Important Persons in the Salem Court Records

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People and TopicsBiographical Data

Samuel Wardwell

Samuel Wardwell was born on May 16, 1643 to a modest Quaker family in Boston. He studied carpentry and moved to Andover, Massachusetts in 1672 to find work. There he married his second wife, Sarah Hawkes, a wealthy widow with whom he had seven children. In 1692, he was accused of witchcraft and brought to trial in Salem. The fact he was found guilty is not surprising, as he had dabbled in fortune telling as a young man, had family members who were disliked in Andover, and had married a woman whom many did not think he was worthy of marrying. During his court examination, he confessed to being a witch by submitting a long and detailed story of his indiscretions in order to save his life. His conscience and personal courage led him to recant the story and claim innocence, knowing the risk involved. He was hanged on September 22, 1692.

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