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Salem Witch Trials

There is an absolute ton of resources on this topic. I will also include one of my favorite podcasts Aaron Menke's Unobsucred season 1 which super deep dives into the trials! Yes, even more than we did.


1629 Salem is settled.1641English law makes witchcraft a capital crime.

1684England declares that the colonies may not self-govern.

1688Following an argument with laundress Goody Glover, Martha Goodwin, 13, begins exhibiting bizarre behavior. Days later her younger brother and two sisters exhibit similar behavior. Glover is arrested and tried for bewitching the Goodwin children. Reverend Cotton Mather meets twice with Glover following her arrest in an attempt to persuade her to repent her witchcraft. Glover is hanged. Mather takes Martha Goodwin into his house. Her bizarre behavior continues and worsens.

1688Mather publishes Memorable Providences, Relating to Witchcrafts and PossessionsNovember, 1689Samuel Parris is named the new minister of Salem. Parris moves to Salem from Boston, where Memorable Providence was published.October 16, 1691Villagers vow to drive Parris out of Salem and stop contributing to his salary.January 20, 1692Eleven-year old Abigail Williams and nine-year-old Elizabeth Parris begin behaving much as the Goodwin children acted four years earlier. Soon Ann Putnam Jr. and other Salem girls begin acting similarly.Mid-February, 1692Doctor Griggs, who attends to the "afflicted" girls, suggests that witchcraft may be the cause of their strange behavior.February 25, 1692Tituba, at the request of neighbor Mary Sibley, bakes a "witch cake" and feeds it to a dog. According to an English folk remedy, feeding a dog this kind of cake, which contained the urine of the afflicted, would counteract the spell put on Elizabeth and Abigail. The reason the cake is fed to a dog is because the dog is believed a "familiar" of the Devil.Late-February, 1692Pressured by ministers and townspeople to say who caused her odd behavior, Elizabeth identifies Tituba. The girls later accuse Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne of witchcraft.February 29, 1692Arrest warrants are issued for Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne.March 1, 1692Magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin examine Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne for "witches teats." Tituba confesses to practicing witchcraft and confirms Good and Osborne are her co- conspirators.March 11, 1692Ann Putnam Jr. shows symptoms of affliction by witchcraft. Mercy Lewis, Mary Walcott, and Mary Warren later allege affliction as well.

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

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

March 21, 1692Magistrates Hathorne and Corwin examine Martha Cory.

March 23, 1692Salem Marshal Deputy Samuel Brabrook arrests four-year-old Dorcas Good.

March 24, 1692Corwin and Hathorne examine Rebecca Nurse.

March 26, 1692Hathorne and Corwin interrogate Dorcas.

March 28, 1692Elizabeth Proctor is accused of witchcraft.

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

April 11, 1692Hathorne 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.

Early April, 1692The Proctors' servant and accuser, Mary Warren, admits lying and accuses the other accusing girls of lying.

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

April 19, 1692Abigail Hobbs, Bridget Bishop, Giles Cory and Mary Warren are examined. Deliverance Hobbs confesses to practicing witchcraft. Mary Warren reverses her statement made in early April and rejoins the accusers.

April 22, 1692Mary Easty, another of Rebecca Nurse's sisters who defended her, is examined by Hathorne and Corwin. Hathorne and Corwin also examine Nehemiah Abbott, William and Deliverance Hobbs, Edward and Sarah Bishop, Mary Black, Sarah Wildes, and Mary English.

April 30, 1692Several girls accuse former Salem minister George Burroughs of witchcraft.

May 2, 1692Hathorne and Corwin examine Sarah Morey, Lyndia Dustin, Susannah Martin and Dorcas Hoar.

May 4, 1692George Burroughs is arrested in Maine.May 7, 1692George Burroughs is returned to Salem and placed in jail.

May 9, 1692Corwin and Hathorne examine Burroughs and Sarah Churchill. Burroughs is moved to a Boston jail.

May 10, 1692Corwin and Hathorne examine George Jacobs, Sr. and his granddaughter Margaret Jacobs. Sarah Osborne dies in prison.

May 14, 1692Increase Mather and Sir William Phipps, the newly elected governor of the colony, arrive in Boston. They bring with them a charter ending the 1684 prohibition of self-governance within the colony.

