August 9 (July 30, o.s.)

Massachusetts: Mary Toothaker of Billerica, charged with witchcraft after being implicated by her nephew Richard Carrier in his July 22 confession, appears before the Salem magistrates for questioning. She quickly confesses her guilt, and says that the Devil appeared to her in May and promised to keep her safe from the Indians if she would join his forces. She agreed to sign up and made a mark with her finger on a piece of birch bark to do so. Billerica is on the frontier and has recently been afflicted by frequent and bloody Indian raids, so the Indian threat is a constant anxiety in the minds of residents such as Toothaker.

Toothaker goes on to confess her attendance at two assemblies of witches in Salem Village, and she names many other previous suspects and confessors as other attendees. She says the meetings were presided over by George Burroughs, the Maine minister now in jail in Boston on witchcraft charges, and that they involved martial activities such as beating drums and sounding trumpets as part of the spectral assault on New England. She also says that there was talk at the meetings of there being 305 witches in the area.

Meanwhile, Captain Nathaniel Cary of Charlestown, whose wife Elizabeth was sent to jail in Cambridge after being questioned on witchcraft charges on May 24, comes to the Cambridge jail.  Frustrated in his attempts to help his wife through official channels, he decides to take more drastic measures.  He bribes the jailer to get her out, then sneaks her onto a ship bound for Rhode Island, where he hopes she will be safe from the accusations against her.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas, having waited since July 13 for the fifty soldiers from Nueva Vizcaya that were provided for his reconquest effort in the viceroy’s authorization on May 28, decides to go ahead and set off on the expedition.  He orders that three squads from the presidio of El Paso under the command of Roque Madrid depart on August 16 and go as far as the outpost of Robledo.  The governor himself will wait in El Paso until the soldiers from Nueva Vizcaya arrive, then leave with them and the remaining local soldiers and meet the others at Robledo.  Both groups will then continue together further north for the reconquest.

Published in: on August 9, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (3)  


  1. […] of two households near the home of Mary Toothaker, who is in jail in Salem after confessing on July 30 to having signed a pact with the Devil in exchange for protection from the […]

  2. […] Juan Páez Hurtado, the secretary of government and war, announces Governor Vargas’s order of the previous day setting the date for the departure of the first troops for the reconquest on August 16.  A great […]

  3. […] Mexico: In accordance with Governor Vargas’s decision and order on August 9, the three companies of soldiers from the presidio and the 100 Indian allies who are to leave on […]

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