Jr. (1657-1722) - John Putnam was referred to as "John, Jr." in
the witch trial documents to differentiate him from his uncle, by the
same name. He was born to
Nathaniel Putman and Elizabeth Hutchinson
Putnam on March 26, 1657 in
Salem Village. He would marry Hannah Cutler
on December 2, 1678 and the couple would have 15 children. John and his
large family lived on a farm in Salem Village that was located west of Hathorne's Hill near the Ipswich river. His cousins, Thomas and
Edward Putnam lived nearby. For unknown reasons he had the nickname of
"Carolina John." John was appointed to several minor political positions
and also worked as a road surveyor. During the witchcraft excitement, he
was serving as a constable in Salem Village.
He and his first cousin, Edward Putnam,
signed the complaint that put Rebecca Towne Nurse behind bars, as well
as the complaint against four year-old
Dorcas Good. Along with other
members of his family he would also swear out complaints and testify
against numerous other people including
Martha Allen Carrier,
Giles Corey, Bridget Bishop, Mary Easty, Sarah Cloyce, and many others.
During the trial of Rebecca Nurse, Mary Easty , and Sarah Cloyce, he
would give a deposition blaming the death of their eight week old child,
who appeared to be having fits, on witchcraft. In the same deposition he
would also say that he, too, had been afflicted and was taken by a
strange type of fit. Later, when the whole witch affair was over,
several of the wronged members of the church met at his home in 1698,
where the majority agreed to live and "love together." This was just one
week after the ordination of the Reverend Joseph Green. Putnam died in
September, 1722 in Salem Village.
Sr. (1627-1710) - Referred to as "John, Sr." in the witch trial
documents to differentiate his testimonies from those of his
nephew's, this John Putnam was the son of the original patriarch, John
Putnam and his wife, Elizabeth Gould Putnam. He had a son named John,
but he had already died by the time of the witch trials. He also had a
son named Johnathan, who does appear in the trial documents. John Putnam
was christened on May 27, 1627 in Aston Abbotts, Bucks, England and
immigrated to the
Massachusetts Bay Colony with his parents in about
1634. He married Rebecca Prince on September 3, 1652. The two settled in
Salem Village and would have ten children. Before 1673, he and his
brother Nathaniel invested in an ironworks on lands they owned in nearby
Rowley. When the financially-troubled enterprise burned in 1674, they
sued the managers for negligence.
The Putnams were active in the village
church and in 1683, when the
Reverend George Burroughs' salary was halted
for his services, he simply stopped meeting his congregation and left for
Maine. The Salem Village committee, which included John Putnam, Sr.,
threatened to sue him for leaving his post. Being a man of honor,
Burroughs returned to Salem Village to settle accounts, which included
money owned to him as well as debts he owed to others of the community.
Upon his return, he was threatened for arrest on a complaint made by
John Putnam. Though it was found that Burroughs did not owe Putnam any
money, he spent one night in jail. The next day, the moneys owed to
Burroughs were paid and he in turn, paid his debts. Obviously there was
some bad blood between the pair, that would later rise again almost a
When the witch accusations began in 1692,
one of the first to be accused was
Sarah Warren Prince
Osborne, with whom the Putnams were in a legal battle with.
Sarah, who had previously been married to Robert Prince, thought to have
been John's wife's brother, had remarried after her first husband died
and was allegedly attempting to take over her sons inheritance. The
powerful Putnams had stepped in to save their nephews, James and Joseph
Prince, from being cheated. Osborne would die in prison just a few months later. He and his
wife, Rebecca, would also testify against the Reverend George Burroughs,
who would be hanged on August 19, 1692. He would also give depositions
against Rebecca Towne Nurse,
Martha Allen Carrier,
and John Williard, all of whom would be executed. The only person that
he gave testimony against, that didn't see the end of a noose, was
Sarah Smith Buckley.
John Putnam died on April 7, 1710.
