clinton - indicted and imprisoned, but eventually released
  • Sarah (Towne) Cloyce, of Salem Village - accused, never indicted
  • Mary Coffin, of Gloucester - unconfirmed, surname never connected to witches
  • Sarah Coffin, of Gloucester - apparent mistake for Mary Coffin
  • Sarah (Aslett) Cole, of Lynn - acquitted
  • Sarah (Davis) Cole, of Salem - acquitted
  • Elizabeth Colson, of Reading - warrant issued, nothing further known
  • Mary Colson - arrested and released
  • Giles Corey, of Salem Village - refused to enter a plea and pressed to death
  • Martha Corey, of Salem Village - executed 22 September 1692
  • Deliverance Dane, of Andover - indicted and imprisoned, case later dismissed
  • Unknown Dane - Though his name has been lost in history, a male slave who belonged to Nathaniel Dane, the son of the Reverend Frances Dane, was accused of witchcraft. It is known that he was imprisoned, but no other information is known.
  • Reverend Francis Dane, minister in Andover, Massachusetts - named, but no arrest warrant issued
  • Mrs. Nathan Dane, of Andover - apparently same as Deliverance, wife of Nathan Dane
  • Sarah Davis - constable fetched her to Salem, never accused
  • Mary Bassett de Rich, of Salem - imprisoned for six months and released
  • Widow Mary Derrill, of Lynn - same as Mary de Rich
  • Mary Derrick, of Lynn - probably same as Mary de Rich
  • Elizabeth (Austin) Dicer - arrested and imprisoned, eventually released
  • Ann (Higginson) Dolliver aka Ann Doliver, of Gloucester - arrested, tried, released due to unstable mental health
  • Rebecca (Dolliver) Dike - arrested, but released four days later
  • Sarah (Proctor) Douglas
  • Mehitable (Brabrooke) Downing - accused
  • John Durrant, of Billerica - died in prison
  • Joseph Draper
  • Lydia Dustin, of Reading - acquitted but died in custody before release
  • Sarah Dustin - acquitted
  • Thomas Dyer - known to have been accused of witchcraft and imprisoned, but no further information is known about him
  • Daniel Eames, son of Rebecca (Blake) Eames
  • Rebecca (Blake) Eames, of Boxford - pled guilty and pardoned
  • Robert Eames, of Boxford - husband of Rebecca, never accused
  • Esther (Dutch) Elwell - imprisoned and released
  • Martha (Toothaker) Emerson - arrested and imprisoned
  • Joseph Emons
  • Mary (Hollingsworth) English, of Salem - never indicted
  • Phillip English, of Salem - never indicted
  • Mary (Towne) Eastey - hanged 22 September 1692
  • Thomas Farrar, of Lynn - never indicted
  • Edward Farrington - indicted by a grand jury, but never tried
  • Abigail Faulkner (8 years old) - released on bond
  • Abigail (Dane) Faulkner, of Andover - found guilty and pardoned due to pregnancy
  • Deborah Faulkner (10 years old)
  • Dorothy Faulkner - released on bond
  • Johnathon Ferren aka John Farren - indicted by a grand jury, but never tried
  • Captain John Floyd aka Capt John Flood, of Boston - arrested and imprisoned but not convicted
  • Elizabeth (Betts) Fosdick, of Malden - imprisoned, never tried
  • Ann (Alcock) Foster, of Andover - died in custody, December 1692
  • Nicholas Frost
  • Eunice (Potter) Frye, of Andover - acquitted
  • Dorcas Good (5 years old) - imprisoned; released on bond
  • Dorothy Good, of Salem Village - mistake for Dorcas Good
  • Sarah (Solart) Good, of Salem Village - executed 19 July 1692
  • Mary Green (1658-??) - imprisoned, released on bond
