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North Andover

In 1692, North Andover was known simply as "Andover." It became embroiled in the witchcraft in July 1692 when Joseph Ballard brought several of the afflicted girls there to determine the cause of his wife's illness. Within several weeks, over fifty people were accused of witchcraft. Many of them confessed. The accusations in Andover abated after an unknown Boston man threatened to bring a slander suit against those who had accused him.

William Barker
34. Old Burying Ground
(on Academy Road, one-tenth mile from its intersection
with Main Street in North Andover). (Plate 35; Site 34c)
Grave of William Barker, Sr., North Andover.
Some important figures in the Andover witch hunt are buried here.
a. Timothy Swan, who accused many of his neighbors in Andover of afflicting him, is buried here (Plate 28). His epitaph reads: "Timothy Swan Died February ye 2 1692/3 & in ye 30 year of His Age." His is the only marked gravesite of an accuser known today. The peculiar notation of dates on these gravestones is worth mentioning. In the seventeenth century, England and her colonies officially began the New Year on March 25. The last day of the year fell on March 24. Around 1690, an impetus arose to adopt the Gregorian calendar and begin the New Year on January 1 instead of March 25. Consequently, dates in January, February, and early March during this time were often given fractional notations, such as 1692/3: still 1692 under the old calendar but under the new calendar already 1693. January 1 was not officially made the first day of the year in English North America until 1752.

b. Reverend Thomas Barnard, Andover's assistant minister in 1692, is buried here beneath a simple headstone (Plate 27). Barnard graduated from Harvard College in I679 and came to Andover in 1682, joining Reverend Francis Dane. Barnard was present at the Andover meetinghouse during some of the examinations there. The accused were blindfolded, led before the afflicted girls, and made to touch them. It was presumptive proof of witchcraft if the witch's touch cured the girls' fits. The meetinghouse where these examinations took place stood on the triangular plot of land across from the cemetery at the intersection of Academy Road and Court Street. Barnard's epitaph reads: "Here Lyes Buried ye Body of ye Revernd Mr Thomas Barnard Who Departed this Life Octor 13th Anno Domi 1718 AEtatis Suae 62."

c. "Here Lyes Buried The Body of William Barker Who Died March The 4th 1718 In 73rd Year of His Age" (Plate 35). William Barker, Sr. was arrested and examined for witchcraft in Salem on 29 August 1692. He readily confessed to the charge. He told the magistrates that the witches' "design was to Destroy Salem Village, and to begin at the Ministers House, and to destroy the Church of God, and to set up Satan's Kingdom, and then all will be well." Despite his confession, Barker survived the hysteria.

d. William Barker, Jr., who was only fourteen at the time of the hysteria, is also buried here. He was examined on 1 September 1692 and, like his father, confessed. He had so recently converted to witchcraft, he told the magistrates, that he had not been iu the snare of the Devil above six Dayes. Young Barker was released on bail in January 1693 and was tried the following May in Ipswich. He was acquitted. His epitaph reads: "Here Lies Buried the Body of Mr William Barker Who Died Janry 16 1745 In 67 Year Of His Age."

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