Important Persons in the Salem Court Records

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People and TopicsBiographical Data

Francis Dane

Francis Dane was born about 1615 in England and died on February 16, 1607 at the age of eighty-one in Andover, Massachusetts. Dane was the elderly senior pastor of Andover and a highly respected leader of the community. In 1682, the congregation hired a young Harvard graduate Rev. Thomas Bernard to aid Rev. Dane with his ministerial duties in his old age. There was tension between the two about their salaries, and the two ministers reacted very differently to the witch trials of 1692. Initially, Bernard did much to aid the accusations of witchcraft in Andover, while Dane had more of his family members accused than any other family in 1692. Furthermore, it was Dane's early October petitions to the General Court for pardons, writing against spectral evidence, filing of slander suits, and bold stance against the witchcraft trials that are credited with ending the proceedings in Andover so quickly. Dane is still regarded as the hero of Andover during the Witch Trials of 1692.

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