  • Sarah (Noyes) Hale, wife of Rev. John Hale, a minister in Beverly, Massachusetts - named, but no arrest warrant issued
  • Thomas Hardy, of Salem
  • (Unidentified) Harrington, of Andover - unknown, not further identified
  • Elizabeth Hutchison Hart, of Lynn - imprisoned, then released
  • Wife of Isaac Hart, of Lynn
  • Rachel Hatfield - same as Rachel (Haffield) Clinton, divorced wife
  • Sarah Hawkes - tried, found not guilty
  • Dorcas Hoar, of Beverly - found guilty and pardoned
  • Abigail Hobbs - pled guilty and pardoned
  • Deliverance Hobbs - pled guilty, imprisoned
  • William Hobbs - accused and imprisoned
  • John Howard, of Rowley - A laborer thought to have been related to Elizabeth (Jackson) Howe, who was hanged on 19 July 1692 for witchcraft. A complaint was filed by Joseph Tyler and Ephriam Foster alleging that he had committed acts of witchcraft against Rose Foster and Martha Sprague of Andover. A warrant was issued for their arrests on25 August 1692. He was examined by Magistrate Hawthorne and others who issued an indictment - imprisoned, nothing further known.
  • James Howe, Jr. - husband of Elizabeth; mentioned in depositions against his wife, never accused
  • Elizabeth (Jackson) Howe - executed 19 July 1692
  • Elizabeth Hubbard - afflicted girl, age 17, never accused
  • Frances Alcock Hutchins - imprisoned; released on bond
  • Widow of Francis Hutchinson, of Haverhill
  • John Indian, of Salem Village
  • Mary (Leach) Ireson, of Lynn - arrested, nothing further known
  • John Jackson, Sr. - arrested, nothing further known
  • John Jackson, Jr. - arrested, nothing further known
  • George Jacobs, Sr., of Salem - executed 19 August 1692
  • George Jacobs Jr., of Salem - evaded arrest, never tried
  • Margaret Jacobs, of Salem - acquitted
  • Martha Jacobs, of Salem Village - mistake for Margaret Jacobs, daughter of George Jacobs, Jr.
  • Rebecca (Andrews) Jacobs, of Salem - acquitted
  • Abigail Johnson (11 years old)
  • Elizabeth (Dane) Johnson - acquitted
  • Elizabeth Johnson - found guilty and pardoned
  • Rebecca Johnson, of Beverly
  • Stephen Johnson, of Andover (13 years old) - indicted by a grand jury, but never tried
  • Julie Kildunne - acquitted
  • Mary Lacey, Jr. of Andover - acquitted
  • Mary (Foster) Lacey - pled guilty and pardoned
  • John Laundry - unknown, name not in any historical documents
  • Lisa Leal - found guilty and escaped
  • John Lee - mentioned in Elizabeth Fuller’s deposition, never accused
  • Mercy Lewis - afflicted girl, age 17, never accused
  • Jane Lilly
  • Mary (Osgood) Marston, of Andover - acquitted
  • Susannah (North) Martin aka Susanna Mart, of Amesbury - executed 19 July 1692
  • Sarah Merrell aka Morrill, of Beverly
  • Mary Morey
  • Sarah Morey, of Beverly - mistaken for Sarah Morrell (also Merrill)
  • Rebecca (Towne) Nurse aka Rebecca Nourse, of Salem Village - hanged 19 July 1692
  • Mary Osborne, of Andover - probably never existed, likely mistake for Mary Osgood
  • Sarah (Warren) Osborne - died in custody
  • Mary (Clements) Osgood, of Andover - pled guilty and pardoned
  • Elizabeth Paine aka Payne, of Charlestown
  • Alice Parker, of Salem - executed 22 September 1692
  • Mary (Ayer) Parker, of Andover - executed 22 September 1692
  • Mary (Bliss) Parsons - acquitted
  • Sarah (Goodall) Pease, of Salem - convicted and imprisoned for one year
  • Joan Penney - arrested but not indicted
  • Mary (Spencer) Phips, wife of Massachusetts Governor William Phips - named, but no arrest warrant issued
