Salem Witch Trials Timeline

Back to: The Salem, Massachusetts Witchcraft Hysteria

About February 24, 1692 – Doctor Griggs, who attends to the “afflicted girls”, suggests that witchcraft may be the cause of their strange behavior. Their behavior is remarkably similar to that of Martha Goodwin in 1688, which is described in Cotton Mather’s book, Memorable Providences.

Late February, 1692 – Prayer services and community fasting were conducted by Reverend Samuel Parris in hopes of relieving the evil forces that plagued them.

February 25, 1692 – Mary Sibley, a neighbor of the Parris family, tells John Indian, the husband of Tituba, the recipe to make a “witch cake” of rye meal and the girls’ urine to feed to a dog in order to discover who is bewitching the girls, according to English folk “white magic” practices.

February 26, 1692 – Pressured by ministers and townspeople to say who caused their odd behavior, Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams identify Tituba, a slave in the Parris household. The girls later also accuse Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne of witchcraft.

February 27, 1692 – Ann Putnam, Jr. and Elizabeth Hubbard, who is a ward of Doctor Griggs, also begins to experience torments and blame Sarah Good, a local homeless mother and beggar, and Sarah Osborne, who was in a legal dispute with the Putnams.

February 29, 1692 – Based on formal complaints from Joseph Hutchinson, Thomas Putnam, Jr, Edward Putnam and Thomas Preston, Magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin issue warrants to arrest Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and Tituba for afflicting Elizabeth Parris, Abigail Williams, Ann Putnam, Jr.. and Elizabeth Hubbard.

March 1–March 7, 1692 – Over the course of several days, Magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin examine Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne for signs of witchcraft. Tituba confesses to practicing witchcraft and confirms Good and Osborne are her co- conspirators.

March, 1692 – Philip English, a wealthy Salem Towne merchant and businessman of French background, was appointed a selectman in Salem Towne.

Mary Warren, a servant in the home of Elizabeth and John Proctor, began also having fits like the other girls were having.

The Witch

The Witch, by Joseph E. Baker in 1892.

March 12, 1692 – Ann Putnam, Jr. accuses Martha Corey of witchcraft.

March 19. 1692 – Abigail Williams denounces Rebecca Nurse as a witch.

March 21, 1692 – Martha Corey is arrested and examined by Magistrates Hathorne and Corwin.

March 22, 1692 – A local delegation visited Rebecca Nurse at home.

March 23, 1692 – An arrest warrant was issued for Rebecca Nurse.

March 24, 1692 – Salem Deputy Marshal Samuel Braybrook arrests four-year-old Dorcas Good. She is examined the same day by Magistrates Corwin and Hathorne.

March 26, 1692 – Magistrates Hathorne and Corwin, along with the Reverend John Higginson, again  question four year-old Dorcas Good, now in jail.

Mercy Lewis accuses Elizabeth Proctor of afflicting her through her specter. A few days later, Abigail Williams joins her in the accusations, also accusing Elizabeth’s husband, John Proctor.

March 30, 1692 – In Ipswich, Rachel Clinton is accused by her neighbors of witchcraft and was examined by local magistrates there. None of the girls involved in the Salem Village accusations were involved in her case.

April, 1692 – More than 50 men in Ipswich, Topsfield and Salem Village signed petitions declaring that they did not believe spectral evidence about John and Elizabeth Proctor nor did they believe they could be witches.

April 3, 1692 – Sarah Cloyce, after defending her sister, Rebecca Nurse, is accused of witchcraft.

April 8, 1692 – An arrest warrant was issued for Elizabeth Proctor and Sarah Cloyce.

April 10, 1692 – At Sunday meeting in Salem Village, interruptions by the “afflicted girls” are said to caused  by the specter of Sarah Cloyce.

April 11, 1692 – Hathorne and Corwin examine Sarah Cloyce and Elizabeth Proctor. On the same day Elizabeth’s husband, John, who protested the examination of his wife, becomes the first man accused of witchcraft and is incarcerated.

April 13, 1692 – Ann Putnam, Jr. accuses Giles Corey of witchcraft and alleges that a man who died at Corey’s house also haunts her.

On about April 13th, the Proctors’ servant and accuser, Mary Warren, admits lying and accuses the other accusing girls of lying.

April 14, 1692 – Mercy Lewis claims that Giles Corey had appeared to her and forced her to sign the devil’s book.

Mary English was visited at midnight by Sheriff George Corwin with an arrest warrant, and told him to come back and arrest her in the morning, which he did.

April 16, 1692 – New accusations were made against Bridget Bishop.

April 19, 1692 – Abigail Hobbs, Bridget Bishop, Giles Corey and Mary Warren are examined by Magistrates Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne. Deliverance Hobbs confesses to practicing witchcraft. Abigail Hobbs accuses Giles Corey, who maintained his innocence. Mary Warren reverses her statement made that she had lied about her accusations and rejoins the accusers.

April 21, 1692 – A warrant was issued for the arrest of Sarah Wildes, William Hobbs, Deliverance Hobbs, Nehemiah Abbot, Jr., Mary Easty, Edward Bishop Jr., Sarah Bishop (wife of Edward Bishop Jr.), Mary Black, and Mary English, based on accusations of Ann Putnam, Jr., Mercy Lewis and Mary Walcott.

April 22, 1692 – Mary Easty, another of Rebecca Nurse’s sisters who defended her, is examined by Hathorne and Corwin. Hathorne and Corwin also examine Nehemiah Abbot, Jr., William and Deliverance Hobbs, Edward and Sarah Bishop, Mary Black, Sarah Wildes, and Mary English. Only Nehemiah Abbot, Jr. was cleared of charges.

April 24, 1692 – Susanna Sheldon accused Philip English of tormenting her through witchcraft. William Beale, who had sparred with English in 1690 in a lawsuit about land claims, also accused English of having something to do with the deaths of Beale’s two sons.

April 30, 1692 – Several girls accuse former Salem Village minister George Burroughs of witchcraft, saying that he is at the center of the witchcraft outbreak.

Arrest warrants were issued for Dorcas Hoar, Lydia Dustin, Reverend George Burroughs, Susannah Martin, Sarah Murrell and Philip English. English was not found until late May, at which time he and his wife were jailed in Boston.

1 thought on “Salem Witch Trials Timeline”

  1. As an eighth generation descendant of The Putnams of Salem Village, I am deeply disturbed by the manipulation of personal disagreements that used ‘religion’ and a general worldwide witch hysteria, to attempt to disrupt civil questions. It’s easy looking back to see the power that Puritans assigned to their religion, and to see the strong control persons with money were able to utilize to bend the church and local government to their will. I am sorry for the role my ancestors played in this ugly period of history in our struggle to eventually win independence from European monarchies. And I am alarmed to see President Trump and Republicans fall back into government by monarchy.

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