Rebecca Beatrice Brooks July 21, 2014 October 3, 2021 10 comment on The Witchcraft trial of Elizabeth Proctor

Elizabeth Proctor, mam of Salem village farmer man Proctor, to be accused the witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials in 1692.

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The Proctors were a wealthy family members who live on a large rented farm on the suburbs of Salem Village, in what is now contemporary day Peabody. Elizabeth, Proctor’s 3rd wife, married Proctor in April the 1674, two years after ~ the death of his second wife, Elizabeth Thorndike.

Elizabeth Proctor’s at an early stage Life:

Elizabeth Proctor, whose maiden surname was Bassett, was additionally the granddaughter of Goody Burt, a people healer native Lynn who had actually been tried, but acquitted, on fees of witchcraft end 30 year earlier.

In the spring of 1692, after few of the afflicted girls started having fits and claimed that invisible pressures were tormenting them, the Proctor’s servant, mary Warren, began showing the exact same symptoms.

John Proctor, who believed the afflicted girls were simply pretending to be afflicted, accused Warren of faking she symptoms and also threatened come beat she if she continued. Warren’s fits conveniently stopped yet as quickly as john Proctor left on organization a few days later, she symptoms returned and she join the recurring witch trials as a witness.


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The meetinghouse that the an initial church in Salem Village, illustration released in the new England Magazine, Volume 5, in 1892


Elizabeth Proctor’s Arrest and Trial:

In so late March, 2 of the afflicted girls, Mercy Lewis and also Abigail Williams, declared Elizabeth Proctor went to them at night in spirit kind and tormented them.

On April 4, john Walcott and also Nathaniel Ingersoll filed an official complaint against Elizabeth Proctor, on behalf of Abigail Williams, john Indian, mar Walcott, Ann Putnam, Jr, and Mercy Lewis, and also a warrant was issued for her arrest.

After she was apprehended, Elizabeth Proctor was lugged to the Salem town meetinghouse on April 11 and examined through Judge cutting board Danforth, according to court records:

Q. Elizabeth Proctor! you understand whereof you are charged, viz. To be guilty that sundry acts of witchcraft; what speak you to it? Speak the truth, and also so friend that space afflicted, you must speak the truth, together you will answer it prior to God an additional day. Mar Walcott! doth this woman hurt you?A. I never ever saw her so regarding be hurt by her.Q. Mar Lewis! go she hurt you? — her mouth to be stopped.Q. Ann Putnam, does she hurt you? — She could not speak.Q. Abigail Williams! does she ache you? — her hand to be thrust in her own mouth.Q. John! does she ache you?A. This is the mrs that came in her change and choked me.Q. Go she ever bring the book?A. Yes, Sir.Q. What come do?A. To write.Q. What, this woman?A. Yes, Sir.Q. Are you sure of it?A. Yes, Sir. — Again, Abigail Williams and Ann Putnam were spoke come by the court, yet neither the them might make any answer, by reason of dumbness or other fits.Q. What carry out you to speak Goody Proctor to these things?A. Ns take God in heaven to be my witness, the I know nothing of it, no more than the son unborn.

As the check continued, Elizabeth Proctor’s accusers started to shift their attention to Elizabeth’s servant, mar Warren, and also her husband, man Proctor:

Q. Abigail Williams! go this mrs hurt you?A. Yes, Sir, often.Q. Walk she carry the book to you?A. Yes.Q. What would certainly she have you do with it?A. To compose in it and also I shall be well. — Did no you, stated Abigail, phone call me, the your maid had actually written?A.(Proctor) too ~ Child, that is not so. There is one more judgement, to ~ child.Then Abigail and Ann had actually fits. By and also by they cry out, watch you over there is Goody Proctor top top the beam. By and also by, both of them cried the end of Goodman Proctor himself, and said he was a wizard. Immediately, many, if not all of the bewitched, had grievous fits.Q. Ann Putnam! that hurt you?A. Goodman Proctor and his mam too. — later on some that the afflicted cried, over there is Proctor walking to take up Mrs. Pope’s feet. — and also her feet were automatically taken up.Q. What perform you say Goodman Proctor to this things?A. I recognize not, i am innocent.Abigail Williams cried out, over there is Goodman Proctor going to Mrs. Pope , and immediately, claimed Pope fell into a fit. — You check out the adversary will deceive you; the children could see what you to be going to do before the woman was hurt. I would advise you to repentance, because that the adversary is bringing you out. Abigail Williams cried out again, over there is Goodman Proctor going to hurt Goody Bibber; and immediately Goody Bibber fell into a fit. There was the like of mary Walcott , and also divers others. Benjamin Gould gave in his testimony, that he had seen Goodman Corey and also his wife, Proctor and his wife, Goody Cloyce, Goody Nurse, and also Goody Griggs in his chamber last Thursday night. Elizabeth Hubbard was in a trance during the whole examination. Throughout the check of Elizabeth Proctor, Abigail Williams and Ann Putnam, both made market to to win at said Proctor; yet when Abigail’s hand came near, it opened, whereas that was comprised into a fist before, and came excellent exceeding lightly, as it drew near to claimed Proctor, and also at size with open and also extended fingers, touched Proctor’s hood very lightly. Immediately Abigail cry out, her fingers, she fingers, burned, and also Ann Putnam took on most grievously, of her head, and also sunk down.

It is not known specifically why the afflicted girl targeted Elizabeth Proctor, however in the 1953 play, The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, Abigail Williams is depicted as having an affair through John Proctor and also becomes jealous of Elizabeth Proctor, prompting her to suspicion Elizabeth that witchcraft.

The age difference between Abigail, 11, and John, 60, provides this unlikely and there’s no proof that Abigail Williams even knew Elizabeth or john Proctor prior to the witch hysteria.

Yet, Miller wrote in an essay in the new Yorker in 1996 that it was a moment throughout Elizabeth Proctor’s examination, when Abigail raises her hand to strike Elizabeth, that persuaded him the John and also Abigail had actually an affair:

“In this remarkably observed gesture that a troubled young girl, ns believed, a play ended up being possible. Elizabeth Proctor had actually been the orphaned Abigail’s mistress, and also they had lived with each other in the same small house till Elizabeth fired the girl. By this time, ns was sure, man Proctor had actually bedded Abigail, who had actually to it is in dismissed most likely to appease Elizabeth. Over there was bad blood in between the 2 women now. The Abigail started, in effect, to condemn Elizabeth to fatality with her touch, then quit her hand, climate went v with it, was quite suddenly the human center of every this turmoil.”

In April, due to overcrowding in the Salem jail, Elizabeth Proctor was transferred to the prison in Boston, together with Rebecca Nurse, Martha Corey, Dorothy (Dorcas) great and sarah Cloyce.

The complying with month, three of the Proctor’s children, William, Benjamin and also Sarah were additionally accused and also arrested, together was Elizabeth Proctor’s sister, mary Bassett DeRich, and also her sister-in-law buy it Bassett.

Sarah Proctor and also Sarah Bassett to be both accused on may 21 by John and Thomas Putnam, on behalf of Abigail Williams, mar Walcott, Mercy Lewis and also Ann Putnam, Jr., and arrested shortly after.

Benjamin Proctor to be accused a couple of days after that May 23rd, by Nathaniel Ingersoll and also Thomas Rayment, on instead of of mary Warren, Abigail Williams and also Elizabeth Hubbard, and also arrested through Marshal Deputy john Putnam. Wilhelm Proctor to be accused on might 28th by mar Walcott and also Susannah Sheldon and also arrested by constable john Putnam.

Although mar Warren wasn’t among Elizabeth’s initial accusers, she testified versus both Elizabeth and also John Proctor throughout their trials, claiming that their spirits beat, pinched and also choked her at night, according to court records:

“The Deposition of mar Warren age about 20 years do testefieth and saith i have frequently seen the apparition the Elizabeth Procter the wife of man proctor amongst the witches and she hath frequently tortured me most greviously through biting me and choking me and also pinching me and pressing my stomach phone call the blood came out of mine mouth and likewise upon the day of she examination I observed her torture mary Walcott, Mercy Lewis, Ann Putnam, Elizabeth Hubbard, Abigail Williams and also she hath ever since at time tortured me most greviously mary Warren own this here testimony to be the truth prior to the Jurors of Inquest this 30 the June 1692.”

