Joseph Pope, Salem witch accuser

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Joseph Pope

Birthdate: (62)
Birthplace: Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts
Death: 1712 (61)
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts
Immediate Family:

Son of Joseph Pope, Sr and Gertrude Pope
Husband of Bathsheba Pope
Father of Joseph Pope; Nathaniel Pope; Joseph Pope; Bathsheba Pope; Ebenezer Pope and 6 others
Brother of Damaris Buffum; Hannah Buffum; George Pope; Benjamin Pope; Samuel Pope and 1 other

Occupation: Salem Witch Accuser
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Joseph Pope, Salem witch accuser

Joseph Pope was born on 27 Oct 1650 in Salem, Massachusetts and died Feb 1711/12 in Salem, Massachusetts.

Parents: Joseph Pope (1606-1667) and Damaris, his first wife.


  1. in 1679 in Salem Village, now Danvers, Massachusetts to Bethshua "Bathsheba" Folger (b. about 1650 on Nantucket Island), daughter of Peter Folger and Mary Morrill. Her sister Abiah was Benjamin Franklin's mother. They had nine children.

Salem Witch Trials

In 1692, Joseph Pope testified re John Proctor who was executed: "aged forty one years or thereabouts Joseph Pope testefyeth and Saith that on the s'd day this deponent heard John Proctor Say that if mr Parish would let him have his Indian hee the s'd Procter would soone Drive the Divell out of him and farther Saith not." Additional minutes from Apr 11 1692: "And John procter of Salem farmes being then personally present was by A.bigail W.illiams and A.nna P.utnam Charged with severall acts of Witchcraft by him Committed on the person of Mrs pope the wife of mr Joseph pope and Others, who ware at s'd tyme accordingly afflicted apparent to all, likewise Marcy Lewis and I got charged s'd John procter at s'd tyme upon w'ch Jno proctor & his wife and S.arah C.loyce ware all Committed to prison per advise of the Councill." And "...also the said Abigail W.illiams & Ann Putname then testifyed that they say this Eliza: Proctor & her husband John Proctor severall times afflicting of Bathshua Pope the wife of Joseph Pope of Salem Yeoman, at which times the said Bathshua Pope was seized with violent fits"


Joseph Pope paid a tax of four shilling, putting him in the top quarter of all the tax payers in Salem Village. His gravestone was described as a “pretentious stone of slate” by Jasper Marsh (Historical Collections of the Danvers Historical Society, Volume 10, page 93). Mr. and Mrs. Pope were central characters in the witchcraft trials, too. Joseph testified that he heard John Proctor (popularly known as the main character in “The Crucible”) say he would “Drive the Divell out” of one of the accused. Bethshua (also known as Bathsheba) claimed to be afflicted by the defendants, and during Martha Corey’s trial she threw her shoe and struck Corey in the head.


The Popes were of the first generation of settlers born in America. They joined the Society of Friends (Quakers) and thus were persecuted while continuing to live in the Puritan theocracy of Massachusetts. They became involved in a witchcraft trial in Salem as accusers. Moreover, they were related by marriage to the Harts, the Herricks, and the Southwick-Buffingtons, who owned similar chests. Bathsheba Pope was Benjamin Franklin's aunt.

"The Joseph and Bathsheba (Bethsua) Pope valuables oak cabinet sold for $2,422, 500 to Massachusetts and Ohio dealer Bill Samaha in the salesroom, bidding for the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. There was competition in the salesroom and on the phone. Amherst, New Hampshire, dealer Mark Allen entered the fray early, and a collector in the salesroom competed up to $1.6 million before a phone bidder entered the competition and dueled with Samaha. The owners watched the bidding from a skybox."

"Hon. James Savage, Genealogical Dictionary, says that Joseph Pope, in his will of Jan. 25, 1712, pro.3d of March following, names all the children but the first two, and notes that the eldest daughter was infirm of mind, as probably had been her mother; at least, she was much afflicted in the witchcraft days. Also, names Mary and Sarah, children of his son Nathaniel, deceased before 1711." REF: Savage, p. 458. _____________________________________________________________________

POPE, JOSEPH, Salem, son of the preceding (Joseph Pope also of Salem), living at the village which was made Danvers, freeman 1690, married Bathshua Folger, had Nathaniel, born 20 November 1679; Joseph, who died young; Bathshua, 9 April 1683; Gertrude, 27 August 1685; Joseph, again, 16 June 1687; Enos, 6 June 1690; Eleazer, 4 December 1693; and Jerusha, 1 April 1695; and he died 1712. His will of 25 January probated 3 March of that year names all the children but the first two, and notes that the eldest daughter was infirm of mind, as probably had been her mother, at least she was much afflicted in the witchcraft days; also names Mary, and Sarah, children of his son Nathaniel deceased before 1711.

