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Samuel Wardwell

Also Known As: "Samuel Wardle", "Wardell", "Salem Witch Trials"
Birthplace: Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
Death: September 22, 1692 (49)
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States (Hanged as a witch)
Place of Burial: Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Wardell and Elizabeth Wardell
Husband of Sarah Wardwell
Father of Thomas Wardwell; Mercy Wright; Elizabeth Wardell; Samuel Wardwell, II; William Wardwell and 2 others
Brother of Eliakim Wardell; Joseph Wardell; Martha Wardell; Benjamin Wardell; Mary Wardwell and 3 others

Occupation: Carpenter
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Samuel Wardwell

Samuel Wardwell (1643 - 1692), son of Thomas Wardwell (1602 - 1634) and Elizabeth Woodroffe (1610 - 1697) was baptized on 16 May 1643 at First Church of Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. He married (1) an unidentified woman about 1669, who died about 1672 at Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts; (2) Sarah (Hooper) Hawkes. He was convicted of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials and executed by hanging at the age of 49 on 22 September 1692 at Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts.

Children of Samuel and Sarah Wardwell

  1. Mercy "Mary" Wardwell (born c 1675 Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts). At age 20 accused of witchcraft but confessed and found not guilty. Married John Wright.
  2. Samuel Wardwell (born 24 February 1676). At age 17 was placed with his uncle John Ballard, for one year.
  3. William Wardwell (born 1679). At age 14 was placed out with Samuel Frye until age 21, to learn the trade of a weaver.
  4. Eliakim Wardwell (born 17 August 1687). At age 5 was placed with Daniel Poor until age 21
  5. Elizabeth Wardwell (born c1690). At age 2 was placed with John Stevens until age 18
  6. Rebecca Wardwell (born 10 September 1691) was an infant in arms during her mother's imprisonment and was imprisoned with her.

Biographical Sketch

A carpenter by trade, in 1668 Samuel was hired by John Turner of Salem to build an elegant house, constructed on a site overlooking the harbor. The house had peaks over the seven gables that rose up sharply. This is the house that became famous as the House of the Seven Gables in the Hawthorne story of Salem's past.

Samuel located in Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts before 1670. He had purchased a 20-acre lot in the south end and built his home. He married (1) an unidentified first wife around 1669 and she died around 1672 at Andover. As a 29-year-old widower, Samuel courted a daughter of Richard Barker but he was rejected by the family. Instead he married (2) a recent widow, Sarah (Hooper) Hawkes, who also had a young child, and who was left quite wealthy by her first husband. They lived on Samuel's lot in Andover and prospered for awhile. Samuel was granted a meadow and swamp land in Andover's division of common lands on 6 March 1674/5. King Philip's War erupted and on 8 April 1676, Andover was attacked by the Indians. Samuel probably took his family to the Abbot Garrison House, where all the South-end residents had gathered for safety. The town only lost one resident in the battle. Samuel received another grant of land on 10 March 1677/8 from Andover. He took an oath of allegiance in Andover on 11 February 1678/9.

Samuel lived with his wife and several small children in the south end of the town. Up to 1692 he was regarded as an eccentric but harmless individual who sometimes told fortunes, played with magic, and perhaps in jesting moods even claimed supernatural powers. His peculiarities attracted the attention of the witch hunters, and he was shortly charged by Martha Sprague of Boxford of having practiced upon her "certain detestable arts called witchcraft and sorceries." In a second and more precise indictment it was alleged that Wardwell had twenty years before made a covenant with the "evill speritt," in which he had promised to honor, worship, and believe the "devill."

Witnesses against him were not only the familiar group of Salem Village girls but also three respectable citizens of Andover: Joseph Ballard and Thomas Chandler, neighbors of his in the south end, both of whom had been selectmen; and Ephraim Foster, who for years had been clerk of the proprietors. This was a formidable array of accusers.

He was arrested on 1 September 1692 and imprisoned in the Salem jail, indicted on two counts: first with bewitching sixteen-year-old Martha Sprague, and second having made a covenant with the devil. Also arrested were his wife Sarah and daughter Mary, who after weeks of imprisonment, testified against him. Also arrested were Rebecca Nurse, Mary Estey, Abigail Faulkner, Mary Parker, John Proctor and his wife Elizabeth, and Elizabeth Howe. All were accused and imprisoned, and condemned at a court held at Salem.

