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John Proctor, Of The Salem Witch Trials

John Proctor, Of The Salem Witch Trials

Male 1631 - 1692  (60 years)


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  • Name John Proctor, Of The Salem Witch Trials  [1
    Suffix Of The Salem Witch Trials 
    Born 09 Oct 1631  Assington, Suffolkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Christened Assington, Suffolkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 

    • England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 for John Procter
      Gender: Male 
      Baptism/Christening Date: Oct 1631 
      Baptism/Christening Place: ASSINGTON,SUFFOLK,ENGLAND 
      Father's Name: John 
      Mother's Name: Martha 
      Indexing Project (Batch) Number: P01201-1 
      System Origin: England-ODM 
      Source Film Number: 364109
    Gender Male 
    Biography
    • ~ John Proctor ~
      October 09, 1631 - August 19, 1692

      John Proctor ( 1632 - 1692) was a Puritan who was victimized during the Salem Witch Trials

      John Proctor was born in Assington, Suffolkshire, England. John's father (also named John), his mother Martha Harper and his sister Mary born 1634 left England for America on April 12, 1635 on a ship called the Susan and Ellen. The journey took a little over 2 months. The family settled in Ipswich, Essex Co., Massachusetts where John & Martha had 6 more children. Ipswich was still a fairly new settlement, having been started in 1632.

      In 1665 (Edit: Date is incorrect since she dies in 1659, as stated further) John (jr.) married Martha Giddens in Ipswich, Essex Co., Masssachusetts. They had 4 children, only one of whom lived to adulthood. Martha Giddens died June 13, 1659 in Ipswich. In December 1662 he married for a second time to Elizabeth Thorndike. John & Elizabeth had 3 children born in Ipswich.

      In 1666 John (jr.) moved to Salem, Essex Co., Massachusetts where he leased a 700-acre estate called Groton in Salem Farms, the section of Salem Township just south of Salem Village. Beginning in 1668, they operated a tavern at this location as well. He and Elizabeth Thorndike had 4 more children born here. Elizabeth died August 30, 1672. On April 1, 1674, John was married for a third time to Elizabeth Bassett. They had 6 children born before 1691.

      John was tall and outspoken. During the witchcraft hysteria he denounced the whole proceeding and the afflicted girls as a scam. When his wife was accused and questioned, he stood by her and defended her innocence. It was because of his defense of her that found himself accused of being a wizard. John was the first man to be accused.

      In 1692, 141 Complaints of witchcraft were filed. Of these, 10 were against relatives of the Proctors. It should be noted, only John and Elizabeth (Bassett) Proctor were convicted. Only John was executed.

      --John and Elizabeth (BASSETT) PROCTOR and their children: Benjamin (from John's first marriage to Martha Harper), William and Sarah PROCTOR --Mary BASSETT (sister of Elizabeth PROCTOR) --Sarah (HOOD) BASSETT (wife of Mary & Elizabeth's brother, William BASSETT, Jr.) --Thomas Farrar, Sr. (father-in-law of Elizabeth Hood, sister of Sarah (HOOD) BASSETT) --Elizabeth (HUTCHINSON) HART (wife of Isaac Hart whose sister Deborah HART was married to Benjamin PROCTOR, brother of John PROCTOR --Rebecca NURSE (Elizabeth PROCTOR, daughter of John PROCTOR and Elizabeth BASSETT, married Thomas VERY in 1681. His sister, Elizabeth VERY was the second wife of John NURSE, the eldest son of Rebecca NURSE.)

      While in prison on July 23, 1692, Proctor wrote a letter to the clergy of Boston, who were known to be uneasy with the witchcraft proceedings. In his letter he asked them to intervene to either have the trials moved to Boston or have new judges appointed. After the trial and execution of Rebecca Nurse, the prospects of those still in prison waiting trial were grim. If a person with a reputation as untarnished as hers could be executed, there was little hope for any of the other accused, which is why Proctor made his request. With the present judges, who were already convinced of guilt, the trial would just be a formality. In response to Proctor's letter, in which he describes certain torture that was used to elicit confessions, eight ministers, including Increase Mather, met at Cambridge, Massachusetts on August 1, 1692. No records survive of the meeting, but when they emerged, they had drastically changed their position on spectral evidence. The ministers decided in the meeting that the Devil could take on the form of innocent people. Unfortunately for Proctor, their decision would not have widespread impact until after his execution.

      Elizabeth was tried and sentenced to death, but the execution was delayed until she gave birth. Mary Warren, the twenty-year-old maid servant in the Proctor house, who herself would later be named as a witch, accused John of practicing witchcraft. John was tried on August 5, 1692 and hanged on the August 19, 1692. Proctor pleaded at his execution for a little respite of time. He claimed he was not fit to die. His plea was, of course, unsuccessful.

      In January 1693, while still in jail, Elizabeth (Bassett) Proctor gave birth to a son, John Proctor. They remained in jail until May 1693 when a general release freed all of those prisoners who remained jailed. Unfortunately, even though the general belief of the people was that innocent people had been wrongly convicted, Elizabeth had in fact been convicted and was considered guilty. In the eyes of the law she was considered a "dead woman" and could not claim any of her husband remaining estate. Elizabeth petitioned the court for a reversal of attainder to restore her legal rights. No action was taken for 7 years.

      In June 1696, Elizabeth filed an appeal to contest her husbands will. At the time John wrote his will, he had assumed that Elizabeth would be executed and had left her nothing. Sometime during 1696 Elizabeth married again to Daniel Richards.

      In July 1703, Several more people filed petitions before any action was taken on Elizabeth's appeal for reversal of attainder. The Massachusetts House of Representatives finally passed a bill disallowing spectral evidence. However, they only gave reversal of attainder for those who had filed petitions. This basically applied to only 3 people - John & Elizabeth PROCTOR and Rebecca NURSE.

      In 1704, another petition was filed requested a more equitable settlement for those wrongly accused. In 1709, the General Court received a request to take action on this proposal. In May, 22 people who had been convicted of witchcraft, or whose parents had been convicted of witchcraft, presented the government with a petition in which they demanded both a reversal of attainder and compensation for financial losses.

      17 Oct 1711 -The General Court passed a bill reversing the judgment against the 22 people listed in the 1709 petition. There were still an additional 7 people who had been convicted, but had not signed the petition. There was no reversal of attainder for them.17 Dec 1711 - Monetary compensation was finally awarded to the 22 people in the 1709 petition. 578. pounds 12 shillings was authorized to be divided among the survivors and relatives of those accused. Most of the accounts were settled within a year. ₤150 was awarded to the PROCTOR family for John & Elizabeth. The PROCTOR family received much more money from the Massachusetts General Court than most families of accused witches.

      1954 - Still, not all the condemned had been exonerated. Descendants of those falsely accused demanded the General Court clear the names of their family members. In 1954 an act was passed pronouncing all guiltless
      From Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
    Item Of Interest
    • He was the first male to be named a witch in the Salem Witch Trials. In addition, all of his children were accused. His wife was tried and condemned, but not executed.

      "The Magistrates, Ministers, Jewries, and all the People in general, being so much inraged and incensed against us by the Delusion of the Devil, which we can term no other, by reason we know in our own Consciences, we are all Innocent Persons" (written by John Proctor while in Salem Prison)

      In 1666. he bought a large farm called Groton in the town of Salem. He also operated a tavern about a mile south of the Salem Village boundary.  This job allowed him to come into contact with many people on a regular basis. The Salem selectmen would only allow Proctor to serve people in his tavern who were not local residents. This made Proctor's tavern a central meeting place for strangers.

      John and Elizabeth had two sons (Benjamin & William) and one daughter Elizabeth. Elizabeth and her daughter would often tend to the tavern while John spent his days working on the farm.

      The Proctors disliked the Reverend Parris, and were included in an "Anti-Parris Network" led by Israel Porter. When his father died, Proctor inherited a portion of an estate worth 1200 pounds. He was fairly wealthy, but not fully accepted or respected by the townspeople of Salem. He was called "Goodman", which is a title not quite as respectable as "Mister". Proctor attended church in Salem and sat in the fourth row of seats. He was equally comfortable in Ipswich, Boston, and Salem. However, he seems to have had closer ties to Ipswich than to Salem, because citizens of Ipswich signed a petition asking for his release from jail after he was imprisoned in 1692.

      John Proctor and his wife were jailed for witchcraft in 1692. Joseph Bayley was a witness who provided evidence against Proctor. Bayley claimed that Proctor caused painful blows to his chest as he was riding by the tavern.

      John was hanged on August 19, 1692. In 1711, John Proctor's family received much more compensation money from the Massachusetts General Court than most families of accused witches.

      From "Salem Massachusetts Genealogy Project-Narratives", submitted by Fran Jones
    Item Of Interest
    • John Procter, son of John Procter the immigrant and Martha his wife, was born in England in 1632, and was three years old when his parents came to New England and settled at Ipswich. He lived many years in that town, and removed thence to Salem, where in 1692 both he and his wife were accused with the heresy of witchcraft and the judgment of death was pronounced against them. John Procter suffered the death penalty, but his wife was set free because of her pregnancy at that time. This, however, was his second wife. He married, first, December, 1662, Elizabeth, daughter of John Thorndike. She died August 3, 1672, and April 1, 1674, he married Elizabeth Basset. By both marriages he had twelve children, and at his death he left lands in Ipswich and Salem of the value of 208 pounds.

      Children : 1. Benjamin, born in Ipswich probably about 1664, died 1720. 2. Martha, born June 4, 1666. 3. Mary, born October 20, 1667, died February 15, 1668. 4. John, born October 28, 1668. 5. Mary, January 30, 1670. 6. Thorndike, July 15, 1672. 7. William, February 6, 1675. 8. Sarah, January 28, 1677. 9. Samuel, January 1, 1686. 10. Elisha, born April 28, 1687, died November 11, 1688. 11. Abigail, born January 27, 1689.

