Salem Witch Trials Timeline

Back to: The Salem, Massachusetts Witchcraft Hysteria

Did You Know???

Over 150 people, most of which were women, were accused of witchcraft during the Salem witchcraft hysteria.

May 2, 1692 – Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne examine Sarah Murrell, Lydia Dustin, Susannah Martin and Dorcas Hoar.

May 3, 1692 – Sarah Murrell, Susannah Martin, Lydia Dustin and Dorcas Hoar were taken to Boston’s jail.

May 4, 1692 – Reverend George Burroughs is arrested in Maine.

May 7, 1692 – Reverend George Burroughs is returned to Salem and placed in jail.

May 9, 1692 – Corwin and Hathorne examine the Reverend George Burroughs and one of the afflicted girls, Sarah Churchill. Burroughs is moved to a Boston jail.

May 10, 1692 – Corwin and Hathorne examine George Jacobs, Sr. and his granddaughter, Margaret Jacobs.

Sarah Osborne dies in prison.

A warrant is issued for the arrest of John Willard. He attempted to flee, but was found and arrested later.

May 12, 1692 – Ann Pudeator and Alice Parker were arrested. Abigail Hobbs and Mary Warren were questioned. John Hale and John Higginson observed part of the day’s proceedings. Mary English was sent to Boston to be jailed there.

May 14, 1692 – Sir William Phips arrived in Massachusetts to take up his position as royal governor, accompanied by Increase Mather. The charter they brought also restored self-government in Massachusetts and named William Stoughton as lieutenant governor. The Salem Village witchcraft accusations, including the large and growing number of people overflowing the jails and awaiting trial, drew Phips’ attention quickly.

May 18, 1692 – John Willard was examined. For unknown reasons, Mary Easty is released from prison. Following protest by her accusers, she is again arrested. Roger Toothaker is also arrested on charges of witchcraft, having been accused by Elizabeth Hubbard, Ann Putnam, Jr., and Mary Walcott.

May 20, 1692 – Mary Easty, set free only two days before, was accused of afflicting Mercy Lewis;  was charged again and returned to jail.

May 23, 1692 – Boston jail ordered additional shackles for prisoners, using money loaned by Samuel Sewall.

May 25, 1692 – Martha Corey, Rebecca Nurse, Dorcas Good, Sarah Cloyce and John and Elizabeth Proctor were ordered transferred to Boston’s jail.

A witch trial by Joseph E. Baker in 1892.

A witch trial by Joseph E. Baker in 1892.

May 27, 1692 – Governor Phips establishes a Court of Oyer and Terminer to investigate the allegations of witchcraft. Lieutenant Governor William Stoughton, Nathaniel Saltonstall, Bartholomew Gedney, Peter Sergeant, Samuel Sewall, Wait Still Winthrop, John Richards, John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin are its members.

May 28, 1692 – Wilmot Redd was arrested, accused of “sundry acts of witchcraft” on Mary Wolcott and Mercy Lewis. Martha Carrier, Thomas Farrar, Sr., Elizabeth Hart, Mary Toothaker, ten year-old Margaret Toothaker, and John Willard were also arrested.

May 30, 1692 – Elizabeth Fosdick and Elizabeth Paine, both of Malden, were accused of practicing witchcraft on Mercy Lewis and Mary Warren.

May 31, 1692 – Captain John Alden, Jr., Martha Carrier, Elizabeth Howe, Wilmot Redd and Philip English were examined by Bartholomew Gedney, Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne.

Cotton Mather

Cotton Mather wrote a letter to John Richards, a judge, with advice on how the court should proceed. Mather warned that the court should not rely on spectral evidence.

Philip English was sent to jail in Boston to join his wife there; they were treated quite well due to their many connections. Captain John Alden, Jr. and Philip English later escape from prison.

June, 1692 – Governor Phips appointed Lieutenant Governor Stoughton as chief justice of the Massachusetts court, in addition to his position on the special Court of Oyer and Terminer.

June 2, 1692 – The Court of Oyer and Terminer convened in its first session. Elizabeth Fosdick and Elizabeth Paine were arrested. Elizabeth Proctor and several other accused women were subjected to a body search by a male doctor and some women, looking for “witch’s marks” such as moles.

June 3, 1692 – A grand jury indicted John Willard and Rebecca Nurse for witchcraft. Abigail Williams testified on this day for the last time; after that, she disappears from all records.

June 6, 1692 – Ann Dolliver was arrested and examined for witchcraft by Magistrates Gedney, Hathorne, and Corwin.

June 8, 1692 – Bridget Bishop is the first to be tried and convicted of witchcraft. She is sentenced to death.

Eighteen year old Elizabeth Booth shows symptoms of affliction by witchcraft.

Abigail Hobbs, Bridget Bishop, Giles Corey and Mary Warren are examined. Deliverance Hobbs confesses to practicing witchcraft.

On about June 8th, a Massachusetts law which had been made obsolete by another law against hangings was resurrected and passed anew, allowing executions for witchcraft.

June 10, 1692 – Bridget Bishop is hanged at Gallows Hill. Following the hanging, Nathaniel Saltonstall resigns from the court and is replaced by Corwin. After Bishop’s hanging, accusations of witchcraft escalated, but those who opposed them signed several petitions on behalf of accused people they believed to be innocent.

June 15, 1692 – Cotton Mather writes a letter requesting the court not use spectral evidence as a standard and urging that the trials be speedy. The Court of Oyer and Terminer pays more attention to the request for speed and less attention to the criticism of spectral evidence.

June 16, 1692 – Roger Toothaker died in the Boston jail on June 16, 1692, before he could come to trial. Though a full inquiry was conducted into his death and it was determined he died of natural causes, many found it suspicious.

June 29-June 30, 1692 – Susannah Martin, Sarah Wildes, Sarah Good, and Elizabeth Howe are tried, pronounced guilty, and sentenced to death by hanging. Rebecca Nurse was also tried, and the jury found her not guilty. However, the accusers and spectators protested so loudly when that decision was announced, the court asked them to reconsider the verdict, and they found her guilty. She, too, was condemned to hang. Governor Phips issued a reprieve; but, this was also met with protests and was rescinded.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *