16. Charter Street Cemetery

Charter Street Cemetery Charter Street Cemetery

Charter Street, between Lafayette and Liberty Streets

Here are buried four persons connected with the witchcraft.

a. Magistrate John Hathorne,
John Hathorne
John Hathorne's headstone, 1717

who served as an interrogator in most of the witchcraft examinations and later as a member of the Court of Oyer and Terminer, died on 10 May 1717, aged seventy-six years. Hathorne's most famous descendant was the writer Nathaniel Hawthorne who added a "w" to the family name. Hawthorne wrote that his great-great- grandfather "inherited the persecuting spirit, and made himself so conspicuous in the martyrdom of the witches, that their blood may fairly be said to have left a stain upon him."

b. Bartholomew Gedney
A native of Salem and a physician by profession, Gedney was present at several of the examinations and later served as a member of the Court of Oyer and Terminet. He was present at the examination of his friend John Alden on 31 May 1692 in Salem Village. When Gedney saw how Alden tormented the girls, he told Alden that he had "always 1ook'd upon him to be an honest Man, but now he did see cause to alter his judgment." Gedney is buried beneath a red sandstone table stone (Plate 22) located about sixty feet from the Charter Street entrance to the cemetery. The inscription on the table stone reads in part: "Here Lyes Interred ye Body of Colln Bartho Gedney Esqr. Actat 57 Obt 28 Febr 1697."
Mary Corry
ye Wife of Giles Corry Aged 63 years Dyed August ye 27 1684" (Plate 12). This was Corey's second wife who died eight years before the hysteria. By 1692, Corey had remarried. Accused as a witch, he was pressed to death on September 19 for refusing to stand trial. His third wife, Martha, was hanged on Gallows Hill three days later. Both of their graves have been lost to history.
d. It is probable that Reverend Nicholas Noyes,
minister of Salem during the witchcraft, lies buried here in an unmarked grave. Noyes was born in Newbury in 1647 and graduated from Harvard College in 1667. In May 1683, he became assistant minister in Reverend John Higginson's First Church in Salem. Noyes played an active role in the witchcraft prosecutions. At Martha Corey's examination in Salem Village on March 21, he remarked, "I beleive it is apparent she practiseth Witchcraft in the congregation." When John Alden asserted during his examination in May that the afflicted girls accused innocent people, Noyes interrupted him "and so went on with Discourse, and stopt Aldin's mouth." Noyes later acknowledged his error and repented his treatment of those who had been accused of witchcraft. Tradition states that in 1717, he suffered an internal hemorrhage and died choking on his own blood, fulfilling Sarah Good's 1692 prophecy to him that "God will give you Blood to drink." Samuel Sewall later wrote that Noyes was "Malleus Haereticorum" --the "hammer of heretics."