Salem Village Church Record Book

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Originally transcribed by the late WM. THADDEUS HARRIS for The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, appearing in Vol. 11, 1857 (April) pp. 131-135; (October) pp. 316-321 and Vol. 12, (July) 1858; pp. 127-128; (January) 245-248.
The original transcription is available at the Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project
I modified version is included below, updated for readability and to link to other wiki content.


Church Covenant

The Covenant agreed upon, and consented unto by the Church of Christ at Salem Village, at the first embodying on November 19, 1689.

We whose Names are hereunto subscribed, lamenting, being persuaded in matters according to the Confession of Faith owned & consented unto by the Elders & Messengers of the Churches assembled at Boston in New England May 12, 1680, for the substance of it, we now own, and profess.

Male Members

1. Samuel Parris, Pastor
2. Nathaniel Putnam
3. John Putnam
4. Bray Wilkins
5. Joshua Rea
6. Nathaniel Ingersoll
7. Peter Cloyes
8. Thomas Putnam
9. John Putnam Junr
10. Edward Putnam
11. Jonathan Putnam
12. Benjamin Putnam
13. Ezekiel Cheever
15. Benjamin Wilkins
16. William Way
17: Peter Prescott

Female Members

The Women which are embodied with Us are by their several names as follows:
1. Elizabeth (wife to Samuel) Parris
2. Rebecca (wife to John Putnam)
3. Anna (wife to Bray) Wilkins
4. Sarah (wife to Joshua) Rea
5. Hannah (wife to John, Jr) Putnam
6. Sarah (wife to Benjamin) Putnam
7. Sarah Putnam
8. Deliverance Walcott (wife of Jonathon Walcott)
9. Persis (wife to William) Way
10. Mary (wife to Samuel) Abbey

November 24, 1689, Sabbath, Nathaniel Ingersoll Made Deacon

Brother Nathaniel Ingersoll chosen by a general vote of the brethren to officiate in the place of a Deacon for a time.


March 30, 1690, Sabbath

Brother Cheevers needed a horse for his wife's travel. About five or six weeks ago, he took his neighbor Joseph Putnam's horse out of his stable without asking permission. Brother Cheevers was called forth to give satisfaction to the offended Church. He was also called forth the last Sabbath for the same purpose, but he failed in giving satisfaction, by reason of his somewhat mincing in the latter part of his confession. In the former, he had more ingenuously acknowledged, but this day the Church received satisfaction as was testified by their holding up of their hands. And upon the whole, a word of caution by the Pastor was dropped upon the offender in particular, and upon us all in general.

November 30, 1690, Sabbath

This evening, after the public service was over, the Pastor asked the Church to stay. He then proposed Brother Edward Putnam to be chosen as an other Deacon. The whereof was yt being now an excessive cold day some did propose another season might be pitched upon for discourse thereof. Whereupon ye Pastour mentioned the next fourth day at two of the clock at the Pastor's house for farther discourse thereof to which the Church agreed by not dissenting.

December 3, 1690, Wednesday

This afternoon at a church meeting appointed the last Sabbath, Brother Edward Putnam was again proposed to officiate in the Place of a Deacon, to join with, & be assistant to, Brother Ingersoll in yt service, & it was carryed in the affirmative by a universall vote: nemine non suffragante.

December 7, 1690, Sabbath

After the evening Publick service was over severall things needfull were transacted, and among them:
The Lords Table not being provided for with ought else but two Petwer Tankards the Pastour propounded & desired ye the next Sacrament day wich is to be the 21st instant there be a more open & liberall contribution by the Comunicants that so the Deacons may have wherewith to furnish the said Table decently: which was consented to.


June 28, 1691, Sabbath

After the afternoon sermon upon 1 Tim. 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. And the Brethren had renewed their call of Br. Ingersoll to the office of a Deacon & he himself had declared his acceptance: the Pastor proceeded to ordain him using the Form following.

Beloved Brother, God having called you to the Office of a Deacon, &c. &c.

In the margin is the following entry:

Nathaniel Ingersol the first Ordained Deacon in this Village.

After the "Form " is this ---------

Note. That Brother Putnam was not yet willing to be ordained but desired farther considering time between him & I & Brother Ingersoll in private discourse the week before the Ordination abovsaid.