After your arrests, plenty of of the Proctor’s friends banded together and signed a petition heralding them innocent and also asked for their release:

“We who names room under written having actually several years known John Proctor and also his wife perform testify that we never heard or construed that they were ever before suspected to be guilty that the crime now charged ~ above them and also several of us being their near neighbours execute testify that to ours apprehension they lived christian life in your family and were ever ready to help such together stood in need of your help Nathaniel Felton sen: and also mary his wife Samuel Marsh and Prescilla his wife James Houlton and also Ruth his wife man Felton Nathaniel Felton jun Samuell Frayll and an his wife Zachriah Marsh and mary his wife Samuel Endecott and also hanah his wife Samuell Stone George Locker Samuel Gaskil & provided his wife George Smith Ed Edward: Gaskile”

Neither the petition, no one the letter man Proctor sent out to the Boston clergy in July pleading that the trials be relocated to Boston, helped their situation.

On respectable 5, both Elizabeth and John Proctor were uncovered guilty and also sentenced come death. Since Elizabeth was pregnant at the moment of her conviction, she execution to be postponed until after she gave birth. John Proctor pleaded for an ext time together well, claiming that was too ill for the execution, however was hanged on respectable 19th.

On January 27, 1693, Elizabeth Proctor offered birth to a boy and also named him man Proctor III, after ~ his father. Back she had provided birth, Elizabeth was not immediately executed, for factors unknown.

In may of that same year, after ~ the witch hysteria had passed away down and also most of the prisoners had been released as result of a lack of evidence, governor Phipps released the continuing to be prisoners, which consisted of Elizabeth Proctor.

Elizabeth Proctor after the Salem Witch Trials:

Although she was free from jail, together a convicted witch Elizabeth to be still guilty in the eye of the law and also therefore had actually no legal rights. To do matters worse, john Proctor’s will certainly made no mention of Elizabeth, most likely due to the fact that he supposed she would be executed in addition to him.

As a result, Elizabeth to be penniless, follow to the book The Salem Witch Trials: A job By job Chronicle of a community Under Siege:

“Elizabeth Proctor, condemned however freed v her newborn (if the survived), uncovered her late husband’s farm yard picked clean. John Proctor’s will certainly made no point out of his widow, so Elizabeth had actually not a penny from it, neither she widow’s third nor the dowry that she had lugged to the marriage. As soon as she protested, her stepchildren ignored also her prenuptial contract and also replied that she could not inherit, for, gift condemned come hang, she to be dead in the law.”

Even if Elizabeth to be able come inherit John’s estate, there wasn’t lot left of it due to the fact that most that it had been confiscated while John and Elizabeth were in prison, follow to Robert Calef in his book much more Wonders the the Invisible World:

“John Procter and also his wife being in prison, the sheriff came to his house and also seized every the goods, provisions, and also cattle that he can come at, and sold several of the livestock at fifty percent price, and killed others, and also put castle up because that the West-Indies; threw the end the beer the end of a barrel, and carried away the barrel; emptied a pot of broth, and took far the pot, and also left nothing in the house for the support of the children: No component of the said products are well-known to be returned.”

Elizabeth’s lucky finally began to improve in march of 1694-5, once court records suggest that the will certainly of john Proctor to be admitted to probate in the Probate Court the Essex county under the complaint of Thomas and also Elizabeth very (John Proctor’s eldest daughter from his marital relationship to Elizabeth Thorndike).

On April 15, 1695, the committee reported a department of the estate according to the will. There is no document confirming it, yet it have the right to only it is in assumed by this event that john Proctor’s legitimate rights, which had been stripped when he was convicted, had actually at some suggest been revived and because of this his family finally had access to what was left that his estate.

It was soon after this event, in might of 1696, when Elizabeth Proctor petitioned the general Court to restore her very own legal rights. In doing so, she asked for the civil liberties to she husband’s heritage or in ~ the very least, the dowry she lugged to the marriage:

