Tag Archives: Witch Trials

General Israel Putnam House (1648)

The earliest (rear) section of the Putnam House in Danvers was built in 1648 by Lt. Thomas Putnam. The house would go on to be the home of twelve generations of the Putnam family. During the Salem witchcraft trials, Joseph Putnam, who spoke out against the ongoing hysteria, lived on the property. Joseph’s son, Israel Putnam, for whom it’s now known, was born in the house in 1718. General Israel Putnam was a famous colonial officer and one of the primary figures at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. In the 1850s, Daniel Putnam operated a shoe-making business in the house and in the twentieth century, the family ran a candy and ice cream shop next door called the Putnam Pantry. A number of additions were made to the house over the years, including the eighteenth-century gambrel-roofed section that is now the front facade. The Putnam family gave the house to the Danvers Historical Society in 1991.

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John Holton House (1692)

At 27 Centre Street in Danvers, in what was the old Salem Village of the Salem Witch Trials, is a house built in 1692 by John Holton, a cooper. He died in 1721 and the house passed to his widow Mary and then to Joseph Buxton, the son of his sister Elizabeth. Buxton, also a cooper, died in 1750 and his son, Anthony, sold the house in 1777. The house has a Beverly jog.

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The Thomas Haines House (1681)

The Thomas Haines House, on Centre Street in Danvers, was built in 1681 by Hains, an innkeeper. During the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, Haines gave testimony in the trial of Elizabeth How of Topsfield which resulted in her being hanged as a witch on July 19, 1692, the same day as Rebecca Nurse, her sister-in-law. Haines moved to New Jersey in 1704 and sold his house to John Allen of Salem, a gunsmith.

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Ingersoll’s Ordinary (1670)

The earliest sections of Ingersoll’s Ordinary in Danvers date to around 1670, although the building has had additions and changes over the years, most notably in 1753. In the late seventeenth century, when Danvers was known as Salem Village, this ordinary, an early type of inn and tavern, was run by Deacon Nathaniel Ingersoll. During the Salem Witch Hysteria of 1692, the ordinary was used by those involved in the examinations, held at the nearby meetinghouse. The first group of women to be accused were originally going to be examined at the ordinary, but the large crowds required the use of the meetinghouse. Tituba, a slave owned by Samuel Parris, was one of the first three people accused of practicing witchcraft during the Salem witch trials. Her husband, John Indian, also owned by Parris, worked at the ordinary. The former ordinary is now a private residence.

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The Rebecca Nurse Homestead (1678)

Located on a proprty of 25 acres of fields, pasture and woods at 149 Pine Street in Danvers is the Rebecca Nurse Homestead. The house was mostly likely built in 1678, when Francis Nurse, a skilled maker of wooden household items, began renting the property from owner James Allen. Nurse would eventually purchase the house, where he lived with his wife Rebecca and eight children. In 1692, during the Salem Witch Trials, the 71-year-old Rebecca Nurse was accused of practicing witchcraft. Initially found not guilty at her trial, her young accusers went into convulsive fits which led the jury to return with a guilty verdict. Rebecca Nurse was hanged and her family secretly buried her on the Homestead land. In 1885, the family dedicated a granite memorial in her honor in the Nurse family graveyard. The monument is inscribed with a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier. Francis Nurse died in 1695 and the Homestead remained in the Nurse family into the eighteenth century. Rebecca’s great-grandson, Francis, lived in the house and, as a sergeant in the Danvers Alarm Company, responded to the Lexington Alarm in 1775. The Homestead was owned by the Putnam family from 1784 to 1908. Purchased and restored by the Rebecca Nurse Memorial Asociation, the property was given to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities in 1926 and, since 1981, has been a museum owned by the Danvers Alarm List Company.

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The Judge Samuel Holten House (1670)

The Judge Samuel Holten House in Danvers was built in 1670 by Benjamin Holten in what was then known as Salem Village. In the house resided Sarah Holten, who testified against Rebecca Nurse during the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692. From a much smaller initial core, the house, which served as a tavern, was expanded six different times over the years, making it a prime example of the development in stages of a Colonial house. In the later eighteenth century, Judge Samuel Holten lived in the house. He was a physician and statesman who served as a member of the Continental Congress from 1778 to 1780 and again from 1782 to 1787. In 1778, he was a signer of the Articles of Confederation. Since 1921, the house been owned and restored by the General Israel Putnam Chapter of the Daughter of the American Revolution.

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The Jonathan Corwin House (1675)

The Jonathan Corwin House, also known as the Witch House, is a seventeenth century home located on Essex Street in Salem. When Jonathan Corwin, a merchant, purchased the property in 1675, there was already a partially completed timber frame, left unfinished after being started some years earlier (older estimates put the construction date as 1642). Corwin completed the construction and moved in with his family in 1679. As a prominent citizen of Salem, Corwin served as a magistrate and was a judge during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. The Corwin family owned the house into the nineteenth century, during which time a number of alterations were made to the home. In 1856, it was bought by a pharmacist, George Farrington, who built his shop onto one side of the building. He referred to the home as the “Witch House” and attracted tourists with his claims that the Witch Trials had occurred in the parlor. By the twentieth century, the house was being used for a shop, businesses and apartments. Threatened with demolition to accommodate the widening of North Street, Historic Salem Inc was established to return the house to a seventeenth century look and move it to the west. Given to the town, the Witch House first opened as a museum in 1946.

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