(1658-1739) - Born to to John Putnam and Rebecca Prince Putnam on
March 17, 1658 in Salem Village, Jonathan would grow up to marry
Elizabeth Whipple in about 1681. Elizabeth died either while she was
giving birth to her only child or, shortly thereafter in August, 1682.
Her son died a few months later. Jonathan then married Lydia Potter in
1683 and the couple would eventually have nine children. Jonathan Putnam
built a house, not far from his father's on the Topsfield road. He was a
successful farmer and active in the community, chosen to the grand jury
in 1683, and as a highway surveyor the following year. He also served as
a selectman for a number of years. Serving in the Salem Militia, he rose
to the rank of Captain. Like his father and other members of his family,
they saw it their duty to protect their nephews from Sarah Warren Prince
Osborne, who they claimed was cheating their nephews out
their inheritance. When the witch hysteria broke out in 1692, Sarah
was one of the first to be accused. Jonathan would testify against her,
as well as Mary Easty, Rebecca Nurse,
John Williard and
Putnam (1619-1700) - The son of the original patriarch, John
Putnam and his wife, Elizabeth Gould Putnam, Nathaniel was baptized on October 11, 1619,
at Aston Abbotts, Bucks, England. He immigrated with his parents to the
Massachusetts Bay Colony in about 1634. He married Elizabeth Hutchinson
in 1650 and the two would have seven children. For years, Nathaniel
joined his neighbors in trying to make Salem Village independent from
Salem Towne. In addition to wanting the village to have its own church,
he also protested that Salem Towne was too far away for its men to be
expected to share in mandatory guard duty there. Because he was so
outspoken, in 1669 a Salem court ordered him to apologize publicly or
pay a fine of £20. When Salem Village built its own church in 1672 he
served on the building committee.
Before 1673, he and his brother John
invested in an ironworks on lands they owned in nearby Rowley. When the
financially-troubled enterprise burned in 1674, they sued the managers
for negligence. In 1681, Nathaniel was second in wealth only to his
brother Thomas, and lived on a 75 acre spread he had acquired from his
father-in-law Richard Hutchinson. In 1886, after his brother, Thomas,
died, he became head of the prominent Putnam family. During the
witchcraft hysteria of 1692, he signed complaints against Elizabeth Fosdick and Elizabeth Paine, and would also serve as a witness against
John Willard and Sarah Buckley. Nathaniel died on July 23, 1700 in
Thomas Putnam, Jr. (1651-1699) -
A third generation member of Salem Village,
Thomas was a significant
accuser in the notorious 1692 Salem witch trials. He was born to
immigrant Thomas Putnam and Ann Holyoke on January 12, 1651 (or '52) in
Salem Village, Massachusetts. When he grew up, he served in the local militia
and fought in King Phillip's War (1675-1678), obtaining the rank of
sergeant. Upon returning home, he married Ann Carr, who came from a
wealthy family, on November 25, 1678. The couple would eventually have
12 children. Beginning in the 1660's, Salem Village began the process of
trying to separate itself from the larger nearby community of Salem
Towne. The Putnam family supported this effort whole heartedly. The
village finally was allowed to build its own church and hire a minister
in 1672. However, not all of Salem Village's residents supported this
idea, which would eventually split the settlement into two factions.
Heading up the group who supported the independence of Salem Village was
Thomas Putnam, Jr. Opposing him and his followers were the powerful
Porter family. Both families were early settlers of the Massachusetts
Bay Colony, both families had been successful, and both were large land
owners in Salem Village. Over time, the division of the community became
more and more heated.
Thomas Putnam, Jr. appears to have been an
embittered man for a variety of reasons. The Putnams were farmers who followed the
simple and austere lifestyle of traditional Puritans. They, along with
other farmers in Salem Village, believed that the thriving economy of
Salem Towne, and more specifically, thriving merchants, made people too
individualistic, which was in opposition to the communal nature that
Puritanism mandated. On the other hand, though the Porters derived much of their wealth from agricultural operations,
they were also entrepreneurs who developed commercial interests in Salem
Towne as well as other areas, and were active in the governmental
affairs of the larger community. Due to these differing viewpoints, the Porters'
diversified business interests allowed them to increase their family's
wealth, becoming one of the wealthiest families in the area. In the
meantime, the Putnam family wealth was stagnated.
