Remarkable Women of Salem

March is Women’s History Month, and we’re celebrating the women who have contributed to Salem’s history over the years.  This year, 2018, we live in a Salem that has a woman at the helm, Mayor Kim Driscoll.

It is only fitting, as we make history going forward, that we acknowledge and celebrate the women in Salem’s past. As we approach Women’s History Day on March 25, there will be programs at the House of the Seven Gables, Phillips House Museum, and more.

Here are four women in Salem’s history whose stories we tell often:

Mary Spencer created the Gibralter, believed to be America’s first commercially produced candy, which is still sold at Ye Olde Pepper Companie.

Caroline Emmerton purchased the House of the Seven Gables, turned it into a museum, and use the profits from the museum to fund her Settlement House, which provided training for immigrant girls, boys, and adults.

Elizabeth Peabody opened the first Kindergarten in America.

Bessie Phillips establish the Stephen Philips Memorial Trust House as a museum to be enjoyed by all, which today is part of Historic New England and the only home on Chestnut Street that is open to the public.

The thirteen innocent women who were hanged during the Salem Witch Trials, accused of practicing witchcraft, are perhaps the inspiration for many of the bright and strong women who have led Salem ever since. We remember Bridget Bishop, Martha Carrier, Martha Corey, Mary Easty, Sarah Good, Dorcas Hoar, Elizabeth Howe, Susannah Martin, Rebecca Nurse, Alice Parker, Mary Parker, Ann Pudeator, Margaret Scott, and Sarah Wildes.

For more information on the historic women of Salem, explore the Salem Women’s History Trail and celebrate Salem Women’s History Day this month at these events.

Bridget Bishop, Hanged, June 10, 1692

bridget_bishop_stone_salemHysteria, wrongly accused for a crime you didn’t commit, tried, and hanged; try and picture what life was like in Salem Village, 1692.  The people of Salem Village had to face an immeasurable number of elements that constantly worked against them: unpredictable weather with no protection against the bitter New England cold, performed back-breaking daily chores their farmland needed, and maintained the mindset of the Puritan religion: the fear that the devil exists and might very well walk among us.

The courts during that time functioned completely different than the ones we know today, and allowed the inclusion of spectral evidence.  Spectral evidence was when the witness would testify that the accused person’s spirit or spectral shape appeared to her/him in a dream at the time that their physical body was at another location.  It was because of this “evidence” that 19 people were hanged and one man was pressed to death during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

The first person to be tried, found guilty, and hanged on June 10, was the innocent Bridget Bishop.  Bridget was known throughout the Salem area for her un-Puritan like behavior of flamboyant dress, tavern frequenting, and multiple marriages.  In an effort to avoid being hanged, Bridget admitted guilt and denounced her good name in the community.  She was found guilty by the testimonials of numerous townspeople (more than any other defendant) and was therefore executed on June 10, 1692.

– Margaret Kazan, Destination Salem

Bell and Watson

Illustration of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Watson by Racket Shreve

Illustration of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Watson by Racket Shreve

There were a lot of posts on social media this week commemorating the anniversary of Alexander Graham Bell’s first telephone call.  I saw an article on Twitter about Ten things to know [about the telephone], and a friend on Facebook posted about the anniversary of the first call, ending with a little-known piece of trivia: “As for the greeting, Bell did not favor the now ubiquitous ‘hello’ but rather ‘ahoy’.”  (I have no source on this other than the Facebook post, but I do consider the poster to be trustworthy in his trivia.)

My immediate reaction was, “Where’s the mention of Salem?”  We all know that Alexander Graham Bell placed the first call from The Lyceum Hall, what today is Turner’s Seafood.  But there was no mention of Salem, which led me to quickly realize our superlatives are all about their qualifiers. So I turned to Jim McAllister and his book, Salem: From Naumkeag to Witch City. I knew he would hold the key.

