Dr. Philip Reade

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Philip Reade, Sr.

Also Known As: "Philip Reade", "Philip Reed"
Birthdate: (73)
Birthplace: of, London, Middlesex, England
Death: May 10, 1696 (69-77)
Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts
Immediate Family:

Son of Jacob Reade and Jane Reed
Husband of Abigail Reade
Father of Dr. Philip Read; Dr. Jacob Reade; Abigail Davis; Amy Case; Stephen Reed and 4 others

Occupation: Chirugeon
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Dr. Philip Reade

Philip Reade, the son of Elias (SIC), was born in 1623 (the book states). He married Abigail. Their children were- Philip, born March 13, 1671; Jacob, Jan 30, 1673; Abigial, Oct 26, 1675; Amy, June 3, 1678.

He was a PHYSICIAN, and settled first in Lynn. In 1669, he made a COMPLAINT against MARGARET, the WIFE of JOHN GIFFORD, for WITCHCRAFT. The complaint was not fully sustained; and, the GIFFORD FAMILY being influential (Mr. Gifford being agent of the IRON-WORKS,- an important position in those times), it operated against the popularity of DR. REED; and he, the next year, MOVED TO CONCORD, where he practised his PROFESSION many years.

The unhappy effects of his controversy at Lynn followed him to CONCORD, where he was bitterly persecuted by or thought he influence of the GIFFORD FAMILY, and at one time went to JAIL for Something growing out of it. He was ONE of the TRUSTEES of the ESTATE of JOHN PROCTOR of SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS; appointed in 1689. This Mr. Proctor is supposed to be the FATHER of the PERSON of the same name WHO was HUNG at SALEM, for WITCHCRAFT, in 1692; the principal evidence which contributed to his conviction being the testimony of the Celebrated COTTON MATHER, D.D., who testified that he had seen EVIL SPIRITS COME BEHIND Mr. PROCTOR, and hold conversations with him, during the trial. DR. REED had an extensive PRACTICE in CONCORD, and many other towns in the Counties of MIDDLESEX and ESSEX.

He died at CONCORD, May 10, 1696: his wife died April 16, 1709.


Elizabeth Rice appeared in court on a warrant as a witness concerning her son-in-law Phillip Reade on July 5, 1671. Reade admitted "that the name of Christ was mentioned", but denied that blasphemy was committed. Elizabeth would say nothing and Reade was committed that day to prison and on July 12 was transferred by warrant to Boston jail with the following indictment:

"Philip Reade of Concord Chirurgeion or practitioner in Phisick: for not having the feare of God before his eyes & being Instigated by the divill did sometime in May last Blaspheme the holy name of Christ & alsoe on a motion then & there made to pray to God for his wife then sick blasphemously Cursed bidding the Divill take yo' & yo' praye".

One witness testified that Philip Reade blamed his mother-in-law ("the Devill take her for shee had brought him to (illegible)"). On April 30, 1672, the matter is apparently ended when it is found that "Philip Reade of Concord presented for Swearing and cursing, the presentment not being fully proved though not without Strong Suspicion of his being guilty".


  1. The history of Concord, Massachusetts. v. 1- (1904) Hudson, Alfred Sereno. Volume: 1 - Colonial Concord. Concord, Mass., Erudite Press, 1904. Page 176-177. "Early physicians of Concord: Read, Prescott, Minot, Heywood."
  2. The Reade Record Page 37. "Dr. Philip Reade of Concord" [Read List, Number 23]
  3. http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=ted_rice&id=I193
  4. http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=:3252011&id=I634658753
  5. Woodward, W E. Records of Salem Witchcraft, Copied from the Original Documents: Vol. Ii. Whitefish, Mt: Kessinger Publishing, 2007.
  6. http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/GEN-MEDIEVAL/2003-12/1072540892
  7. History of the Reed family in Europe and America.  By Jacob Whittemore Reed.  Page 272-273.
  8. McCracken, George e, Dr. Philip Reade and his Earlier Descendants. 1953. Page 188. In baptism records for London there is no affinity with Esdras Reade, tailor; or with James Reade, scrivener. However is more possible to associate Dr. Philip Reade of Concord with James Reade, waterman, London, and a baptism record of 2 April 1621 in the Church of St Mary Overie, now St. Saviour's, Southwark Cathedral.


The only evidence for Margaret Gifford as a doctress comes from an article, Andrew V. Rapoza, "The Trials of Phillip Reade, Seventeenth-Century Itinerant Physician," in _Medicine and Healing_,Annual Proceedings of the Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife (Boston University, 1992), 82-93, at 90. Dr. Philip Reade had accused Margaret of being a witch, and Mrs. Smith notes that this may mean Mrs. Gifford was a doctress, "given that women accused of being witches were often those who used herbs and practiced healing."

Rapoza's article does at least provide us with a memorable saying by Mrs. Gifford, when she met up with Dr. Reade in Reading on the last Saturday in September 1680 (about the time she should have been [but wasn't] in court answering the charges against her):

"'shee was cleare of that [which] he accused her of and ... she should appeare one day to be a Child of God when he should not.'"

Dr. Reade had earlier accused Ann Burt of witchcraft, and this would have made Smith's case a bit stronger, but she doesn't mention it.

  • "Soldiers In King Philip's War. Containing Lists Of The Soldiers Of Massachusetts Colony, Who Served In The Indian War Of 1675-1677. With Sketches Of The Principal Officers, And Copies Of Ancient Documents And Records Relating To The War". 2017. Archive.Org. Accessed April 9 2017. https://archive.org/stream/soldiersinkingph00bodg#page/74/mode/2up "January 25, 1675. Philip Read, Doctor."
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Dr. Philip Reade's Timeline

London, Middlesex, England
May 13, 1671
Age 48
Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts
March 30, 1673
Age 50
Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
December 26, 1675
Age 52
Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts
June 3, 1678
Age 55
Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts
Age 58
Age 62
Age 67
Age 67
Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony