Note: This is the last part of a five-part series. For those using this series to write a report, the bibliography at the end relates to all five parts.
How the Salem Witch hysteria ended
On October 12, 1692, the Massachusetts General Court held a meeting to figure out what to do about the situation. They decided to forbid further imprimination for witchcraft.
On October 26, 1692, The church leaders of Massachusetts called for a statewide day of fasting, hoping God would give them the answer to the witch problem.
Although the accusations were still coming in, people accused were now let out on bail, instead of thrown into the already overflowing jails. People were beginning to see the mistakes that had been made, and now the leaders were trying to figure out how to put a stop to it. They were caught between a rock and a hard place. They could not very well pardon all of the witches and admit to putting 20 (including Giles Corey) innocent people to death, but they could not in good conscience allow the trials to continue. The questions went on for another 4 months while 150 of the accused sat in jail. Finally, in May, all accused witches were discharged, and could be released from prison as long as their jail costs were paid.
After many petitions, in October, 1710, The General Court reversed all of the convictions against those who had family to ask. Bridget Bishop, Susannah Martin, Alice Parker, Ann Prudeator, Wilmott Redd, and Margaret Scott were not clear because they did not have family to petition on their behalf.
On December 17, 1711, the families of the executed witches were given the sum of 578 pounds and 12 shillings to be distributed among 24 relatives of accused witches.
The family of John Procter, the most affluent of those hung, was given 150 pounds.
The family of George Jacobs was given 79 pounds.
The family of George Burroughs, the minister who said the perfect "Our Father," was given 50 pounds.
The family of Elizabeth Howe, who was fairly wealthy, was given 12 pounds.
Sarah Good's husband, William, was given 30 pounds.
Abigail Hobbs was allotted 10 pounds.
What happened to …
Mrs. Parris died in 1696.
Samuel Parris tried to keep his job in Salem Village, but the friends and relatives of Rebecca Nurse and Sarah Cloyce were able to get rid of him. He went on to Stowe, once again arguing over terms of his employment. He rented there only a year. After Mrs. Parris' death, Samuel married a prosperous woman. He died in 1720.
Some of the "afflicted" girls, Betty Parris, Elizabeth Booth, Sarah Churchill, and Mercy Lewis all married (Mercy married after giving birth to an illegitimate child).
No one knows what became of Abigail Williams, Elizabeth Hubbard, Susannah Sheldon, and Mary Warren.
Ann Putnam never married. Both of her parents died in 1699, Thomas at 46, and Ann Sr.. at 37, and Ann was left to care for her 9 younger brothers and sisters. At 26, Ann wrote a formal apology that was read to the congregation by the new minister, Joseph Green. In her words, "I justly fear I have been instrumental, with others, though ignorantly and unwittingly, to bring up myself and this land the guilt of innocent blood … As I was a chief instrument of accusation Goodwife Nurse and her two sisters , I desire to lie in the dust, and to be humbled for it. " Ann grew into a sickly woman and died at the age of 37, like her mother.
Authors Note-In researching, I read extensively on the subject and found the best sources of information to be Marion Starkey, The Devil in Massachusetts. And A Delusion of Satan, by Frances Hill. In my work, I cited my information in parenthesis after every quotation, but unfortunately the citations did not make it through the switch-over program. I apologize for any inconvenience. Krista Delle Femine