Bridget Bishop's exact birth date is not known, but experts approximate that she was born in the year 1635. It was not any suspicious activity that made others in the community accuse Bridget of witchcraft, but rather her lifestyle. She was married three times and there are no records indicating that she had any children, both of which were uncommon cases for the time period. Bridget's first husband's full name is not known, but his surname was Wasslebee. Following Mr. Wasslebee's death, she married Thomas Oliver, who also passed away. Fifteen years later, she was wed to Edward Bishop. Goody* Bishop was well-known for fighting with her husbands in public, an act which was unseemly to the Puritan community. Her manner of dress was also more extravagant than that of the average woman, which was seen by some as evidence for her compact with the devil. Bridget was accused by the greatest number of people and was the first to hang at Gallow's Hill on June 10, 1692.
* Goody was a term used during Puritan times as an abbreviation for Goodwife, which was a common way to address the female head of the household.
- Definition from http://www.dictionary.com
Susannah Martin was born September 30, 1621 in Ramsey H. England. Her mother died when she was young, and her father remarried and moved to America. Susannah married George Martin on August 11, 1646. She was accused three times for working with witchcraft. The first accusation was in 1661, but she was let go. In the year of 1669 she was accused for the same act. Yet again she was let go because the evidence was not substantial. When Salem broke out with hysteria in the year of 1692, she was convicted for witchcraft. Her neighbors stated that she had a horrible temper that she could not control. Susannah was tried June 30, and laughed as the people rolled on the floor in pain. James Allen of Salisbury stated in court that Susannah cursed his oxen because he refused to help her. James found his oxen drowned two days later. By the end of the trials Susannah Martin was 71 years of age and was found guilty. She was sentenced to hang on July 19, 1692 along with four others.
Sarah Good was born in 1645 as an inkeeper's daughter and was among the first to be accused of witchcraft. Within her lifetime she was married twice, once to Daniel Poole and once to William Good. Her first husband died, leaving massive debts for Sarah and later, William. Because of these debts, Sarah was forced to beg for food and work, and she and her husband had no home. Although Abigail Williams was one of the main accusers, Sarah's accusers were Betty Hubbard and Ann Putnam, Jr. and later, her own daughter, Dorcas, who was put in jail at the age of four for biting someone. While in court her own husband testified against her, and later she was thrown in jail, discovering at that time that she was pregnant. Because of the jail's poor conditions, the baby died soon after birth. Sarah Good was executed on July 19th, 1692.
Rebecca Nurse was born in February of 1621 in Yarmouth, Norfolk County, New England. She had two sisters, Mary Easty and Sarah Cloyce, who were both accused of witchcraft and hanged. Rebecca had eight children, four boys and four girls. Rebecca's accusation was thought by most to be unjust because she had a reputation for being so pious. She was 71 years old during her trial for witchcraft. Because of her reputation for being so pious, she had many supporters who signed a petition on her behalf. At first, Johnathan Putnam thought her to be innocent but later changed his mind, because she appeared to feel guilty. Rebecca's trial was set on June 30, where the jury came back with a verdict of "Not Guilty". Because of her verdict many complaints arose, causing the jury to change their opinion on the verdict. She was excommunicated on July 3, 1692 and executed on July 19 of that year. It was not until 1699 that her familly was welcomed back into society and in 1711 her family was paid for the government's wrongdoing.
There is very little information available concerning Sarah Wildes' life, but what is known is that she was married to John Wildes and they had a son named Ephraim. However, John's marriage to Sarah was not his first. He had previously been married to a woman by the name of Priscilla Gould, who passed away in 1662. She and John had had eight children. Following Priscilla's death, Priscilla's sister, Mary Gould Reddington, accused John's new wife Sarah of witchcraft as early as 1686. Sarah was accused of witchcraft again by Deliverence Hobbs, most likely due to the fact that that Sarah's son Ephraim, who was involved in politics, had been ordered to arrest Deliverence in the past. Many of John's other children were also accused by Deliverence. Ephraim was ordered by the Marshall to arrest his own siblings. The Marshall was kind enough not to force Ephraim to arrest his mother Sarah and took on the task of arresting her himself. Sarah was hanged on July 19, 1692.
