Site icon Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast

Dan Gagnon on Salem Witch Trials Victim George Jacobs, Sr.

Dan Gagnon on Salem Witch Trial Victim George Jacobs, Sr. Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast

Welcome back local historian Dan Gagnon who brings us the unexpected journey of Salem Witch Trial victim George Jacobs Sr., one of the men executed for witchcraft on August 19, 1692.  We discuss the complicated trauma and experiences of  the many members of the Jacobs household involved in the trials. Learn about the fascinating travels of George Jacob Sr’s remains. Where did his bones rest across the centuries and why were they being moved? We address the importance of victim memorials and exonerations of innocent accused witches by contrasting the way Rebecca Nurse has been remembered to the way George Jabob Sr was set aside. The Rebecca Nurse Homestead history is discussed, and this part of the conversation will be meaningful to her descendants. This discussion continues End Witch Hunts’ message: Why do we witch hunt? How do we witch hunt? How do we stop hunting witches?LinksA Salem Witch: The Trial, Execution and Exoneration of Rebecca Nurse by Daniel A. GagnonSkeletons in the Closet: How the Actions of the Salem Witch Trial Victims' Families in 1692 Affected Later Memorialization, by Daniel A. Gagnon,  New England Journal of HistorySupport Us! Shop Our Book ShopPurchase a Witch Trial White Rose Memorial ButtonSupport Us! Sign up as a Super Listener!End Witch Hunts Movement Thou Shalt Not Suffer Podcast Book StoreSupport Us! Buy Witch Trial Merch!Support Us! Buy Podcast Merch!Join us on Discord to share your ideas and feedback.WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagramPinterestLinkedInYouTubeTikTokDiscordBuzzsproutMailchimpDonateSupport the show

Show Notes

Welcome back local historian Dan Gagnon, who brings us the unexpected journey of Salem Witch Trial victim George Jacobs Sr., one of the men executed for witchcraft on August 19, 1692. We discuss the complicated trauma and experiences of the many members of the Jacobs household involved in the trials. Learn about the fascinating travels of George Jacob Sr’s remains. Where did his bones rest across the centuries and why were they being moved? We address the importance of victim memorials and exonerations of innocent accused witches by contrasting the way Rebecca Nurse has been remembered to the way George Jabob Sr was set aside. The Rebecca Nurse Homestead history is discussed, and this part of the conversation will be meaningful to descendants. This discussion communicates End Witch Hunts’ message: Why do we witch hunt? How do we witch hunt? How do we stop hunting witches?

A Salem Witch: The Trial, Execution and Exoneration of Rebecca Nurse by Daniel A. Gagnon

Skeletons in the Closet: How the Actions of the Salem Witch Trial Victims’ Families in 1692 Affected Later Memorialization, by Daniel A. Gagnon,  New England Journal of History

Support Us! Shop Our Book Shop

Purchase a Witch Trial White Rose Memorial Button

Support Us! Sign up as a Super Listener!

End Witch Hunts Movement 

Thou Shalt Not Suffer Podcast Book Store

Support Us! Buy Witch Trial Merch!

Support Us! Buy Podcast Merch!

Join us on Discord to share your ideas and feedback.














[00:00:20] Josh Hutchinson: Welcome to Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast. I'm Josh Hutchinson.
[00:00:26] Sarah Jack: I'm Sarah Jack.
[00:00:28] Josh Hutchinson: In this episode, we speak again with author Dan Gagnon, who wrote the article "Skeletons in the Closet: How the Actions of the Salem Witch Trials Victims' Families in 1692 Affected Later Memorialization", which was published in the New England Journal of History in 2019. And we'll be talking to him about George Jacobs, Sr., the oldest Salem Witch Trials victim. We'll talk about how his family got caught up in the witch trials and how disruptive that was.
[00:01:03] Sarah Jack: It was really interesting to hear how when faced with charges, the different family members responded.
[00:01:10] Josh Hutchinson: Yes, that was very interesting. They all have different reactions that we will get into later, but you have the whole fight or flight or freeze response, and you get all three answers when they come for the Jacobs family.
[00:01:30] Sarah Jack: I enjoyed this look at the afflicted girls. It's the older afflicted young women, and how greatly their accusations stuck.
[00:01:45] Josh Hutchinson: We'll get into how weak the evidence was and how heavily it depended upon the testimony of these girls and young women and other afflicted persons.
[00:01:59] Sarah Jack: We talk a little bit about the jail time and the execution on August 19th, 1692.
[00:02:08] Josh Hutchinson: We'll talk about who else was hanged on that date and what other events unfolded.
[00:02:16] Sarah Jack: George is highlighted in this article by Dan, because of the stark contrast between his burial and memorialization compared to someone like Rebecca Nurse's burial and memorialization.
[00:02:31] Josh Hutchinson: We'll ask why some people received physical displays of their family's memory while others were kept in their family's hearts alone. And we'll learn about the history of how all that unfolded and how he finally received some recognition.
[00:02:56] Sarah Jack: It's thought-provoking in regards to how different families have responded to the witch trial history over the years and how that plays into the remembrance of the victims, as well.
[00:03:13] Josh Hutchinson: And I don't think any of that should reflect on George Jacobs, Sr. himself. I always find him to be a heroic figure in the witch trials, one of those several people who stood against the charges against him, and he delivered some of the best lines of the witch trials in the face of the questions from the magistrates while the afflicted girls were putting on a spectacle around him.
[00:03:47] Sarah Jack: Another indication that he's someone who is a hero is even though some of his family members might have had some disappointing responses that greatly impact the outcome of his trial, you find that he made decisions in the end with his will that were favorable for his family.
[00:04:07] Josh Hutchinson: He made sure that they were going to be provided for in the future.
[00:04:12] Sarah Jack: I thought it was really good that Dan points out that these people who are facing death are still dictating their wishes on the handing down of their property and personal artifacts. They have that power left. That power, you know, is a statement. 
[00:04:32] And now welcome back Dan Gagnon, local historian and author of A Salem Witch: The Trial, Execution, and Exoneration of Rebecca Nurse. Let's take a journey with Dan to the George Jacobs, Sr. witch trial of 1692 and on the journey of his restless bones that finally found peace centuries later. 
[00:04:54] Dan Gagnon: So with the 1692 Salem Witch-Hunt, the era of memorialization takes place much later, really doesn't start till 200 years later, just about. The first memorial dedicated to one of the victims of the witch-hunt is the memorial to Rebecca nurse in 1885. Then in 1892, the 200th anniversary, right next to the 1885 Memorial in Nurse Family Cemetery, there's a monument constructed to those who defended Rebecca Nurse in 1692.
[00:05:33] Then after that, the next era of physical memorialization doesn't happen till 1992. In 1992 in March, the Salem Village Memorial on Hobart Street in Danvers is dedicated with the names of all of those who are killed in 1692. And it's placed right across from where the original Salem Village meeting house would've been. And then that summer of 1992, the City of Salem dedicates a memorial in kind of an empty lot in downtown Salem. Then most recently, not till 2017, on the 325th anniversary, the City of Salem dedicates a memorial near Proctor's Ledge in Salem, which is about the area where we believe the hangings probably took place.
[00:06:22] Josh Hutchinson: Great. I don't know if you've noticed, but my name is on that 1892 Memorial. It has Joseph Hutchinson, but it spells it J O S apostrophe H. So it looks like Josh. That's what got me into this whole thing, was my first visit there. I saw my own name and was like, "wow, Josh Hutchinson defended Rebecca Nurse. That's awesome."
[00:06:48] Dan Gagnon: Oh, that's cool.
[00:06:50] Josh Hutchinson: So that's how I got into it. And then I think the the 1992 Danvers Memorial might be on Hutchinson land, originally, Joseph's land across from the meeting house. He donated the land for the meeting house.
[00:07:08] Dan Gagnon: Yeah. Yeah, so definitely across the street and probably the other side of the street, too, where the memorial is.
[00:07:15] Josh Hutchinson: That's what I think just looking at the Marilynne Roach map, I got that impression. So at least to me it's on Hutchinson land, and that's my ancestor.
[00:07:26] Dan Gagnon: All good.
[00:07:27] Josh Hutchinson: That's how I got into all this stuff. But going on to the next question, you mentioned that there is a memorial for Rebecca Nurse. Why is there not a memorial or was there not originally placed a memorial for George Jacobs, Sr.?
[00:07:46] Dan Gagnon: So with George Jacobs, I always thought this was an interesting case. It's in a way maybe most interesting for what happens after he dies, after he's killed in 1692, but he is not remembered until March of 1992 when the Salem Village Memorial includes everybody's name. That's the first time that he has his name carved on any stone in his memory. Now, in terms of the reason for this, when I examined his case, the, I guess the foil of a case was I saw Rebecca Nurse as she's the first memorialized. He is not memorialized for 300 years and trying to figure out the difference. 
[00:08:38] What I had come across is really, it's not through any fault of their own. They're both accused. They both say that they're innocent. They're both found guilty and executed anyway. They even have like similar language. Rebecca Nurse says she's as innocent as the child unborn. He says, "I'm as innocent as the child born tonight." It's so similar. They're both similarly old members of the community, but the only difference that could cause this seems to be their family members. With Rebecca Nurse, the Nurse family does really the greatest job out of the families of anybody accused in standing up for her, in defending her, collecting evidence, not giving up, all the way towards even after she's found guilty, trying to lobby the governor, and then after the trials are over, about two decades later, lobbying the province of Massachusetts to try to clear their names. They do everything that they can.
[00:09:37] In contrast, Jacobs family does not. With Jacobs, we have the twist where his own granddaughter essentially turns sides, testifies against him. We have that. There are other members of the Jacobs family accused, and that makes it a lot messier to remember.
[00:09:59] Sarah Jack: I was doing some digging around online trying to learn what is out there about George? What do people say about him? And I saw. That there appeared to have been a photo of possibly his home at one point. Do you know what happened to his house, if that was his home when it was destructed?
[00:10:19] Dan Gagnon: Yeah, we do have photographs of it. Some of the photographs come from the era of the New Deal as part of Roosevelt's New Deal Projects is the Historic American Building Survey that thoroughly documents the house, photographs the inside, the outside and such. The house at some point, which is fortunate that they documented it, cuz in the 1930s, it is struck by lightning and burns down, and just a hulk remains. And then in, I believe it's 1940, it was as close as I could get to the date of when it actually was taken down, it's removed then.
[00:10:57] Josh Hutchinson: Wow. That's really tragic how that ended, because it stood there for so many hundreds of years, 250 years past the trials, it's finally being torn down. But so fortunate that there are photographs, and you can see what it looked like and get a sense of how that property was. So regarding George Jacobs, where was he first buried?
[00:11:24] Dan Gagnon: So with Jacobs, he is one of the few victims of the witch-hunt that we believe, or in his case, we have much more conclusive proof, was buried by his family after his execution. The others that have strong claims to this are Rebecca Nurse, John Proctor, Jacobs, and there's some theories for probably a couple others.
[00:11:50] It's believed that Jacobs is reburied on his farm. Now, his farm was in the very top of what was considered the Northfields in Salem. He actually lived on the farm next door to the one that Rebecca Nurse grew up on. They didn't live there at the same time, like he bought it after she, her family moved away, or she at least moved away. So that's an interesting coincidence. And so today it's in Danversport, part of Danvers, and it's right along the border with the city of Peabody. His farm basically like was the line?
[00:12:26] Sarah Jack: Wow. And what caused them to exhume those bones, his likely body?
[00:12:34] Dan Gagnon: So with his body, it was buried there towards the corner of his fields, and when it's buried, he doesn't get a headstone or anything with his name like that. It's just known that at this corner of the field is where they'd put him. And the family remembers this. It's not a secret. It's known that that was the case, not just by the family, but by the neighborhood, which we'll see evidence for that in a second, and just ignored. He's not buried next to a family member or in a family cemetery. It's just him alone stuck in the corner. 
[00:13:12] He will be exhumed now the first time in 1854. He will be exhumed twice, and each time is weird in a different kind of way. The first time, so in 1854, his family sells that field to another guy. This person had heard that George Jacobs might be buried in this field, and as he's buying the land, he kinda wanted to see if it was true. So he digs him up. They find bones, they mention like hair, like real parts of him there. And what they do is they put him back in like, all right, he's here, and then they put him back.
[00:14:00] This, however, becomes really big news far outside of Danvers and Salem. It's reported in newspapers as far south as Virginia. It's, again, it's no secret. It's front page news, really across the country that they found one of the Salem witches, and somewhere along the line, it seems to be here, but allegedly they took a finger out and they put it in a glass bottle. This is kept by a person in Danversport who's an antiquarian, a local historian, Samuel Fowler and his family, and he keeps it, his, a brick house at the port corner in Danversport. A very nice house. It was owned by Historic New England for a while. It's very nice. And it was just kept. It had been claimed that they had somehow found this bones in the 1780s, but there's no record of it ever being exhumed in the 1780s. So it must have been here in 1854. That just seems to be the case. And, but other than that, he's reburied and he'll be left for about a hundred years.
[00:15:17] Josh Hutchinson: And then he was exhumed a second time.
[00:15:20] Dan Gagnon: Yes. So this time is an accident, whereas the first time was on purpose. The second time with his house having burned down, fallen apart and his farm open, the farm will be subdivided. And what happens is in the 1950s, they're bulldozing, flattening the land, dividing into house lots like it is today. There's the roads Jacobs Way, Jacobs Landing, and others. But those two are named after him, at least. What happens is while they're bulldozing, they find bones. They stop, of course, and try to figure out what's going on. They know that this is just at about a farm, it's not a cemetery. And by that point in time, they've forgotten about old George Jacobs. 
[00:16:10] So what happens next is a little bizarre and confusing, but really what it stems from is if you put yourself in this position in the 1950s, like what the heck are they gonna do with him? There's no family that like comes to claim him 300 years, almost later. There's, can you prove at that point that it's him. Can you prove that it's not? It's just a lot of mystery. What happens is he'll be turned over essentially to a cemetery in town. It's not owned by the town, but it's associated. It's its own corporation, and they just keep 'em in a box in this granite building, which is where in the old days you'd have to keep a body when you couldn't dig a grave with the frozen ground. It's the winter. The building where they would store remains.
[00:17:10] It ends up in a couple different places. It was given to a local lawyer, Steven Weston, who was involved in purchasing Endicott Park which is actually a lot of land that was part of Salem Village that's now preserved as a park. It had been farmland. It's now a town of Danvers Park. He kept it as a lawyer, interested in historic preservation. He was trying to figure out what to do with this. And I apparently never really came to a conclusion. He had a fancy house. And as it goes, his housekeeper eventually is fed up and threatens to quit because she's dusting around the box with a human body in it, in his dining room.
[00:17:50] And so that's when he is actually the one who gives it to that cemetery to keep in the winter storage building. It's there for years, and then it will be taken out late 1960s and by another local historic preservationist who had heard it was there. You just heard a rumor, asked the cemetery people, "can I go see the box?" And they say, "sure." And then they said, "we don't want it, do you?" And he said, "sure." Trying to figure out keep it until there's a way to resolve this, but it's not gonna be resolved in the 1960s, seventies, or eighties. And it really isn't resolved until 1992. 
[00:18:30] In the meantime, he's just in a box. It's even displayed a couple times. My favorite one, since I went to school there, is it ends up in the Danvers High School cafeteria at one point. The Danvers Historical Society used to have like a community antique sale, essentially. And when they would do this, they'd always have a table of exhibits, as well, so you know bring people in.
[00:18:57] And so he, him in a glass box, was on the table of exhibits, along with John Hathorne's notebooks that were borrowed from the Essex Institute, alleged George Jacobs' canes that were also the property of the Essex Institute. So interesting display table. But it's odd. He then he ends up in the Danvers archives for a while, just in a box on the shelf. While he is there, is the first time they really try to confirm, like, the identity of the remains. It's still difficult to go through and document, because you can imagine that those who had it at the time were you know concerned about this, were genuinely trying to do the right thing here and rebury him somehow, but it is a little weird. So they get a a pathologist from one of the Boston hospitals to come and look at his bones and examine them. Even here, there's no signed written report. There's a tape. It was said into a tape recorder, the doctor's examinations. So there's not a paper trail. 
[00:20:04] And what he said was that, from the historical evidence that he had been given ahead of time and then his examination of the bones, that it does seem to be Jacobs, that it's an elderly man. We think Jacobs was in his early eighties. There's one record of somebody named George Jacobs being born in 1609. Many historians think that's a record for our George Jacobs. This is tough to pinpoint, but we know that he was quite old, so was an old man. He suffered terrible arthritis in his legs. We know George Jacobs had to walk with two canes, so that seems to fit.
[00:20:45] They knew it was a European man. Weird for the settlers from Europe to have just buried one person alone. That's not really typical. It's not a Native American burial from that time period or anything such as that. And so just really by eliminating variables, it seems quite credibly that it's probably him, especially with the documented family tradition that he was always there and then they found him right there.
[00:21:13] What ends up happening in the end is this is, unfortunately before DNA tests really, or anything like that, and they never as part of this examined or compared it to the bones in the bottle at the Essex Institute, now the Peabody Essex Museum. That on one hand is a missed opportunity, but on the other hand, without DNA testing, like how could you have ever actually compared them? There's really no, what could you have done? 
[00:21:48] So in the end, he's buried in 1992 at the Rebecca Nurse Homestead Cemetery. He has no family connection despite the Nurse Family Cemetery. The main reason for that is simply it was the only place they believed another victim of the witch-hunt was buried. It's always been thought Rebecca Nurse was buried there. Makes sense, therefore, to put him there. The volunteers at the Rebecca Nurse Homestead had, were those who were working to try to resolve this weird situation. And so of course, we're willing to do this with the help of others in the community, and so that seemed to make the most sense.
[00:22:26] With his burial, as you can probably imagine it. What would be proper? How, what service would you have? These were all really significant and complicated questions. This event was done not a hundred percent publicly. There was one part that there was a service of burial, and then he's buried in August of 1992. Then there was a like kind of remembrance ceremony that August that was published as one of the events for the tercentennial of the witch trials.
[00:23:04] With his burial, it was done by a minister at the Baptist church in Danversport. Now you might think, all right if he's a Puritan, why would you get the guy from the Baptist church? They didn't really like each other back then. That's not what you'd expect. All of his descendants had attended that church. So it seems to fit. Some of his descendants had been deacons in the church. One of 'em, my great-grandfather worked for one of the Jacobs on the farm in the early 1900s, the one who was one of the deacons there. He just worked as a farmhand for Jacobs, can't tell you which generation that was. So yeah, they had the minister from that church, who was willing, cuz he had known or think he knew the family's association. So that was the kind of service that they held.
[00:23:55] Josh Hutchinson: On the other hand, Rebecca Nurse, when she's buried on her homestead, she's left alone. They don't dig her up. They don't put her in a box.
[00:24:07] Dan Gagnon: Yeah. It's just assumed that she's there, the oldest being under just plain field stone rocks. Nobody has ever, in the sense of like DNA testing or anything? No. That grave has never been disturbed and won't be. It's just somewhere there. That's the question that people often ask who visit the Nurse house is like, "why haven't you started digging people up and DNA testing?" I was like that's very not respectful of a cemetery. And so the only reason that Jacobs has this examination opportunity is really because he wound up dug up by accident.
[00:24:43] Josh Hutchinson: I just wondered because with the memorials, Rebecca gets very different treatment than George, and then it seems like, the body itself is, it's respected and left alone.
[00:24:57] Dan Gagnon: Yeah, with their memorials, you're right to point to that. Whereas Nurse in the middle of the cemetery, again, not necessarily on top of her grave, but just the middle of the cemetery has that wonderful obilisk made outta Rockport granite. It's carved, it has a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier. It is really the height of remembrance. With Jacobs, that was another question they had in 1992 is, if you bury him, how are you gonna mark it? And what they do is they have a simple, it's a reproduction of what a 1690s slate gravestone would've been. To see examples of those, the burial ground in downtown Salem is a good example of other stones such as that. They're pretty simple. It really just has his name and dates and a little skull symbol at the top, which was typical of that time. But it is very simple and in comparison. Yeah. So still now there's this kind of continuing disparity, but in a way, Jacobs is the one who actually got the most typical final resting place with a service and a typical headstone.
[00:26:08] Sarah Jack: Yeah, it's interesting. Neither of their stories died. His just has been carried on by these strange circumstances around his body and land. It's very interesting, and thank you for going through that very interesting, I better come up with a better word, timeline of how it was, his resting place was considered, what do we do? What else would be special about the Rebecca Nurse Homestead burial grounds?
[00:26:44] Dan Gagnon: So being one of our earliest cemeteries around, it's significant cuz we believe it as the grave Nurse, it's the site of that first memorialization of the victims of the witch-hunt. And again, it is really significant. They later put up that monument to those who signed the petition for her. That's another aspect that really hasn't gotten its fair shake at remembrance. That's the only example of that. 
[00:27:10] But the cemetery continues to be important with later generations. We assume that her husband is also buried in there, some of her sons, her son-in-law, John Tarbell, who plays a role in the witch-hunt, is buried there, as well as his son, also John Tarbell, is buried there. When we get to the American Revolution, we have Rebecca and Francis' great-grandson, also named Francis Nurse, answers the call that they've elected to Concord with the Danvers militia to go fight against the British soldiers. We have other graves in there of those who fought in the revolution, either the Nurse family connection or when they're extended family cousins, a branch of the Putnam family, buy it. Some of those were the revolutionary generation. And the last burial there, other than George Jacobs, the last regular burial is in the 1920s, so it continued to be in use for quite a while.
[00:28:10] Sarah Jack: When I recently visited the Homestead for the first time, the day of Dr. Leo's talk, getting to walk through the field out to the burial ground was very moving to me. Cuz I felt like here, here I am middle age, I've known about her since I was a teenager. I'm finally getting out here, and then getting to just walk the path where many other people who have memorialized her have walked, where family members, community members, the Nurses walked, it was really moving, and it was spring, and there were lily of the valley. I just was, that was a really wonderful experience to add onto, actually, I'm getting to go over to these beautiful monuments, and they are really beautiful, and it's been taken care of so well, and the trees are so grand. I, I love right now that they have these magnificent trees looking over everything, too.
[00:29:08] Dan Gagnon: And with that cemetery, those trees, the giant, really tall pine trees are there in 1885 when they dedicate that memorial to nurse and they're already like medium sized trees at that point. So they are much older than that. I can't really guess how old, but they're quite old. And with the cemetery, it was recently restored by the Rebecca nurse Homestead. There were some stones that had broken and fallen. Some were barely legible, and there were some stones that were missing. When the Rebecca Nurse Homestead, the current museum, it's owned by the Danvers Alarm List Company, the nonprofit group of Revolutionary War reenactors, they had purchased or started leasing and then purchased starting in the late 1970s around the bicentennial and purchased it in 81. 
[00:30:02] They purchased it from Historic New England, who was putting it up like open market for sale, which was worrying and dangerous. It had been bought in 1909, originally, to be preserved. And when the Alarm List took over in the seventies, in one of the outbuildings, they just found a bunch of headstones, didn't know where they went.
[00:30:27] And so that was done really like during the pandemic, those two summers, working with Epoch Preservation that works in like historic cemeteries in Ipswich, historic cemeteries in Salem, real experts. And I had gone to Richard Trask at the Danvers Archives to see what the oldest photos he had of the cemetery, and we could match up the shape of the stones with the picture and then check, okay, that one seems to go there. Oh, and that person is a husband and wife. So that probably goes there and matched through both family evidence, the picture evidence. We have some surprisingly old photos of that cemetery from the late 1800s. And so we were able to piece together every stone we had where it belonged. So it is the most complete that it has been in like almost a hundred years, since, at least the early 1900s.
[00:31:20] Josh Hutchinson: That is remarkable. Now I want to turn to get a little background on George Jacobs, Sr. Do we know much about his early life? Do we know where he was born or when he came to New England?
[00:31:35] Dan Gagnon: So we have very sparse details. It's interesting with those involved in the Salem Witch-hunt, how the, their background information, the depth of it that's known today radically varies. With Jacobs, we believe he was born in 1609. That's the date that historians have typically gotten back to, which would make him 83 in 1692. He is the first generation to come over, like Rebecca Nurse, though he is a dozen years older that he was born in England. The 1609 date, there's a record of somebody of that name being baptized in West London. So one assumes from that area. We don't know exactly why his family comes over, but with all those early settlers, it's really puritanism. It's their religion. They're being persecuted in England. They wanna come to Massachusetts to establish their own society and be Puritans, and George Jacobs from his statements in the witch-hunt, clearly that is very important to him. So I would point to that as the main reason.
[00:32:47] Sarah Jack: And what kind of work did he do?
[00:32:50] Dan Gagnon: So Jacobs, he has a farm in the Northfields area, which at that point in time that was all entirely farmland. You had to take a ferry across the North River from downtown Salem, and then there's one main road, and it's just farms, fields, stretching out from there. I can't tell you exactly what crops he grew. Really, all of those farms had a variety. With the farm, the previous owner, Waters, Richard Waters, who it's now Water Street and it's the Waters River after him, so Waters was the one that was Rebecca Nurse's neighbor, and at that point in time, Waters raised cows. So there is the potential for that, as well, but most of it was just purely like growing crops on those farms.
[00:33:40] Josh Hutchinson: And what do we know about his family?
[00:33:45] Dan Gagnon: His family is interesting, which plays into kind of how they end up intentionally, unintentionally, a whole variety, really fragmented when the witch-hunt breaks out. We know that he lives there. His son, George Jacobs Jr., will live there. His son's wife, Rebecca Jacobs, lives there, and his granddaughter Margaret, we think among others. Those are the ones that will play a role in the witch-hunt elsewhere. He has a daughter, Ann Andrews, who lives elsewhere in Salem Village at that point in time. So he has family around. Near him there's several, which again, I would see as a similarity to Nurse. It's not quite as big, but the idea that you have a couple generations right nearby.
[00:34:35] Sarah Jack: And he mentioned in his examination that he was unable to read, when they were asking him about praying with his family. Is it unusual that at that time he was not a reader, owning land and not reading?
[00:34:51] Dan Gagnon: It's interesting. With so many of the Puritan men, that is important to them as it's, they believe, necessary for each person to read the Bible. Massachusetts is really, at that point in time, the most literate place on earth when it's the Puritans, because they wanted everybody to at least have a basic understanding of reading the Bible. With my own research, looking into different cases in the witch-hunt, he is the only one who seems to admit that, that I've ever come across, at least in, in my travels here. By contrast, there are women who might not know if they could read or not, but we know that they couldn't write, and they had other people sign for them and things such as that. So that is interesting. 
[00:35:48] If he had been his son's generation, it would be very striking. Him being one of the oldest in town and knowing in England the literacy rate was way lower kinda explains it, but no, one would've thought that in his 83 years in that type of a society, that one would've picked that up, knowing that like religious importance angle. So it is a little surprising just given that one specific time and place.
[00:36:23] Josh Hutchinson: Why is it important to talk about George Jacob, Sr.?
[00:36:27] Dan Gagnon: Jacobs' case is one that we see with all of them. We have innocent people that are convicted and killed, and his somehow is all the more powerful, because his granddaughter turns against him. And as part of that saga, you see firsthand how flimsy the accusations are. This reveals it, I think, in a way that other cases don't.
[00:36:58] With Jacobs, he's accused by Sarah Churchill, who was hired servant of his in his household along with then Mercy Lewis, Ann Putnam Jr., Abigail Williams. And in terms of where he falls in the timeline, there's the first accusations. The first the afflicted begin to be afflicted late winter and then into February. They'll be the first accusations into March. His hearing is May 11th. So he's past kind of that first phase. 
[00:37:35] With his case, it's interesting, because he's accused, and his granddaughter is accused simultaneously here, and they have hearings on the same day. They're hearings that appears that they're literally back to back, because we know that George Jacobs is in the next room during his granddaughter's hearing or just outside the door. So we think that they were back to back.
[00:38:01] Now, the accusation against him is, he's a, quote, "dreadful wizard," which appears in several of the testimony against him. That is probably one of those phrases that Thomas Putnam adds when he writes for these young women, their depositions. We see this in several instances, as I'm sure other others on the podcast have mentioned that. All right. These three people didn't probably use exactly the same phrase when they were talking to Thomas Putnam. He probably just wrote it that way. Just seems likely. 
[00:38:35] And in particular, beyond that, the accusation is that since he walked with two canes that he used them to beat Sarah Churchill or that his specter did this. Obviously, he was not able to go around hitting anybody, cuz he needed two canes to walk around. He's not, agile enough to do this. So it's his specter, that's the accusation. With this, that's what takes him arrested, hearing on May 11th. And what happens, when I mention that they were almost at the same time as the one with his granddaughter, is he maintains his innocence. He knows nothing of it with witchcraft. She will confess, and then she goes on to testify against her own grandfather.
[00:39:24] And Jacobs, being right outside the room, is told by a witness. Someone comes out to him and tells him his granddaughter has confessed. And to paraphrase, he says, "confess to what?" and is told that she is confessing to having a contract with the devil and their definition of witchcraft.
[00:39:40] Josh Hutchinson: Through the records that we still have, is it possible to glean anything about his personality?
[00:39:48] Dan Gagnon: This is tough. So what we have is Sarah Churchill's accusation when that was one of the pieces of evidence that we might have. I would tend to totally discount that. The accusations say such wild and crazy things that I don't take any of that seriously in terms of one's personality, when the accusations are as wild as as a gentleman from what was, what's now today that the town of Middleton, who was accused of walking on a flying saucer down the North River. So I take those accusations, and think that means you can't trust any of them. I don't know.
[00:40:26] There's another example. The one time he ends up in court, and it's remarkable. It only happened once, cuz everybody in Salem Village is like suing one another. So it seems, if you read those court records, it's amazing the number of times people are in court. See him only once. He got into some kind of physical fight with one of his neighbors, we don't know the circumstances. We don't know who was right, who was wrong. We don't know what was going on. So I wouldn't quite draw a conclusion from that, either. I will say that some in the 19th century do describe him as a cantankerous old man because of that, but I'm not sure that reputation is earned. We really just don't know.
[00:41:10] Josh Hutchinson: I think that's a great way to answer that, because you can't infer so much from one isolated event, and you don't have any details about it, so why read into it? I'd seen somewhere that he's described as having a temper and being feisty, et cetera, but how do you know?
[00:41:33] Sarah Jack: One of the things that I read into, but I agree with you and Josh on not reading into things, but one of the things that I read into was when he said to the magistrates that he was as innocent as them. I wondered if that is an insight into his confidence. I know that, I, it seems like the men who would try to rise up to these levels of, that they don't belong in typically found themselves in trouble.
[00:42:04] Dan Gagnon: I think using his statements in front of the judges is a much better way to figure out his personality. From those, we do see that he's just very forthright, that not me, I didn't do it. And he's very clear and he's almost a little forceful in that. So perhaps one could read that. He's at least very determined that he is innocent with his great quote that they put on the Salem Village Memorial in Danvers, "burn me or hang me. I will stand in the truth of Christ. I know nothing of it." With "it" meaning witchcraft. So he is, he's pretty unambiguous there and very direct.
[00:42:42] Josh Hutchinson: And he is pretty witty. He says, "you tax me for a wizard. You may as well tax me for a buzzard." So that probably didn't sit well with Hathorne and Corwin, but it's pretty funny.
[00:42:57] Dan Gagnon: Yes.
[00:42:59] Sarah Jack: And then another point that you know, you can compare Rebecca and George, they were both determined when they were facing those magistrates in the words that they said and in fighting for themselves.
[00:43:11] Dan Gagnon: It would've been so easy to back down that, Sarah. That's an important point.
[00:43:15] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah, he stands out as one of the heroes of the trials because of his fortitude. He's up there with Rebecca and Mary and the others who maintained their innocence throughout. All 19 who were hanged maintained their innocence, and he goes to his death bravely, seemingly. And do we know anything more about his servant, Sarah Churchill? Do we know her background?
[00:43:47] Dan Gagnon: She is one of the, not the very first round of those who became afflicted with these. She is also slightly older. She's 20, whereas some of the very early who are afflicted, like Abigail Williams is 11, Ann Putnam, Jr.'s 12, Mercy Lewis, who also accused him, is 17, though. She's not among those who are afflicted in the first couple weeks, but as it expands out. And with her, there's a couple instances that spring during the witch-hunt where people testify that they hear, either they say directly or overheard some of the accusers essentially saying their accusations aren't true.
[00:44:32] With Sarah Churchill, we have George Jacobs' daughter, Ann Andrews, that her and Sarah Ingersoll, the wife of the Tavern Keeper. She's also a tavern keeper, but the Ingersolls run the tavern. That they overheard her saying that the afflicted accusers essentially threatened Churchill into accusing Jacobs, according to their testimony given to the court, where they claimed that she told them that she had to go tell, and she mentions Mr. Noyes, the minister in Salem. I'm not clear why him specifically, but apparently him specifically, that she thought her master, she puts it ,George Jacobs, her employer was a witch or else basically they would accuse her. This is early for us to have this sort of doubting comment, but it's interesting that the two women overhear her say this. This does not get in the way of Jacobs being convicted.