  • Ann Pope - unconfirmed
  • Hannah Post - acquitted
  • Mary Post, of Rowley - found guilty and pardoned
  • Sarah Post - likely mistake for Susannah Post
  • Susannah Post - acquitted
  • Martha Prince, of Gloucester - same as Mary (Prince) Rowe
  • Benjamin Proctor, of Salem Village - accused
  • John Proctor, of Salem Village - hanged 19 August 1692
  • William Proctor - never indicted
  • Elizabeth Proctor - found guilty and pardoned due to pregnancy
  • Ann Pudeator, of Salem - executed 22 September 1692
  • Wilmot Redd aka Wilmott Reed, of Marblehead - executed 22 September 1692
  • Wife of Nicholas Rice, of Reading
  • Sarah Rice aka Sarah Riste, of Beverly
  • Widow Mary Rich, of Lynn - same as Mary de Rich
  • Mary de Riels, of Salem - mistake for Mary de Rich
  • Sarah Riste - same as Sarah Rice of Reading
  • Susannah Roots aka Susanna Roote, of Beverly
  • Joseph Rosenbrock - found guilty and escaped
  • Mary (Prince) Rowe, of Gloucester - accused and imprisoned
  • Henry Salter
  • John Sawdy - same as John Sadie, Jr.
  • Margaret Scot, of Billerica
  • Margaret (Stevenson) Scott, of Rowley - executed 22 September 1692
  • Ann Sears aka Ann Seers, of Woburn
  • Susannah Sheldon - afflicted girl, age 18
  • Rebecca (Addington) Shelley - died in prison while awaiting trial
  • Abigail Somes, of Gloucester
  • Martha Sparks, of Chelmsford
  • Sarah (Clapp) Swift - named, but no arrest warrant issued
  • Mary (Harrington) Taylor - acquitted
  • Margaret (Webb) Thatcher, mother-in-law of magistrate Jonathan Corwin - named, but no arrest warrant issued
  • Tituba, of Salem Village - never indicted
  • Job Tookey aka Job Turkey, of Beverly
  • Jason Toothaker, of Billerica - typo for Jerson Toothaker
  • http://www.geni.com/people/Margaret-Toothacher-Salem-Witch/6000000007052820275 Margaret Toothaker] (9 years old) - imprisoned, eventually released without trial
  • Mary (Allen) Toothaker, of Billerica - acquitted
  • Roger Toothaker, of Billerica - died in custody
  • Hannah Tyler, of Andover - acquitted
  • Wife of Hopestill Tyler, of Andover - see Mary (Lovett) Tyler
  • Joanna Tyler, of Andover - acquitted
  • Martha Tyler - acquitted
  • Mary (Lovett) Tyler - acquitted
  • Hezekiah Usher, Boston merchant - named, but no arrest warrant issued
  • Rachel (Varney) Vinson - accused and released on bond
  • Mercy Wardwell aka Mary Wardwell, of Andover - acquitted
  • Samuel Wardwell, of Andover - executed 22 September 1692
  • Sarah (Hooper) Wardwell, of Lynn - confessed, found guilty, property confiscated; pardoned but property never returned
  • Mary Warren - an accuser who became one of the accused
  • Sarah Warren - see Sarah (Warren) Prince Osborne
  • Mrs. White, of Salem - unknown unless mistake for Mrs. Sarah Wildes
  • Phoebe (Day) Wildes - never indicted
  • Sarah (Averill) Wildes - executed 19 July 1692
  • Ruth Wilford, of Haverhill - arrested, nothing further known
  • John Willard, of Salem Village - executed 19 August 1692
  • Abigail Williams - an accuser who was herself accused
  • Sarah (Lord) Wilson, of Andover - released on bond
  • Sarah Wilson, of Andover (14 years old) - acquitted
  • Mary (Buckley) Witheridge aka Mary Wittridge, of Salem Village - acquitted
  • Tressa Wolever - acquitted
  • Edward Wooland - Though known to have spent some time in jail under the accusation of witchcraft, nothing more is known of him
  • John Wright, of Beverly

