Mary Walcott of Salem Village

Mary Walcott was one of the afflicted girls of Salem Village and an accuser in the Salem Witch Trials. She was born on July 5, 1675, to Captain Jonathan Walcott and Mary Sibley.

Walcott’s mother, Mary Sibley, died on December 28, 1683, when Mary Walcott was eight years old, and two years later Jonathan married Thomas Putnam’s sister, Deliverance, which made Ann Putnam Jr her step-cousin.

In addition, Mary Walcott’s aunt was also named Mary Sibley, after she married Mary Walcott’s uncle Samuel Sibley, and later became known for practicing counter magic against witches, particularly when she taught Tituba to bake a witch cake in late February of 1692 in order to identify the witch who was hurting the afflicted girls.

Tituba and the Children, Illustration by Alfred Fredericks published in A Popular History of the United States, circa 1878
Tituba and the Children, Illustration by Alfred Fredericks published in A Popular History of the United States, circa 1878

The Walcott family lived next to the Salem Village parsonage on what is now Centre Street in Danvers, Mass.

Mary Walcott & the Salem Witch Trials:

Mary Walcott’s participation in the Salem Witch Trials started on March 24, when Walcott attended Rebecca Nurse’s examination at Salem Village and stated that she had seen Nurse’s specter but couldn’t say whether Nurse afflicted her.

Yet, on June 3, Nurse was officially indicted for afflicting Mary Walcott, which Walcott stated happened on March 24, the day of her examination.

In April, Walcott accused Sarah Cloyce of afflicting her on the 4th and also testified against Rebecca Nurse, Martha Corey and Dorothy Good that day.

On April 11, Walcott testified during Sarah Cloyce and Elizabeth Proctor examinations, stating that Sarah Cloyce afflicted her but said she had never seen Elizabeth Proctor before and wasn’t afflicted by her.

On April 18, Walcott accused Giles Corey, Mary Warren, Abigail Hobbs and Bridget Bishop and then testified against them the next day.

Then, a few days later, Walcott accused Sarah Wildes, William Hobbs, Deliverance Hobbs, Nehemiah Abbott Jr, Mary Easty, Edward Bishop Jr, Sarah Bishop, Mary Black, Mary English on April 21. The following day, Walcott testified against Sarah Wildes.

On April 30, Walcott accused George Burroughs, Lydia Dustin, Susannah Martin, Dorcas Hoar, Sarah Morey and Philip English.

Interestingly, Walcott also testified against Elizabeth Proctor again this day, saying that while she had not been afflicted by Proctor prior to her examination on the 11th, she had been afflicted by her ever since then.

In May, Walcott testified against and accused even more people than the previous month. On May 2, Walcott testified against Susannah Martin, on May 8, she accused Sarah Dustin, Ann Sears and Bethiah Carter Sr and Bethiah Carter Jr.

On May 14, she accused Elizabeth Coleson, George Jacobs Jr, Daniel Andrew, Rebecca Jacobs, Sarah Buckley, Mary Witheridge, Elizabeth Hart and Thomas Farrer.

On May 18, Walcott testified against John Willard and Sarah Buckely, stating that they both had been pinching and choking her and urging her to write in their book but she also said that Willard’s specter confessed to her that he had bewitched his grandfather and explained that she had been carried to Wills Hill on May 16 where she saw both Buckley and Willard’s specters choking Daniel Wilkens.

This was followed by an accusation against Roger Toothaker on May 18, an accusation against Mary Easty on May 20, and an accusation against Susannah Roots on May 21.

On May 23, Walcott testified against Mary Easty, stating that on May 20, Easty’s specter appeared to her and told her she had blinded her and the other afflicted girls. Walcott also said when she went to to visit Mercy Lewis at John Putnam’s house that day at sunset she saw the specter of Mary Easty afflicting Lewis and choking her with a chain around her neck saying she would kill her that night if she could.

This was followed by a slew of accusations against the following people on May 28: Martha Carrier, Sarah Rice, Wilmot Redd, Elizabeth Howe, Martha Carrier, Elizabeth Fosdick, Wilmot Redd, Elizabeth Howe, John Alden Jr, William Proctor, John Flood, Mary Toothaker and Arthur Abbott.

On June 3, Walcott testified against Rebecca Nurse, stating that she had seen the specter of Nurse since March 20 but wasn’t afflicted by her until the day of Nurse’s examination on the 24th. In addition, she stated that Nurse’s specter confessed to her that she had killed several people, including Benjamin Holton, John Harrod (Harwood), Rebekah Sheppard and several others.

