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SALEM WITCHCRAFT TRIALS RESEARCH GUIDE

Explore digitized manuscripts and documents from the Salem witch trials.

The Salem Witch Trials were a series of hearings before county court trials to prosecute people accused of witchcraft in Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. More than 200 people, including several children, were accused of witchcraft by their neighbors. In total, 25 people were executed or died in jail during the trials. The preliminary hearings in 1692 were conducted in various towns across the province: Salem Village (now Danvers), Ipswich, Andover, Topsfield, and Salem Town. The best-known trials were conducted by the Court of Oyer and Terminer in 1692 and the Superior Court of Judicature in 1693, both in Salem Town.

The original manuscripts in this collection were digitized as part of the New England’s Hidden Histories project and are held by our project partners, the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum. Further information about the collection can be found in the Phillips Library's finding aid.

Many of the documents were previously digitized by the University of Virginia as part of their Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project, which began in 1999. In 2017, members of the CLA and Phillips Library staff found several documents in the Phillips Library’s collection which had not yet been digitized. These documents were digitized as part of our New England's Hidden Histories project and may be accessed below or in our digital archive.

For ease of use, we have provided information about all of the documents in the collection here, regardless of where the digitized versions can be accessed. Documents only available through the University of Virginia site can be found in the Related Materials section.

MATERIALS DIGITIZED BY NEHH

These documents are organized alphabetically by the last name of the accused, and then in chronological order for each case. Links to the digitized records are provided for each individual. All documents previously digitized by the University of Virginia’s Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project are indicated with an asterisk next to each individual’s name and can be accessed on their website at https://salem.lib.virginia.edu/archives/eia.html.

 

Mary Barker*

Mary Barker of Andover was 13 years old in 1692, when she and other members of her family were accused of witchcraft by Samuel Martin and Moses Tyler. Shortly after her arrest on August 29, 1692, Barker confessed and accused two others (Goodwives Faulkner and Johnson) of forcing her to sign the "Devil's book." She was eventually found not guilty and released.

Document: Examination
Date: 1692 August 29
Accusers: Bartholomew Gedney, John Hathorne, and Jonathan Corwin
 

William Barker, Jr.*

14-year-old William Barker Jr. from Andover, MA was the first cousin of Mary Barker and was arrested shortly after her. William Jr.'s father, William Barker Sr., was also arrested but later escaped. On the day of William Jr.'s arrest (Sep. 1, 1692) he confessed to witchcraft and also accused one "Goody Parker" of the same crime. Court magistrates later arrested Mary Ayer Parker, one of several women with the Parker surname living in Andover, who was subsequently executed. This has led to speculation that Mary Ayer Parker was not the intended target of William Jr.'s accusation. William Jr. remained in prison until 1693 but was eventually acquitted.

Document: Examination
Date: 1692 September 16
Accusers: Bartholomew Gedney, John Hathorne, Jonathan Corwin, and John Higginson

 

Sarah Bridges*

17-year-old Sarah Bridges initially maintained her innocence upon her arrest on August 25, 1692. She did, however, accuse her stepsister, Hannah Post, of witchcraft in the same testimony. Later she would also confess, claiming that there were an additional 200 witches in the Salem area. She was found not guilty.

Document: Examination
Date: 1692 August 25
Accusers: The Justices of Salem

 

Carrier Family

Several members of the Carrier family of Andover were accused of witchcraft. These included siblings Sarah (8), Thomas (10), Andrew (15), and Richard (18), along with their mother Martha Allen Carrier. Martha was arrested on May 28, 1962, and her children were also taken into custody and examined. Their mother was later found guilty and hanged along with George Burroughs, John Proctor, George Jacobs Sr., and John Willard on August 19, 1692. According to the account of John Proctor who was imprisoned with them, the Carrier children were coerced by torture into pleading guilty and testifying against their mother. They were later released.

