Important Persons in the Salem Court Records

People and TopicsBiographical Data

Samuel Sewall

Born in England in 1652, Samuel Sewall moved to America at the age of nine and obtained two degrees from Harvard before marrying into a wealthy family. As a prominent member of the merchant class, Sewall was selected by Governor Phips to sit as a judge for the witchcraft trials on the Court of Oyer and Terminer. Five years after the trials concluded, Sewall issued a public confession demonstrating personal remorse, taking in his words the "Blame and Shame" for his part in condemning innocent people. He was the only judge to do so.

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