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The Salem Witch Trials
Transcript of The Salem Witch Trials
Why Was She Innocent?
All Rebecca said was, "The Lord Knows I have not hurt them. I am an innocent person."
Why is She Guilty?
Rebecca would not confess to witchcraft, thus they found her guilty.
What was the verdict of the trial?
On June 30, 1692, Rebecca was found guilty of witchcraft due to her lack of her confession.
Through all the accusations, Rebecca replied with such a statement as this, "You do not
know my heart."
She was a well respected woman in Salem and this is a reason why she seemed to be wrongly accused. But, she would not confess to witchcraft, thus their decision...
The accusers believed Rebecca to be guilty of killing the unborn children of the Putnams through the use of witchcraft.
The judges found grounds to hang her for witchcraft and carried out the punishment at Gallows Hill on July 19, 1692.
The Salem Witch Trials
The jury originally found her not guilty, but the magistrates begged to give her a second trial to find her guilty. At the second hearing, they asked her a question, and since she was old and hard of hearing, she did not hear the question and thus did not answer. With her silence they found grounds to hang her.
The Judicial Process
Who were her supporters?
The people who supported her innocence, were other wrongly accused, the Proctors, and a few of the others in Salem.
Format Of Her Trial
Rebecca Nurse was accused of the use of witchcraft to kill the unborn babes of the Putnams.
Who were the judges/magistrates?
Politics of Salem
The afflicted girls kept saying that she brought her spirit among them to torment them.
The final verdict was based upon a misunderstanding, due to Rebecca's poor hearing.
These men were hand picked by the governor of Massachusetts, William Phips, to deal with the excessive amount of accused witches.
Political/ Religious Leaders
Governor of Massachusetts
Description of the Politics
The government was well intertwined with religion, and based all their rules around the Bible and Puritan practices.
As the governor of Massachusetts, Phips took control and developed The Court of Oyer and Terminer to deal with the excessive amount of accused witches that were occupying the jails.
Rebecca Nurse was the daughter of William Towne of Yarmouth, Norfolk County, England, where she was born and baptized on Feb. 21, 1621. Her family later moved to Salem Village. She had two sisters, Mary Easty and Sarah Cloyce, who were also accused of witchcraft and put to death. Rebecca's husband, Francis Nurse, did not receive capital punishment. She had four sons and four daughters.
Rebecca was an elderly woman, approximately 71 years of age when she was executed.
She most likely worked as a typical 17th
century housewife, taking care of her home.
Everything that happened had to be from God, and God was considered the ultimate judge in any circumstance.
Rebecca was accused of witchcraft, through what I think was jealousy. The Putnams were jealous of her having never lost a child and started wrongly accusing her of the killing of their children through the use of witchcraft.
At first, I feel that her trial was fair, due to them finding her not guilty. But when they reconsidered and asked her a question and she did not respond, they instantly assumed her a witch. They should have taken into consideration that she is old and may not have heard the question they asked her. So in the end, I do not find her trial fair, whatsoever.
John Hathorne, the ancestor of the writer Nathaniel Hawthorne, resided there. He became known as "the hanging judge of Salem".
Rebecca had acquired a reputation for
"exemplary piety that was virtually
unchallenged in the community."
Her husband, Francis, worked as a
"traymaker," which was apparently
a well-respected occupation, as wooden
household amenities were rare.
Rebecca was a pious and well-respected
Puritan woman. It was due to her respect
that she was almost spared by the court.
Salem Village was part of Salem Town, but was set apart from it in terms of class, economy, and character. Residents of Salem village were usually poor farmers trying to make a living with the rocky farmland, while residents of Salem Town were generally the political leaders and wealthy merchants doing business by the port.
Salem Village attempted to gain independence from Salem Town for many years. Salem Town depended upon the village for their food and taxes, and determined the farmers' crop prices.
Salem Village was a poor farming area located near the town of Salem. Its residents were mostly farmers and their wives.
Salem Village did not have its own church and minister until 1674. Reverend Samuel Parris, the newly elected minister, only fueled the flames of the conflict with his sermons.
Two major groups began to form in the village itself, the farmers being farther from the town, and the wealthier merchants. Many people believed the the prosperity of Salem Town and their neighbors was threatening their Puritan values.
Salem began as a small fishing settlement on Cape Ann in 1624. Three years later several Puritan settlers set out to establish a more permanent home. Naumkeag was founded. Naumkeag was later renamed to Salem in 1629, for Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace. It was split into two regions: Salem Town and Salem Village.
Eventually due to shady practices in the forest by some young children, accusations of witchcraft were starting to be thrown about the region, with the accusers being mostly the farmers and the accused being those wealthier and closer to Salem Town.