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Sarah Hale (Noyes)

Birthdate: (40)
Birthplace: Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
Death: May 20, 1695 (40)
Beverly, Essex County, Province of Massachusetts
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Rev. James Noyes and Sarah Noyes
Wife of Reverend John Hale and Rev. John Hale
Mother of Reverend James Hale; Joanna Thorndyke; Rev. James Hale; Samuel Hale; Joanna Noyes and 2 others
Sister of Dea. Joseph Noyes; Reverend James Noyes, II; Sarah Noyes; Rev. Moses Noyes; Capt. Thomas Noyes and 3 others

Managed by: David Lee Kaleita
Last Updated:

About Sarah Hale

Sarah (Noyes) Hale (1655 - 1695) - Daughter of Reverend James Noyes, Sr. and Sarah Browne, Sarah Noyes was born 21 March 1655 at Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts; and died at the age of 40 on 20 May 1695 at Beverly, Essex County, Massachusetts. She married Rev. John Hale of Beverly on 3 Mar 1684, as his second wife and had by him four sons, the youngest Samuel, b. 1687, was grandfather of Nathan Hale, the "hero spy." It is related of her that when accused of witchcraft, in 1692, that "her worth was so well known, her husband and all the people were convinced that the accuser had perjured herself, and reasoned if so in her case, what not in other cases! From that time, they looked at things from a new side, and the spell was broken.

Witch Trials

As a child, Hale had witnessed the execution of Margaret Jones, the first of fifteen people to be executed for witchcraft in New England between 1648-1663. He was present at the examinations and trials of various people who were accused of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials of 1692, and supported the work of the court. However, on 14 November 1692, 17-year-old Mary Herrick accused his second wife, Sarah Noyes Hale, but his wife was never formally charged or arrested. A later commentator on the trials, Charles Upham suggests that this accusation was one that helped turn public opinion to end the prosecutions, and spurred Hale's willingness to reconsider his support of the trials.

"An Account Received from the mouth of Mary Herrick aged about 17 yeares having been Afflicted [by] the Devill or some of his instruments, about 2 month. She saith she had oft been Afflicted and that the shape of Mrs. Hayle had been represented to her, One amongst others, but she knew not what hand Afflicted her then, but on the 5th of the 9th [i. e., November] She Appeared again with the Ghost of Gooddee Easty, and that then Mrs. Hayle did sorely Afflict her by pinching, pricking and Choaking her. On the 12th of the 9th she Came again and Gooddee Easty with her and then Mrs. Hayle did Afflict her as formerly."

"Sd Easty made as if she would speake but did not, but on the same night they Came again and Mrs. Hayle did sorely Afflict her, and asked her if she thought she was a Witch. The Girl answered no. You be the Devill. Then said Easty sd and speake, She Came to tell her She had been put to Death wrongfully and was Innocent of Witchcraft, and she Came to Vindicate her Cause and she Cryed Vengeance, Vengeance, and bid her reveal this to Mr. Hayle and Gerish, and then she would rise no more, nor should Mrs. Hayle Afflict her any more. Memorand : that Just before sd Easty was Executed, She Appeared to sd Girl, and said I am going upon the Ladder to be hanged for a Witch, but I am innocent, and before a 12 Month be past you shall believe it. Sd Girl sd she speake not of this before because she believed she was Guilty, Till Mrs. Hayle appeared to her and Afflicted her, but now she believeth it is all a Delusion of the Devil."

"This before Mr. Hayle and Gerish 14th of the 9th 1692."

"Gerish" means the Rev. Joseph Gerrish, of Wenham, who is doubtless here the scribe.

Sarah Hale died on May 20, 1695, at age forty-one. Hale remarried the widow Elizabeth (Somersby) Clark on August 8, 1698.

In 1697, Hale wrote the book, A Modest Enquiry into the Nature of Witchcraft, challenging the legal precedents and biblical principles used by the court during the trials. The book was not published until 1702, after his death. A large portion of the book was also excerpted that same year in volume 2 of Cotton Mather's history, Magnalia Christi Americana. Hale's only other publication was an “election sermon” of nearly two hundred pages in 1684.

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Sarah Hale's Timeline

March 21, 1655
Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
October 14, 1685
Age 30
Beverly, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
Age 29
August 13, 1687
Age 32
Beverly, Essex, Massachusetts
June 15, 1689
Age 34
Beverly, Essex, Massachessetts
December 24, 1692
Age 37
May 20, 1695
Age 40
Beverly, Essex County, Province of Massachusetts
May 12, 1896
Age 40