Salem Witch Trials Timeline

Back to: The Salem, Massachusetts Witchcraft Hysteria

1693 – Cotton Mather published his study of satanic possession, Wonders of the Invisible World. Increase Mather, his father, published Cases of Conscience Concerning Evil Spirits, denouncing the use of spectral evidence in trials. Rumors circulated that Increase Mather ‘s wife was about to be denounced as a witch.

January, 1693 – The Superior Court tried Sarah Buckley, Margaret Jacobs, Rebecca Jacobs and Job Tookey, who had been indicted in September, and found them not guilty of the charges. Sixteen more were tried, with 13 found not guilty and three convicted and condemned to hang including Elizabeth Johnson Jr., Sarah Wardwell and Mary Post. Forty-nine of the accused were released in January because the cases against them relied on spectral evidence.

January 2, 1693 – The Reverend Francis Dane wrote to fellow ministers that, knowing the people of Andover where he served as senior minister, “I believe many innocent persons have been accused and imprisoned.”” He denounced the use of spectral evidence. A similar missive signed by 41 men and 12 women of Andover was sent to the Salem court.

Reverend George Burroughs executed for witchcraft

Reverend George Burroughs executed for witchcraft

January 3, 1693 – Margaret Hawkes and her slave, Mary Black, were among those found not guilty.

Judge Stoughton orders execution of all suspected witches who were exempted by their pregnancy. Governor Phipps denied enforcement of the order and pardoned all of those named. Stoughton responded by resigning as a judge.

January 7, 1693 – Elizabeth Hubbard testified for the last time in the witchcraft trials.

January 11, 1693 – Candy the slave of Margaret Hawkes is cleared by proclamation. Hawkes paid her jail fees and she was released.

January 17, 1693 – A court ordered a new committee be selected to govern Salem Village church, on the grounds that the previous committee had neglected to fully raise the minister’s salary in 1691-1692.

Late January/early February, 1692 – Sarah Cole (of Lynn), Lydia Dustin and Sarah Dustin, Mary Taylor and Mary Toothaker were tried and found not guilty by the Superior Court. They were, however, held in jail pending payment of their jail fees.

Early 1693 – Tituba is released from jail and sold to a new master.

March, 1693 – Rebecca Eames was released from prison.

March 20, 1693 – Abigail Faulkner, whose execution was only delayed because she was pregnant, and whose sister, sister-in-law, two daughters, two nieces and a nephew had been among those accused of witchcraft, gave birth to a son she named Ammi Ruhamah, meaning “my people have obtained mercy.”

Late April, 1693 – The Superior Court, meeting in Boston, cleared Captain John Alden, Jr. They also heard a new case: a servant was charged with falsely accusing her mistress of witchcraft.

May, 1693 – The Superior Court dismissed the charges against still more of the accused, and found Mary Barker, William Barker Jr., Mary Bridges Jr., Eunice Fry and Susannah Post not guilty of the charges against them.

Governor Phips formally pardoned those still in prison from the Salem witch trials. He ordered them released if they paid a fine.

Elections for the General Court saw Samuel Sewall and several others of the judges from the Court of Oyer and Terminer gain in votes from the previous election.

Did You Know???

Nobody was burned at Salem, but they did burn “witches” in Europe.

Reverend Samuel Parris

Reverend Samuel Parris

November 26, 1694 – Reverend Samuel Parris apologized to his congregation for his part in the events of 1692 and 1693, but, many members remained opposed to his ministry there, and the church conflict continued.

About 1694/1695 – Philip English began to fight in court for return of his considerable estate after his wife, Mary English, died in childbirth.

1695 – Nathaniel Saltonstall, the judge who had resigned from the Court of Oyer and Terminer, apparently over the admission of spectral evidence, found himself defeated for reelection to the General Court. William Stoughton was elected with one of the highest vote totals in the same election.

April 3, 1695 – Five of six churches met and urged Salem Village to mend their divisions and urged that if they could not do so with Reverend Samuel Parris still serving as pastor, that his moving on would not be held against him by other churches.

1696 – George Corwin died, and Philip English put a lien on the corpse based on Corwin’s seizure of property from English during the Salem witch trials.

July 14, 1696 – Elizabeth Eldridge Parris, wife of Reverend Samuel Parris and mother of Elizabeth Parris, died.

1697 – The Reverend Samuel Parris is ousted as minister in Salem Village and replaced by Joseph Green, who helped to heal the rift in the congregation.

January 14, 1697 – The Massachusetts General Court declared a day of fasting and reflection for the Salem witch trials. Samuel Sewell, one of the judges of the Court of Oyer and Terminer, wrote the proclamation, and made a public confession of his own guilt. He set aside one day a year until his death in 1730 to fast and pray for forgiveness for his part in the trials.

April 19, 1697 – Elizabeth Proctor’s dowry was restored to her by a probate court. It had been held by heirs of her husband, John Proctor, because her conviction made her ineligible for her dowry.

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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