October 8, 1691

Being my Lecture day after public service was ended I was so bare of fire- wood that I was forced publickly to desire the Inhabitants to take care that I might be provided for, telling them that had it not been for Mr Corwin (who had bought wood being then at my house) I should hardly have any to burn.

November 2, 1691

After some discourse to & fro the Church voted that Capt. Putnam, & the two Deacons should go as Messengers from the Church to the Committee to desire them to make a Rate for the Minister & to take care of necessary supplies for him.

[In the margin is this entry following, referring to the former part of the foregoing record, which makes mention of "the Committee" as chosen at the last Town-meeting.]

1 The Town-meeting about, or at, 16. October last: Jos: Porter, Jos Hutchinson, Jos: Putnam, Dan: Andrews, Francis Nurse.

November 10, 1691

The Messingers abovsd came with their Return as appointed which was that the Committee did not see good to take notice of their message without they had some letter to show under the Churches and Pastors hand. But at this last Church meeting beside the three Messingers, but three other Brethren did appear namely, Brother Thomas Putnam, Tho: Wilkins, & Peter Prescot, which slight, & neglect of other Brethren, did not a little trouble me, as I expressed myself: But I told these Brethren I expected the Church should be more mindfull of me, than other people, &c.

November 18, 1691

After some time spent in Prayer & seeking Gods presence with us, the next Lords-day, at this Church-meeting, I told them I had scarce wood enough to burn till the morrow, & pray'd that some care might be taken. In fine, after discourses passed : these following votes were made unanimously. Namely.

1. That it was needfull that complaint should be made to the next Honoured County Court to sit at Salem the next third day of the week against the neglects of the present Committee.

2. That the said complaint should be drawn up which was immediately done by one of the Brethren & consented to.

3. That our Brethren Nathanael Putnam, Thomas Putnam, & Tho: Wilkins should signe said complaint in behalf of the Church. .

4. Last: That our Brethren Capt. John Putnam & the two Deacons should be improved to present the said complaint to the said Court. In the meantime the Pastor desired the Brethren that care might be taken that he might not be destitute of wood.


March 27, 1692, Sabbath, Sacrament day

After the common Auditory was dismissed, & before the Church's communion at the Lords Table, the following testimony against the Error of our sister Mary Sibly, who had given direction to my Indian man in an, unwarrantable way to find out Witches, was read by the Pastor.

It is altogether undenyable that our Great & Blessed God, for wise & holy ends hath suffered many persons, in several families, of this little Village, to be grievously vexed, & tortured in body, & to be deeply tempted, to the endangering of the destruction of their souls; & all these amazing feats (well known to many of us) to be done by Witchcraft, & Diabolical operations. It is also well known that when these calamities, first began, which was in my own family, the affliction was several weeks before such Hellish operations, as Witchcraft was suspected. Nay it never broke forth to any considerable light, untill Diabolical means was used by the making of a Cake by my Indian man, who had his direction from this our sister Mary Sibly : Since wch Apparitions have been plenty, & exceeding much mischief hath followed. But by this means (it seems) the Devil hath been raised amongst us, & his Rage is vehement & terrible, & when he shall be silenc'd the Lord only knows. But now that this our sister should be instrumental to such distress, is a great grief to myself, and our godly Honoured & Reverend neighbours, who have had the knowledge of it. Nevertheless, I do truly hope, & believe, that this our sister doth truly fear the Lord, & am well satisfied from her, that what she did, she did it ignorantly, from what she had heard of this nature from other ignorant, or worse persons. Yet we are in duty bound, to protest against such actions, as being indeed a going to the Devil, for help against Devil, we having no such directions from Nature, or Gods word, it must therefore be, & is, accounted by godly Protestants, who write or speak of such matters as Diabolical, & therefore calls this our sister to deep humiliation for what she has done, & all of us to be watchful against Satans wiles & Devices.

Therefore, as we in duty, as a Church of Christ are deeply bound, to protest against it, as most directly contrary to the Gosple, yet in as much as this our sister did it in ignorance as she professeth, & we believe, we can continue her in our holy Fellowship, upon her serious promise of future better advisedness and caution, & acknowledging that she is indeed sorrowfull for her rashness herein.

Brethren, If this be your mind that this iniquity should be thus born witness against, manifest it by your usual signe of lifting up your hands.

The Brethren voted generally, or universally: None made any exceptions.

Sister Sibly, If you are convinced that you herein did sinfully, & are sorry for it: Let us hear it from your own mouth.

