| The stories
presented on the previous pages offer only a glimpse into the terror and
human tragedy of the Salem witch trials of 1692. From the first arrest
warrants on February 29, 1692 to the last executions on September 22, 1692
over 150 people were accused and jailed on suspicion of witchcraft, 4 people
plus 1 infant died in prison, 18 people were executed by hanging, 1 person
was pressed to death and 2 dogs were also hanged.
29th, 1692, Governor Phipps officially closed the court of Oyer and Terminer.
The Supreme court of Massachusetts was to convene in January 1697 to try
the remaining cases. On December 29, 1692, Governor Phipps called for a
day of fasting and prayers for the townsfolk. In January 1693, the Superior
court met to begin the remaining trials.
of Governor Phipps, spectral evidence could not be used against the defendants.
Of the 52 persons tried, 49 were cleared of the accusations and 3 were
found guilty. The last sitting of the court was held in Boston in May,
1693 and by this time Governor Phipps revived a letter from England which
convinced him that there was no need to continue with the trials.
issued a proclamation that pardoned everyone and granted amnesty to those
who fled to escape persecution. By the end of the trials, some of the most
important citizens of Massachusetts would be accused of witchcraft including
Governor Phipps wife. A few years later, the girls who started the hysteria
as well as many of the accusers who took part in the accusations asked
for forgiveness for their actions.
17, 1711, an Act of the colonial legislature returned all property taken
from the victims and their families and were paid compensation for their
losses. This Act officially ended all government actions relating to the
trials of 1692. However, in Salem, accusations and resentment would be
felt for years to come.