 

Andrew Carrier*

Document: Examination
Date: 1692 July 22
Accuser: Unsigned

 

Richard Carrier*

Document: Examination
Date: 1692 July 22
Accuser: Unsigned

 

Sarah Carrier*

Document: Examination
Date: 1692 September 2
Accuser: Dudley Bradstreet

 

Thomas Carrier, Jr.*

Document: Examination
Date: 1692 September 2
Accuser: Dudley Bradstreet
 

Rebecca Eames

51-year-old Rebecca Eames was accused of practicing witchcraft on Timothy Swan, a claim corroborated by members of the Putman family and related individuals. She was arrested directly after the public execution of George Burroughs, Martha Allen Carrier, George Jacobs Sr., John Proctor, and John Willard on August 19, 1692, having been accused of inflicting pain on a fellow spectator. Her son and grandson were later also accused. Eames was tried and convicted on September 17th along with nine others, all of whom were condemned to death. Four of the nine were hanged on September 22, but Eames was spared when the court dissolved in October. She remained in prison until early December, when she petitioned to be exonerated, claiming that she had pled guilty on the advice of fellow inmates Abigail Hobbs and Mary Lacey.

Document: Examination (2nd)
Date: 1692 August 31
Accuser: Unsigned

Document: Certification of Confession
Date: 1692 September 15
Accuser: John Higginson
 

Ann Foster

Ann Foster of Andover was a 75-year-old widow, originally from London. She was accused by the Salem children Ann Putnam Jr. and Mary Walcott of inflicting a fever on Elizabeth Ballard of Andover. Putnam and Walcott had been brought in by Salem magistrates to "detect" the witch responsible for the affliction. Foster refused to confess despite probable coercion by torture, but her resolve was broken when her accused daughter, Mary Foster Lacey, Sr. testified against her mother, presumably in an attempt to save herself and her child. The resulting guilty plea proved ineffectual and both women were sentenced to death on September 17, 1692. They were spared by the dissolution of the court in October, but Ann Foster died after 21 weeks in prison on December 3rd.

Document: Examination
Date: 1692 July 21
Accuser: Unsigned

 

Sarah Good

Sarah Good was one of the first three women to be accused of witchcraft in Salem in February 1692, along with Tituba and Sarah Osborne. Good had fallen on hard times after litigation erased her family's wealth and two consecutive marriages to paupers left her destitute. She was often homeless and earned a living by begging, probably leading to an unsavory reputation in the town. On February 25, 1692, Abigail Williams and Elizabeth Parris claimed to have been bewitched by Good, who was tried and found guilty despite maintaining her innocence throughout the entire process. The resulting death sentence was delayed because she was pregnant. The newborn child, Mercy Good, died shortly after birth. Good was hanged on July 19, 1692 along with Elizabeth How, Susannah Martin, Rebecca Nurse, and Sarah Wilds.

Document: Testimony
Date: 1692 June 29
Accuser: Samuel Sibley

 

Sarah Hawks*

21-year-old Sarah Hawks was arrested for witchcraft along with her stepfather, Samuel Wardwell, her mother, Sarah Hawks Wardwell, and her half-sister Mercy Wardwell. Samuel Wardwell was found guilty and hanged on September 22, 1692, but Sarah and her other relatives escaped execution and were later released from prison.

Document: Examination
Date: 1692 September 4
Accusers: Bartholomew Gedney, John Hathorne, Jonathan Corwin, and John Higginson

 

Elizabeth How/Howe

Elizabeth How's involvement in the witchcraft crisis began ten years prior to the official trials in Salem. In 1682, a young girl from Topsfield named Hannah Trumble began experiencing fits and accused How of making her ill through witchcraft. How's reputation was irreparably damaged, and she was refused admittance to Ipswich Church. When the troubles began in Salem in 1692, How was again accused, this time of afflicting Mary Walcott and Abigail Willams. Their testimony was corroborated by Mercy Lewis, Mary Warren, Ann Putnam Jr., and several others in the town. How was arraigned in the first Salem trial on June 30, 1692, and, despite fervent support from family and friends, was found guilty and sentenced to death. She was executed along with Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Good, Sarah Wilds and Susannah Martin on July 19th at Gallows Hill, Salem.

An earlier document in her case can be found in the Related Materials section below.

