May 19 (May 9, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal. The councilors order that all ships that will be ready to depart by June 10 may set sail then. A warrant is issued for the arrest of a counterfeiter accused in a letter from one Colonel Hill. It is ordered that an agreement be reached about what to do with Lord Inchiquin’s possessions that are still at the governor’s residence, King’s House, which will be needed by the new governor when he arrives.

Massachusetts: George Burroughs, the former minister of Salem Village brought to Salem Town on May 4 from his home in Maine to answer charges of witchcraft filed against him on April 30, is brought to Salem Village to be questioned by the Salem magistrates, John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin, along with the provincial councilors William Stoughton and Samuel Sewall. First, Burroughs is questioned in private, without any of the afflicted persons present. He is asked about rumors that he has failed to take communion in many years or have most of his children baptized, both of which he admits. He denies, however, rumors that his house in Maine is haunted (though he admits that there are toads there) and that he kept his second wife from communicating with her father without his permission.

After these initial questions, Burroughs is brought into the presence of the afflicted persons, many of whom are immediately afflicted. Several of the afflicted girls testify about their experiences being visited by Burroughs’s specter, beginning with Susannah Sheldon and Mercy Lewis, who knew him in Maine. Susannah mentions his dead wives appearing to her to accuse him of their murders, as well as his specter’s admission that he killed through witchcraft some of the soldiers who fought on the Maine frontier under Sir Edmond Andros in 1688 and 1689. Some of the other girls fall into terrible fits when he looks at them just before their statements are read. When the magistrates ask Burroughs to respond to all this, he says that it is “an amazing and wondrous providence” but that otherwise he doesn’t understand it at all. He also notes that the girls are unable to name him when they try.

After the statements of the afflicted girls, the magistrates order that other evidence prepared against Burroughs be read, including Elizar Keyser’s account of his experiences on May 5 and the confessions of Abigail Hobbs and her mother Deliverance, both of whom implicated Burroughs as the leader of the witches. They also take testimony from men who knew Burroughs in Maine, particularly pertaining to his remarkable physical strength. John Putnam of Salem Village also testifies about Burroughs’s relationship with his first wife when the couple lived in his house in the early 1680s.

In the afternoon, after the examination of Burroughs is complete, the magistrates question Sarah Churchwell, the maidservant of George Jacobs, the elderly Salem Village resident whose specter appeared to Mercy Lewis on the night of April 20. At the urging of Mercy, Churchwell confesses to having signed the Devil’s book, and accuses her master as well as his granddaughter Margaret Jacobs of being witches as well. At night, Mercy claims that the specter of George Jacobs appears to her and beats her with his two canes to punish her for having induced Churchwell to confess.

Mexico/New Mexico: Governor Pardiñas of Nueva Vizcaya interviews Francisco Ramírez de Salazar, a soldier at the provincial capital, Parral, who has served in New Mexico and asks him for his thoughts on Governor Vargas’s plans for reconquest of that territory. Ramírez is skeptical, and says that even if the reconquest is successful and as cheap as Vargas is claiming, holding the territory will become very difficult and expensive, given the distance and the numerous Apaches and other hostile tribes raiding along the way between El Paso and Santa Fe. He thinks that reconquest would likely take two or three years and become much more expensive than Vargas is claiming, and suggests that a better method would be to propose peace to the Pueblos and reward the ones that accept with good treatment in the hope that the others will follow their example. If military force is necessary, he suggests destroying the Pueblos’ fields at harvest time. His main concern, however, is that the Apaches and other nomadic raiders be pacified first, which would free up considerable manpower to attempt a reconquest.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas comes to the pueblo of Ysleta to ceremonially transfer possession of the church there, Corpus Christi de los Tiguas, to Joaquín de Hinojosa, president in capite and interim ecclesiastical judge ordinary, the highest-ranking church official in New Mexico.  The ceremony is the same as that conducted in El Paso on May 17.

Published in: on May 19, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (3)  


  1. […] Margaret Jacobs, based on the confession of George Jacobs’s maidservant, Sarah Churchwell, the previous day, in which she accused her master and his granddaughter of being witches along with her. They also […]

  2. […] on George Burroughs, the minister who was brought from his home in Maine to Salem and questioned on May 9.  Although Hobbs also lived in Maine at one point, and her initial confession on April 19 included […]

  3. […] She quickly confesses and names both her grandfather and George Burroughs, the minister examined on May 9, as fellow […]

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