Magistrates of the Court of Oyer and Terminer, 1692

Justices of the Superior Court of Judicature, 1693

Clergy

Jurors

Public figures and politicians

Accusers

"The Afflicted Girls"

Other Accusers

Physician Who Diagnosed "Bewitchment"

  • William Griggs

Sources and Further Information

  • Boyer, Paul and Stephen Nissenbaum. Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1974.
  • Boyer, Paul and Stephen Nissenbaum. The Salem Witchcraft Papers, 1977.
  • Buckstad, Kristin. Salem Witch Trials: George Jacobs, Sr., Undergraduate essay, Salem Witch Trials in History and Literature, University of Virginia. 2001.
  • Burns, M. The Salem Witchcraft Papers. A Guide to the Online Primary Sources of the Salem Witch Trials. 17th Century U.S., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2014. This page links the entries in Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, Bernard Rosenthal, General Editor (Cambridge University Press, 2009), with the publicly available facsimiles online of the manuscripts and published sources from which they were transcribed.
  • Endicott, C.M. Minutes for a Genealogy of George Jacobs, Senior, of Salem Village... Historical Collections of the Essex Institute, Vol I, p. 52-55.
  • Fowler, Samuel P. Salem Witchcraft; Comprising More Wonders of the Invisible World. Salem, MA: H.P. Ives and A.A. Smith, 1861. Print.
  • Greene, David L. Salem Witches II: George Jacobs. The American Genealogist, Vol 58:2. April 1982.
  • Hall, David D. Worlds of Wonder, Days of Judgment: Popular Religious Belief in Early New England. London: Harvard University Press, 1990.
  • Hill, Frances. The Salem Witch Trials Reader. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo, 2000. Print.
  • Hill, Frances. The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials. New York: Da Capo, 2002.
  • Hoffer, Peter Charles. The Devil’s Disciples: Makers of the Salem Witchcraft Trials. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1996.
  • Horsley, Richard A. Who Were the Witches? The Social Roles of the Accused in the European Witch Trials. Journal of Interdisciplinary History 9, no. 4 (Spring, 1979): 689 – 715.
  • Karlsen, Carol F. The Devil in the Shape of Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England... New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1987.
  • Linder, Douglas O. An Account of the Events in Salem. The Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692. The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), Sept. 2009. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.
  • Matossian, Mary Kilbourne. Poisons of the Past: Molds, Epidemics, and History. Yale University Press, 1991.
  • Meyerink, MLS, AG, FUGA, Kory L. Witches in Colonial America. ProGenealogists. Ancestry.com, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.
  • Morgan, Edmund S. The Puritan Family: Religion and Domestic Relations in Seventeenth-century New England. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1980.
  • Norton, Mary Beth. Essex County Witchcraft. The William and Mary Quarterly 65, no. 3 (July): 483-488.
  • Norton, Mary Beth. In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.
  • Odrowaz-Sypniewski, BFA, Margaret. [http%3A%2F%2Fwww.angelfire.com%2Fmi4%2Fpolcrt%2FSalemTrials.html The Salem Witch Trials]. 9 Sept. 2005. Web. 7 Apr. 2014.
  • Perley, Sidney. The History of Salem, Massachusetts, Vol.III. 1924.
  • Ray, Benjamin, and University of Virginia. Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive. Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive. University of Virginia; Scholar's Lab of the University of Virginia Library; Intitute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, 2002. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.
  • Ray, Benjamin C. 2008. The Geography of Witchcraft Accusations in 1692 Salem Village. The William and Mary Quarterly 65, no. 3 (July): 449-478.
  • Roach, Marilynne K. The Salem Witch Trials. Lanham, Maryland: Taylor Trade Publishing: 2004.
  • Rosenthal, Bernard. Salem Story: Reading the Witch Trials of 1692. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
  • Rosenthal, Bernard. Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
  • Starkey, Marion L. The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Enquiry into the Salem Witch Trials. New York: Doubleday, 1989.
  • Upham, Charles Wentworth. Salem Witchcraft, Volumes I and II. Cirencester, Eng.: Echo Library, 2005. Print.
  • Woodward, W. Elliot. Records of Salem Witchcraft, Copied from the Original Documents. Whitefish, Mt: Kessinger, 2007. Print.

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