She did manifest to satisfaction her error & grief for it.

Brethren. If herein you have received satisfaction, testify it by lifting up of your hands.

A general vote passed: no exception made.

Note. 25. March. 1691-2 I discoursed said sister in my study about her grand error abovesaid, & also then read to her what I had written as above to read to the Church, & said sister Sibly assented to the same wth tears & sorrowful confessions.

August 14, 1692, Sabbath

Brother Peter Cloyse & Sam : Nurse & his wife & John Tarbell & his wife having absented themselves from Communion, and "very rarely, except Brother Nurse," attending Public Worship, Brother Nathanael Putnam and the two Deacons, with the Pastor, are this day ("after some discourse ") appointed a Committee "to discourse with the said absenters about it."

August 31, 1692

Brother Tarbell proves sick unmeet for discourse, Bror. Cloyse hard to be found at home being often with his wife in Prison at Ipswitch for Witchcraft & Brother Nurse & sometimes his wife attends our publick meeting, & he the Sacrament. 11. Sept. 1692. Upon all which we choose to wait farther.

September 11, 1692, Sabbath

Sister Martha Kory taken into the Church. 27. April. 1690. was after Examination upon suspicion of Witchcraft. 21. March. 1691-2 committed to Prison for that Fact, & was condemned to the Gallows for the same yesterday : And was this day in Publick by a general consent voted to be excommunicated out of the Church; & Lft. Nathanael Putnam, & the 2 Deacons chosen to signify to her, with the Pastor the mind of the Church herein. Accordingly this 14. Septr. 1692. The 3. aforcsd Brethren went with the Pastor to her in Salem Prison, whom we found very obdurate justifying her self, & condemning all that had done any thing to her just discovery, or condemnation. Whereupon after a little discourse (for her imperiousness would not suffer much) & after Prayer, (which she was willing to decline) the dreadful sentence of Excommunication was pronounced against her.

December 26, 1692

"Several" of the inhabitants having "for several years past" contributed nothing towards the maintenance of the Ministry, and others "as little as they pleased;" and those who had "been chosen to the service of making Rates " having "refused to make any, though urged" so to do by the Church, "insomuch that the first of January next one year & half is passed, & no Rate made, besides the former Rates in great part uncollected"; the fences of the Ministry-land having been neglected ; and the Meeting-house suffered to remain "for a great while" without repairs, "so that by reason of broken windows stopt up some of them by Boards, or otherwise, & others wide open, it is somtimes so cold that makes it uncomfortable, & somtimes so dark that it is almost unuseful;" all these evils, together with the great disaffection of "a few, who in this hour of sore tribulation & temptation have drawn away others, wo heretofore could not by any means joyn with them, by reason whereof we have no meeting to releive our Minister," being taken into consideration at a Church meeting held this day, it was " unanimously voted" that a petition "be presented by Lft. Nathanael Putnam, Capt. John Putnam, & Capt. Jonath: Walcot," in the name and behalf of the Church," to the Honoured Court of Quarter Sessions to be held at Salem. 27. Dec' 1692," setting forth its grievances, and praying that "Mr Joseph Porter, Joseph Hutchinson Senr., Joseph Putnam, Daniel Andrews, & Francis Nurse" may be summoned "to appear personally before" their Honrs (or rather with submission before a Committee appointed, & fully empowered to settle all differences by your Honours, which we conceive most suitable to this tedious affair) & to give in their Reason, if they have any, why the last year which expired the 1st July last was suffered to elapse, & their Committee-ship to dye totally without making any Rate, in such manifest contempt of that Law entituled an Act for collecting the Arrears of Town & County Rates passed at the Session. 8. June. 1692

Note. The Petition abovesd was granted & the honoured Court of Quarter Sessions adjourned to this Village to sit. 17. Jan: next ensuing to hear & determine the matter.


January 12, 1693

Lft Nath: Putnam, Capt. John Putnam, the two Deacons, Capt. Jonath: Walcot, & Ensigne Tho: Flint chosen as principal Agents in behalf of the Church to negotiate in the affairs respecting the abovesd Petition before the honoured Court adjourned as aforsd

January 15, 1693, Sabbath

Voted, that hereafter our Sacraments shall be the first Lords day in each month, partly for better Remembrance of such as may not always be warned of it, & partly & more especially for the more easy of getting of Bread which then at Salem is provided on purpose for sundry other Churches, & we are to begin the 1st March next if God please.