Like many others, Wardwell, in his anxiety and terror, was led to make a complete "confession," claiming while he was in a discontented mood because of a thwarted clandestine love affair with "a maid named Barker," he had seen some "catts" meeting together behind Mr. Bradstreet's house. One of them, assuming the form of a black man, told him that if he would only sign the book, he should "live comfortably and be a captain," like Dudley Bradstreet. Following the classic example of Faust, Wardwell attached his name to the contract, was then baptized in the Shawsheen River, and abandoned his church affiliation.

When Wardwell later was released from "brain-storming," he declared that the urgency of his tormentors had persuaded him, under emotional stress, that he must have done the deeds attributed to him. From that hour until his execution he never again weakened. He regretted that he had even once "belyed" himself and announced that even though it might cost him his life, he would stick to the truth.

No one of sufficient importance intervened on his behalf, and he was hanged on 22 September 1692, together with seven others. Even as the noose was being adjusted around his neck, Wardwell declared in a firm voice that he was innocent. While he was speaking a puff of smoke from the executioner's pipe blew across his face and some misguided girl shouted, "The Devil doth hinder his words!" On this occasion the Reverend Nicholas Noyes, of the First Church in Salem, not content with mere watching, addressed the multitude of spectators, saying, "What a sad thing it is to see eight firebrands of hell hanging there!"

Wardwell's example was used in later trials as a threat to others of what might be their fate if they recanted their confessions. The injustice in his case reached beyond his grave. On 2 January 1693, his wife Sarah, then 42, was brought before the Court of Trials, where a jury delivered the familiar verdict that she was "guilty of covenanting with the Devill."

Meanwhile the selectmen of Andover notified the Court of Quarter Sessions at Ipswich that the four Wardwell children were in suffering condition, and then proceeded to bind them out to other households in the neighborhood until they should be mature enough to pursue some gainful occupation: Samuel was placed with John Ballard, his uncle, for 1 year. William was placed with Corpl. Saml. Frye to age 21, and to learn the trade of weaver. Eliakim, age 5, was placed with Daniel Poor until 21. Elizabeth was placed with John Steven until 18.

To pay the expenses of Wardwell's trial, the sheriff seized property of his amounting to 36 pounds, 15 shillings, including five cows, nine hogs, eight loads of hay, and six acres of corn upon the ground. Furthermore both Wardwells had to provide their own subsistence while they were in prison. Eventually Sarah Wardwell was reprieved and released.

In 1712, his mother meanwhile having died, Samuel Wardwell, Jr., requested and received compensation for the financial loss which his family had suffered.

Indictment v Samuel Wardwell, No. 1

Essex in the Province [unclear: ] of the Massachusetts Bay in New England

Anno R R's & Reginae Gulielmi & Mariae Angliae &c Quarto Annoq'e Domini 1692.

ss/ The Juriors for our Sov'r Lord and Lady the King and Queen doe present That Samuel Wardell of Andivor In the County of Essex Carpenter on or about the fifteenth day of August In the yeare aforesaid and divers other days and times as Well before as after Certaine detestable Arts called Witchcraft and Sorceries Wickedly

Mallitiously and felloniously hath used practised & Exercised at and in the Towne of Boxford in the County of Essex aforesaid in upon and against one Martha Sprague of Boxford in the County of Essex Aforesaid Single Woman by which said Wicked Acts the said Martha Sprague the day & Yeare Aforesaid and divers other days and times #[both] before and after was and is Tortured Aflicted Consumed Pined Wasted and Tormented, and also for sundry other Acts of Witchcraft by the said Samuel Wardell Comitted and done before and since that time against the peace of our Soveraigne Lord and Lady the King and Queen theire Crowne and dignity And the forme in the Statute in that case made and Provided.