Document: Indictment (2nd)
Date: 1692 June 29
Accusers: Samuel Pearly, Ruth Pearly, Mercy Lewis, Joseph Andrews, Sarah Andrews, Mary Wolcott, John Sherrin, Abigail Williams, Joseph Safford, Ann Putman [sic], Francis Leaves, Isack Cumins, Abraham Foster, and Lydia Foster

 

Johnson Family

Many members of the Johnson family were accused of witchcraft, though later ruled not guilty. Elizabeth Jr., the 22-year-old daughter of Elizabeth Johnson Sr. was the first to be accused and imprisoned on August 10, 1692, due to accusations (probably acquired under torture) by the Carrier family children. Johnson testified against them in turn, implicating the Carriers and many others in secret devilish rites, including Rev. George Burroughs, Captain John Floyd, Daniel Eames, and Mary Toothaker.

After her daughter, Elizabeth Jr., had languished in prison for many days, Elizabeth Sr. was also charged with practicing witchcraft on Martha Sprague of Boxford and Abigail Martin of Andover. She was arrested in late August 1692, along with her ten-year-old daughter Abigail, her son Stephen, and her sister Abigail Faulkner. Elizabeth and Abigail were arraigned together in court, with Elizabeth accusing her sister of threatening to "tear her in pieces" if she confessed. During her confession she accused several others, and implicated her teenage son, Stephen, who later also confessed.

Several factors may have exacerbated the Johnson family's victimization. Rev. Francis Dane, the family patriarch and father of Elizabeth Sr. was a witchcraft skeptic who voiced early opposition to the Salem trials. Elizabeth Johnson Sr.'s reputation was also negatively impacted by a prior conviction of fornication before marriage, with her late husband Stephen Johnson.

 

Elizabeth Johnson, Jr.

Document: Examination
Date: 1692 August 10
Accuser: Dudley Bradstreet

 

Elizabeth Johnson, Sr.*

Document: Examination
Date: 1692 August 30
Accusers: The Justices of Salem

 

Stephen Johnson*

Document: Examination
Date: 1692 September 4
Accusers: Bartholomew Gedney, John Hathorne, Jonathan Corwin, and John Higginson

 

Mary Lacey, Jr.*

Mary Lacey, Jr. was the 18-year-old daughter of Mary Lacy, Sr. She was accused of witchcraft along with her mother and her maternal grandmother, Ann Foster. The two older women were found guilty and sentenced to death despite confessing in an attempt to avoid execution. They avoided hanging when the witchcraft crisis began to die down in October of 1692. However, Mary Jr.'s grandmother Ann Foster died in prison shortly after her trial. Mary Jr. was released on bond in October, 1692 and later found not guilty.

Document: Examination
Date: 1692 July 21
Accusers: Bartholomew Gedney, John Hathorne, Jonathan Corwin, and John Higginson

 

Mary Lacey, Sr.*

Daughter of Ann Foster of Andover, Mary Lacy, Sr. was accused shortly after her mother, on the 19th of July 1692, along with her daughter Mary Jr. The complaint was filed by Joseph Ballard of Andover, alleging that the women had afflicted his wife, Elizabeth Ballard. Mary Sr. confessed upon examination and also accused her mother, Ann Foster, stating that the two had "ridden upon a pole" to a witch meeting in Salem. She also accused Mary Bradbury, Elizabeth How, Rebecca Nurse, Richard Carrier, and Andrew Carrier. Mary Sr. was sentenced to death along with her mother. Although both mother and daughter ultimately avoided execution, the elderly Ann Foster died in prison shortly thereafter.

Document: Examination
Date: 1692 July 21
Accusers: Bartholomew Gedney, John Hathorne, Jonathan Corwin, and John Higginson

Document: Indictment
Date: 1692 September 14
Accuser: Unsigned

 

Mary Marston*

One of many residents of Andover to be accused of witchcraft, Marston was brought in on the testimony of Samuel Martin of Andover and Moses Tyler of Boxford, for allegedly afflicting Abigail Martin, Rose Foster, and Martha Sprague. She was examined, confessed, and was subsequently imprisoned throughout the remainder of 1692, despite a petition for release filed by her husband, John Marston. She was brought to trial early in 1693 but found not guilty.

