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Martha Corey (Panon?)

Also Known As: "Salem Witch Trial"
Birthplace: England
Death: September 22, 1692
Gallows Hill, Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts (Execution by hanging)
Place of Burial: Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Uknown Father of Martha Panon? and Unknown Mother of Martha Panon?
Wife of Henry Rich and Giles Corey, Salem Witch
Partner of Father of Benoni Unknown
Mother of Benoni Unknown and Thomas Rich

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Martha Corey

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.

The community was surprised to see Corey accused, as she was known for her piety and dedicated church attendance. However, she had never shown support for the witch trials, since she did not believe witches existed. She was outspoken about her belief that the accusers were lying, and upon hearing this, several young girls promptly accused her of witchcraft. She was not aware of the level of paranoia in the village, and when she went to trial she was simply truthful about her innocence and never doubted that she would be exonerated.

As the girls testified against her during examination Corey asked the judge not to believe the rantings of hysterical children. The girls began mimicking her movements as if they were being controlled by her, which was evidence enough to persuade the jury of her guilt. She was executed by hanging on 22 September 1692.

Her husband, Giles Corey, had defended her against the allegations, and was in turn accused of witchcraft himself. He refused to undergo a trial and was executed by pressing, a slow crushing death under a pile of stones. When the sheriff asked how he would plead, he responded only by asking for more weight. He died on 19 September 1692, three days before his wife Martha was hanged.

From Salem Witch Trials - Notable Person: Martha Corey

"The accusation of Martha Corey marked a turning point in the Salem witch trials crisis of 1692 in Massachusetts. Corey was a newly accepted member of the village church and broke the established mold of only social pariahs being accused of practicing witchcraft. Major contributing factors to the case being brought against her were an illegitimate son born to Corey in the 1670s, and her outspoken criticisms of the trials and the judges involved in the convictions."


"Martha Corey, the third wife of Salem village farmer Giles Corey, had at least one son from a previous marriage (Thomas). Local gossip rumored that in 1677, while married to Henry Rich with whom she had her son Thomas, Martha gave birth to a mulatto son. (The father was more likely a Native American than an African, though evidence is scant either way.) For ten years, she lived apart from her husband and son Thomas as she raised this son, Benoni. That son, sometimes called Ben, lived with Martha and Giles Corey."

From Martha Pennoyer AKA Martha Corey Posted: 7 Dec 2003

"Martha Corey, the third wife of Giles Corey, hung as a witch at Salem in 1692 is commonly said to be Martha Pennoyer, the daughter of Robert Pennoyer of Stamford, who married Henry Rich in 1680. But this identification breaks down quickly when the few available source records are consulted. ...."

"... At this point any possible identification of Martha Corey with Martha Pennoyer of Stamford begins breaking down completely, because in 1677 Martha Pennoyer would have been 13 years old; and according to the testimony of her neighbors, must have been living in Salem at the time of the birth of her mulatto child. Martha apparently had been living with the John Clifford family of Salem at the time, which is how the deponents came to know her."


Her maiden name may have been Panon.


  • Wiki Profile
  • David C. Brown, "The Case of Giles Cory," Essex Institute Historical Collections. Vol. 121, No. 1985: 282-299.
  • Robert Ellis Cahill, "Haunted Happenings".
  • Frances Hill, "A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials".
  • Heather Snyder, "Giles Corey". Salem Witch Trials in History and Literature, An Undergraduate Course, University of Virginia, Spring Semester 2001.
  • Cory Family Society
  • "Cory Family Newsletter", Volume 7, number 3, Sep 1992
  • The Salem Witch Trials: A Reference Guide (Google eBook) K. David Goss ABC-CLIO, 2008 - History - 189 pages. Page 90.
  • Death in Salem: The Private Lives Behind the 1692 Witch Hunt. Diane E. Foulds Globe Pequot, Aug 6, 2013 - Biography & Autobiography - 288 pages. Page 62.
  • "Mayflower Families", Volume III, page 134, mentions that Martha Penoyer married Henry Rich at Stanford in December 1680 and later married Giles Cory of Salem.
  • "Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire". Incorrectly lists Martha Corey's date of execution as March 1692.
  • The History of Salem, Vol. II, page 193 footnote:

Giles Corey was born about 1619; married, first Margaret ______; second, Mary Brite April 11, 1673 [this is in error, the correct year 1664]; third, >>Martha ______; pressed to death Sept. 19, 1692; wife Martha was hung as a witch Sept. 22, 1692; Children: 1. Deliverance, born in Salem Aug. 5, 1658; married Henry Crosby June 5, 1683; 2. Margaret; married William Cleaves [spelled Clements in the Vital Statics of both Marblehead and Beverly] of Beverly; 3. Elizabeth; married John Moulton of Salem.

A cenotaph is an "empty tomb" or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere.

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Martha Corey's Timeline

September 1642
Salem, Essex, Massachusetts
September 22, 1692
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts
September 22, 1692
Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States