Important Persons in the Salem Court Records

People and TopicsBiographical Data

George Burroughs

George Burroughs was the only Puritan minister indicted and executed in Salem in 1692. He served as minister of Salem Village from 1680 until he left in 1683. As one of the succession of three ministers who left the Village in the years leading up to the trials, he became involved in the Village's social conflicts. During his stay in Salem he borrowed money from the Putnam family and when he was unable to pay it back, conflict with the Putnams arose. It was at this point that he left. Although he eventually repaid his loan, twelve years later, he was charged, arrested and brought back to Salem from Wells, Maine. Many members of the Salem Village and Andover testified against him and called him the "ring leader" of the witches, a virtual priest of the devil. Cotton Mather also took particular interest in the trial because of Burroughs' unorthodox religious beliefs and practices. He was found guilty and executed on August 19, 1692. His hanging was the only one attended by Cotton Mather, who urged the sympathetic crowd against him.

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