By Tim Lambert

1626 Salem, Massachusetts is founded

1647 Alice Young of Windsor, Connecticut is the first person to be executed for witchcraft in the American colonies

1688 Mary Glover is hanged in Boston for witchcraft

1689 Cotton Mather publishes a book called Memorable Providences Relating to Witchcraft and Possessions

The Witch Hunt Begins

January 1692 Two girls in Salem try fortune telling

20 January 1692 The two girls are having fits. A doctor named William Griggs claims they are bewitched. Later other girls in Salem also start having fits.

25 February 1692 As a 'test' a 'witch cake' made of rye and urine from the first two girls is baked. The cake is fed to a dog to see if he behaves like the two girls. The dog is supposed to have done so. This 'test' is supposed to prove that witchcraft is causing the fits.

29 February 1692 Three women, a slave named Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne are arrested for witchcraft after the girls 'identify' them as the ones responsible. Tituba confesses. By confessing she saves her own life. Other arrests follow.

27 May 1692 So many people have been arrested the governor sets up a special court to deal with them all.

10 June 1692 Bridget Bishop is the first person to be hanged for witchcraft

19 July 1692 Sarah Good, Elizabeth Howe, Susannah Martin, Sarah Wilds and Rebecca Nurse are hanged

19 August 1692George Burroughs, Martha Carrier, George Jacobs, John Proctor, and John Willard are hanged

19 September 1692 Giles Corey is pressed to death

22 September 1692 Martha Corey, Mary East, Alice Parker, Mary Parker, Ann Updater, Wilmot Reed, Margaret Scott and Samuel Waddell are hanged.

8 October 1692 The governor forbids the court to allow 'spectral' evidence.

29 October 1692 The special court set up to try 'witches is dissolved.

January 1693 The last trials for witchcraft are held. Three people are convicted but are reprieved by the governor.

May 1693 The governor pardons all those in prison (either convicted or awaiting trial).

The Aftermath

1697 A day of fasting and praying for forgiveness is held

1702 The General Court of Massachusetts overturns the convictions for witchcraft

1711 The relatives of the victims are granted compensation

1992 A memorial is erected to the people wrongly executed in Salem

A History of the Salem Witchcraft Trials

The European Witch Hunts

A Brief History of the USA

Life in 17th Century New England

A Timeline of the USA


Last Revised 2019