* Also known as: Sarah Wild, Wylde, or Wilde.
Elizabeth Howe, also known as Elizabeth How, was born circa 1635. She was born under the name Elizabeth Jackson in the town of Rowley, Massachusetts. Twenty-three years later, Elizabeth married James Howe, with whom she had six children. Her children's names are unknown at this time. A girl whose surname was Perely was the first to accuse Goody Howe. Her first accusation was a few years prior to the infamous Trials, but her parents were reluctant to believe her. The child fell ill soon after and eventually passed away, causing her parents to testify against Elizabeth in court on June 1, 1692. They claimed that it was Goody Howe who had inflicted their child and caused her death. Several others began to follow suit and blame was cast upon her for the fits of many other girls. Elizabeth was found guilty and sent to hang at Gallow's Hill on July 19, 1692.
Reverend George Burroughs was born sometime during the year 1650. Twenty years, he graduated from Harvard College. A decade later, he was made the minister of the village of Salem, and remained so for three years. He may have decided to leave as a result of a debate concerning salary. He also had a disagreement with the Putnam family. A year after George was made the minister of Salem, his wife, whose name is unknown, passed away. After leaving Salem, Mr. Burroughs relocated to Maine, where he had previously ministered. It was in the town of Wells, Maine, that George Burroughs was taken from his home and forced to return to Salem, where he was put on trial for accusations made against him involving witchcraft. Some of those who testified against him claimed that not only was he guilty of performing the act of witchcraft, but that he was also the leader of all the witches. Many who had confessed of having done witchcraft stated that Burroughs was Satan's assistant. In spite of these testimonies, thirty-two of Salem's citizens signed a petition that stated that George Burroughs was innocent. Unfortunately, this was to no avail. Just before he was hanged, Burroughs recited the Lord's Prayer perfectly, which was thought to be a task that could not be accomplished by a witch or wizard. Many begged for mercy, but it was no use. The Reverend was executed on August 19, 1692.
Martha Carrier's birth date is not known, but she had her first child in 1674. She was a teenager at the time. The baby's father was Thomas Carrier, who Mary wed after discovering that she was pregnant. The couple had five children together- Richard, Thomas, Andrew, Sarah, and another girl whose name is not known. The family had been living in a town called Billerica, but they decided to move to the town of Andover, which is where Mary had lived with her parents when they first emigrated from England. Two years after the relocation, which occurred in 1688, smallpox began to spread and thirteen people fell ill and died. Blame was cast upon the Carrier family for spreading the disease. Because the people of Andover believed that the Carriers were the source of the outbreak, the family was banned from public locations. Witchcraft was not mentioned in accusations made against the family until May of 1692. Many pointed fingers at Martha, including three of her own children. Richard, Sarah, and Thomas Junior all testified against their mother in court, saying that she had made them into witches through baptism. Even though many others also testified against her, Martha refused to confess. She was hanged on August 19, 1692. Ten years later, Martha Carrier's living descendants were given seven pounds and six shillings as compensation.
*Also known as John Procter
"Who was John Willard? We know a few things about him:
(1) he was born no later than 1672, for it's unlikely to see a man younger than 20 in 1692 being married for as long as John was.
(2) he was related to Henry Willard and Benjamin Willard. "...
"(3) He was well-enough acquainted with someone in Lancaster in 1692 to choose to flee there when he was worried about being accused of witchcraft. Henry Willard was living in Lancaster at least as early as 1685."
He was hanged on August 19, 1692.
* These pictures are from the Salem Witch Trials Tercentenary Memorial: http://salemweb.com/memorial/