Further adding to Putnam's issues of
"wealth" was the death of his father in 1686. Thomas, Jr.'s father and
his wife Ann Holyoke had born ten children. But, when his mother died in
childbirth in 1665, Thomas Sr. married for a second time to a woman
named Mary Veren on November 14, 1666. This union would produce one
child -- Joseph, who was born on September 14, 1669. Thomas, Jr. did not
get along well with his younger half-brother Joseph and when his father
died in 1686, he felt cheated out of his inheritance when Thomas Sr.
left almost all of his estate to his second wife Mary, and their son
Joseph. Thomas, Jr. and his brother, would contest the will, but their efforts were unsuccessful. Adding insult to injury, his
half-brother Joseph married Elizabeth Porter, the daughter of his enemy
Israel Porter, on April 21, 1690.
Ann Carr Putnam, had also been
disinherited. When her wealthy father died, she got nothing, as his
estate was given to her brothers. She also tried unsuccessfully to sue
for her inheritance. She too was embittered and also said to have been a
woman of a highly sensitive temperament. Before she had married Thomas
Putnam, she had moved to Salem with her sister, Mary. When her sister's three
children died in quick succession, followed shortly by Mary
herself in 1688, Ann's mental stability was severely shaken and she went
into a decline.
It was not long after the first of the
began to have fits, that Thomas' own daughter, Ann Putnam Jr.,
would also begin to show symptoms of having been afflicted by witch
craft. She was followed by Putman's niece,
and a servant girl who lived in the Putnam household named Mercy Lewis.
Ann Putnam, Jr.
would become the most prolific accuser in the witchcraft trials, her
name appearing over 400 times in the court documents. By the time the
hysteria was over, she had accused nineteen people, and had seen
eleven of them hanged.
Thomas Putnam, Jr. gave his daughter’s accusations legal weight in first
seeking warrants against the accused witches in February, 1692. He would
also participate by writing down the
depositions of many of the "afflicted" girls, personally swear
out a number of complaints, and write letters of encouragement to the judges. It is obvious
that Thomas Putman, Jr. had a great influence on the shape and
progression of the trials. Though he has never been accused of
deliberately setting up the hysteria, he, his family, and his friends
benefited to some extent by eliminating their enemies.
Thomas Putnam, Jr. died on May 24, 1699 in
Salem Village. Just two weeks later, on June 8th, his wife,
Ann Carr Putnam, also passed away. Their daughter, Ann Putnam Jr.,
was left to bring up their younger children.
Captain Jonathan Walcott
(1639–1699) - Born to William and Alice Ingersoll Walcott in 1639,
William grew up to wed Mary Sibley about 1664 and the couple would have
six children, one of whom was
Mary Walcott, who would later become one
of the "afflicted girls" in the witchcraft hysteria of 1692. During the
years of 1675-76, he served in King Phillip's War. Mary Sibley died on
December 28, 1683 and Captain Walcott would marry a second time to
Deliverance Putnam on April 23, 1685. Deliverance was the sister of
Thomas Putnam, Jr. The couple would have seven children. A wheelwright
by trade, Walcott also owned land next to his Uncle Nathaniel Ingersoll.
In 1690, Jonathan Walcott was elected captain of the military company at
Salem Village. His Uncle Nathaniel Ingersoll would also serve in the
Salem militia, first as a corporal, then a sergeant, and finally as a
lieutenant. When the witch hysteria broke out in 1692, he became
involved and was known to have signed many of the complaints against the
accused. He died on December 16, 1699.
Mary Walcott (1675-1752)
- The daughter of Captain Jonathan
Walcott, and the cousin of Ann Putnam Jr., Mary Walcott was
a regular witness in the witch
trials of the Salem witch trials, testifying that she was
afflicted by 59 people.
of America, updated March, 2017.