Reverend Nicholas Noyes, Jr. (Salem Witch Trials)

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Reverend Nicholas Noyes, Jr. (Salem Witch Trials)

Birthplace: Newbury, Essex County, Province of Massachusetts, Colonial America
Death: December 13, 1717 (69)
Salem, Essex County, Province of Massachusetts, Colonial America
Immediate Family:

Son of Rev. Nicholas Noyes, of Newbury and Mary Noyes
Brother of Mary French; Hannah Ann Noyes Atkinson; John Noyes; Capt. Cutting Noyes; Sarah Noyes and 7 others

Managed by: David Lee Kaleita
Last Updated:

About Reverend Nicholas Noyes, Jr. (Salem Witch Trials)

The Noyes Descendants of James, Nicholas and Peter Noyes. Volume 1. Descendants of Nicholas Noyes, compiled by Col. Henry E. Noyes, Boston, Massachusetts, 1904, p. 49-51

Unmarried, Participant in the Salem Witchcraft Trials

On August 22, 1692, eight of those convicted of witchcraft were hanged: Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator, Martha Corey, Mary Easty, Wilmot Redd, Samuel Wardwell, Mary Parker, and Margaret Scott.

At her execution, Mr. Noyes urged her to confess, and told her "she was a witch, and she knew she was a witch." To which she replied. "You are a liar; I am no more a witch than you are a wizard; and if you take away my life, God will give you blood to drink!"

Twenty-five years later, the Rev. Nicholas Noyes died of internal bleeding, choking on his own blood.

After the hangings, the Rev. Nicholas Noyes pointed to the locust tree, with its broad branches holding their heavy burden. Turning to the crowd, he cried, "What a sad thing it is to see eight firebrands of hell hanging there." ...The Rev. Noyes, a corpulent man who enjoyed eating, partook of a leisurely noon meal with friends. Refreshed, then he delivered his Lecture Day sermon at the meetinghouse.

Finally, on March 6, 1712, Rev. Nicholas Noyes, and members of the Salem church reversed Noyes' earlier excommunications of their former members, Rebecca Nurse and Giles Corey.

In 1668, Nicholas Noyes, " an improved candidate", preached to the people for thirteen or fourteen years, but there is reason to believe that he was not ordained. The Noyes family came to the Colonies from Wiltshire, England, and was a family of ministers. An uncle of Nicholas, the Rev. James Noyes, was the first minister of Newbury, Massachusetts; and his cousins, the Revs. Moses Noyes and James Noyes were the first ministers of Lyme and Stonington, Connecticut, respectively.

The Rev. Nicholas Noyes was a graduate of Harvard in the class of 1667. After he left Haddam he was ordained as the minister at Salem, Massachusetts, on November 16, 1683. This was the time of the persecutions for witchcraft, in which gentle pastime Mr. Noyes took an active and prominent part. He was honest enough later to acknowledge his error and to repent of it. An obituary of him was published in a Boston newspaper of I707-Many people complain that the newspapers of the twentieth century go to unreasonable excesses in praising the dead; that a twentieth century obituary is made up of adjectives, adverbs and superlatives, but journalism in that respect, is not different to-day from what it was then, as will be seen from the following quotation from that Boston newspaper of 1707.

Salem, Dec. 13, 1707, died the very reverend and famous Mr. Nicholas Noyes near 70 years of age, and in the 35th of his ordained ministry at Salem. He was extraordinarily accomplished for the work of the ministry whereunto he was called, and wherein he found mercy to be faithful, and was made a rich, extensive and long continued blessing. Considering his superior genius, his pregnant wit, strong memory, solid judgment, his great acquaintance in human learning and knowledge; his conversation among his friends, so very entertaining and profitable; his uncommon attainments in the study of divinity, his eminent sanctity, gravity and virtue, his serious, learned and pious performances in the pulpit, his more than ordinary skill in the prophetical parts of scripture, his wisdom and usefulness in human affairs, and his constant solicitude for the public good; it is no wonder that Salem, and adjacent parts of the country, as also the churches, university and people of New England, justly esteem him as a principal part of their glory. He was born at Newbury, December 22d, 1647 and died a bachelor.

source: "Historic Towns of the Connecticut River Valley" by George S. Roberts, pgs 77 & 78

HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF STONINGTON, County of New London, Connecticut, from its first settlement in 1649 to 1900, by Richard Anson Wheeler, New London, CT, 1900, p. 486

Nicholas Noyes was a colonial minister in Salem, Massachusetts during the time of the Salem witch trials. He was the second minister, called the "Teacher", to Rev. John Higginson. During the Salem witch trials, Noyes acted as the official minister of the trials.

Noyes spent time as the chaplain with troops in Connecticut during King Philip's War in 1675-76.

Before the execution of Sarah Good on July 19, 1692, Rev. Noyes asked her to confess. Her famous last words were, “You are a liar! I am no more a witch than you are a wizard, and if you take away my life God will give you blood to drink.” Ironically, twenty-five years later, Noyes died of a hemorrhage and literally did choke on his own blood.

On September 22, 1692, Rev. Nicholas Noyes officiated as clergyman at the final hangings of the those accused of witchcraft. It is reported that he turned toward the suspended bodies of the victims and said, “What a sad thing it is to see eight firebrands of hell hanging there.”

Later in life Rev. Noyes repented of his part in the witchcraft persecutions and did what he could to assist the dependent families.


Unmarried. Graduate of Harvard, BA in 1667, MA in 1716. Pastor at Haddam, CT for 13 years, chaplain to the CT regiment in 1675 during the Great Swamp Fight. He was ordained at Salem November 14, 1683, serving with the aging Rev. John Higginson. He was a leader in persecuting the accused witches in 1692, and officiated at their excommunications and executions.

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Reverend Nicholas Noyes, Jr. (Salem Witch Trials)'s Timeline

December 22, 1647
Newbury, Essex County, Province of Massachusetts, Colonial America
Age 19
Age 34
Assisted John Higginson
November 14, 1683
Age 35
December 13, 1717
Age 69
Salem, Essex County, Province of Massachusetts, Colonial America
Preached many years at Haddam.