Essex County Archives, Salem -- Witchcraft Volume 1, Page 119
Essex County, Massachusetts was created on May 10, 1643 by the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, when it ordered "that the whole plantation within this jurisdiction be divided into four sheires."
Many factors led to the witchcraft accusations in Salem.
May 20th 1692
The testimone of Geo Herrick [marshall for the court] aged thirty
four or thereaboutes and John Puttnam Jun'r of Salem Village aged
thirty five yeares or there aboutes and saith that
beeing att the
house of the above s'd John Puttnams both saw Mercy Lewis in a
very Dreadfull and Solemn Condition So that to our aprehention
shee could not continue long in this world without A mittigation
of thoes Torments wee saw her # [in] which Caused us to Expediate
A hasty dispacth to apprehendMary Estickin hopes if possable
it might save her Life and
Returneing the same night to s'd John
Puttnams house aboute middnight wee found the s'd Mercy Lewis in A Dreadfull fitt but her Reason was then Returned Againe she
said what have you brought me the winding Sheet Goodwife Estice, well I had rather goe into the winding Sheet then Sett my hand to
the Book but affter that her fitts was weaker and weaker but still
Complaining that Shee was very Sick of her Stomake aboute break
of Day She fell a sleep but still Continues Extream sick and was
taken with A Dread fitt Just as wee left her so that wee perceaved
life in her and that was all
Jurat [one who has taken an oath] in Curia [a court of justice]
Sep'r. 9th. 92:
#[Benj Huchinson testifieth the same as]
Atest Geo. Herrick John. putnam. Jun
Deacon Edward Putnam (1654-1747) was about 38 at the time of the trials. His parents were Thomas Putnam and Ann Holyoke. He married Mary Hale. His brother was Thomas Putnam. Ann Putnam was 12 years old at the time of the trials. She was the daughter of Thomas and Ann Putnam. Ann died in 1716 and was the only girl to apologize. Constable John Putnam. Jr. (1627-1710). His parents were John Putnam and Priscilla Gould. He married Rebecca Prince.
Salem is in Essex County, Massachusetts and was a significant seaport in early America. John Endicott obtained a patent from England and arrived there in 1628. Salem originally included much of the North Shore, including Marblehead. Salem Village also included Peabody and parts of Beverly, Middleton, Topsfield, Wenham and Manchester-by-the-Sea.
Mercy Lewis was a servant in Thomas Putnam's home. She was born in Maine about 1673 and lost both parents in Indian attacks at a young age.
The Salem witch trials were between February, 1692 and May, 1693.