Document: Examination and Confession
Date: 1692 August 29
Accusers: Bartholomew Gedney, John Hathorne, Jonathan Corwin, and John Higginson

 

Hannah Post*

Hannah Post of Boxford seems to have been an "afflicted" accuser at the trial of Mary Parker, but was herself later accused of witchcraft. During her examination she initially professed her innocence, but later stated that she had "signed the Devil's book." She also implicated her sister, Susanna Post, and Sarah and Mary Bridges. Post was imprisoned, but found not guilty on January 12, 1693.

Document: Examination
Date: 1692 August 25
Accusers: The Justices of Salem

 

Elizabeth Proctor

Wife of the accused and condemned John Proctor, Elizabeth Proctor was targeted along with her husband, who had spoken out against the accusers during the controversial trial of Rebecca Nurse. Elizabeth's Quaker grandmother had also been accused of witchcraft in 1669, and this may have cast suspicion on Elizabeth by association. In spite of petitions of support from family friends, Elizabeth was found guilty of afflicting Mercy Lewis, Abigail Williams, John Indian, Mary Walcott, and Ann Putnam, and sentenced to death along with her husband, John, on August 5, 1692. She avoided execution because she was pregnant; by the time she had given birth, the witchcraft crisis had died down, and she was later acquitted and released. Because she was not included in her husband's will, she was left destitute for many years, although the family was later reimbursed for ₤150 in 1711.

Document: Testimony
Date: 1692 April 4
Accusers: Samuel Parris, Nathaniel Ingersoll, and Thomas Putman

Document: Testimony (Positive)
Date: 1692 August 5
Accuser: William Rayment, Jr.

 

Mary Toothaker*

Mary Toothaker's husband, the doctor Roger Toothaker, was accused and imprisoned for witchcraft in May 1692, for afflicting Elizabeth Hubbard, Ann Putnam, Jr., and Mary Walcott. He was sent to prison in Boston, where he died on June 16th, of apparently natural causes. After his arrest, Mary Toothaker and her daughter, Margaret, were also accused and imprisoned in the Salem jail. Mary's sister, Martha Carrier, was condemned by the court and hanged on August 10, 1692, but Mary and her daughter were tried and found not guilty in January of 1693. Mary was subsequently killed in an Abenaki or Pennacook raid on her hometown of Billerica in 1695.

Document: Examination and Confession
Date: 1692 July 30
Accusers: Bartholomew Gedney, John Hathorne, Jonathan Corwin, and John Higginson

 

Johanna Tyler*

Johanna Tyler, age 11, was accused of witchcraft along with her sisters, Hannah and Martha, and their mother, Mary Lovett Tyler, on September 7, 1692. Her confessional testimony stands out as one of the more detailed descriptions of alleged witchcraft given by a child during the Salem trials. Tyler was later released with her immediate family.

Document: Examination
Date: 1692 September 16
Accusers: John Higginson and Thomas Wade

 

Mercy Wardwell*

19-year-old Mercy Wardwell's father, Samuel Wardwell, was convicted of witchcraft and later hanged on September 22, 1692. Mercy was imprisoned shortly after her father's arrest, on charges of afflicting Martha Sprague, Rose Foster, and Timothy Swan. Her mother, Sarah Wardwell, and half-sister, Sarah Hawks, Jr., would also be charged. Mercy confessed on September 15, 1692. She was never tried, and was released after the court dissolved in October.

Document: Examination
Date: 1692 September 4
Accusers: Bartholomew Gedney, John Hathorne, Jonathan Corwin, and John Higginson

 

Sarah Wardwell*

Wife of the condemned Samuel Wardwell, Sarah was arrested shortly after her husband, in August 1692. She took her infant daughter Rebecca with her to jail, and her daughters Mercy Wardwell and Sarah Hawks were also accused and imprisoned. Wardwell was examined on September 1, 1692 and subsequently confessed, implicating Ann Foster and Martha Carrier. She and her daughters were in jail when her husband was hanged on September 22, 1692. Sheriff George Corwin meanwhile confiscated large amounts of the Wardwells' property, as well as property in Lynn that had belonged to Sarah's first husband. She was tried and found guilty on January 2, 1693, but would later be pardoned.