At a generall Sessions of the Peace holden at Salem for the County of Essex by adjournment.

January 17, 1693

Essex ss. -- "In answere to the Petition of the Church at Salem Village relating to the Ministry: This Court having fully examined ye case & heard the pleas & alligations of the parties concerned do find yt ye Committee for the year 1691 hath wholly neglected their duty, in not raising their Ministers maintainance for that year, which was settled upon him by the Inhabitants of said Village, & the Committee for this present year 1692 have also neglected their duty relating thereunto, & also to this Court utterly refused to attend their duty in that respect, & severall of the principall Inhabitants having prayed this Court to appoint a meeting requiring the Inhabitants to make choice of a Committee that will attend that service, alledging that otherwise they cannot lawfully be convened together.

This Court therefore do order that Constable John Putnam of Salem, do Warn & give notice unto the Inhabitants of said Village that they convene together at the usual place of meeting on Wednesday next being the .25. of this instant Janry at ten of the clock in the morning to make choice of a Committee according to the power given them by the generall Court at their first Settlement. Attest Stephen Sewall Cler."

January 25, 1693

Att a meeting of the inhabitants by order of the Court aboves'd, Jos. & Pope, Jos. Holten, jun'r, John Tarbell, Thomas Preston, and James Smith, were chosen Committee-men.

February 5, 1693, Sabbath

The Pastor and two Deacons and Bror Nathaniel Putnam and Bror John Putnam, senr, and Bror Bray Wilkins, chosen by a general vote of the Brotherhood to discourse with Bror Tho. Wilkins, Bror Sam. Nurse, and Bror John Tarbell, about their withdrawing of late from the Lord's Table and publick worship of God amongst us.

Divers of the Brethren of the Church at Salem Village, being grievously offended by reason of the (in their estimation) "unwarrantable actings " of their Pastor, Mr. Parris, in the matter of Witchcraft, do therefore habitually absent themselves from Public Worship, and from "Communion at the Lord's Table," notwithstanding the endeavors of the Pastor and Church to enforce their attendance thereupon. The grounds of their dissatisfaction are these: 1. "The distracting and disturbing tumults and noises made by the persons under Diabolical power and delusions, preventing, sometimes, their hearing and understanding and profiting by the word preached." 2. "Their apprehensions of danger of themselves being accused as the Devil's instruments to molest and afflict the persons complaining; they seeing those whom they had reason to esteem better than themselves thus accused, blemished, and of their lives bereaved."

3. "The declared and published principles of their Pastor, and his frequent and positive preaching of the same, with respect to the dark and dismal mysteries of iniquity working amongst them, and their molestation from the invisible world; his easy and strong faith and belief of the affirmations and accusations made by those they call the afflicted; his approving and practising unwarrantable methods for discovering what he was desirous to know referring to the bewitched or possessed persons, as in bringing some to others, and by and from them pretending to inform himself and others who were the Devil's instruments to afflict the sick and pained ; and his not rendering to the world a fair if true account of what he wrote on examination of the afflicted." 4. "His unsafe and unaccountable oath given by him against sundry of the accused; and his zeal in seeking out the suspected, insomuch that one of the disaffected brethren (John Tarbell by name) tells him to his face that he has been "the great persecutor, and that had it not been for him his; mother Nurse might have been still living, and so freed from execution." 5. "His persisting in these principles and justifying his practices, though others, wise and learned, who were as forward as himself, are sorry for what they have done, and see their error" therein.

The disaffected brethren, having first taken "the advice of some neighboring Elders," two of them repair to the house of their Pastor on the 27th of March, 1693, accompanied by one "William Osburne, of Salem," and two others, as "witnesses," and give him a paper, wherein is expressed their desire for "a Council of Elders, mutually chosen, to hear ill grievances between their Pastor and selves, and to determine where the blameable cause is," purporting to be in the name of "all the Plantation, or a great many of them at least," but without either signature or date. The which paper, when Mr. Parris had read, he puts into his pocket, and replies that he will "consider of it."