On February 12, 1877, nearly a year after placing the call to Watson in the next room, Alexander Graham Bell “demonstrated his telephone apparatus to the public for the first time.” There was a crowd of more than 500 paying customers in the Lyceum to hear Professor Bell’s presentation.  McAllister writes, “Bell began with a tribute to Salem’s own Charles Grafton Page, whose experiments in sending musical sounds by electric currents in the 1830s had pioneered the field of telephony. Bell went on to describe briefly his own experiments and the workings of his new invention. Then he used the telephone to instruct his assistant Thomas Watson, who was stationed in their Exeter Street laboratory in Boston, to send an interrupted current followed by the alphabet in Morse code. The crowd was thrilled by the sounds coming through the telephone receiver on the stage, which could be heard even in the back of the hall thirty-five feet away.”

The program continued with Watson playing telephonic organ music, singing, and speaking to the audience at the Lyceum in Salem.  A few select members of the audience were even invited to speak into the new invention.

At the end of the evening, “The telephone at Salem was… turned over to Henry Batchelder, a friend of Watson and a stringer for the Boston Globe. Batchelder used the device to dictate is account of what had just transpired at the Lyceum to a Globe reporter, A.B. Fletcher, who was with Watson in Boston. This was the first time Bell’s new invention had been used to transmit a news story.”

So, there you have it.  The first telephone call may have been made on March 10, 1867, but the first long distance call was placed from the Lyceum in Salem on February 12, 1877, and it was followed by the first time a telephone was used to transmit a news story.

Salem-Rutland-1877-A Want to read more? There’s a story on Poynter.comabout Alexander Graham Bell’s call to the Boston Globe.

Spotlight on the Salem Witch Trials

The Trial of George JacobsWe commemorated the anniversary of the hanging of Bridget Bishop, the first victim of the Salem Witch Trials, on June 10.  The Witch House hosted an excellent lecture by historian Margo Burns as well as a brief ceremony at the Witch Trials Memorial.  Bridget Bishop was the first of twenty to be condemned and executed during the Salem witchcraft hysteria of 1692.

The Salem Witch Trials are a fascinating time in American history, and the stories of the victims and their accusers have withstood the test of time, holding the fascination of people from around the world.  Any great story changes and evolves as it is told and retold, and from time to time it is good to check back in with the facts.  There are many misconceptions of the Trials and the hysteria, as well as frequently asked questions, and the Salem Witchcraft Trials has inspired retellings in literature and film for centuries.

Here is our “top-ten” list of misconceptions, frequently asked questions, and favorite retellings.

It all happened in Danvers, not Salem.  The Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692 happened throughout the region, with accused and accusers coming from Salem, Ipswich, Gloucester, Andover, Methuen, and other communities.  Salem Village is now the town of Danvers, and some of the sites associated with the trials and hysteria are in Danvers.  Salem Town, modern day Salem, is where the trials actually took place, as well as the hangings and the pressing of Giles Corey.  The Salem Award Foundation has produced a Visitor’s Guide to 1692, which is available through Destination Salem, the Salem Regional Visitor Center, and several participating sites.

Gallows Hill is a soccer field today.  Maybe, but maybe not. There is definitely a soccer field up on a hill in a neighborhood that is called, “Gallows Hill.” That much is true. That said, the location of the gallows or hanging tree (we are not sure which was used) is not on any modern map.  We recommend people go to the Witch Trials Memorial, adjacent to the Old Burying Point, to remember the victims and consider the past.  Please treat the Memorial with respect when you visit, and note that the Witch Trials Memorial is closed between dusk and dawn.

The House of the Seven Gables was part of the Salem Witch Trials. The mansion does date back to 1668, so it was here during the trials, but the house itself does not have direct ties to the Witch Trials. The Turner family lived in the house in the 17th-century, and they made their fortune at sea.  Nathaniel Hawthorne’s great-great-grandfather was Judge John Hathorne, one of the “hanging judges” during the trials, and his involvement with the Witchcraft Hysteria drove Hawthorne to add the w to his name and write The House of the Seven Gables, which is fiction.

The victims really were witches. Doubtful.  It is equally doubtful that the accusers were witches.  The Salem Witchcraft Trials were a social hysteria that spun out of control.

The accused were “swum” to determine if they were a witch.  Not in Salem. The practice of swimming a witch was used in Europe, and in Connecticut, but not in Salem.

Victims were burned at the stake.  Not in Salem.  Burning at the stake was punishment for heresy, a crime against the church, in Europe.  Witchcraft was a felony in the colonies, a crime against the government.