Document: Confession
Date: 1692 September 4
Accusers: Bartholomew Gedney, John Hathorne, Jonathan Corwin, and John Higginson

 

Sarah Wilds/Willes*

Sarah Wilds (née Averill) was 65 years old at the time of the Salem trials. Before her marriage to John Wilds in 1663, she had been censured for "too great intimacy with Thomas Wardell," and for the lesser offense of wearing a silk scarf, facts that may have lent her a poor reputation in the conservative Puritan community. The Wilds also feuded with the Gould family of Salem, who happened to be good friends with the Putnam accusers. These factors may have hastened Wilds' denunciation by Thomas Putnam, Jr. and John Buxton, who alleged that she had afflicted Ann Putnam, Jr., Mercy Lewis, and Mary Walcott. Other signatories also testified against her during the trials, including Humphrey Clark, Thomas Dorman, John Andrew, John Gould, Zacheus Perkins, Elizabeth Symonds, Nathaniel Ingersoll, and the Rev. John Hale. After several weeks of imprisonment in the Boston jail, Wilds was executed by hanging in Salem on July 19, 1692.

Further documents in this case can be found in the Related Materials section below.

Document: Testimony
Date: 1692 April 22
Accusers: Nathaniel Ingersoll and Thomas Putnam

RELATED MATERIALS IN THE NEHH ARCHIVE

Danvers, Mass. First Church, 1689-1845

The First Church of Danvers was founded in 1672 when a group of farmers who lived quite a distance from the Salem meetinghouse, of which they were members, petitioned for permission to erect a meetinghouse of their own. This collection contains the early records of the Danvers church, including records pertaining to membership, vital statistics, and church meetings. Of particular note are records pertaining to the confession and trial of Martha Corey (alternatively spelled Kory and Cory) in regards to the witchcraft controversy in Salem.

 

Salem, Mass. First Church, 1629-1843

The First Church of Salem, founded in 1629, was one of the first churches organized in New England. Salem's church, however, was the first truly Congregational parish with governance by church members. Notable founding members included Roger Conant, the founder of Salem, and John Endicott, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Various members were involved in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, including the daughter of the church's pastor, Rev. Samuel Parris, and the junior minister, Rev. Nicholas Noyes. Parishioners Rebecca Nurse and Giles Corey, who were excommunicated and executed during the trials, were formerly full members of the First Church, Corey having been admitted one year prior in 1691. Both victims were posthumously readmitted in 1712.

MATERIALS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

These documents are organized alphabetically by the last name of the accused, and then in chronological order for each case. Links to the digitized records are provided for each individual.

 

George Burroughs

The only minister to be executed for witchcraft in American history, Rev. Burroughs was arrested on April 30th after members of the Putnam family, with whom he had already been embroiled in a lawsuit, testified against him for the crime of witchcraft. He was found guilty, owing in part to his perceived preternatural strength, and hanged on August 19, 1692. Burroughs was executed despite reciting the Lord's Prayer without error—something a witch was not thought to be capable of doing. Cotton Mather, minister from Boston and proponent of the witch trials, was instrumental in urging Burroughs' execution despite the reluctance of sympathetic onlookers.

Document: Indictment (3rd) at UVA
Date: Undated
Accusers: Ann Putnam, Mary Wolcott, Elizabeth Hubbard, and Mary Warren

Document: Testimony at UVA
Date: 1692 April 30
Accusers: Jonathan Walcott and Thomas Putnam

Document: Testimony at UVA
Date: 1692 May 9
Accusers: John Putnam, Sr. and Rebecca Putnam

 

Martha Corey

The devout 72-year-old Martha Corey was accused of witchcraft in March of 1692, to the surprise of many in the village. A steadfast churchgoer, Corey did not believe in the existence of witches and witchcraft, and her vocal criticism of the accusers may have been the reason she was targeted. She was found guilty based on the testimony of members of the Putnam family and several others. During Corey's trial the accusing children, such as Ann Putnam Jr. and Mercy Lewis, claimed the "witch" was inflicting pain on them and demonstrated violent fits. Corey was found guilty and hanged on September 22, 1692, three days after her husband Giles Corey, also charged with witchcraft, had been pressed to death for refusing to enter a plea.