[00:45:34] And then we have something similar with his granddaughter, Margaret. Why does she confess? Why does she then testify against her own grandfather? This is strange. And so what happens is George goes to trial in August. He is put on trial on August 4th, summer. And Margaret, I mentioned that Margaret is about 17, his granddaughter's about 17 at this point in time. She goes through that spring after having confessed. Three days after her and George have their hearing, basically, the rest of their family's accused. Margaret's parents, George Jr. and Rebecca Jacobs are both accused. George Jacobs, Jr. flees. Rebecca Jacobs is arrested at home. 
[00:46:29] Rebecca Jacobs seems to be, Margaret's mother, mentally unwell. So Rebecca Jacobs is described by her own mother, Mrs. Fox, as, quote, "crazed, distracted, and broken in her mind." So with this household yeah, the mother of the family appears to be unwell. You can't quite guess from that description but somehow mentally not stable.
[00:46:58] With her in jail, spring, summer testifies against George at his August 4th trial, and then he's convicted and she has a change of heart. And what she says really draws back to Sarah Churchill's statement, I would say. So at some point in the first two weeks of August, but a after the fourth, and she has a written recantation of her confession, which is interesting cause what, was she then able to write? Or did someone write this for her? We don't really know. And the reason for that is that document is something that we find copies but not to hold in our own hands an original. With her recantation, she says her quote is, "they," meaning the people that accused her back in May, quote, "told me that if I would not confess, I would be put down into the dungeon and would be hanged, but if I would confess, I should have my life, the which did so afright me with my own vile and wicked heart to save my life, made me make the confession." So it's again just being like threatened and pressured into it.
[00:48:19] Sarah Jack: And she did end up serving time in the jail. I was thinking how scaring the young girls like that. It would be very scary. They saw little Dorothy Good was over there in the jail, so they knew it didn't matter what your age was, they're gonna lock up a witch.
[00:48:39] Dan Gagnon: The accusation against her is as real as the one against Jacobs. And we see where that led in his case, in that even though she recants after the conviction but before the hanging date, it doesn't matter. He is still hanged, even though essentially one of his lead witnesses has changed their tune, but it, that doesn't change his conviction.
[00:49:00] Josh Hutchinson: And is there any real evidence? Is it all spectral evidence? What's the evidence the jury uses to convict him?
[00:49:09] Dan Gagnon: It's really just based on words. It's words like his granddaughter's. We don't exactly have her testimony against Jacobs. We know that she has testimony, we think at the grand jury and the trials. But we don't actually know specifically what she said against him. We just know from her recantation that, yes, she apparently testified against him, but we don't know the exact words.
[00:49:37] Sarah Jack: What about Sarah's words? I'm wondering, because he does discuss the devil can take any form with the magistrates.
[00:49:49] Dan Gagnon: Yeah, he's one of the earliest with the devil can take any form that seeks to undermine the belief that some thought that the devil only takes the form of someone who's essentially a guilty person, somebody who gave him permission to do so. That is a not really a legal, but more of a theological debate going on.
[00:50:17] And it is interesting that George Jacobs is one of the first to raise that. That he sees through it. When Rebecca Nurse is examined in late March, it doesn't, she doesn't quite take a position but mentions that, like, her position is she has a comments about perhaps the devil can use my shape. She's not really taking a position. It's just, I guess that was her assumption that she, what she believed, whereas Jacobs is clear that, yeah, he thinks that could happen to an innocent person, and basically the devil could frame you. 
[00:50:56] There'll be a lot more debate about this later in 1692, because it comes down to the obvious. The obvious rebuttal is, "you trust the devil? You shouldn't, you know what he's up to. You probably shouldn't be trusting his actions as evidence against somebody," which seems as though that would go to the strongest counterarguments here in 1692. But those who bring it up, it doesn't have that power that one would logically think that it would.
[00:51:26] So he's right to mention that. He's early on to mention it, but when they, his specter again is the example of the two canes allegedly attacking Sarah Churchill. Cause obviously he cannot do this physically. We know from his condition. But that he doesn't think that's him and he says it is not, and that he's innocent. It must just be someone basically impersonating him, I guess would be the way to put it.
[00:51:50] Sarah Jack: Yeah, that is interesting because Rebecca would've also been too frail to do the choking.
[00:51:57] Dan Gagnon: Yeah. With her saying she had been essentially sick in bed for eight or nine days before she was arrested in March, she's not going around whipping someone with a chain or strangling people or anything like, no. That, again, you're right to point that out as a another example of that not being logical.
[00:52:15] Josh Hutchinson: When was George Jacobs, Sr. executed?
[00:52:19] Dan Gagnon: August 19th. So he's executed along with John Proctor, along with the Reverend George Burroughs, who Margaret Jacobs also apparently testified against, because we know that she also recants her testimony against him and apparently goes in person to apologize to him in jail. So one assumes he also said that to her grandfather. But we don't specifically have a document that she also personally apologizes to him. But I guess one would assume.
[00:52:55] It's the August 19th, which interesting in that's when we see men executed for the first time in 1692. And then, of course, the last execution in September is also both women and men, which is probably one other way that Jacobs is, with your question about the significance of his case, is the majority of people accused of witchcraft in New England are women, especially pre-Salem. When we get to Salem in 1692, we have a surprising proportion of men. Still mostly women, though, but it often is that the men who are accused are, I don't know, a little bit overlooked, in that they don't fit that stereotype of it being women. And again, with this witch-hunt and with previous witch-hunts, I probably shouldn't say a stereotype, cuz that, I mean that, unfortunately, is the true pattern that it is mostly women, overwhelmingly.
[00:53:54] But the cases of the men accused are by definition kind of a different category. It's a different social background to these accusations. And so with him, I think that's significant. The only case, one of the men that really gets discussed the most is John Proctor, and, unfortunately, most people do that through The Crucible, which isn't really true and doesn't really do that any justice as to who he actually was. So that's a different category.
[00:54:31] Josh Hutchinson: The August 19th hanging, as you mentioned, is significant, because it's the first time there's four men and one woman hanged. And yeah, it's the first time they execute the men. But also Robert Calef wrote about the August execution and the supposed actions of Cotton Mather.
[00:54:55] Dan Gagnon: Yeah, the showdown with, not showdown, but the sort of last, that's a showdown, I guess the, that last moment with Reverend Burroughs who, and this is not a like legal belief at the time, it's more of a folk belief that one could not recite the Lord's Prayer if one was a witch, that somehow by signing a contract with the devil, you could not repeat those words, which has a certain logic to it that one would, if one believed you signed a contract with the devil, one could see why that would conflict with that. We first see this, I believe, in Bridget Bishop's case, where she tries to recite the Lord's prayer back in June, and she does garble a line or two, and that's seized upon. With Burroughs, though, at the gallows, he does recite it correctly. He's a minister. Of course, he knows how to say that, and it causes doubt at the last minute in the crowd, and you're right, Reverend Mather says, steps in and then says to execute him anyway, that doesn't change the situation. And again, legally, no, it did not change the situation. There's no law saying if you could do that, you weren't a witch. But in people's minds that would lead to doubt.
[00:56:14] Josh Hutchinson: And George Jacobs, I believe Sheriff Corwin confiscated some of his property.
[00:56:22] Dan Gagnon: Yes. This is a topic that is almost a rabbit hole to get down, the seizing of property during the witch trials and that so many people think that's like a cause of the witch trials, and no, people's property was not seized, other than a couple exceptions. The exceptions are for people who fled. So it's not George Jacobs, Sr. who fled. It's his son. The sheriff goes, but they're all living in the same household. So Sheriff Corwin goes there and seizes belongings that he says belonged to George Jacobs, Jr., who fled, which is a little dubious, but especially because it's really George Jacob's, Sr.'s house, and so you wouldn't assume that the belongings were the son's. This is a messy one, and it's recorded as that he even allegedly seizes the wedding ring off George Jacobs' wife's, Mary's, finger, which doesn't make sense, because he's not the one who fled. It's a son who fled. Why would you take the wedding ring from the mother of the person who fled and not their wife? This is bizarre, and he's clearly not following the law. 
