23. Summit of Gallows Hill

Plate 26; intersection of Hanson and South Streets, best approached from Hanson Street.

The Salem witchcraft authority, Charles W. Upham, chose this hill as the probable site of the hangings of the nineteen condemned witches in 1692. Executions for witchcraft occurred here on June 10, July 19, August 19, and September 22. After the September hangings, the Reverend Nicholas Noyes, turning to the eight bodies hanging from the tree, remarked,

What a sad thing it is to see Eight Firebrands of Hell hanging there.

The present author believes that the actual site of the executions lies on a lower hill nearer the town. The great height and rugged terrain of this hill would have precluded transporting the condemned to this site in a cart, which is known to have occurred.