Document: Examination at UVA
Date: 1692 March 21
Accusers: John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin

Document: Testimony at UVA
Date: 1692 May 31
Accuser: Ann Putnam, Sr.

 

Abigail Hobbs

17 year-old Abigail Hobbs was accused of witchcraft along with her parents in April 1692, by Mercy Lewis. Lewis, like the Hobbs, was a refugee from the dangerous Maine frontier. The Hobbs family had come to Salem to escape Wabenaki raids in Casco, ME, and during the witchcraft crisis were living on the outskirts of Salem Village. They were not church members, and their daughter Abigail had gained a reputation for roaming the forests at night, for mocking the institution of baptism by sprinkling water on her mother’s head, and for reciting the sacrament. After her arrest on April 18, 1692, Hobbs professed her innocence, but was eventually pressured into confessing that she had afflicted Mercy Lewis. However, Hobbs and her family avoided execution when the witchcraft proceedings died down in October 1692.

Document: Indictment (1st) at UVA
Date: 1692 September 10
Accusers: Mercy Lewis, Mary Walcott, Elizabeth Hubbard, and Ann Putnam

Document: Indictment (2nd) at UVA
Date: 1692 September 10
Accusers: Unsigned

 

Elizabeth How/Howe

Elizabeth How's involvement in the witchcraft crisis began ten years prior to the official trials of Salem. In 1682, a young girl from Topsfield named Hannah Trumble began experiencing fits and accused How of making her ill through witchcraft. How's reputation was irreparably damaged, and she was refused admittance to Ipswich Church. When the troubles began in Salem in 1692, How was again accused, this time of afflicting Mary Walcott and Abigail Willams. Their testimony was corroborated by Mercy Lewis, Mary Warren, Ann Putnam, Jr., and several others in the town. How was arraigned in the first Salem trial on June 30, 1692, and, despite fervent support from family and friends, was found guilty and sentenced to death. She was executed along with Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Good, Sarah Wilds, and Susannah Martin on July 19th at Gallows Hill, Salem.

A later document in her case can be found in the NEHH section above.

Document: Testimony at UVA
Date: 1692 June 30
Accuser: Nehemiah Abbot, Sr.

 

John Lee

John Lee is mentioned in Elizabeth Fuller's deposition, in which he is said to have boasted "that he had laid one of Mr. Clairke's hogs fast aslepe." He was, however, never formally accused.

Document: Testimony at UVA
Date: Undated
Accuser: Elizabeth Fuller

 

Rebecca Nurse

Elderly and pious Rebecca Nurse was accused of witchcraft along with her two younger sisters, Sarah Towne Cloyce and Mary Towne Easty. Nurse, her husband, Francis, and their eight children were a highly respected churchgoing family, but had been involved in land disputes with the Putnams, which is likely the reason Nurse was targeted. Edward and John Putnam testified against her for the crime of witchcraft and a warrant was issued for her arrest on March 23, 1692.

There was a sizeable outpouring of support and positive testimony for Nurse. The jury initially ruled her "not guilty" but were immediately pressured to reconsider, and brought in a guilty verdict and death sentence. The Governor of Massachusetts Bay, Sir William Phips, intervened to pardon Nurse, but was also persuaded to reverse his decision by several of the Salem Village patriarchs. Nurse was subsequently excommunicated from her Salem church and executed by hanging on July 19, 1692. Her sister Mary Easty was later also found guilty and executed in September 1692.

Document: Testimony (Positive) at UVA
Date: 1692 March 24
Accusers: Elizabeth Porter and Israel Porter

Document: Testimony (Positive) at UVA
Date: 1692 March 24
Accuser: Peter Cloyse

Document: Testimony (Positive) at UVA
Date: 1692 March 24
Accuser: Daniel Andrew

Document: Testimony at UVA
Date: 1692 May 31
Accuser: Ann Putnam, Sr.

