John Proctor (1631-1692)

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Innocent man executed for witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials

Vital Statistics Edit

  • Son of John Graye Proctor and Alice ??
  • 1631-Oct-09 : Birth at Assington, Suffolk Co, England
  • 1674-Apr-01 : Marriage to Elizabeth Bassett in Essex Co, MA
  • 1692-Aug-19 : Death by hanging at Salem, Essex Co, Massachusetts Colony

Biography Edit

Birth in England Edit

Salem Witch Trials Edit

Prior to the Witchcraft hysteria, John had been a successful farmer in Salem Village.

John and his wife, Elizabeth Bassett, had a 17-year old servant girl, Mary Warren (1675-1732), who was friends with the Putnam girls, the leading accusers of witches during the hysteria that gripped Salem in 1692.

John was a bit more practical and disbelieved the accusations going on. He suggested that the afllicted girls should have a good whipping to help them be more truthful. After that statement, Mary ceased her false accusations. But then the other girls turned on her and accused her of witchcraft. This turned her again and they then made accuasations against John and his wife as an act of revenge.

They were first questioned by authorities on April 11, 1692.

John and his wife were arrested and went to trial on August 5, 1692. They were both tried and both found guilty of witchcraft. Much theatrics characterized their trial, influencing the jury and magistrates to find them guilty. Because Elizabeth was pregnant, she was given a temporary reprieve on her death sentence. John was hanged at Gallows Hill on Aug 19.

While in jail, the sheriff confiscated all their goods, property and cattle, even pots and pans in the kitchehen cupboard. When Elizabeth was later released she was greatly impoverished for many years.

Citations Edit

Roughly a decade after the conclusion o fthe Salem Witch Trials, a Boston merchant named Robert Calef published a synopsis of the trials titled More Wonders of the Invisible World. In this passage, he tells about the seizure of John Procter's property by the authorities.

John Proctor and his wife being in prison, the sheriff came to his house and seized all the goods, provisions, and cattle that he could come at, and sold some of the cattle at half price, and killed others, and put them up for sale in the West Indies. They threw out the beer out of a barrel and carried away the barrel, emptied a pot of broth and took away the pot, and left nothing in the house for the support of the children. No part of the said goods are known to be returned.

Children of John Proctor and Elizabeth Barrett Edit

References Edit

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