May 18, 1692Mary Easty is released from prison. Following protest by her accusers, she is again arrested. Roger Toothaker is also arrested on charges of witchcraft.

May 27, 1692Phipps issues a commission for a Court of Oyer and Terminer and appoints as judges John Hathorne, Nathaniel Saltonstall, Bartholomew Gedney, Peter Sergeant, Samuel Sewall, Wait Still Winthrop, and Lieutenant Governor William Stoughton.

May 31, 1692Hathorne, Corwin and Gednew examine Martha Carrier, John Alden, Wilmott Redd, Elizabeth Howe and Phillip English. English and Alden later escape prison and do not return to Salem until after the trials end.

June 2, 1692Bridget Bishop is the first to be tried and convicted of witchcraft. She is sentenced to die.

June 8, 1692Eighteen year old Elizabeth Booth shows symptoms of affliction by witchcraft.

June 10, 1692Bridget Bishop is hanged at Gallows Hill. Following the hanging Nathaniel Saltonstall resigns from the court and is replaced by Corwin.

June 15, 1692Cotton 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, 1692Roger Toothaker dies in prison.

June 29-30, 1692Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Sarah Wildes, Sarah Good, and Elizabeth Howe are tried, pronounced guilty and sentenced to hang.

July 19, 1692Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Elizabeth Howe, Sarah Good and Sarah Wildes are hanged at Gallows Hill.

August 5, 1692George Jacobs Sr., Martha Carrier, George Burroughs, John Willard and John and Elizabeth Proctor are pronounced guilty and sentenced to hang.

August 19, 1692 George Jacobs Sr., Martha Carrier, George Burroughs, John Willard and John Proctor are hanged on Gallows Hill. Elizabeth Proctor is not hanged because she is pregnant.

August 20, 1692 Margaret Jacobs recants the testimony that led to the execution of her grandfather George Jacobs Sr. and Burroughs.

September 9, 1692Martha Corey, Mary Easty, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator, Dorcas Hoar and Mary Bradbury are pronounced guilty and sentenced to hang.

Mid-September, 1692Giles Cory is indicted.

September 17, 1692Margaret Scott, Wilmott Redd, Samuel Wardwell, Mary Parker, Abigail Faulkner, Rebecca Earnes, Mary Lacy, Ann Foster and Abigail Hobbs are tried and sentenced to hang.

September 19, 1692 Sheriffs administer Peine Forte Et Dure (pressing) to Giles Cory after he refuses to enter a plea to the charges of witchcraft against him. After two days under the weight, Cory dies.

September 22, 1692Martha Cory, Margaret Scott, Mary Easty, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator, Willmott Redd, Samuel Wardwell, and Mary Parker are hanged. Hoar escapes execution by confessing.

October 3, 1692The Reverend Increase Mather, President of Harvard College and father to Cotton Mather, denounces the use of spectral evidence.

October 8, 1692Governor Phipps orders that spectral evidence no longer be admitted in witchcraft trials.

October 29, 1692Phipps prohibits further arrests, releases many accused witches, and dissolves the Court of Oyer and Terminer.

November 25, 1692The General Court establishes a Superior Court to try remaining witches.

January 3, 1693Judge Stoughton orders execution of all suspected witches who were exempted by their pregnancy. Phipps denied enforcement of the order causing Stoughton to leave the bench.

January 169349 of the 52 surviving people brought into court on witchcraft charges are released because their arrests were based on spectral evidence.

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

May 1693 Phipps pardons those still in prison on witchcraft charges.

January 14, 1697The General Court orders a day of fasting and soul-searching for the tragedy at Salem. Moved, Samuel Sewall publicly confesses error and guilt.

1697Minister Samuel Parris is ousted as minister in Salem and replaced by Joseph Green.

1702The General Court declares the 1692 trials unlawful.

1706Ann Putnam Jr., one of the leading accusers, publicly apologizes for her actions in 1692.1711The colony passes a legislative bill restoring the rights and good names of those accused of witchcraft and grants 600 pounds in restitution to their heirs.

1752Salem Village is renamed Danvers.

1957Massachusetts formally apologizes for the events of 1692.

1992On the 300th anniversary of the trials, a witchcraft memorial designed by James Cutler is dedicated in Salem.

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