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Article Title

George Burroughs and The Girls From Casco: The Maine Roots of Salem Witchcraft

Publication Date

1-1-2002

Document Type

Article

First Page

258

Last Page

275

Abstract

Although few hooks about the Salem witchcraft crisis of 1692 have paid much attention to him, the Reverend George Burroughs (who was accused in April, examined in May; and convicted and hanged in August) was the key figure in the episode, along with three young women who numbered among his principal accusers: Mercy Lewis, Susannah Sheldon, and Abigail Hobbs. All four lived in Maine for far longer than they resided in Salem Village. Burroughs spent most of his ministerial career in Falmouth (Portland), Black Point (Scarborough), and Wells; Lewis was born and raised in Falmouth, where Hobbs spent most of her childhood; and Sheldon was born and raised in Black Point. All fled the frontier during the Maine Indian wars. Their crucial roles in the witchcraft crisis inextricably link that iconic episode to events on the Maine frontier during King Philip's and King William's Wars. Mary Beth Norton is the Mary Donlon Alger Professor of American History at Cornell University. This essay is taken from her latest book, In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692.

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