[00:57:48] The one clear-cut example we have of alleged or so-called forfeiture of property is Philip English and his wife Mary. They live in downtown Salem, very rich. They flee after if they had been in custody, and their belongings are seized, and they never get 'em back, even when they sue. And it is unfortunate. But in that case, that was the law that they were legally charged with the felony. If they did obviously flee, can you lose your belongings? It's definitely not fair or just, but in that case, that is following the law.
[00:58:25] With Jacobs, this is him being overzealous and not making sense and not the way that it should have been done.
[00:58:33] Josh Hutchinson: And the seizures, the property basically was seized for the king, is that right?
[00:58:39] Dan Gagnon: Yeah. It's in the name of the king. It would've gone to the government of Massachusetts, not to the sheriff. And with that process is fine with the Englishes. The Sheriff Corwin is not in the background trying to make himself rich in such a case. With this one, it's also less clear.
[00:59:02] I'm not sure I've ever come across an inventory of what was taken. So here you see something a little sketchy that, although it's one isolated incident, this is what leads people to think that was a motivation, that this was all a scheme by the sheriff and such. Whereas Corwin doesn't become the sheriff until around the time Oyer and Terminer is established at the end of May. He's brand new to the job, cuz they didn't have a sheriff until the new governor arrived. And then we had sheriffs, so he couldn't have had the job prior to that. He was not the marshal of Essex County, which was the prior name for the job. So he's new in it and no, he wasn't there when this all started. He did not have a job when it all started. So he's not a reason for the accusations starting.
[00:59:47] Sarah Jack: That's a really good point. And what was the deal with the will? Who was ultimately cut out and who was left in?
[00:59:57] Dan Gagnon: As part of that, what we know is that when Margaret Jacobs goes and apologizes in jail to the Reverend Burroughs, she does that on August 18, the day before, he and her grandfather are going to be executed. So we assume that she also talked to him, who was also in the jail, probably in the same room. But we do know that he had at least heard that she recanted, because he writes Margaret back into the will at the last minute. This again is another argument against the seizing of property is that these people in jail, that with land holding, it would only be the men who were in jail. Only men could own real estate, real property at that point. They do write their wills and that they are carried out. So he does change his will, because he knows or thinks at least it will be carried out. We see John Proctor in jail will write a will, because he knows it will be carried out and go to his heirs, that they're not losing their farms from this.
[01:01:10] And that's one of the arguments against that. But that is one of those, one of those, I don't know, misconceptions, I guess that just goes and goes, cuz in a way everybody wants a very complicated event to be easy to explain. And yet that theory would make it easy to explain. The problem is it's not true.
[01:01:34] But they always want what's the one answer that kind of unlocks the whole thing? Whether the one answer is land or the one answer is that ergot, dare I say the word, that they always want the one thing, and there, there just is no one thing.
[01:01:52] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah, I look at that, you're looking at this single bullet theory that it just took one thing, and to me it's a way of absolving humanity of having these behavioral tendencies that we have that are really what explains what happened, comes down to human behavior. And we don't want to admit. It's almost a cop out to say that, "oh, they must have been on drugs. We're not capable of doing that."
[01:02:26] Dan Gagnon: Yeah, you're right with that example, it's a way to actually, it's an excuse. It excuses what has happened.
[01:02:32] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah. Something very strange and peculiar must have happened. It can't be this confluence of all these events and situations that happen regularly. Things like the economic hardship and the warfare and the fear of being attacked in your village. Those things that still happen today and disease and childhood death, stuff that's hard to explain. People want to say, "that happens all the time. So surely that can't be the reason why that happened," but it is. It's normal situations that just converge and create these conditions.
[01:03:17] Sarah Jack: And who did end up with George Senior's property?
[01:03:21] Dan Gagnon: It does remain in the Jacobs family. They do own it through the 19 hundreds and through 1854 when it's divided. So it does continue through, which is also a, comparison to the Nurse family that the family like doesn't go anywhere, or at least one part of the family always stays on that farm. 
[01:03:43] And with the family, afterwards, Margaret is in jail for months and such. Her mother Rebecca had been in jail for months. And that's when we get that document of Rebecca's mother, Mrs. Fox, asking for Rebecca to be released because of her mental health. And so the family is very much disrupted, the whole family by this. And on top of Rebecca being put in jail, Margaret does have siblings who are just left there, and the parents, one was arrested and one flees, so presumably with their grandmother, but that really wrecks the household.
[01:04:21] Sarah Jack: Is there anything else about George or Rebecca or your article that you'd like to touch on?
[01:04:30] Dan Gagnon: I think one other thing to mention is with Jacobs having a strong physical legacy like Nurse and the Nurse family, but in a way even more that his farm is there till 1940, allegedly his finger exists in the storage of the Peabody Essex. Peabody Essex also has his canes that are donated at early 1900s. With the Essex Institute, the precursor to the Peabody Essex, their cataloging is not excellent, and so when it has an early 20th century date, that's when they went through and gave it a date. Who knows how long it had been in that room, but that's when they first gave it a number. So that's vague. That was allegedly given by one of the descendants still around who had kept them in the family. So that part has at least some traditional backing to it. They were recently on display last year at the PEM. And really beyond that, George Jacobs' case is famous for the giant Tompkins Matteson painting done right around 1854, and it was done because of the brief exhumation of his remains. That also now is in the collection of the Peabody Essex Museum. The giant painting is not with historically accurate outfits or room decor, but it's one on book covers all the time. George Jacobs down on one knee, like pleading before the judges as his accusers, the young women, are like falling down all around him.
[01:06:12] That for somebody who is so mistreated after death, as well as during his life, and weirdly almost intentionally forgotten about, that painting of him in the 1850s is one of the prime images of the Salem Witch Trials we see today. That's just not necessarily what one would expect.
[01:06:31] Sarah Jack: Here's Mary with Minute with Mary. 
[01:06:41] Mary Bingham: After the executions stopped at Salem in 1692, people immediately moved forward with their lives for their survival. Soon after these horrific circumstances, the affected families found comfort within their nuclear families and from outside sources. This was evident in the Wildes family. Ephraim Wildes clearly stated in primary sources that his father, John, discussed the tremendous monetary loss the farm suffered when Sarah was incarcerated that year. Don't forget, John and Ephraim had to pay not only for her jail fees, but for her personal needs, as well as for her shackles. Ephraim also spoke to his own relationship with his mother in his petition to the court in 1710 describing his loss of, and I quote, "so dear a friend." John and Ephraim's personal conversations probably were a guiding force to help them navigate their immense grief. John Wildes was about 74 years old when Sarah was executed. Before Sarah's arrest in the April of 1692, there were only four adults, one toddler and one infant living at their house on Perkins Row. There is no evidence that the Wildes family had either slaves or indentured servants. They may have received help to run the farm from their Averill relatives, living very close by. 
[01:08:17] Sarah's physical absence put the entire family at risk, and most of the household chores fell now to Mary Wildes, Ephraim's young wife. Sarah was incarcerated at Salem from April 22nd until May 13th, when she was transferred to the Boston Jail. These jails were small, overcrowded, rotten, filthy, stinking spaces not suitable for human beings to live. Sarah was housed both at Salem and the Boston jails for about two months total with her stepdaughter and son-in-law, Sarah and Edward Bishop, as well as George Jacobs, among others.
[01:09:00] John and Ephraim made the trips to the jails once or sometimes twice a week, much to Sarah's relief, one can be sure. Though the trip to the Salem jail was about eight miles, the trip to Boston jail was 26 miles, putting the entire farm at risk if both men were not at home on those days that one of them made that long journey.
