Giles Corey

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Giles Corey was a successful farmer and an active member of the Salem church, but this reputable model citizen was not looked lightly upon when the word "witch" started floating around. In April of 1692, Ann Putnam, Jr., Mercy Lewis, and Abigail Williams pointed a scornful finger at Giles. Ann said that Corey supposedly came to her on the 13th of April and asked her to write in "the devil's book." She later said that a ghost came to her, asking to be avenged against his killer, Giles Corey. Corey and his wife, Martha were good friends of the Porter family. Being great enemies of the Porters, the Putnams saw the Coreys as enemies, and dead enemies seemed much safer than living enemies. Thus, a trial began so as to determine the "wicked" characteristics of the Coreys. For five long months, he waited in prison for word of his trial. When he was let out, several witnesses arrived, demanding proof against the Coreys. In light of his new "fan club," he chose to refuse to stand trial. Without a trial, there was a greater chance that his sons-in-law got his farm instead of the government. On Monday, September 19, consequence came for his refusal to stand trial. The punishment was death by pressing, the use of large stones to crush a person to death. On his deathbed, he only begged the executioner to "use larger stones," so that he may die quicker. He was refused this meager last wish. Corey's "tongue being prest out of his mouth, the Sheriff with his cane forced it in again, when he was dying," said Robert Calef, a reporter covering the event. It took two days for him to die, and he was buried in a lone patch of grass on Gallows Hill. At the age of 80, Corey chose to die with honor and grit, rather than allow himself to be made a fool of by begging for his life in a courtroom that he knew would never let him live. He became a hero of sorts, and he became one of the pillars of fortitude that strengthened public opposition of the Salem Witch Trials. In death, he did...
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