The next day, she testified against Job Tookey and then didn’t testify again until June 28 during Sarah Good’s trial.

On June 30, John Proctor’s indictment for afflicting Mary Walcott was returned ignoramus due to a lack of evidence yet Elizabeth Proctor’s indictment for afflicting her stood.

July was a slow month for Mary Walcott. She accused Margaret Hawkes and her slave Candy on July 1, testified against Dorcas Hoar on July 2 and accused Hannah Bromage and Mary Green on July 28.

In August, she accused Mary Post on the 2nd and Mary Clarke on the 3rd.. Also on August 3, Walcott testified against George Burroughs, stating that the ghosts of Burroughs’ first two wives told her that Burroughs had killed them and that Burroughs specter also confessed to killing his first wife.

The following day she testified against George Jacobs Sr and then testified against Benjamin Proctor, Sarah Proctor and William Proctor on August 10. Later that month, on August 18, she accused Frances Hutchins and Ruth Wilford.

September was the last month Walcott was active in the trials, probably because the Court of Oyer and Terminer was disbanded in October and a new court was set up shortly after that didn’t allow spectral evidence like Walcott’s testimony.

On September 6, Walcott testified against Ann Pudeator, and then testified against Alice Parker on September 7, against Mary Bradbury on September 9, against Ann Foster on September 13, against Wilmot Reed and Samuel Wardwell on September 14, against Rebecca Eames on September 15, and against Abigail Faulkner Sr on September 17.

Of the people Walcott accused and/or testified against, a total of 16 were executed, one person died in jail and one person was tortured to death for refusing to move forward with his trial:

Bridget Bishop, executed June 10, 1692

George Burroughs, executed August 19, 1692

Martha Carrier, executed August 19, 1692

Giles Corey, tortured to death September 19, 1692

Martha Corey, executed September 22, 1692

Mary Easty, executed September 22, 1692

Sarah Good, executed July 19, 1692

Elizabeth Howe, executed on July 19, 1692

George Jacobs Sr, executed August 19, 1692

Susannah Martin, executed July 19, 1692

Rebecca Nurse, executed July 19, 1692

Alice Parker, executed September 22, 1692

John Proctor, executed August 19, 1692

Wilmot Redd, executed September 22, 1692

Roger Toothaker, died in jail June 16, 1692

Samuel Wardwell, executed September 22, 1692

Sarah Wildes, executed July 19, 1692

John Willard, executed August 19, 1692

Mary Walcott After the Salem Witch Trials:

What happened to Mary Walcott after the Salem Witch Trials is a little confusing since some sources state that Mary married Isaac Farrer of Woburn in April of 1696 and had six children (Danvers Historical Society 93) while other sources state that she married a man named David Harwood on January 15, 1701 and had nine children (Harwood 8.)

There are official records for both of these marriages, and the children born during these marriages overlapped so it’s not possible that it is just the one Mary Walcott who remarried the second man later on. Therefore, one of these is the Mary Walcott from the Salem Witch Trials but it’s not clear which one.

The only hint is that Mary Walcott mentioned Harwood’s name during the trials when she testified that Rebecca Nurse’s specter confessed to her that she murdered David Harwood’s father, John Harwood in 1690 (Roach 110 .)

Yet, another clue contradicts this. It was a tradition to name children after the couple’s parents and since Isaac and Mary named one of their children Jonathan, while David and Mary did not, this suggests that maybe the Mary who married Isaac was the Mary Walcott from the Salem Witch Trials.

Sources:
Records of Salem Witchcraft: Copied from the Original Documents. W.E. Woodward, 1864.
Danvers Historical Society. Historical Collections of the Danvers Historical Society, Vol 12. Edited by Harriet Silvester Tapley, Newcomb & Gauss, 1924.
Roach, Marilynne K. The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-By-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege. Taylor Trade Published, 2004.
Putnam, Eben. A History of the Putnam Family in England and America, Volume 1. Salem Press Publishing and Printing Company, 1891.
Harwood, Watson Herbert. A Genealogical History of the Salem Harwoods, Vol II. Harwood, 1912.
“Case Files Referencing Mary Walcott.” Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project, salem.lib.virginia.edu/tag/walcott_mary.html
“Mary Walcott Home, Site of.” Salem Witch Museum, salemwitchmuseum.com/locations/mary-walcott-home-site-of/

About Rebecca Beatrice Brooks

Rebecca Beatrice Brooks is the author and publisher of the History of Massachusetts Blog. Rebecca is a freelance journalist and history lover who got her start in journalism working for small-town newspapers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire after she graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in journalism. Visit this site's About page to find out more about Rebecca.

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