[01:09:24] There are no other primary sources placing the Wildes family and the Jacobs family close in proximity during their lifetimes. Therefore, John Wildes probably first set his eyes on Mary Jacobs of Salem when they were visiting their spouses in either Salem or Boston at the jails. 
[01:09:47] Here are the reasons why I believe this to be so. After his move from Ipswich to Topsfield as a very young man, John stayed close to home. It seems that only twice he physically appeared at the Salem Court, which was again eight miles south of Topsfield. His other court appearances were at Ipswich, which was about five and a half miles north of Topsfield, and John did not go often. These were mostly cases where he needed to offer witness testimony. Also, Topsfield had its own local economy after 1664, when Francis Peabody erected his gristmill and then a sawmill seven years later. Another much needed addition was that of a blacksmith, who was Samuel Howlett, making it much easier for residents to purchase horseshoes, plows, pots, hinges, and latches locally. So John and his family did not need to travel to Salem for necessary goods. Therefore, he would not have occasion to meet up with the Jacobs family. After briefly looking at all those who were incarcerated with Sarah Wildes, it might make some sense that Mary Jacobs and John Wildes would find comfort in each other, but I will let the listener decide.
[01:11:07] George Jacobs revised his will just prior to his execution, but a good time after Mary would have met John. George's earlier will stipulated that Mary would have the homestead until her death. His later will stated she would have the homestead until she remarried. This meant that when she married John Wildes June 26th, 1693, she moved to Topsfield and lived on Perkins Row.
[01:11:37] John had a companion, and there was now another woman to help take care of Ephraim's ever-growing family. Mary also now had a companion in her new husband and a place to live, but most importantly, they had a shared tragedy that no one else could possibly understand except each other. Thank you. 
[01:12:09] Sarah Jack: Thank you, Mary.
[01:12:11] Josh Hutchinson: And now here's Sarah with End Witch Hunts News.
[01:12:31] Sarah Jack: End Witch Hunts News. 
[01:12:34] The second week of June is a significant time of remembrance for the Salem Witch Trials. This week there will be at least two events honoring two of the women hanged for witchcraft crimes during the trials of 1692, Bridget Bishop and Rebecca Nurse. The first event is for remembering Bridget Bishop. Historians, performers, and others interested in Salem's witchcraft history will meet at the witch trials memorial off of Liberty and Charter Street Saturday, June 10th to remember her, the first of 19 accused witches executed during the Salem witch trials of 1692. She was executed by hanging at Proctor's Ledge on June 10th. 
[01:13:08] Dustin Luca of the Salem News writes, quote, "remembering Bridget as a fellow human being is crucial to understanding the madness that ensued." I'm so glad Dustin wrote that important message. Let's take it a step further. Remembering Bridget and the people hanged for witchcraft convictions as fellow human beings is crucial to recognizing the children, women, and men that are attacked in madness today, also fellow human beings. These modern victims are punished as witches, blamed for misfortunes, death, sicknesses, and family disasters. Those hanged for witchcraft in the early years of the American colonies and those vulnerable people who are targets today are our fellow human beings. 
[01:13:47] The second event is also on June 10th, the annual gala day at the Rebecca Nurse Homestead. It is a Homestead fundraiser, and the theme is 1920s lawn party. The very first gala day and garden party bazaar was held at the Rebecca Nurse Homestead in 1912, right after becoming a museum, and they continued to be held annually through the 1920s. It was a way to welcome the community to explore the newly restored historic house and learn about the local history and just enjoy the beautiful grounds and summer day.
[01:14:14] This year, they hope to raise funds to restore and improve the kitchen garden. The deadline to pre-order picnic boxes was June 7th, but you are welcome to bring a picnic lunch. Plan on enjoying vintage entertainment like era music, silent moving pictures in the meeting house, and period style table and lawn games. Explore the historic Nurse Homestead and spend the day. 
[01:14:34] You can hear two important researchers speak about the stories of these two women in our previous episodes. Please listen to Marilynne Roach clarify the record on who Bridget Bishop was, and dig into the life of aged accused witch Rebecca Nurse with Dan Gagnon on the episodes called "Marilynne K. Roach on the People of the Salem Witch Trials" and "Rebecca Nurse of Salem with Dan Gagnon."
[01:14:55] On May 25th, 2023, the Connecticut General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution 34, Resolution Concerning Certain Witchcraft Convictions in Colonial Connecticut. This happened because the majority of the house, 80%, voted yes on May 10th to pass it to the Senate. The Senate voted almost unanimously yes, only one senator voted no, completing the passage of HJ 34. HJ 34 was sponsored and passed by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers. Because accused witch innocency matters, Connecticut did not let the votes fall to party differences. 
[01:15:29] In another state, a similar exoneration attempt failed just a few weeks before the success of HJ 34. Eunice Cole, also popularly referred to as Goody Cole, was an accused witch that spent time in trial and in jail in Massachusetts. Essentially, the colonial boundary line changing made her a New Hampshire resident, as well. She was up for a posthumous exoneration. Her bill was House Bill 89. New Hampshire House Bill 89 is listed as a democratic partisan bill, but it passed the house with bipartisan support. However, it was killed in the Senate, when the lawmakers voted down party lines. It failed 10 to 14. Eunice Cole was declined exoneration for her witchcraft convictions by four no votes. No, no, no, no. This is disheartening but not shocking. 
[01:16:20] Passing HJ 34 seemed like a long shot, but many of us worked hard to keep building up education around the crisis of modern, dangerous witch persecution. We reached the Connecticut lawmakers with the message that witch hunts were wrong and witch hunts must end.
[01:16:34] We commend the New Hampshire lawmakers that voted yes to clear the name of innocent Eunice Cole. They were her voice, just as the state of Massachusetts has recognized some of their witch trial victims as innocent, and 34 indicted accused witches of Connecticut, of which 11 were hanged, have now all had their names cleared. Eunice Cole will be added to the list of children, women and men waiting for a state acknowledgement for their suffering from witchcraft trials past. The American colonies still have many victims who suffered through witch trials waiting for their names to be cleared, and Eunice is just one of them. They need lawmakers to be their voice. They said they were innocent, and the plea went unheard. 
[01:17:10] Thou Shalt Not Suffer podcast and End Witch Hunts will work for all names to be cleared and for all lawmakers and global leaders to become better educated about witch trials past and present. We will continue to be voices for the innocent harmed by witchcraft accusations. Lawmakers of any party can support legislation that has a real and resounding global impact. They need to be told a yes vote for innocence here saves lives now. Other countries need our leadership. They need to see us taking a deliberate stand for alleged witches in our history with expressed concern for stopping alleged witchcraft violence today.
[01:17:43] Official state acknowledgement of the innocency of the 17th century accused and hanged witches of the Connecticut Colony resounds globally today. It is that important. Please learn more about the ongoing mob witch-hunts that are killing and violently abusing extensive numbers of women, men, and children in dozens of countries now.
[01:18:00] Thou Shalt Not Suffer podcast supports the efforts to end modern witch-hunts. You can learn more by visiting our websites and the websites listed in our show notes for more information about country-specific advocacy groups. Get involved. Visit To support us, purchase books from our bookshop, merch from our Zazzle shop, or make a financial contribution to our organization. Our links are in the show description. 
[01:18:39] Josh Hutchinson: Thank you, Sarah for that enlightening report.
[01:18:43] Sarah Jack: You're welcome.
[01:18:45] Josh Hutchinson: And thank you for listening to Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast.
[01:18:49] Sarah Jack: Join us next week.
[01:18:51] Josh Hutchinson: Subscribe in whatever podcast app you choose.
[01:18:56] Sarah Jack: Visit
[01:19:00] Josh Hutchinson: Remember to tell your friends, family, acquaintances and neighbors about Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast.
[01:19:07] Sarah Jack: Support our efforts to end witch hunts. Visit to learn more.
[01:19:12] Josh Hutchinson: Have a great today and a beautiful tomorrow. 
Exit mobile version