The Hysteria ended in October.  The Court of Oyer and Terminer was dissolved by Governor Phips in October, and a new Superior Court was convened to try the remaining witchcraft cases. The Superior Court condemned three additional people in January 1693, but Governor Phips pardoned them and all who were still imprisoned on the charge of witchcraft.  Not everyone was freed, however, as prisoners had to pay for their imprisonment before being released.

On stageThe Crucible, by Arthur Miller, is a remarkable play that is set in Salem in 1692. Miller wrote the story as allegory for the House on Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) that was having its own social witch hunt for communism in the 1950s.  The play is fiction, inspired by actual events and actual people.  Historian Margo Burns writes more in her essay, “Picky, Picky, Picky.”

On the big screen: Hocus Pocus is definitely fiction, but it sure is fun.  A bigger hit in DVD and on network television each October than it was in theatres when it was released in 1993, the story of the Sanderson sisters, starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimi is one of our favorites, and many of the locations where they filmed in Salem are still here, and were featured in the 2013 Guide to Salem Haunted Happenings.

In literature: The Heretic’s Daughter, by Kathleen Kent, is about Martha Carrier’s family. Told from the perspective of Martha’s daughter, Sarah, it is a wonderful work of fiction inspired by actual events.  Katherine Howe’s novel, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, is also an engaging work of historical fiction inspired by the events of 1692.

Resources and References:

The Salem Award Foundation gives the Salem Award for Human Rights and Social Justice annually and maintains the Witch Trials Memorial.

The Salem Witch Museum FAQ Page, Witch Trials Weekly, and Miscellany

Salem Witch Trials Documents Archive and Transcription Project, University of Virginia

17thc.us, Historian Margo Burns

Books:

Witch-Hunting in Seventeenth Century New England, David D. Hall

In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692, Mary Beth Norton

The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-By-Day Chronicle of a Community under Siege, Marilynne K. Roach

Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, Bernard Rosenthal

Food, Fish, and History: An Itinerary.

This is the second in a series of suggested ways to explore Salem. Destination Salem will feature a new itinerary each Tuesday (#traveltuesday!). These itineraries are not available as a package, and are only suggested ways to explore Salem. Please contact listed sites for hours, rates, and schedules. Click here to read our Two-NightItinerary for a Family. 

Food Itinerary

This week, we are celebrating food, fish, and history, all three of which can be found in a Salem Food Tour.  Some of the businesses listed are tour partners of the Salem Food Tour, so we recommend flexibility if you are interested in following this itinerary.  While we originally crafted this itinerary as a day trip, everything is better when you spend the night, so we have paired the food, fish, and history with the historic Morning Glory B&B.

Historic New England’s Phillips House
34 Chestnut Street, Salem
(978) 744-0440 | HistoricNewEngland.org
Included in this itinerary for the kitchen, dining room, and pantry, Phillips House is the only home on historic Chestnut Street open to the public, and it provides a glimpse into the private world of the Phillips family and their domestic staff during the early decades of the twentieth century. The kitchen, pantry, and a domestic staff bedroom, present a rarely seen picture of how the great houses functioned as new technologies were being introduced.

Salem Food Tours
(978) 594-8811 | SalemFoodTours.com
Salem Food Tours are guided food and cultural walking tours of historic Salem. They feature tastings at some of Salem’s best food shops and restaurants, and participants will enjoy talking with chefs and fellow food lovers. Learn about early colonial dinners, local history and culture, Salem’s illustrious maritime spice trades and more.  

Fish Itinerary

SHOP

Salem Spice at the Picklepot  
978-744-6678 | SalemSpice.com
75 Wharf St., Pickering Wharf, Salem, MA  01970
Salem Spice is located on Pickering Wharf in Salem, where the spice trade in North America began.  In 1797, Captain Jonathan Carnes arrived in Salem Harbor with his ship loaded in pepper from Sumatra which provided him with a 700% profit and started the spice trade which remained centered in Salem for over 50 years. Today Salem Spice is Salem’s source for culinary spices, sauces, marinades, rubs, teas and cooking supplies. 

