Important Persons in the Salem Court Records

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Sir William Phips

Sir William Phips was appointed Governor of Massachusetts just prior to the Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692. Phips created the special witchcraft Court of Oyer and Terminer, and subsequently dismantled it after the Boston ministers and the general public turned against the trials. It is difficult to dismiss the view that he might have stopped the trials sooner had he overseen the court more closely, instead of leaving it entirely in the hands of his zealous deputy Govenor William Stoughton, the chief justice of the court.

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