Important Persons in the Salem Court Records

People and TopicsBiographical Data

Thomas Putnam

Although Thomas Putnam's role in initiating legal proceedings has been generally recognized as important to the escalation of the witchcraft crisis in Salem in 1692, the immense influence Putnam had on the shape of the trials has not been widely recognized. Putnam was the father of Ann Putnam Jr., the most prolific accuser in the entire proceedings. Putnam’s importance is generally seen in the fact that he, along with other adults, gave his daughter’s accusations legal weight in first seeking warrants against the accused witches in February, 1692. Through his work in writing down the depositions of many of the "afflicted" girls in Salem village and his letters of encouragement to the judges, Putnam was one of the major advocates of the trials and sought to exert influence on the proceedings as one of the most prosperous residents and influential church members in Salem Village.

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