The Salem Witch Trials Chronology

Salem Witch Trials and other notable persecutions.

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May 09Court yard episcopal palace Atrecht has witch burnings.Ref: 5
Sep 06Puritans land at Salem, from Mass Bay Colony, witches soon to settle.Ref: 5
Sep 14Salem, Massachusetts, founded.Ref: 62
Mar 28(Salem Witch Trials) Samuel Sewall, British colonial merchant and one of the Salem witch trial judges, is born.Ref: 2
Jan 31Cornelia/Dina Olfaarts found not guilty of witchcraft.Ref: 5
Sep 05Last three women executed for witchcraft in England.Ref: 10
Jan 01(Salem Witch Trials) (date speculative) Following 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. Also during this time Mather publishes Memorable Providences, Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions. 
Jun 18(Salem Witch Trials) Samuel Parris is officially hired as the Salem village minister.Ref: 21
Oct 16(Salem Witch Trials) Villagers vow to drive the new minister, Samuel Parris, out of Salem and stop contributing to his salary.Ref: 87
Jan 20(Salem Witch Trials) Nine-year-old Elizabeth Parris and eleven-year-old Abigail Williams began to exhibit strange behavior, such as blasphemous screaming, convulsive seizures, trance-like states and mysterious spells, much as the Goodwin children acted four years earlier. Soon Ann Putnam Jr. and other Salem girls begin acting similarly.Ref: 20
Feb 15(Salem Witch Trials) (date approximate) Doctor Griggs, who attends to the "afflicted" girls, suggests that witchcraft may be the cause of their strange behavior.Ref: 21
Feb 25(Salem Witch Trials) Tituba, 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.Ref: 21
Feb 25(Salem Witch Trials) (day speculative) Pressured 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.Ref: 87
Feb 28(Salem Witch Trials) Salem witch hunt began.Ref: 5
Feb 29(Salem Witch Trials) Arrest warrants are issued for Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne.Ref: 20
Mar 01(Salem Witch Trials) Magistrates 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.Ref: 16
Mar 07(Salem Witch Trials) Sarah Osborne, Sarah Good, and Tituba are sent to a Boston prison.Ref: 21
Mar 11(Salem Witch Trials) Ann Putnam Jr. shows symptoms of affliction by witchcraft. Mercy Lewis, Mary Walcott, and Mary Warren later allege affliction as well.Ref: 87
Mar 12(Salem Witch Trials) Ann Putnam Jr. accuses Martha Cory of witchcraft.Ref: 20
Mar 14(Salem Witch Trials) Martha Corey is summoned to appear before the magistrates and answer questions.Ref: 21
Mar 19(Salem Witch Trials) Abigail Williams denounces Rebecca Nurse as a witch. A warrant is issued for Martha Corey's arrest.Ref: 21
Mar 21(Salem Witch Trials) Magistrates Hathorne and Corwin examine Martha Cory.Ref: 20
Mar 23(Salem Witch Trials) Salem Marshal Deputy Samuel Brabrook arrests four-year-old Dorcas Good. Edward and Jonathan Putnam file complaints against Rebecca Nurse.Ref: 87
Mar 24(Salem Witch Trials) Corwin and Hathorne examine Rebecca Nurse.Ref: 20
Mar 26(Salem Witch Trials) Magistrates Hathorne and Corwin interrogate Dorcas.Ref: 87
Mar 28(Salem Witch Trials) One of the afflicted girls, possibly Mercy Lewis, accuses Elizabeth Proctor of witchcraft.Ref: 21
Apr 03(Salem Witch Trials) Sarah Cloyce, after defending her sister, Rebecca Nurse, is accused of witchcraft.Ref: 20
Apr 03(Salem Witch Trials) (day speculative) The Proctors' servant and accuser, Mary Warren, admits lying and accuses the other accusing girls of lying.Ref: 87
Apr 04(Salem Witch Trials) Jonathan Walcott and Nathaniel Ingersoll file complaints against Sarah Cloyce.Ref: 21
Apr 08(Salem Witch Trials) Warrants are issued for Sarah Cloyce and Giles Corey for the suspicion of witchcraft.Ref: 21