      Some accounts of the Procter family make no mention of Benjamin, who is here given as the eldest of John Procter's children, nor of his daughter Elizabeth, who in 1681 became the wife of Thomas Very, and therefore must have been the eldest of his children. In the "Essex Institute Historical Collections" an account is given of the children of John Procter, "late of Ipswich," and there both Elizabeth and Benjamin are mentioned as "the eldest of these children." Benjamin Procter is mentioned in the division of his father's estate and from the best information to be obtained it is believed that he must have been born about 1664.

      Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and ... By William Richard Cutter Published 1908 Lewis historical publishing company Massachusetts Page 1710
    Died 19 Aug 1692  Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Burying Point Cemetery, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Burying Point Cemetery, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA
    Burying Point Cemetery, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA
    Photo Credit: Find A Grave ~ Anonymous
    Headstones Submit Headstone Photo Submit Headstone Photo 
    Person ID I10533  Proctor
    Last Modified 8 Jan 2012 

    Father Ancestors John Proctor Married: 2x2x 
              b. Abt 1588, Berkampsted, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location
              d. 28 Sep 1672, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 84 years) 
    Mother Martha Harper, Proctor
              b. Abt 1607, Groton, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location
              d. 13 Jun 1659, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 52 years) 
    Married 01 Jun 1630  Groton, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F3533  Group Sheet

    Family 1 Martha Giddons, Proctor
              d. 13 Jun 1659, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married Abt 1651  Assington, Suffolkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
    +1. Benjamin Proctor
              b. 10 Jun 1659, Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
              d. Abt 1720, Danvers, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 60 years)
     2. Martha Proctor
              b. 04 Jun 1666
              d. d., Date Unknown
     3. Infant Mary Proctor
              b. 20 Oct 1667
              d. 15 Feb 1668  (Age 0 years)
     4. John Proctor
              b. 28 Oct 1668
              d. d., Date Unknown
    Last Modified 30 Jun 2008 
    Family ID F4790  Group Sheet

    Family 2 Ancestors Elizabeth Thorndike, Proctor
              b. Abt 1641, Beverly, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
              d. 30 Aug 1672, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 31 years) 
    Married Dec 1662  Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
    Married: 1x1. Elizabeth Proctor, Very
              b. Abt 1663
              d. d., Date Unknown
    Married: 1x2. Martha Proctor, Gowing
              b. 04 Jun 1666, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
              d. Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
     3. Mary Proctor
              b. 20 Oct 1667
              d. Abt 1668  (Age 0 years)
     4. John Proctor
              b. 28 Oct 1668
              d. d., Date Unknown
     5. Mary Proctor
              b. Abt 1669
              d. d., Date Unknown
    +6. Thorndike Proctor, I. Married: 2x2x 
              b. 15 Jul 1672, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
              d. Abt 1758, Danvers, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 85 years)
    Last Modified 30 Jun 2008 
    Family ID F3655  Group Sheet

    Family 3 Ancestors Elizabeth Bassett, Proctor Married: 2x2x 
              b. Abt 1650, Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
              d. d., Date Unknown 
    Married 01 Apr 1674  Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
    +1. William James Proctor
              b. 06 Feb 1675, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
              d. d., Date Unknown
    Married: 1x2. Sarah Proctor
              b. 28 Jan 1676, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
              d. d., Date Unknown
    +3. Samuel Proctor, Sr.
              b. 11 Jan 1685, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
              d. 10 Mar 1765, Falmouth, Cumberland, Maine, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years)
     4. Infant Elisha Proctor
              b. 28 Apr 1687, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
              d. 11 Nov 1688, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 1 years)
     5. Abigail Proctor
              b. 27 Jan 1689, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
              d. d., Date Unknown
    +6. John Proctor
              b. 27 Jan 1693, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
              d. Abt 1745  (Age 51 years)
    Last Modified 30 Jun 2008 
    Family ID F3665  Group Sheet

  • Event Map Click to display
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 09 Oct 1631 - Assington, Suffolkshire, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsChristened - - Assington, Suffolkshire, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - Abt 1651 - Assington, Suffolkshire, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - Dec 1662 - Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 01 Apr 1674 - Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 19 Aug 1692 - Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Burying Point Cemetery, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Histories
    Proctor According To Savage... w/Additional Notes About The Proctor Family.
    Proctor According To Savage... w/Additional Notes About The Proctor Family.
    Debate of The Savage Account vs. Findings By Henry F. Waters A.M.
    Courtesy of The House Of Proctor Genealogy Collection.

    The Founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony
    The Founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony
    Proctor Lineage
    By Sarah Saunders Smith
    Courtesy of The House Of Proctor Genealogy Collection.


  • Sources 
    1. [S58] Henry Bergson Family Records.


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