 

Mary Parker

Mary Parker of Andover was a rich widow in charge of two hundred acres of land inherited from her late husband, Nathan Parker. She had no known disputes with anyone in Andover or Salem, but was named in William Barker, Jr.'s confession testimony and accused of afflicting Sarah Phelps, Hannah Bigsby, and Martha Sprague with witchcraft. She was examined on September 2, 1692, whereupon several "afflicted girls" present fell into fits and accused her of harming them. Parker was tried on September 16th and executed shortly afterwards on September 22nd. There have been several theories posited to explain her seemingly random accusation; these include confusion with another woman of the same name in Andover, or perhaps a vendetta against the Parkers by the presiding officer in the trial, Thomas Chandler, who was previously a family friend.

Document: Indictment at UVA
Date: 1692 September 16
Accusers: Unsigned

 

John Proctor

Successful farmer and tavern-owner John Proctor first butted heads with the Salem accusers during the arrest and trial of elderly Rebecca Nurse, who he believed was falsely accused. Mary Warren, a servant of the Proctors, subsequently began experiencing fits and accused Giles Corey of afflicting her, a claim of which Proctor was also highly critical, threatening to beat the girl if the fits continued. On April 8, 1692, Jonathan Walcott and Nathaniel Ingersoll officially accused John's wife, Elizabeth, of witchcraft. During Elizabeth's trial, John Proctor railed further against the perceived machinations of the accusers. As a result, they also accused him, and he was subsequently arrested.

On July 23, Proctor and other accused inmates wrote a letter to the sympathetic clergy of Boston, urging them to intervene in the Salem trials. The letter included allegations of torture and forced confessions. Ultimately the clergymen did intervene, but not before Proctor himself was hanged on August 5, 1692. Several of his relatives were also arrested but not executed, including his children Benjamin, William, and Sarah.

Document: Testimony at UVA
Date: 1692 April 11
Accuser: Joseph Pope

 

Sarah Wilds/Willes

Sarah Wilds (née Averill) was 65 years old at the time of the Salem trials. Before her marriage to John Wilds in 1663, she had been censured for "too great intimacy with Thomas Wardell," and for the lesser offense of wearing a silk scarf, facts which may have lent her a poor reputation in the conservative Puritan community. The Wilds also feuded with the Gould family of Salem, who happened to be good friends with the Putnam accusers. These factors may have hastened Wilds' denunciation by Thomas Putnam, Jr. and John Buxton, who alleged that she had afflicted Ann Putnam, Jr., Mercy Lewis, and Mary Walcott. Other signatories also testified against her during the trials, including Humphrey Clark, Thomas Dorman, John Andrew, John Gould, Zacheus Perkins, Elizabeth Symonds, Nathaniel Ingersoll, and the Rev. John Hale. After several weeks of imprisonment in the Boston jail, Wilds was executed by hanging in Salem on July 19, 1692.

Document: Testimony at UVA
Date: 1692 April 22
Accusers: Nathaniel Ingersoll and Thomas Putnam

Document: Indictment at UVA
Date: 1692 June 30
Accusers: Mercy Lewis, Ann Putnam, and Mary Wolcott

Document: Testimony at UVA
Date: 1692 June 30
Accuser: John Andrew

Document: Testimony at UVA
Date: 1692 June 30
Accuser: Ann Putnam, Jr.

Document: Testimony at UVA
Date: 1692 June 30
Accuser: Mary Walcott

Document: Testimony at UVA
Date: 1692 July 2
Accuser: Humphrey Clark

Document: Testimony at UVA
Date: 1692 July 2
Accuser: Thomas Dorman

Document: Testimony at UVA
Date: 1692 July 2
Accuser: John Gould

Document: Testimony at UVA
Date: 1692 July 2
Accuser: John Hale

Document: Testimony at UVA
Date: 1692 July 2
Accuser: Zacheus Perkins

Document: Testimony at UVA
Date: 1692 July 2
Accuser: Elizabeth Symonds

 

Other

Document: Account of Jailkeeper at UVA
Date: 1692-3
Author: William Dounlon

MORE RESOURCES FOR RESEARCHING THE SALEM WITCH TRIALS

This digital resource has been made possible in part by the Council on Library and Information Resources, through a Digitizing Hidden Collections grant. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this resource do not necessarily represent those of the Council on Library and Information Resources.