Salem Witchcraft Trials

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Cotton Mather, born on February 12, 1663 in Boston Massachusetts, graduated from Harvard in 1678 at the age of fifteen. Mather took on full responsibilities as pastor at Boston’s original North Church in 1685. Mather was well known for the Salem Witchcraft Trials. Mather wrote, “Accounts of the Salem Witchcraft Trials” in 1693. During one of the trials, Susanna (North) Martin was accused of witchcraft. Martin was born in Olney, Buckinghamshire, England on September 30, 1621, were she was baptized. Her family first moved to Salisbury, Massachusetts in 1639, where she married George Martin. On June 29, 1692 Martin had a trial at the Court of Oyer and Terminer, Held by Adjournment at Salem.

The Accounts of the Salem Witchcraft Trials, highlights testimonies by the accusers and passages between Martin and the magistrate. Among many who testified against Martin there was, John Atkinson, Robert Downer, and Joseph Ring. During the trial there were various mishaps and abnormal behavior. It also states some of the abnormal actions of the effected individuals.

Mather recorded the testimony of John Atkinson. Atkinson claims, he exchanged a cow with Martin’s son. He stated that Martins did not want him to have the cow. He claims when he was going to receive this cow it was roped to a tree and haltered, and upon his arrival the cow grew so mad that it broke the ropes and made an escape. Atkinson said, “she broke all the Ropes that were fastned unto her, and though she were ty’d fast unto a Tree, yet she made her escape, and gave them such further trouble, as they could ascribe to no cause but Witchcraft.” (Shi 46) This shows how little evidence it took to believe that someone partook in Witchcraft. Any wild animal would act in this nature if tied to a tree. This would not be a substantial amount of evidence to prove ones guilt in the world we live in today.

During Martins first examination before the magistrates, the cast of her eye would strike the afflicted people...
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