Witchcraft at Andover
Excerpted from the longer volume Sketches of Andover, this volume details the accusations, tortures, trials and executions of the Andover citizens victimized by the Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s. During the Salem witch trials in 1692, more than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft and twenty were executed. Over forty Andover citizens, mostly women and their children, were were accused and arrested for witchcraft. More than any other town in New England, including the most confessed witches, and the highest number of children arrested. Three Andover residents, Martha Carrier, Mary Parker, and Samuel Wardwell, were convicted and executed. Five others either pled guilty at arraignment or were convicted at trial: Ann Foster, Mary Lacey Sr., and Abigail Faulkner Sr. (daughter of Andover's minister, Francis Dane) in 1692 and Wardwell's wife Sarah and Rev. Dane's granddaughter, Elizabeth Johnson Jr. in 1693. Those who were not executed were granted reprieves by Gov. William Phips, but the convictions remained on their records. In 1713, in response to petitions initiated in 1703 by Abigail Faulkner Sr. and Sarah Wardwell, Massachusetts Governor Joseph Dudley reversed the attainder on the names of those who were convicted in the episode. Eventually, the colony admitted the trials were a mistake and compensated the families of those convicted. Since then, the story of the trials has become synonymous with paranoia and injustice, and it continues to beguile the popular imagination more than 300 years later.
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