Joe’s Fish Prints / Fished Impressions
104 Wharf Street, Salem, MA
(978) 944-1709 | FishedImpressions.com
Fished Impressions is the parent company of Joe’s Fish Prints, and features  quality reproductions of the best fish prints Joe Higgins has made. Lucky shoppers may find making new prints from his most recent catch.

Ye Olde Pepper Companie
122 Derby Street, Salem
(978) 745-2744 | YeOldePepperCandy.com
America’s oldest candy company, Ye Olde Pepper Companie has been dishing out the best treats since 1806. Local famous favorites, Gibralters and Black Jacks, are offered alongside traditional New England sweets like saltwater taffy, delicious fudge, and turtles that were one of Oprah Winfrey’s Favorite Things (2009).

Dine Itinerary

DINE

Finz Seafood and Grill
76 Wharf Street, Pickering Wharf, Salem
(978) 744-0000 | FinzSeafood.com
Finz features innovative and inspired menus, a raw bar serving fresh seasonal oysters, and a carefully chosen wine list. The menu at FINZ emphasizes seasonal, fresh seafood and creative preparations.

Scratch Kitchen
245 Derby Street, Salem
(978) 741-2442 | ScratchKitchenSalem.com
Scratch Kitchen features a menu focused on regional and local farm fresh ingredients including house smoked meats and homemade bacon, breads, condiments, and pickles. Scratch Kitchen also has Sunday Brunch and a selection of craft beers and wines. Don’t miss the chowder, which is made from a recipe that dates back to the 1800s. 

STAY

Morning Glory Bed & Breakfast
22 Hardy Street, Salem
(978-741-1703 | MorningGloryBB.com
This charming Georgian Federal, circa 1808, is owned and operated by Bob Shea, a native of Salem. Graced with New England elegance, the comfortable guestrooms, each with its own private bathroom, provide a refuge for guests to unwind.

Historic Burying Grounds

Historic Burying Grounds

Charter Street Cemetery. Photo: Jasmine Gordon

Salem has three cemeteries that are significant to the Witch Trials of 1692. The Howard Street Cemetery is said to be where Giles Corey was taken to be pressed to death, a torture chosen because he refused to stand trial. George Corwin, who served as the high sheriff of Essex County in 1692, and his brother Jonathon Corwin, the Salem merchant who lived in the “Witch House” when he served as magistrate during the trials, are both buried in the Broad Street Cemetery. A white obelisk marks their grave.

The Charter Street Cemetery is the final resting place for at least two members of the Court of Oyer and Terminer, including physician Bartholomew Gedney and magistrate John Hathorne, who was the great-great grandfather of writer Nathaniel Hawthorne. Also buried here is Mary Corey, the first wife of Giles Corey, who died in 1684. Giles’ third wife, Martha Corey, was hanged for Witchcraft during the trials.

These three cemeteries, and the Witch Trial Memorial, which is behind the Charter Street Cemetery, are open to the public from dawn to dusk. We ask that visitors treat the graves with respect, and appreciation for their age and solemnity.

Elephant on Board

The ElephantI suppose every town has unique and quirky history, but Salem sure seems to have more than its fair share.  Salemites have been involved in so many aspects of American history, including legal process, navigation, trade, literature, education, and abolition.  And then there are the quirky stories that catch our attention – streakers, souvenir spoons, lead pencils, American flags, and elephants.

It is said that the first elephant in America came through Salem in 1796.  She was purchased in Calcutta by Captain Jacob Crowninshield, who was a member of the hugely successful Crowninshield & Sons of Salem shipping company.

The elephant came to America aboard the ship, America.  She was 2 years old and they called her Old Bet. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s father, Nathaniel Hathorne, was apparently an officer on board, and he is credited with writing, “Elephant on Board” in the ship log.

As the story goes, the crew of the America realized quickly after setting sail with this elephant that she was drinking all of the water on board. They quickly switched her diet to beer, and when she arrived stateside she was, well, drunk.  That did not diminish Old Bet’s popularity, though. She was eventually sold to Bailey (of Barnum & Bailey) and taken on tour with the circus. She was exhibited in Salem, Beverly, Marblehead, Boston, and New York.

