Mary Walcott (1675-1752) - The cousin of
Ann Putnam Jr., Mary Walcott was
a regular witness in the witch
trials of Salem, Massachusetts. Mary was born to Jonathan Walcott, Captain
of the Salem Village Militia, and Mary Sibley Walcott on July 5, 1675.
When Mary was young, her mother died and her father married Deliverance
Putnam, thus making him the brother-in-law of Thomas Putnam, Jr., who was not
only one of the most powerful men in the village, but, also one of the
aunt was Mary Sibley Woodrow, who decided to try some white magic to fend
off the evil powers in the village. She had shown Tituba and her husband,
John Indian, slaves of the Reverend Samuel Parris, how to make the "witch
cake" to discover witches that resulted in
Elizabeth Parris and
Abigail Williams making their first accusations. For this advice, Mary Sibley
Woodrow was suspended from the church; but, was later reinstated after she
made a confession that her purpose was innocent. In the meantime, her 17
year-old niece, Mary Walcott, had gotten caught up in the whole witch hunt
the trials, while Mary Walcott was not the most notorious of the accusers, her
role in the Salem witch trials was by no means minimal. She was said to
have been calm in the beginning, but later, critics accused her of being a
witch herself, who foiled her potential adversaries by distracting their
attention away from herself onto innocent persons. However, Mary was never
indicted for this accusation.
When the trials were over she married Isaac Farrar on April 29, 1696 and
they eventually moved to Townsend, Massachusetts. They had eight children.
She died in 1752 at the age of 77.
Mary Warren (1671?-??) - Born twenty-one
years before the Salem Witch Trials began, Mary Warren was the oldest of
the "afflicted" girls and became one of the most rigorous accusers. She
also became a defender and confessor, a unique role among the accusing
girls of Salem Village.
parents and sister died early in her life, forcing her to become a
servant. She was employed as a servant in the house of John and Elizabeth
Proctor, who lived on the outskirts of Salem in what is now known as
Peabody. The Proctors were
opponents of the trials and thought that the accusers should be
punished. In early March 1692, Warren began to have fits, saying she saw
the specter of Giles Corey. John Proctor told her she was just seeing his
shadow, and put her to work at the spinning wheel, threatening to beat her
if she had any more fits. For some time, she did not report any more
sightings, but she started to have fits again in his absence. Warren was
kept hard at work at the Proctor home and was told that if she ran into
fire or water during one of her fits, she would not be rescued. After her
"fits" stopped, she posted a note at the Meeting House to request prayers
of thanks. That very night, Mary said that Elizabeth’s spirit woke her to
torment her about posting of the note. On April 3, 1692, Samuel Parris
read Mary’s note to the church members, who began to question Mary after
the Sunday services. In her answers, she introduced the possibility of
fraud on the part of the accusing girls when she stated that they "did but
dissemble." Mary told them she felt better now and could tell the
difference between reality and visions.
other "afflicted" girls then became angry with Mary and began to accuse
her of being a witch. A formal complaint was filed on April 18, 1692 and
she was examined. During her testimony, she was contradictory, telling the
high court that all the girls were lying, but continuing to have fits
herself. She then confessed to witchcraft and began to accuse various
people, including the Proctors. She was released from jail in June, 1692. Her
life after the trials is unknown.
(1680-??) The 11 year-old niece of the Reverend Samuel Parris, she
and her cousin, Elizabeth
"Betty" Parris, were the first "afflicted girls" of the
Salem witch trials. Abigail was born on July 12, 1680 but who her parents
were remains unknown. Though she was always known as the "niece" of Samuel
Parris, this may or may not have been true; but, she probably was some
sort of relative.
During the winter of 1691, she and her cousin, Betty Parris, began to
undertake experiments in fortune telling, mostly focusing on their future
social status and potential husbands. They were quick to share their game
with other young girls in the area, even though the practice of fortune
telling, was regarded as a demonic activity. By January, 1692, Nine
year-old Betty Parris began to exhibit hysterics and Abigail soon followed
suit. Her uncle, Samuel Parris soon called in a doctor to determine whether or not these
afflictions were medical. The physician, William Griggs, had difficulties
understanding the actions of the two young girls. Griggs believed it was
not a medical issue, rather, he suggested it must be witchcraft. According
to Reverend Deodat Lawson, an eyewitness, she and Betty began
to have fits in which they ran around rooms flailing their arms, ducking
under chairs and trying to climb up the chimney.
She and her cousin, Betty, were
the first two accusers in the Salem Witch trials of 1692. On February 29th, 1692, three women
were arrested for suspicion of witchcraft: Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and
the Parris slave, Tituba. They were all found guilty, but, the only one to
confess was Tituba. Since the other two women did not confess, Good was
hanged, and Osborne died in prison. Tituba was luckily released out of
jail a year later, when an unknown person paid her fees for release.
Abigail and Betty’s accusations of innocent people rapidly spread
throughout Salem and nearby villages. Abigail gave formal testimony at
least seven cases, and she was involved in as many as 17 capital cases,
leading to the death of several innocent people.
As the witch trials were coming to an end, Abigail ran away from Salem. It
is not certain what happened to her, but rumor has it that she fled to a
city somewhere along the east coast and resorted to prostitution for
survival. One reference stated that she "apparently died before the end of
1697, if not sooner, no older than seventeen. "
of America, July, 2012.