(Reverse) Indictm't against Samuel Wardell for bewitching Martha Sprague Billa Vera Ponet Se

Examination of Samuel Wardwell

The Examination and Confession of Sam'll wardwell. taken Sept 1st 92. before John Higginson Esq one of theire majties Justices of peace for the County of Essex

After the returneing of negative answers to severall questions He said he was sensible he was in the snare of the devil, He used to be much discontented that he could get no more work done, and that he had been foolishly Led along with telling of fortunes, which sometymes came to pass, He used also when any creature came into his field to bid the devil take it, and it may be the devil took advantage of him by that Constable foster of Andover said that this wardwell told him once in the woods that when he was a young man he could make all his cattell come round about him when he pleased. The said wardwell being urged to tell o truth he proceeded thus, That being ones in a discontented frame he saw some catts together with the appearance of a man who called himself a prince of the aire & promised him he should live comfortably and be a captain and requyred said wardwell to honor him which he promised to doe, and it was about twenty yeares agoe. He said the reason of his discontent then was because he was in love with a maid named Barker who slighted his love, And the first Appearance of the catt then was behind Capt bradstreets house, about a week after that A black man appeared in the day tyme at the same place and called himself prince and lord and told him the said wardwell he must worship and believe him, and promised as above, with this addition that he should never want for any thing but that the black man had never performed any thing, And further that when he would goe to prayer in his family the devil wold begin to be angry He saith also that at that tyme when the devil appeared & told him he was prince of the aire that then he syned his book by makeing a mark like a square with a black pen and that the devil brought him the pen and Ink He saith further he Covenanted with the devil untill he should arryve to the age of sixty years and that he is now about the age of 46 years. And at that tyme the devil promeised on his part as is above exprest, he said it was about a 4tnight agoe since he began to afflict, and confesses that mary Lilly and Hannah Tayler of Ridding were of his company Further he saith that martha Sprague was the first he afflicted, that the devil put him upon it and threatned him there unto

And that he did it by pincheing his coat & buttons when he was discontented, and gave the devil a comission so to doe, He sayes he was baptised by the black man at Shaw shin river alone and was dipt all over and beleeves he renounced his former baptisme.

Wardwell's Confession

I used, when any creature came into my field to bid the devil take it, and when I was a young man I could make all my cattle come round about and follow me. Once I saw some cats together with the appearance of a man who called himself " The Prince of Air ", and he promised me I should be a captain if I would honor him, which I promised to do. The reason I was discontented was because I was in love with a maid named Barker who slighted my love. The first appearance of the cat was behind Captain Bradstreet's house. The next week a black cat was behind Capt. Bradstreet's house, about a week after that a black man appeared in the daytime at the same place and time and called himself Prince and Lord and told him that said Wardwell he must worship and beleive him, and promised him as above, with this addition that he should never want for anything but that the black man had never performed anything and further that when he would go to prayer in his family the devil would begin to be angry. He said also that at that time when the devil appeared and told him he was Prince of the Air, that then he signed his book by making a mark like a square with a black pen and that the devil brought him the pen and the ink. He saith further he honor the devil until he should arrive at the age of 56 years and that he is now about the age 46 years and at the that time the devil promised on his part, as is above expressed he said it was about a fortnight ago since he began to afflict , and confess that Mary Lilly and Hannah Tayler of Ridding were of his company, further he saith that Martha Sprague was the first he afflicted, that the devil did it by pinching his coattails and buttons when he was discontented and gave the devil a commission to do. He says he was baptised by the black man at Shaw Shin river alone and was dipped all over and beleives he renounced his former baptism.

Deposition of Ephraim Tosser

The deposition of Ephraim Tosser of Andover aged about 54 testifieth and sayeth he heard Samuel Wardwell the prisoner now at the bar tell my wife that she should have five girls before she would have a son; which thing came to pass, and I heard him tell Dority Eames her fortune and I have heard said Dority say after that he believed Wardwell was a witch or else he could never tell what he did and I took notes that said Wardwell would look into their hand and then would cast his eyes down upon the ground always before he told anything, this I have both heard and seen several times.

Account of Samuel Wardwell Jr.