The promotional poster from Boston has a few gems in its copy: “He eats 130 weight a day, and drinks all kinds of spiritous liquors; some days he has drank 30 bottles of porter, drawing the corks with his trunk,” and “The elephant having destroyed many papers of consequence, it is recommended to visitors not to come near him with such papers.”

Admission to see the elephant cost one quarter of a dollar (children, nine pence).

You can purchase a copy of the Boston Poster at the House of the Seven Gables.  It is a great piece of the whimsical side of Salem history.

An All-American Trip to Salem

This is the fourth in a series of suggested ways to explore Salem. Destination Salem will feature a new itinerary each Tuesday (#traveltuesday!). These itineraries are not available as a package, and are only suggested ways to explore Salem. Please contact listed sites for hours, rates, and schedules.

Previous itineraries include: Two-Night Itinerary for a Family, Food, Fish, and History, and a Salem Daytrip from Boston

American Trip to Salem

In honor of Independence Day on July 4th, this week we are featuring an all-American itinerary to inspire your exploration of Salem. Native son Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on the Fourth of July, and to celebrate his birth, we recommend a visit to The House of the Seven Gables and a stop at the National Park in Salem, where you can see where Hawthorne worked as a port surveyor in the Custom House.

You may want to start your visit to the Salem Maritime National Historic Site at the visitor center, where you can see the free film; Where Past is Present.  The film presents the history of Salem and all of Essex County, which is designated the Essex National Heritage Area.  The film is shown at 9:45 AM, 10:15 AM, 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM, and 4:00 PM.

Sold around the world, Harbor Sweets chocolates call Salem home. Celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, we think a tour of the Harbor Sweets factory is an all-American experience. Nothing here is out-sourced, in fact, the chocolate is still made with wooden paddles in a non-automated factory in a brick building on Leavitt Street.

Make an overnight of your stay at the Hawthorne Hotel, a Historic Hotel of America, on Salem Common.  Dine in Nathaniel’s in the hotel – named for our favorite author – and grab breakfast or lunch at Red’s Sandwich Shop, in the location of the London Coffee House, where Revolutionaries met in the 18th century.

American Trip to Salem

DO

The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem
(978) 745-0991 | 7Gables.org
Discover the secrets of the House of the Seven Gables, which inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous novel. Admission also includes access to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthplace, spectacular seaside gardens, and a unique Museum Store.

Salem Maritime National Historic Site, 160 Derby Street, Salem
(978) 740-1650 | nps.gov/sama
Wander this National Park which preserves one of America’s most influential ports and discover the history behind the buildings, wharves, and the reconstructed vessel Friendship, all of which played a large role in establishing trade between the young American nation and the Far East.

Salem Regional Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty Street, Salem
(978) 740-1650 | nps.gov/sama
This National Park preserves one of America’s most influential ports. Salem Maritime National Historic Site is a National Park in an urban setting, and its historic buildings, wharves, and the vessel Friendship describe the traders and sailors who brought the riches of the Far East to America.  While the visitor center is located on Liberty Street, most of the park is on the Salem Waterfront at Derby Street.

Harbor Sweets Factory Tour, 85 Leavitt Street, Salem
(978) 745-7648 | HarborSweets.com
Harbor Sweets has been making handmade, distinctive New England gift chocolates since 1973. The shop offers a glorious array of gifts and treats, including their signature “Sweet Sloops.”  Tours are given most Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:00 AM. Please call ahead to confirm availability.

STAY

Hawthorne Hotel, 18 Washington Square West, Salem
(978) 744-4080 | HawthorneHotel.com
The Hawthorne has been an icon on the North Shore since 1925. The historic and elegant Hotel is located in the heart of Salem and has hosted well-known personalities such as President George Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush, Walter Cronkite, and Bette Davis. It boasts 93 rooms including a four-room antique house as well as two dining areas: the cozy, fireplaced Tavern and award-winning Nathaniel’s.

DINE

Red’s Sandwich Shop, 15 Central Street, Salem
(978) 745-3257 | RedsSandwichShop.com
If you’re looking for the real Salem, try Red’s Sandwich Shop for breakfast or lunch. John and Lisa and the friendly staff of Red’s welcome you to Salem’s most popular landmark for over 50 years. The hearty food has won many awards over the years-most notably for the North Shore’s best breakfast, best luncheon, best coffee and best bagels. Red’s also won the Heritage Days’ Chowderfest and has been praised on the Boston Globe’s “Cheap Eats” and on the Phantom Gourmet’s “Hidden Jewel”.

