The Salem Witch Trials


Eve Drinkwine

In 1626, Roger Conant and his group of immigrants from Cape Ann settled in Massachusetts. They originally named their settlement Naumkeag but they preferred to call it Salem, meaning peace in Hebrew. They were puritans, which are very religious Catholics. But in 1692, Odd things started happening. A young girl became sick. When the doctor came to check on her, nothing was physically wrong with her. Instead, he found bewitchment.


Now this was a very long time ago, before we had science and medicine and a real justice system. And these people and time followed heavily around the bible. But back to the story. The first woman accused of witchcraft was Bridget BIshop. She was born in 1635 in England and married Samuel Waselbe in 1660. Their first child died young. Then in 1665, her second child was born. This time however, she was listed as a widow so we can only assume that her husband died.


In 1666 she married her second husband and lived in Salem with their daughter, Christian. Though on multiple occasions she and her husband were reported to have many arguments. Her husband died in 1679 and in 1685 she married once again. Then when the trials began in 1692, she was too perfect of a suspect considering there was too much gossip surrounding her. She was accused of theft, poppets ( a doll used in witchcraft) and suspected of murdering her 2 previous husbands. She was the first person hanged.


13 women and 5 men soon joined her. Finally, in October, the trials were ended by governor William Phipps. Even though it happened more than 300 years ago, this story remains dominant in the teaching of people, and the dangers of letting false rumors spread.