Danvers

In the winter of 1691-1692, the beginnings of the Salem witch-hunt started when Rev. Samuel Parris’ daughter Betty and his niece Abigail Williams were afflicted by “an evil hand” in Salem Village, then part of Salem Town. In 1755, the Village became the town of Danvers. 

Explore

Edward & Sarah Bishop house site, 238 Conant Street. PRIVATE home. Edward (1648-1711) and Sarah (Wildes) Bishop owned an unlicensed tavern here, much to the dismay of their neighbors, who in 1692 accused them of witchcraft. They escaped from jail.

Sarah Holten house

First Church of Danvers, 41 Centre Street. After the witch trials, a new church was built in 1702 at Watch Tower Hill. In 1706, following the reading of her apology, Ann Putnam Jr. (1679-1716) became a church member. The church has since been rebuilt. In the back of the sanctuary, there’s a plaque for Rev. George Burroughs, the former minister of Salem Village who was hanged in 1692.

Sarah Holten House, 171 Holten Street. Built circa 1670. After his swine were caught in her garden, Rebecca Nurse (1621-1692) scolded Benjamin Holten (1658-1689). He became ill and died two weeks later. His widow Sarah testified in 1692 that Rebecca caused the strange and violent fits that led to her husband’s death. (Also known as Judge Samuel Holten house.) Owned by Daughters of the American Revolution and accessible to the public.

Ingersoll’s Ordinary, 199 Hobart Street. PRIVATE home. Nathaniel Ingersoll’s home and the Ordinary where some of the accused witches were examined.

Rebecca Nurse house

Rebecca Nurse Homestead, 149 Pine Street. Built circa 1678. Home of accused witch Rebecca (Towne) Nurse (1621-1692) who was hanged in 1692, the site also includes Zerubabel Endecott’s barn (built circa 1681 and relocated here); a replica of the Salem Village Meeting House, built for the 1985 film Three Sovereigns for Sarah; and the family graveyard. Owned by the Danvers Alarm List Company and accessible to public.

Nurse Graveyard, 149 Pine Street. Family legend mentions retrieving Rebecca Nurse’s body after she was hanged for witchcraft, so no doubt she is buried in an unmarked grave, probably here. In 1885, descendants installed the Rebecca Nurse monument and a tablet listing the neighbors who supported Nurse during her trial and death. In 1992, the supposed remains of George Jacobs Sr. (1609-1692), another victim of the witch-hunt, were buried here and marked by a gravestone made to resemble the 17th century style. (George lived on Margin Street and his house was torn down in the 1940s.) Owned by the Danvers Alarm List Company and accessible to public.

Sarah Osborne House, 273 Maple Street. PRIVATE home. Home of accused witch Sarah (Warren) (Prince) Osborne (c. 1643-1692) who died in jail. Relocated.

Putnam Burial Ground, 485 Maple Street. Thomas, his wife Ann Sr., and daughter Ann Putnam Jr. are buried here in an unmarked burial mound.

Putnam house

Putnam House, 431 Maple Street. Built circa 1648. Lieutenant Thomas Putnam (1615-1686) bequeathed his homestead to youngest son Joseph Putnam (1669-1725), the only child born of his second marriage to the widow Mary Veren (d. 1695). In 1692, Joseph spoke out against the witch hunts in which his half-brother Thomas Putnam (1652-1699) was deeply involved, since his wife Ann (Carr) and daughter Ann Jr. were afflicted accusers. Owned by Danvers Historical Society. Currently closed to the public.

Salem Village Meeting House site, Forest Street near intersection of Hobart Street. Built 1672, the meeting house served as a place for civil, military, and religious meetings. Rev. Samuel Parris preached here in 1692 during the witch hysteria. In 1702, the meeting house was abandoned for the new church at the top of the hill. Visit the Rebecca Nurse homestead, where there’s a replica meeting house that was used for the 1985 film Three Sovereigns for Sarah.

Salem Village parsonage site

Salem Village Parsonage archaeological site, rear 67 Centre Street. Built in 1681 for Rev. George Burroughs (1650-1692), it was the home of Rev. Samuel Parris (1653-1720) when the Salem witch hunts started with his daughter Betty (1682-1760) and niece Abigail Williams first exhibiting signs of being “under an evil hand” (witchcraft). The original parsonage was torn down in 1784, though the 1734 two-and-a-half-story addition was moved and then torn down in the 1870s. The original site was excavated in the early 1970s, with thousands of artifacts uncovered. Now owned by the town, the site includes original foundation walls. Accessible to the public. Artifacts are at the Danvers Archival Center.

Wadsworth Cemetery, 18 Summer Street. Early settlers of Salem Village were buried here starting in the 1640s, though many graves are unmarked. Rev. Samuel Parris’ first wife Elizabeth (d. 1696) and Rev. Joseph Green (1675-1715) have gravestones still standing, while Rev. George Burroughs’ wives, who showed up as ghosts in the trials, have unmarked graves. Rev. Joseph Bayley’s first wife, Mary (Carr) (1652-1688), and Rev. Deodat Lawson’s first wife Jane are buried here.

Witchcraft Victims’ Memorial, 176 Hobart Street. Dedicated in 1992 for the 300th anniversary of the trials, the memorial is located opposite of the Salem Village Meeting House site where early witchcraft examinations took place. Town land, publicly accessible.

Research

George Jacobs Sr. house 1910s

Danvers Archival Center at the Peabody Institute Library, 15 Sylvan Street. Important collections include the Ellerton J. Brehaut Witchcraft Collection of books, manuscripts, and pamphlets; early town records such as the Salem Village Church Record Book from 1672, with records by Rev. Samuel Parris; miniature portrait of Rev. Parris; online articles written by archivist Richard Trask.

Danvers Historical Society, 11 Page Street. Stewards of the Joseph Putnam house.

Online Books & Records

George Jacobs Sr. house, 1940

Chronicles of Danvers (old Salem village), Massachusetts, 1632-1923 by Harriet Silvester Tapley (1923)

Danvers, Massachusetts: A Resume of Her Past History and Progress Together With A  Condensed Summary of Her Industrial Advantages and Development.  Biographies of Prominent Danvers Men and A Series of  Comprehensive Sketches of Her Representative Manufacturing and  Commercial Enterprises by Frank E. Moynahan (1899)

History of the town of Danvers, from its early settlement to the year 1848 by John Wesley Hanson (1848)

Old Naumkeag: an historical sketch of the city of Salem, and the towns of Marblehead, Peabody, Beverly, Danvers, Wenham, Manchester, Topsfield, and Middleton by Charles Henry Webber and Winfield S. Nevins (1877)

Blog Posts

Which Bishop? The one that got away from WitchesMassBay

George Burroughs’ genealogy: Burroughs-Thomas-Crocker line from Genealogy Ink

Reconstructing Rev. George Burroughs’ genealogy from Genealogy Ink

Hawthorne and the guilt-ridden W? from Genealogy Ink

Newspapers: Beyond birth notices, wedding announcements, and obituaries (Rebecca Nurse) from Genealogy Ink

Ann Putnam Jr. and the aftermath of the Salem witch trials from Genealogy Ink

Tituba, Indian servant of Mr. Samuel Parris from Genealogy Ink

Tituba redefined: Salem then and now from Genealogy Ink

The house where witchcraft started from Genealogy Ink

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Remembering Danvers blog