"To the Honourable Committee Sitting in Salem Sept 13. 1710. An Account of what was seiz'd and taken away by the Sheriffe or his Deputy and assistants out of the Estate of Samuel Wardwell late of Andover Deceased who suffered the paines of Death under condemnation on the Sorrowfull tryalls for witchcraft in the year 1692."

viz Seis'd and taken away
5 Cowes at 2 P 10-00-00
1 Heifer & a yearling 2-5-00
1 Horse 3-0-00
9 Hogs 7-0-0
8 Loads of Hay 4-0-0
A set of Carpenters Tools 1-10-0
6 Acres of corn upon the ground. 9-00-00


  • Essex County Archives, Salem -- Witchcraft Vol. 2 Page 27
  • Fuess, Claude Moore. Andover: Symbol of New England; the Evolution of a Town. Andover: Andover Historical Society, 1959. Chapter 8. Print.
  • Hill, Frances. A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials. New York: Doubleday, 1995. Print.
  • Torrey, Clarence Almon, and Elizabeth Petty. Bentley.
  • Smith, H. P. History of Essex County: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Syracuse, NY: D. Mason, 1885. Print.
  • New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub., 1985. Google Books. Google. Web. 17 June 2014.


  • Samuel Wardwell of Andover, Massachusetts, was a man accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. He was hanged on September 22, 1692, with Alice Parker, Martha Corey, Mary Eastey, Ann Pudeator, Mary Parker, Wilmot Redd, and Margaret Scott.
  • Samuel Wardwell was born on May 16, 1643, to Thomas Wardwell and Elizabeth Hooper in Boston, Massachusetts. His father Thomas Wardwell had been a follower of John Wheelwright and Anne Hutchinson. Samuel's wife Sarah controlled a one hundred and eight-eight-acre estate, which she had inherited from her first husband, Adam Hawkes, upon his death. Massachusetts passed a law which provided attainder for "conjuration, witchcraft, and dealing with evil and wicked spirits", which meant the loss of civil, inheritance, and property rights of those accused.[1]
  • William Baker, Jr, 14 years old, accused Samuel, Sarah, and their 19-year-old daughter Mercy Wardwell of witchcraft. They all confessed the very day they were interrogated.[2]
  • Samuel was executed after retracting a "forced" confession.[3] Eventually Sarah Wardwell was reprieved and released. In 1712, his mother meanwhile having died, Samuel Wardwell, Jr., left destitute, later sued and won some compensation for the family's ordeals.[1]
  • From: _______________________
  • HOOPER, Sarah
  • b. 7 DEC 1650 Reading, Middlesex, Mass.
  • d. 1711 Andover, Essex, Mass.
  • Parents:
  • Father: HOOPER, William
  • Mother: MARSHALL, Elizabeth
  • Family:
  • Marriage: JUN 1670
  • Spouse: HAWKES, Adam
  • Children:
    • HAWKES, Sarah
  • Family:
  • Marriage: 9 JAN 1672/3 Andover, Essex, Mass.
  • Spouse: WARDWELL, Samuel
  • b. 16 MAY 1643 Exeter, Rockingham, NH.
  • d. 22 SEP 1692 Salem, Essex, Mass.
  • Children:
    • WARDWELL, Mercy
    • WARDWELL, Samuel
    • WARDWELL, William
    • WARDWELL, Eliakim
    • WARDWELL, Rebecca
  • From: ___________________________
  • Samuel Wardwell
  • Birth: May 16, 1643 Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Death: Sep. 22, 1692 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Convicted of practicing witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials. There are twenty benches in the memorial, one for each of the victims actively put to death (not counting those who died in prison).
  • Family links:
  • Spouse:
  • Sarah Hooper Wardwell (1650 - 1709)*
  • Children:
    • Eliakim Wardwell (1687 - 1753)*
  • Cause of death: Hanged
  • Burial: Burying Point Cemetery * , Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA
  • *Cenotaph [?]
  • Find A Grave Memorial# 8303
  • From: ____________________________
view all 11

Samuel Wardwell's Timeline

May 16, 1643
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
January 1669
October 3, 1673
Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
February 24, 1676
Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
November 9, 1679
Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States
August 17, 1687
Andover, Essex, Massachusetts
September 10, 1691
Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts
September 22, 1692
Age 49
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States