Archive for the ‘Historic Salem’ Category:
We at the Salem Witch Museum have been privileged to know David Goss over the years. Among other roles, he is a respected witch trial scholar having written books such as The Salem Witch Trials: A Reference Guide.
Now we get to see another side of his expertise. His lecture, Salem and the Civil War: 150th Anniversary is at Old Town Hall in Derby Square this Thursday evening, February 17th at 7:30pm.
We hope to see you there!
This past Thursday evening we enjoyed the second fascinating lecture hosted by Gordon College at Old Town Hall. Dr. Emerson “Tad” Baker discussed his book The Devil of Great Island: Witchcraft & Conflict in Early New England, introducing the work as a unique look at New England witchcraft that does not focus on Salem. Dr. Baker has been a historical archeologist as well as a museum director and is currently a public historian and professor at Salem State College.
Ten years before the Salem outbreak, in a place called Great Island (today New Castle) near Portsmouth, NH, there were reported incidents of “lithobolia.” Though educated men of the day knew Greek and Latin and would have been familiar with the term, I needed translation: stone-throwing of the Devil. Hundreds of flying stones, some as heavy as eight pounds, beset the tavern owned by George and Alice Walton for several months, yet no one had ever seen anyone throwing them. These occurrences, as many other inexplicable events at that time, were perceived as acts of witchcraft.
When we look further into the details, the first to come into view are the relationships and territorial boundaries between the key individuals of the story. I don’t want to give away the delicious unfolding of the narrative, so I’ll share only that the Waltons had been in land disputes with neighbor Hanna Jones, who was accused of being a witch. There had also been infighting in the vicinity about the establishment of a separate meeting house in which to worship. Although Dr. Emerson explores this history north of Mass Bay Colony, he does acknowledge that, “…when it comes to witchcraft in early New England, all roads eventually lead to Salem.”
In fact, it seems as though there are many common factors between Great Island and Salem. Neighbors disagreeing over territorial margins were certainly a dynamic that set the stage for the Salem witchcraft accusations. Uncannily, heated debates about an independent meeting house in Salem Village were significant to conditions that allowed the events to unfold as they did in 1692.
If you’re as interested in the environment and events leading to the Salem Witchcraft Trials as I am, next week’s post will be dedicated to the aspect of territorial disputes in Salem Village prior to the eruption of witchcraft accusations. Stay tuned…
We are fortunate to be interviewed by hundreds of history students, magazines and news outlets each year. I’ve noticed some consistency with one of the most frequently asked questions being, “What caused the witch trials?” Read more »
You may have heard in recent news that the Salem Award Foundation has received a $25,000 grant from the Annenburg Foundation.
“Charles Weingarten visited Salem last fall to research the history of the witch trials in preparation for a possible film. He contacted Alison D’Amario, Patty MacLeod and Tina Jordan, of the Salem Witch Museum. D’Amario and MacLeod were instrumental in establishing the Salem Witch Trials Memorial and the Salem Award Foundation. During his exploration at historic sites with local experts, they told him about the Salem Award and its mission to educate the public through the lessons of the trials.”
Charles Annenberg Weingarten (pictured left). Photo courtesy of the Annenberg Foundation.
The Salem Witch Museum is proud to be part of a community dedicated to contributing to the cause of human rights and social justice.
The premier of the Old Town Hall Lecture Series on Thursday evening was a huge success! The talk by Richard Francis, author of Judge Sewall’s Apology, gave an overview of a flesh-and-blood Samuel Sewall, the only one of nine judges presiding over the Salem witch trials to apologize for his part in the tragedy. Read more »
Professor Benjamin Ray of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia lectured to a sold out room at the House of Seven Gables this week. Professor Ray is the project director of Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project where everyone “from teachers to fourth graders” can now readily access 8,000 searchable pages from source documents online. Read more »
Boston’s Fox 25 News stopped by today in anticipation of Halloween 2010. Here’s a clip!
From Marilynne K. Roach’s Chronology of the Salem Witch Trials
With opposition to the court’s methods growing, Governor Phips suspends the Court of Oyer and Terminer until England can advise on the witch problem. Some of the younger suspects are released on bail.
Image of Sir William Phips from University of Virginia website “Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project”:
Source: Cover illustration. The New England Knight: Sir William Phips, 1651-1695. By Emerson W. Baker and John G. Reid. University of Toronto Press, 1998. Photograph by Nicholas Dean, courtesy of the Gardiner family.
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PUT TO DEATH
June 10, 1692
July 19, 1692
August 19, 1692
September 19, 1692
Giles Cory, pressed to death
September 22, 1692
“Preserve the past, save the future,” is the motto for the Mississippi Stone Guild whose president, Michael Drummond Davidson, has been working to conserve the facade of the Salem Witch Museum since the Spring of this year. The time has come to confront the challenge of preserving the historic exterior of a building which has become a prominent landmark in Salem. Read more »
Who doesn’t want to save a couple extra bucks whenever they can? Visitors to the Salem Witch Museum receive discounts all over Salem – and as far as Essex – just by showing your admission sticker. Read more »