Nathaniel’s in the Hawthorne Hotel, 18 Washington Square, Salem
(978) 825-4311 | HawthorneHotel.com
Located in the iconic Hawthorne Hotel, Nathaniel’s menu offers dishes ranging from historic items of a bygone era to contemporary, eclectic fare. Nathaniel’s also offers demi-portions of its most popular items including their signature dish, Scallops Sophia.

Aloha Hōkūleʻa!

Hokule'a Sails into Woods Hole, MA

Hokule’a Sails into Woods Hole, MA

Salem will say Aloha to Hawai‘i’s iconic voyaging canoe Hōkūleʻa when she arrives at Salem Maritime National Historic Site on Thursday, July 14. The 62-foot catamaran is in the midst of a multi-year circumnavigation of the globe to raise awareness of Polynesian maritime culture and ocean conservation.

Hōkūleʻa will be docked at Central Wharf at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site and she will be open for public canoe tours on Thursday from 1:00 – 5:00 PM.

A Polynesian voyaging canoe, Hōkūle‘a has been built in the tradition of ancient Hawaiian wa‘a kaulua (double-hulled voyaging canoe). Launched March 8, 1975, Hōkūle‘a (“Star of Gladness”) helped spark a revival of Hawaiian culture and wayfinding and is the iconic symbol of the Worldwide Voyage.

Salem has some remarkable connections to Hawaii via the Peabody Essex Museum, Phillips House, and the House of the Seven Gables.

Salem’s centuries-old connection with Hawai’i may be found at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), one of the oldest, largest and fastest-growing museums in the country. Since the museum’s inception in 1799, PEM has collected art and cultural objects from the Pacific Islands and its collection of more than 22,000 works — 3,000 of which are Native Hawaiian — is considered among the most important in the world. Visitors may explore another aspect of Salem-Hawaiian history through an immersive gallery recreation of Cleopatra’s Barge, an opulent 19th century yacht that launched from Salem and went on to become the royal yacht of King Kamehameha II who renamed it Ha’aheo o Hawai’i (“Pride of Hawai’i”).

Historic New England’s Phillips House is offering special tours focused on their Oceanic collection at 1:00pm and 3:00pm on Friday, July 15.  The Phillips House flies the Hawaiian flag to symbolize the family’s connection to Hawaii and passion for Oceanic culture, which goes back to 1866 when Stephen Henry Phillips was the Attorney General for the Kingdom of Hawaii under King Kamehameha V.  The family’s Oceanic collections include hundreds of artifacts, rare books, archives, and images dating from the late 1700s through the mid-20th century.

At the House of the Seven Gables visitors and crew can learn about Retire Beckett through a small exhibit, which  will be on view. The Retire Beckett House, now the Museum Store, was home of shipbuilder Retire Beckett (1753-1851). Beckett has to his credit the yacht Cleopatra’s Barge, which was built in 1817 and visited 16 ports in Europe and North Africa until it was stripped and sold to King Kamehameha II in 1820. A replica of the yacht’s cabins is on display at the Peabody Essex Museum.  On Friday and Saturday the Gables will feature interactive family programming inspired by the canoe’s visit to Salem.

For more information on the Hōkūleʻa , visit Hokulea.com; Salem Maritime National Historic Site: nps.gov/sama; and visiting Salem: salem.org. Join the conversation on social media with @destsalem and tag #SalemMA and #HokuleainSalem.

Follow the Hokule’a visit to Salem Maritime National Historic Site on the Facebook event page!

July 19, 1692

Salem MA Witchcraft in Salem Village
Salem MA Witchcraft in Salem Village

Witchcraft at Salem Village.

The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 occurred in such a short amount of time, this being one of the reasons why they are so horrifically famous, and July 19th is no exception to the reasons.