But sundry conferences being had, and still no signs of reconcilement, the breach rather growing wider, the brethren refusing to be dealt withal in a Church way, but preferring a petition to his excellency, the Governor and the General Court, and sending letters to divers remote Churches, complaining of their "Church and minister as unpeaceable with their neighbors;" at the last, "Mr. Willard, in the name of the Elders at Boston:" writes to the Rev. Messrs. Higginson, Noyes, and Hale, desiring to persuade the Church at Salem Village to join with the complainants in calling a Council of neighboring Churches, not excepting against any on either side; -- whereupon these Rev. Gentlemen addressed letters to Rev. Mr. Parris and his Church, in the month of October, (?) 1693, signifying to them the advice of the Elders ; the which not being followed, by reason of the non-agreement of the contending parties, and the unhappy differences being protracted through the winter and spring, the disaffected brethren and neighbors again apply to the neighboring ministers, desiring them to meet together, and try if they can give any, direction for the healing of the sad dissensions in their midst. Accordingly,


June 14, 1694

[T]he ministers meet at Salem, "and having heard the particulars which the dissatisfied brethren and neighbors have drawn up as matters they would present to a Council, and considering the sad effects likely to follow on the continuance of this fire of contention," (said brethren "signifying their averseness to apply themselves to the Church for an accommodation,") they * write to the Church at Salem Village, suggesting "to the Rev. and beloved Pastor and brethren" thereof, "that they join with their dissatisfied brethren and neighbors in calling of a Council of six Churches, indifferently chosen by the consent "of both parties," mutually agreed on, provided "both parties" consent that the said Council be acknowledged to hear and determine upon all matters in difference, proper for an Ecclesiastical Council, which they shall fairly represent to each other, in writing, before the Council be called," and that they "agree how the charges of, aid Council shall be borne before" it "be called." This advice having been communicated by Mr. Parris to the Church, is debated upon at two several meetings thereof; but "nothing" being " concluded upon, (most, if not all of the brethren present being rather farther off from approbation of said advice than before,) the 5th of July next "is appointed as a day whereon, " by solmen fasting and prayer," to seek "unto God for his guidance" in the determination of these great diffculties.

July 5, 1694

At the Church Fast, (the text being on Ps. 5 : 8, last part,) where were 20 brethren present, in the evening, it is voted (after as much reasoning too and fro as time would allow) that the seven ministers' advice, dated June 14 last, shall be read publickly before all the congregation the next Lord's day, and then that the thirteenth instant July be published as a day


The letter is signed as follows -- "John Higginson, James Allen, John Hale, Sam. Willard, Sam. Cheever, Nich. Noyes, consents to this advice with this proviso, that he be not chosen one of ye Council, Joe. Gerrish."


wherein, at two o'clock in the afternoon, the Church will meet at the meeting-house, openly to hear all dissatisfactions that may be brought by any of the inhabitants of Salem Village, in order, to a Council, according to said advice.


February 12, 1695

Being unable to come to any agreement at the meeting upon the 13th of July last, or at any time after, matters remain as they were, (notwithstanding that five* of the ministers who met at Salem in June last, write to them a second time, upon the 10th of September, urging them to "have a Council before winter, ‘because,’ say they, ‘we fear that longer delays will be of dangerous consequence to you in divers respects,’") until this day, when, at a Church meeting, after much discourse, a Council is at lengthy determined upon, and letters are addressed to the Churches in North Boston, Rowley, Malden, and Weymouth, requesting their Elders and messengers to meet in Council, at the house of Mr. Parris, on "the 19th day of the next month." But in accordance with the advice of "the Rev. Elders in the Bay," (reported to the Church by its messengers upon the 1st day of March.) "that they should add to the four Churches already sent unto, the other two Churches in Boston, viz.: the Old Church and the Third Church, and also that the said Council be deferred till the first Wednesday in April next," letters and a messenger are shortly dispatched to said Churches, and the time is deferred as desired.

April 3, 1695

The Council meets at Salem Village. "Five of the six Churches sent their Elders and messengers, (the Church of Malden only being absent. by reason of the sickness of the wife of the Rev. Elder thereof,) who, after an examination of the matters in difference, unanimously declare and advise as followeth

I. Wee judge, That albeit in ye Late and ye Dark Time of ye confusions, wherein Satan had obtained a more than ordinary liberty to be sifting of this Plantation, there were sundry unwarrantable and uncomfortable steps taken by Mr. Samuel Parris, ye Pastor of ye Church in Salem Village, then under ye hurrying Distractions of amazing Afflictions, yet the said Mr. Parris, by ye Good Hand of God brought unto a better sense of things, hath so fully expressed it,* that a Christian charitie may and should receive satisfaction therewith.

