May 20 (May 10, o.s.)

Massachusetts: John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin, the Salem magistrates, issue warrants for the arrest of George Jacobs and his granddaughter 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 issue a warrant for the arrest of John Willard of Salem Village, who has recently been accused of witchcraft by Ann Putnam and Susannah Sheldon.

The constable is unable to locate John Willard, who has fled the Village in expectation of being charged, but he does bring George and Margaret Jacobs to Thomas Beadle’s tavern in Salem Town, where the magistrates come to interrogate George Jacobs in the presence of Abigail Williams and Sarah Churchwell. Churchwell agrees with Hathorne’s suggestion that she saw her master’s name in the Devil’s book when she signed it. Jacobs insists that he is innocent, and contends that the Devil can appear in the shape even of innocent people to afflict others. Churchwell continues to press him to confess, however, insisting that he has led “a wicked life” and that he does not lead his family in prayer. When asked to explain this, Jacobs says that he is illiterate, which does not satisfy Hathorne and Corwin. They ask him to say the Lord’s Prayer, a common test for witchcraft, and he stumbles through it with many mistakes and cannot get it right even after several tries. This is enough to convince the magistrates of his guilt, but still he maintains his innocence.

Meanwhile, Sarah Osborne, one of the very first women in Salem Village to be charged with witchcraft on February 29, dies in jail in Boston.

Mexico/New Mexico: The Conde de Galve receives Governor Vargas’s letter of March 30 regarding his pacification of the rebellious Sumas and his request for supplies for the church in the new town in which they have settled and his letter of April 17 regarding his plans for the reconquest of New Mexico.

Meanwhile, in Parral, Nueva Vizcaya, Governor Pardiñas interviews Captain Antonio de Medina about Governor Vargas’s plans. Medina asserts that he has no knowledge of New Mexico and has only heard about it from other soldiers. He has no doubt that Vargas can take the province, but is skeptical that he can keep it without great expense.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas comes to the pueblo of Socorro to transfer possession of the church there, Nuestra Señora de la Concepción de Socorro, to father Joaquín de Hinojosa, much as he did in El Paso on May 17 and in Ysleta on May 19.

Published in: on May 20, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (2)  


  1. […] Salem Town, where they conducted a rather unsatisfactory examination of accused witch George Jacobs the previous day, to question his seventeen-year-old granddaughter Margaret Jacobs. She is startled and frightened […]

  2. […] Village to question John Willard, the accused witch who fled to Nashaway when he was charged on May 10 but was found and brought back on May 17. As is by now usual at examinations of suspected witches, […]

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