_______________________________________________________________ Joseph Pope, who arrived from England in 1634 owned the most land in the area, 70 acres. Mr. Pope operated a saw mill on Crystal Lake, which is now a city-owned conservation area in West Peabody. Pope's saw mill was first mentioned in records in 1681. Twenty-one years later, it was referred to as the "old mill". The street now named Russell Street was laid out by a jury in 1741. From 1870 to 1882, the street was called "Paper Mills Road", after the saw mill. In 1882, the street was named Russell Street after the Russell family. Joseph Pope, Jr. married "Abiah" (Bethsua) Folger, the aunt of Benjamin Franklin, and they purchased 70 acres of farmland from Lieutenant Thomas Gardner in 1698. The Burke School is situated on 15 acres of this land. (Sources: Burke School 30th Reunion Program; John Wells, The Peabody Story ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------------

:PEABODY - Was it witchcraft that stopped the steady rhythm of the waterwheel at Pope's saw mill on Norris Brook in West Peabody? That's what the miller told the court during the witch hunt of 1692, when the area around Crystal Lake was owned by two families intimately involved in the witch hysteria - one, an accuser, and the other, the accused.

 :"The miller here in 1692 was afflicted by the prevailing witchcraft," wrote John Wells in The Peabody Story. The millter testified that his mill wheel was "unaccountably stopped and would not go, and no reason could be assigned except the demonical malice and power of some witch."
 :The haunted mill may have been owned by the family of one of the persons who claimed to have been afflicted by witchcraft, 42-year old Bathshua Pope. She married Joseph Pope, Jr. in 1649 and was living with her widowed mother-in-law, Gertrude Pope, within the immediate vicinity of the farm of victims and martyrs, Martha and Giles Corey.
 :Bathshua Pope, a member of the Folger family from Nantucket, was the aunt of American patriot Benjamin Franklin. She and Joseph had eight children. According to the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, when Joseph died in1712, he named all his children in his will, except for the first two, "and notes that the eldest daughter was infirm of mind, as probably had been her mother; at least, she was much afflicted in the witchcraft days."
 :The localized witchcraft outbreak took on hysterical proportions by the fall of 1692, with more than 150 people examined and sent to prison. Nearly 50 people falsely confessed to being witches who had made a covenant with the devil to assist in assaulting people in the area. Nineteen persons who maintained their innocence, including the three accused by Bathshua Pope, were tried, found guilty and hanged.
 :"Mrs. Pope" accused Martha Corey, as well as Rebecca Nurse and John Proctor, of inflicting pain upon her body through witchcraft. At the trial of Martha Corey in March 2693, she joined with other afflicted women in calling Martha "a gospel witch".
 :Marion Starkey, author of The Devil in Massachusetts, wrote, "Even while Martha proclaimed her innocence her devils had not been able to resist devising new tortures for the girls. What Martha did, now they all did. If she bit her lips, they yelled that she had bitten theirs, and came running up to the magistrates to show how they bled."
 :The following month Rebecca Nurse was arrested and tried. During the examination, several afflicted persons reported seeing "a black man" whispering in Nurse's ear. The judge stated, "What a sad thing it is that a church member here and now…should be thus accused and charged." At which point, "Mrs. Pope fell into a grievous fit and cryed out a sad thing sure enough; And then many more fell into lamentable fits."
 :Also in April, Elizabeth Proctor, the pregnant wife of John was accused. At her trial, John Proctor's specter attacking Mrs. Pope. Chadwick Hansen in Witchcraft in Salem reported that "immediately Goodwife Pope fell into a fit."
 :Earlier in this century, two postcards depicting the "haunted mill" were published. A color postcard prepared by D.F. Bresnahan of Peabody shows two wood-frame structures, 2 1/2 stories each, located on either side of a 10- to 12-foot-wide stream with a catwalk bridge connecting the two buildings.
 :One card also includes the following statement, "Site of Giles Coveys [sic] Mill who was pressed to death for refusing to plead in his trial for Witchcraft in1692." Today at Crystal Lake, a conservation area, there are two stones which were placed in remembrance of Martha and Giles Corey during the witchcraft hysteria tercentenary in 1992.
 :City planner Judy Otto researched the history of Crystal Lake. She does not think the Pope sawmill was the haunted mill. She wrote, "At the head of Crystal Lake, at Goodale Street, on the west side, lived Captain Thomas Flint. The house was contained on the farm of Giles Corey, according to boundaries shown on the map. Giles himself lived further away on the other side of the property, on what is now Johnson Street, near Oak Grove cemetery. These two (Flint and Pope) were the only dwellings shown in the vicinity of Crystal Lake.
 :Flint's mill was built after the Pope mill by Thomas Flint on the opposite side of Lowell Street and closer to the pond. This mill, which existed until the 20th century, is the mill Otto believes is the haunted mill pictured in the black-and-white post card that was printed by the Peabody Historical Society in 1905. It is titled "Haunted Mill near Phelps Station, Lowell Street, West Peabody, Mass." Interestingly, Joseph Pope Jr.'s sister Gertrude married Eben Flint, a son of Thomas Flint."
 :Sara Stevens Patton note: Jerusha, another daughter of Joseph Pope, married George Flint, a nephew of the above mentioned Thomas Flint.
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Joseph Pope, Salem witch accuser's Timeline

October 27, 1650
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts
October 27, 1650
Salem, Essex, Ma
Age 27
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States
November 20, 1679
Age 29
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts
Age 30
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States
April 9, 1683
Age 32
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts
December 4, 1683
Age 33
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States
August 17, 1685
Age 34
Salem Village, MA
June 16, 1687
Age 36
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States