Important Persons in the Salem Court Records

People and TopicsBiographical Data

Giles Corey

Ann Putnam, Jr., Marcy Lewis, Abigail Williams, Mary Walcott and Elizabeth Hubbard accused Giles Corey of witchcraft in April of 1692. He pleaded "not guilty" but refused to be tried by the court which, in his view, had already determined his guilt, so he stood mute rather "putting himself on the country." He was sentenced to peine forte et dure, even though it was an illegal punishment, and ended up being torturously crushed to death on (or before) September 18, 1692. One of the major factors which made Giles Corey a prime target was not only his relationship with the rest of the community but also his past encounters with the law, including a prior conviction for murder. His chosen means of resistance and dramatic death reveal a strength of character that playwrights, from Longfellow to Arthur Miller, have found irresistible.

Full Essay+