“To the Honourable general Court Assembled in ~ Boston might twenty seventh 1696

the Humble petition that Elizabeth Proctor widow and relict of john Proctor of Salem deceased humbly sheweth that in the year that our lord 1692 when numerous persons in Salem and in various other towns there about were accused by some evil disposed or strangely affected persons together being witches or because that being guilty of exhilaration witch-craft mine sd husband john Proctor and myself were accused as such and we both: my sd husband and myself were so far proceeded versus that we were condemned however in that sad time that darkness before my claimed husband to be executed that is apparent somebody had actually contrived a will and also brought it come him to sign where in his totality estate is disposed the not having regard to a contract in creating made with me before marriage with him; however so it pleased god come order through his providence that although the sentence was executed on mine dear husband yet with gods great goodness to her petitioner i am however alive; due to the fact that my husbands fatality the claimed will is proved and also approved through the judge of probate and by that kind of handle the totality estate is disposed of; and although god on foot Granted my life however those that claim my claimed husbands estate by that which they speak to a will will not suffer me to have one coin of the estate neither upon the account of my husbands contract through me prior to marriage nor yet upon the account of the dowry which together I humbly develop doth belong or must belong come me through the regulation for they say that ns am dead in the law and also therefore my humble request and also petition to this honoured general Court is the by an action of this honoured court together god hath contents renewed mine life and also through god goodness without fear of being placed to death upon the sentence you would be pleasure to put me right into a volume to manipulate the legislation to recoup that which of right by regulation I ought to have actually for my vital suple and support that together I her petitioner am one of his majesties subjects I may have the advantage of his laws so humbly praying the god would straight your honours in all things to execute that which may be most pleasing to him i subscribe

your honours humble petitioner

Elizabeth Proctor widow Read. 10 th June. 1696. In Council”

According come the court records, on April 19, 1697, the court restored Elizabeth’s legit rights and returned she dowry come her.

Not much is known about Elizabeth Proctor ~ this time period except that on September 22, 1699, Elizabeth married her 2nd husband, Daniel Richards, in Lynn, Massachusetts.

In 1711, the Massachusetts legislature passed a bill restoring few of the surname of the accused and also awarded the Proctor family £150 in restitution for your imprisonments and John Proctor’s death.

There are no death records for Elizabeth, nor documents of she youngest children, in Lynn, indicating the the family members may have actually moved to one more town. Her death date and also location of she grave room unknown.

Elizabeth Proctor historic Sites:

Former site of john Proctor’s farm (rumored ar of man Proctor’s grave)Address: Lowell Street, one-tenth mile south of possibility Street, Peabody, Mass. No admission. Privately owned land.

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Former website of the Salem JailAddress: edge of St. Peter and Federal Street, Salem, Mass. Memorial plaque situated at 10 federal Street, Salem, Mass

Former website of the Salem CourthouseAddress: Washington Street (about 100 feet southern of Lynde Street), opposite the Masonic Temple, Salem, Mass. Memorial plaque located on Masonic Temple.

Site the the Salem Witch Trials ExecutionsAddress: Proctor’s Ledge, wooded area in between Proctor Street and also Pope Street, Salem, Mass

Sources:Calef, Robert. More marvels of the Invisible World. Nath. Hillar and Joseph Collyer, 1700.Rosenthal, Bernard. Salem Story: reading the Witch Trials of 1692. Cambridge university Press, 1993.Perley, Sidney. History of Salem, Massachusetts, 1626-1637. Vol. I, S. Perley, 1924.Goss, K. David. The Salem Witch Trials: A reference Guide. Greenwood Press, 2007.Roach, Marilynne K. The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-day Chronicle of A neighborhood Under Siege. Taylor trade Publishing, 2004.Miller, Arthur. “Why I wrote the Crucible.” The brand-new Yorker Magazine, 21 Oct. 1996.Hale, George S., Abner C. Goodell, Jr., and Charles Deane. “December Meeting, 1884. ‘Instructions’ the Malden, 1776; The Rev. Peter Thacher, D.D.; Manuscripts Relating to Witchcraft; Letter from governor Phips; Petition the Elizabeth Proctor; Petition that the Parkers; Answers worrying Witchcraft; Questions worrying Witchcraft; Answers concerning Witchcraft; Trumbull Papers. Proceedings the the Massachusetts historical Society, second Series, Vol. I, pp. 335-359. Massachusetts historic Society, 1884.“Elizabeth Proctor.” Salem Witchcraft Papers, Volume 2: Verbatim Transcripts the the legal records of the Salem Witchcraft Outbreak the 1692, university of Virginia, salem.lib.virginia.edu/texts/tei/BoySal2R?div_id=n106