Accusers of Salem Witch Trials: Expanded Quotes

Cecil may have been somewhat harsh on the Salem witch trial accusers: I haven’t read many cases of communities confessing to injustice within five years of their misdeeds.

At any rate, here are some quotes. On the Jan 14, 1697 day of fasting, Sewell had the following read by another minister.

Twelve jurors confessed to the “Guilt of innocent blood”:

From Boorstin (1966) and here.

Thanks, Unka Cece, for the fascinating column.

My 9 x great grandma was one of the 20 executed for witchcraft. She was Sarah Averell Wilde (spellings vary), and was notable for being one of the first ‘middle-class’ victims of the witch hysteria. Her husband was a constable and her son a selectman (or vice versa, details are not at hand) but that didn’t spare her from hanging.

The family didn’t really ever recover from the ignominity, and eventually they pulled up stakes, moved to ohio, and became illiterate.

Nice to hear a few people felt bad enough over this to try to atone. Any way for me to cash in on it at this late date? :wink:

Not reassly responsive, but I recently read The Last Witchfinder, by James Morrow.

Was a reasonably well-written and engaging novel concerning the persecution of witches in Englands Old and New in the 17th-18th centuries. Pulled no punches in its characterization of the Salem accusers.

According to family lore one of my ancestors (a Cotton, of the John & Seaborn Cotton line) emigrated to Virginia (and their descendants to the Carolinas/Georgia/Alabama) over the witch trials and other disgusts with the Puritan power structure.

I know that The Crucible is not even intended to be taken literally, but it’s amazing how much it informs people’s “knowledge” of the trials. In addition to the “there was no affair between John Proctor [who was 60] and Abigail [who was about 12]” Judge Danforth (Crucible’s hateful old bastard judge) was one of the least vindictive and most reasonable voices among the prosecution, but as with Salieri and Richard III their greatest fame comes from fictional characters who bear their names.