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327 years ago On this day in history: August 19, 1692, five individuals were executed by hanging on charges of witchcraft in the Salem Witch Trials hysteria. This day of execution marked a turning point, as now four men and only one woman were executed. In the past, it had all been women hanged as witches. George Burroughs, Martha Carrier, George Jacobs Sr., John Proctor and John Willard were all found guilty by the court of Oyer and Terminer on August 5, 1692 and sentenced to death by hanging. The court had been previously established by the governor of Massachusetts, William Phipps. The use of spectral evidence was highly questionable, even in the 1690s. Keep reading for further details on the five victims: Reverend George Burroughs: On April 30, 1692, Capt Jonathan Walcott and Thomas Putnam of Salem Village filed a complaint of witchcraft against George Burroughs, as well as five other people, on behalf of the afflicted girls Mary Walcott, Mercy Lewis, Abigail Williams, Ann Putnam, Jr, Susannah Sheldon, and Elizabeth Hubbard. It is not known why exactly Burroughs was accused but it may have been due to left over resentment from his time as the minister in Salem Village as well as his legal troubles with the Putnam family. An arrest warrant was issued for Burroughs that day in Portsmouth, NH and was ordered to be carried out by Major Elisha Hutchinson and Field Marshal Jonathan Partridge. The act of arresting Burroughs in the distant Wells, Maine required the acting lawmen to be discreet out of fear that Burroughs might be tipped off and escape. At his execution, Burroughs shockingly recited the Lords prayer without error, therefore proving his innocence. However, it was Cotton Mather who stepped in and said “do not be fooled, for the devil speaks through his tongue”. Burroughs was turned out from the ladder, and hanged after he just proved that he was not a witch. https://historyofmassachusetts.org/reverend-george-burroughs-salem/ Martha Carrier: Martha Carrier was a woman from Andover who was accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials. On May 28, 1692, Joseph Houlton and John Walcott filed a complaint against Martha Carrier, Elizabeth Fosdick, Wilmot Redd, Sarah Rice, Elizabeth Howe, John Alden, William Proctor, John Flood, Arthur Abott and Martha Carrier’s sister, Mary Toothaker, and Mary’s daughter Martha Emerson. Carrier was arrested that same day by Andover constable John Ballard and taken to jail. During the examination, Abigail Williams, Elizabeth Hubbard, Susannah Sheldon, Mary Walcott, and Ann Putnam Jr, accused Carrier of hurting them and trying to force them to sign the Devil’s book, which Carrier denied, according to court records. After afflicted girl Mercy Lewis fell into a violent fit, the judges ordered Martha Carrier’s feet and hands to be bound by a rope to prevent her from hurting them any further, after which the court transcriber, who many historians believe was Samuel Parris, wrote in the court record: “Note. As soon as she was well bound they all had strange & sudden ease”. https://historyofmassachusetts.org/martha-carrier-salem/ George Jacobs, Sr.: George Jacobs, Sr, was a farmer who was accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Not only was Jacobs, Sr, accused but so was his son, George Jacobs, Jr, daughter-in-law, Rebecca Jacobs and granddaughter, Margaret Jacobs. Jacobs was an elderly man During Jacobs’ examination, he repeatedly declared himself innocent and even asked the judges how they could believe the charges against him It is not clear where Jacobs’ first examination was held but he had a second examination the following day at Beadle’s Tavern in Salem town, during which the afflicted girls had fits and Ann Putnam stated that Jacobs’ spirit had confessed to her that he had been a witch for 40 years. Jacobs continued to declare his innocence, even though the magistrate made it clear that he considered Jacobs guilty. When the magistrate asked if it was Jacobs who had recently created a disturbance at a lecture in Salem he denied it and asked the judge if he thought he was guilty. Ultimately, Jacob’s granddaughter would testify that he was a witch, and he was hanged The very next day, she recanted her testimony. https://historyofmassachusetts.org/george-jacobs-sr-salem/ John Proctor: When the witchcraft hysteria first began in Salem village in the winter of 1692, Proctor became an outspoken opponent of the trials and stated to many that the afflicted girls, who had been accusing many of the villagers of witchcraft, were frauds and liars. When Proctor’s own young servant, Mary Warren, began having fits and behaving strangely in March of 1692, Proctor beat the girl in an attempt to get her to behave. After her fits suddenly stopped on April 2, Warren tacked a note on the door of the local meetinghouse asking for prayers of thanks for this development. Members of the congregation questioned Warren about the note the following day, during which she stated “the afflicted persons did but dissemble.” Although it is not clear what she meant by this, the congregation took it to mean that the afflicted girls were lying. After Proctor left home on business a few days later, Warren’s fits returned and she joined the witch trials as a witness. It wasn’t until Proctor’s wife Elizabeth, who was pregnant at the time, was accused of witchcraft on April 4 and examined in court, that John’s own witchcraft accusations came out. It was during Elizabeth’s examination that her accusers began to shift their focus from Elizabeth to her husband as well as to Mary Warren, according to court records. https://historyofmassachusetts.org/john-proctor-first-male-accused-witch/ John Willard: John Willard was a deputy constable in Salem who was accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. According to Robert Calef in his book, More Wonders of the Invisible World, Willard was a constable who was in charge of arresting accused witches but at some point had his doubts about the legitimacy of the accusations and quit his job in protest. After Willard quit his job, he soon found himself accused of witchcraft by Ann Putnam, Jr., at the end of April. She later claimed, during his trial, that his spirit had appeared at her home several times in late April and tormented her and tried to get her to touch the Devil’s book. https://historyofmassachusetts.org/john-willard-salem/ Source: history of Massachusetts blog
Hi everyone! Sorry if I haven’t posted as much Salem info lately, but I’ve had a good reason! For the past week, I’ve been traveling through Europe by train. I flew from Boston to London, then went to Paris, Nice, Monaco, Milan, Venice and I’m currently in Prague. Tomorrow I’ll be heading to Germany to study some of the witch trials that went on in Bavaria. I’ll have lots more information to share when I return. I want to thank my amazing team for running the show while I’ve been gone. Suzanne, Paige, Katie and Derek, you guys are the best! I can’t thank you enough! ❤️ Beth, Owner, Witch City Walking Tours Here are some highlights from my trip:
Pretty cool! 👻
Pretty cool! 🦇
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