THE PROCTOR TRIALS
 
 
 
     April 6, 1692 through August 19, 1692

     The Proctor family: John, Elizabeth and children William and Sarah lived in Salem Farms, about two miles from Salem Village. John was a very prosperous farmer and was liked by most of his neighbors. However, he did not have a very good relationship with the Putnams and on occasion he would run afoul of them.

     On April 6, 1692, the powerful Putnam family raised a complaint against Elizabeth Proctor and Sarah Cloyse, the sister of Rebecca Nurse. On April 11, 1692, John accompanied his wife to the examination, and attempted to help wherever he could. He made his feelings known to the court that he was highly skeptical of the proceedings and he felt that the girls who were perpetrating the hysteria just needed a good spanking.

     The "afflicted" girls and the other accusers, upon hearing John Proctor's remarks, cried out against him and the court accused him of witchcraft along with his wife. By May, the Proctor children would be accused of witchcraft as well, and would join their parents in jail.

     Robert Calef in his book "More Wonders of the Invisible World" printed in 1700 would write of the Sheriff's actions against the Proctors while they were in jail:

     "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 the West Indies: threw out the ber (beer) of the 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." 

     John and Elizabeth Proctor were found guilty of witchcraft and they were scheduled for execution on August 19, 1692. Since Elizabeth was pregnant at the time, she was given a reprieve until she would give birth to the baby, thereafter, she would be executed. 

     On August 19, 1692, John Proctor along with five others convicted of witchcraft, were executed by hanging at Gallows Hill. Elizabeth Proctor and her children were released from prison in November 1692.
 

 

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