Apr 11(Salem Witch Trials) John Proctor, Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Cloyce, Martha Corey, Dorcas Good, and Elizabeth Proctor are sent to a Boston prison this night.Ref: 21
Apr 11(Salem Witch Trials) Magistrates 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.Ref: 87
Apr 13(Salem Witch Trials) Ann Putnam Jr. accuses Giles Cory of witchcraft and alleges that a man who died at Cory's house also haunts her.Ref: 87
Apr 19(Salem Witch Trials) Abigail 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.Ref: 20
Apr 21(Salem Witch Trials) Arrest warrants are issued for Mary Easty, Edward and Sarah Bishop, Deliverance and William Hobbs, Sarah Wilds, Mary Black, Nehemiah Abbott, Jr., and Mary English. Abigail Williams identifies the Rev. George Burroughs as the "Black Minister."Ref: 21
Apr 22(Salem Witch Trials) Mary 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.Ref: 21
Apr 22(Salem Witch Trials) Edward Bishop is jailed for proposong flogging as cure for witchcraft.Ref: 5
Apr 30(Salem Witch Trials) Several girls accuse former Salem minister George Burroughs of witchcraft.Ref: 21
May 02(Salem Witch Trials) Hathorne and Corwin examine Sarah Morey, Lyndia Dustin, Susannah Martin and Dorcas Hoar.Ref: 20
May 04(Salem Witch Trials) George Burroughs is arrested in Wells, Maine.Ref: 20
May 07(Salem Witch Trials) George Burroughs is returned to Salem and placed in jail.Ref: 87
May 09(Salem Witch Trials) Corwin and Hathorne examine Burroughs and Sarah Churchill. Burroughs is moved to a Boston jail.Ref: 20
May 10(Salem Witch Trials) Corwin and Hathorne examine George Jacobs, Sr. and his granddaughter Margaret Jacobs. Sarah Osborne dies in prison.Ref: 20
May 14(Salem Witch Trials) Increase 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.Ref: 20
May 18(Salem Witch Trials) Mary Easty is released from prison. Following protest by her accusers, she is again arrested. Roger Toothaker is also arrested on charges of witchcraft.Ref: 87
May 20(Salem Witch Trials) Mercy Lewis becomes gravely ill and Mary Easty is blamed for her illness. Easty is arrested again.Ref: 21
May 21(Salem Witch Trials) An arrest warrant is issued for John and Elizabeth Proctor's daughter, Sarah.Ref: 21
May 23(Salem Witch Trials) An arrest warrant is issued for John and Elizabeth Proctor's son, Benjamin. Susannah Sheldon testifies that a dead man, Joseph Rabson, appeared to her and stated that Philip English had murdered him.Ref: 21
May 27(Salem Witch Trials) Governor Phips set up a special Court of Oyer and Terminer comprised of seven judges to try the witchcraft cases. Appointed were Lieutenant Governor William Stoughton, Nathaniel Saltonstall, Bartholomew Gedney, Peter Sergeant, Samuel Sewall, Wait Still Winthrop, John Richards, John Hathorne, and Jonathan Corwin. These magistrates based their judgments and evaluations on various kinds of intangible evidence, including direct confessions, supernatural attributes (such as "witchmarks"), and reactions of the afflicted girls. Spectral evidence, based on the assumption that the Devil could assume the "specter" of an innocent person, was relied upon despite its controversial nature.Ref: 20
May 28(Salem Witch Trials) An arrest warrant is issued for John and Elizabeth Proctor's second son, William. An arrest warrant is also issued for John Alden. Martha Carrier is also ordered arrested upon the complaints of Joseph Holton and John Walcott.Ref: 21
May 31(Salem Witch Trials) Hathorne, 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.Ref: 20
Jun 01(Salem Witch Trials) Mary English testifies that Mary Warren had confessed to lying in court.Ref: 21