Eight people were found guilty of witchcraft and hanged on July 19th.  Two of the first accused in 1692, Sarah Good and Sarah Wildes, were hanged that day, as well as the only minister to be executed during the trials: the Reverend George Burroughs.  It seems he was not only guilty of being a “witch”, but was overdue in repaying his debts to the Putnam’s; a prominent family in Salem Village whose daughter led the girls responsible for the accusations.  Elizabeth Howe, Sarah Martin, and Susanna Martin had all previously been accused of witchcraft, their charges dropped due to lack of evidence, but, like numerous historians and history books state, reasons or motives for many of the accusations in 1692 were due to politics and land disputes, making accusations about more than just witches.

Martha Carrier was unfortunate enough to land herself in a deathly land dispute with her neighbor, Benjamin Abbott.  After experiencing a disagreement, Abbott suddenly fell ill, and accused Carrier of bewitchment.  Not long after the accusation, he accused her whole family and made them testify against her in court.  She was hanged on July 19th, 1692.

John Proctor, one of the most famous victims of the trials due to Daniel Day Lewis’ film portrayal, was possibly the most outspoken citizen of Salem Village.  He would threaten to beat and whip the afflicted girls, knowing that they were lying and performing theatrics.  This was perilous to Proctor, as soon the girls accused his pregnant wife and then him.  In a final plea for help during this time of mass hysteria, Proctor composed and sent a letter to the Boston clergy asking them to intervene or move the trials to Boston.  This was to no avail for the poor man, as their reply came too late to save his own life, but was helpful in pardoning his wife’s’ and their unborn child’s.

One of the most memorable victims of the trials, was the beloved and pious Rebecca Nurse. A respected woman of Salem Village, Nurse was wrongly accused of witchcraft with no credible evidence against her.  “I am as innocent as the child unborn” stated Nurse.  39 citizens of Salem Village risked their lives in signing a petition to save this innocent woman.  Dismally, Nurse was given false hope, after first being found innocent there were fits and protests from the afflicted girls and townspeople, forcing the judge to order the jury to reconsider their verdict, resulting in her death sentence.

The fate of Rebecca Nurse might have been what sparked doubt in the people of Salem Village. How could this innocent, good-hearted Puritan woman be hanged for a crime she so clearly did not commit? Were these people really witches?

A month will pass before the next execution day. The Salem Witch panic is far from over.

-Margaret Kazan

Salem Willows Firemen’s Muster

This is a free event at the Salem Willows featuring hand pumped fire engines built in the 1800s competing to see which crew can play the longest stream. If you’re brave enough you can try pumping!

An antique hand pumped fire engine muster where crews pump their machines to see who can shoot the longest stream of water. This is the oldest organized sport in the United States.

The first firemen’s muster was held on July 4th, 1849 in Bath, Maine. It was a competition among crews with hand pumped fire engines to see who could shoot the longest stream of water. The tradition has been kept alive into the 21st century; every year on a Saturday close to July 4th, another muster is held in Bath.

On November 20th, 1890, the New England States Veteran Firemen’s League was founded in Boston. Musters were held all over New England, often attracting 50 or 60 entrants.

There are two classes of machine: A and B. The class is determined by the size of the cylinders. Each machine is allowed 15 minutes on the pumping platform to shoot as many streams as their crew can manage.

A suction hose goes into the water tank, which is kept full from a hydrant or a tanker truck. The foreman stands on top and keeps an eye on optimal wind conditions. The pipe crew handles the nozzle and aims the powerful spray down the line of red resin paper that is the playing field.

The judges measure the farthest flung dime sized drop of water to determine who wins each class.

At the end of the day, the foremen of the winning machines are ceremoniously dunked in the water tank.

Taste of the Gables

Join the House of the Seven Gables on Sunday, September 17 for The Gables’ annual fundraiser. Taste of The Gables 2017 takes full advantage of our region’s spectacular bounty. Visit The Gables on this special evening as we celebrate good food, good friends, and supporters. Proceeds enable The House of The Seven Gables Settlement Association’s dual mission — to provide support to the community’s immigrant families and to preserve The Gables’ National Historic Landmark District.

Tickets ($115-125) may be purchased online in advance. For more information on ticket sales and reservations, please contact The House of the Seven Gables at (978) 744-0991 or info@7gables.org.

Salem.org