Cotton Mather

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Cotton Mather

Rev. Cotton Mather was minister of the 2nd Church in Boston. His father, Rev. Increase Mather was also a minister of the 2nd Church. Cotton Mather was born in 1662 and died in 1728. His parents were Increase Mather and Maria Cotton. In 1686, Cotton Mather married Abigail Phillips. In 1708, he married Elizabeth (Clark) Hubbard. In 1715, he married Lydia (Lee) George. Rev. Cotton Mather wrote Wonders of the Invisible World[1]. Mather believed the 17th century was the end times and predicted the rapture would occur in 1696[2].

Personal Life

Cotton Mather was born in Boston on February 12, 1663 and died in Boston on February 3, 1728. Mather studied at the Boston Latin School before attending Harvard College. He received his BA in 1678, at the age of 15, and his MA three years later, at 18.
Cotton's father, Increase Mather was the president of Harvard College.
Cotton married three times and fathered 15 children.

The Trials

Cotton Mather was a prolific writer. Two of his works focused on witchcraft. Memorable Providences, Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions, published in 1689, is an account of the alleged bewitchment of several children in the Goodwin family of Boston. The Wonders of the Invisible World, published in 1693, is an account of the Salem Witch Trials. Cotton's father, Increase also wrote about witchcraft in Cases of Conscience Concerning Evil Spirits and A Further Account of the Tryals of the New-England Witches.

Literature & Film

Cotton Mather is a character in WGN America's Salem. He is portrayed by Seth Gabel.


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The Basics

Full Name: Cotton Mather
First Name: Cotton
Last Name: Mather
Maiden Name:
Birth Date: 1662
Death Date: 1728
Father: Increase Mather
Mother: Maria Cotton
Spouse: Abigail Phillips
Marriage Date: 1686
Town: Boston
Occupation: minister of the 2nd Church in Boston
Trial Role(s): minister
Trial Activity: wrote Wonders of the Invisible World
Notes: Graduated Harvard College in 1678
Record Number(s): [3]
Link to case file at the Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project: [ Case File]
Link to records containing the name Cotton Mather: Records


  1. Bernard Rosenthal, Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009)
  2. Marilynne K. Roach, Six Women of Salem (Boston: De Capo Press, 2013)
  3. Rosenthal, Bernard, Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, (New York : Cambridge University Press, 2009, ISBN 0521661668 ), Record number(s):


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