Jun 02(Salem Witch Trials) Susannah Sheldon reports that the specters of Mary English, Bridget Bishop, and Giles Corey appeared to her. Seventy people now stand accused of witchcraft.Ref: 21
Jun 02(Salem Witch Trials) Lt Governor William Stoughton opens the Court of Oyer and Terminer ("to hear and determine"). Bridget Bishop is the first to be tried and convicted of witchcraft. She is sentenced to die.Ref: 16
Jun 08(Salem Witch Trials) Eighteen year old Elizabeth Booth shows symptoms of affliction by witchcraft.Ref: 87
Jun 10(Salem Witch Trials) Bridget Bishop is hanged at Gallows Hill. Following the hanging Nathaniel Saltonstall resigns from the court and is replaced by Corwin.Ref: 16
Jun 15(Salem Witch Trials) Twelve ministers of the colony, including Cotton Mather, advise the court not to rely on spectral evidence to convict the accused.Ref: 21
Jun 16(Salem Witch Trials) Roger Toothaker dies in prison.Ref: 87
Jun 29(Salem Witch Trials) Over the next two days, Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Sarah Wildes, Sarah Good, and Elizabeth Howe are tried, pronounced guilty and sentenced to hang.Ref: 20
Jul 19(Salem Witch Trials) Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Elizabeth Howe, Sarah Good and Sarah Wildes are hanged at Gallows Hill.Ref: 16
Jul 23(Salem Witch Trials) Fearing that they can't get a fair trial in Salem village, John Proctor and other prisoners write a letter from prison to the Reverends Increase Mather, James Allen, Joshua Moody, Samuel Willard, and John Bayley in an attempt to gain their support for a change of venue.Ref: 21
Aug 02(Salem Witch Trials) William Beale testifies before an Essex County grand jury that when he was laid up in bed sick in March, Philip English appeared to him. The next day Beale's son (James), who had been recovering from smallpox, complained of a pain in his side and later died.Ref: 21
Aug 05(Salem Witch Trials) George Jacobs Sr., Martha Carrier, George Burroughs, John Willard and John and Elizabeth Proctor are pronounced guilty and sentenced to hang.Ref: 20
Aug 19(Salem Witch Trials) 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.Ref: 16
Aug 20(Salem Witch Trials) Margaret Jacobs recants the testimony that led to the execution of her grandfather George Jacobs Sr. and Burroughs.Ref: 87
Sep 09(Salem Witch Trials) Martha Corey, Mary Easty, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator, Dorcas Hoar and Mary Bradburyare pronounced guilty and sentenced to hang.Ref: 20
Sep 15(Salem Witch Trials) (day speculative) Giles Cory is indicted.Ref: 87
Sep 16(Salem Witch Trials) Giles Corey refuses to stand trial, so the Court of Oyer and Terminer orders the sheriff to pile rocks on him.Ref: 21
Sep 17(Salem Witch Trials) Margaret Scott, Wilmott Redd, Samuel Wardwell, Mary Parker, Abigail Faulkner, Rebecca Earnes, Mary Lacy, Ann Foster and Abigail Hobbs are tried and sentenced to hang.Ref: 20
Sep 19(Salem Witch Trials) Sheriffs administer Piene Forte Et Dure (pressing) to to the 80-year old Giles Cory after he refuses to enter a plea to the charges of witchcraft against him. After two days under the weight, Cory dies.Ref: 20
Sep 21(Salem Witch Trials) Dorcas Hoar was the first of those pleading innocent to confess. Her execution was delayed.Ref: 20
Sep 22(Salem Witch Trials) Mary Herrick of Wenham, Mass. Reports that the ghost of Mary Easty appeared to her and proclaimed her innocent of witchcraft.Ref: 21
Sep 22(Salem Witch Trials) Martha Cory, Margaret Scott, Mary Easty, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator, Willmott Redd, Samuel Wardwell, and Mary Parker are hanged. Hoar escapes execution by confessing.Ref: 16
Oct 03(Salem Witch Trials) The Reverend Increase Mather, President of Harvard College and father to Cotton Mather, publishes his "Cases of Conscience Concerning Evil Spirits," which effectively brought an end to the Salem Witch Trials which had begun earlier this year.Ref: 5
Oct 05(Salem Witch Trials) (date approximate) Five-year old Dorcas Good, daughter of a poor laborer imprisoned since May, is finally released when her father was able to raise bail.Ref: 16
Oct 08(Salem Witch Trials) After 20 people had been executed in the Salem witch hunt, Thomas Brattle wrote a letter criticizing the witchcraft trials. This letter had great impact on Governor Phips, who ordered that reliance on spectral and intangible evidence no longer be allowed in trials.Ref: 20
Oct 19(Salem Witch Trials) Increase Mather visits the Salem jail and finds that several confessors wish to renounce their earlier testimonies.Ref: 21
Oct 29(Salem Witch Trials) Phipps prohibits further arrests, releases many accused witches, and dissolves the Court of Oyer and Terminer.Ref: 16
Nov 25(Salem Witch Trials) The General Court establishes a Superior Court to try remaining witches.Ref: 16
Jan 03(Salem Witch Trials) Judge 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.Ref: 87
Jan 14(Salem Witch Trials) (date approximate) 49 of the 52 surviving people brought into court on witchcraft charges are released because their arrests were based on spectral evidence; Tituba, the slave owned by Rev Samuel Parris, is sold to a new master by the jail when Parris refused to pay jail fees.Ref: 16
Jan 15(Salem Witch Trials) Essex County Court declared the Salem Village committee derelict in its duties and ordered a new election.Ref: 21
Apr 01Colonial clergyman Cotton Mather's first-born son died at the age of four days. Mather suspected witchcraft as the cause, and had previously published "Wonders of the Invisible World," affirming his belief in spectral phenomena.Ref: 5
May 10(Salem Witch Trials) (day speculative) Phipps pardons those still in prison on witchcraft charges.Ref: 87
Nov 26(Salem Witch Trials) Parris gave his "Meditation for Peace" sermon, in which he admited to giving too much weight to spectral evidence.Ref: 21
Jan 14(Salem Witch Trials) The General Court orders a day of fasting and soul-searching for the tragedy at Salem. Moved, Samuel Sewall publicly confesses error and guilt.Ref: 87
Jan 15The citizens of Massachusetts spent a day of fasting and repentance for their roles in the 1692 Salem Witch Trials. Judge Samuel Sewall, who had presided over many of those 20 capital judgments, published a written confession acknowledging his own "blame and shame."Ref: 5
Jan 14(Salem Witch Trials) Massachusetts holds day of fasting for wrongly persecuting "witches".Ref: 5
Jan 01(Salem Witch Trials) (date unknown) The General Court declares the 1692 trials unlawful 
Jan 01(Salem Witch Trials) (date unknown) Ann Putnam Jr., one of the leading accusers, publicly apologizes for her actions in 1692. 
Dec 17(Salem Witch Trials) 578 pounds and 12 shillings was paid to Elizabeth Proctor in restitution for her husband's death.Ref: 21
Jan 01(Salem Witch Trials) (date unknown) The 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. 
Mar 06(Salem Witch Trials) Rebecca Nurse and Giles Corey's excommunication is revoked.Ref: 21
Jan 01(Salem Witch Trials) (date unknown) Salem Village is renamed Danvers. 
Apr 11Germany's last trial and execution for witchcraft.Ref: 10
Jan 01(Salem Witch Trials) (month and day unknown) Massachusetts formally apologizes for the events of 1692. 
Jan 01(Salem Witch Trials) (month and day unknown) On the 300th anniversary of the trials, a witchcraft memorial designed by James Cutler is dedicated in Salem. 
Last Update: October 27th, 2005
© 2000-2005   Kenneth Fussichen