II. Inasmuch as diverse Christian Brethren, in the Church of Salem Village, have been offended at Mr. Parris for his conduct in the time of ye difficulties and calamities which have distressed them, wee now advise them charitably to accept the satisfaction which he hath tendered. in his Christian acknowledgements of the errors therein committed.* Yea, to endeavour as far as 't is possible, ye fullest reconciliation of their minds unto communion wth him, in ye whole exercise of his ministry, and with the rest of the Church.

III. Considering ye extreme trials and troubles which the dissatisfied brethren in ye Church of Salem Village have undergone, in the day of sore temptation whch hath been upon them, wee cannot but advise ye Church


  • ".John Higginson, James Allen, Sam'l Willard, Sam'll Cheever, Joseph Gerrish."

  • In his " Meditations for Peace," read before " the whole Congregation," on Sabbath day, Nov. 18, 1694, and again before the Church and dissenting brethren, Nov. 26th. In this paper the Pastor expresses his regrets for any errors of which he may have been guily. -- "And by all," says he, "I do humbly own this day before the Lord and his people, yt God has been righteously spitting in my face. (Numb. 12: 14.)"


to treat them wth bowels of much compassion : instead of all more critical or rigorous proceedings against them for the infirmities discovered by them in such an heart-breaking day. And, if after a patient waiting for it, the said brethren cannot so far overcome ye uneasiness of their spirits, in ye remembrance of ye disasters that have happened, as to sit under his ministry, wee advise ye Church, with all tenderness, to grant them a dismission unto any other Society of the Faithfull, whereunto they may desire to be dismissed.

IV. Mr. Parris having, as we understand, wth much Fidelitie and Integritie Acquitted himself in ye main course of his Ministry, since he hath. been Pastor to ye Church in Salem-Village, about his first call whereunto wee look upon all contestations now to be both unreasonable and unseasonable ; and our Lord having made him a blessing unto the souls of not a few, both old and young in this place, wee Advise that He be accordingly Respected, Honoured and Supported, with all the Regards that are due to a painfull minister of ye Gospele.

V. Having observed that there is in Salem-Village a spirit full of contentions and Animosities, too sadly verrifying ye Blemish whch hath heretofore lain upon them; and yt some complaints brought agst Mr. Parris have been either causeless and groundless, or unduly aggravated ; wee do, in ye Name and Fear of ye Lord, solemnly warn them to consider, whether, if they continue to Devour One Another, it will not be bitterness in ye Latter-End; and Beware lest ye Lord be provoked thereby utterly to deprive them of those wch they should account their precious and pleasant things, and abandon them to all ye Desolations of a People that sin away the Mercies of the Gospele.

VI. If ye Distempers in Salem-Village should be (wch God forbid!) so Incurable, yt Mr. Parris, after all, find yt he cannot, wth any comfort and service, continue in his present station, his Removall from thence will not expose him unto any hard character wth us, nor, we hope, wth ye rest of ye People of God, among whom we live.

All wch Advice we follow wth our Prayers, &c., &c.

Joseph Bridgham, Samuel Chekley,

William Torrey, Joseph Boynton,

Richd Middlecot, John Walley,

Jer. Dummer, Nehemiah Jewet,

Ephraim Hunt, Nathll Williams,

Increase Mather Moderater, Samuel Phillips,

James Allen, Samuel Torrey,

Samuel Willard, Edward Paison,

Cotton Mather.


  • 17 Young Men; 29 Householders; 6 Male, 11 Female -- Communicants; 6 Freeholders; 16 Female non-Members.

  • Increase Mather, Charles Morton, Michael Wigglesworth, Sam. Willard, Jabez Fox, James Sherman, Cotton Mather, Nehemiah Walter, Jonathan Pierpont."


brethren of this sore afflicted Church, advising Mr. Parris's removal from his present station, "and their uniting, as far as they can, in calling another Minister, and forgiving and forgetting all former grievances; " adding that they "have now before them a probability of an opportunity, if he please to accept it, of doing elsewhere that service for which they do, with grief, see the door so far shut up among" his present people.

May 29, 1695

"The day of Election," the Elders being "assembled at Boston, at Mr. Willard's, after dinner, where was present the body of Elders belonging to the Province," there is " brought to them by Deacon Putnam and several other brethren" of the Church at Salem Village, a "paper in answer to "that presented to the Elders at Cambridge, and to their letter in consequence thereof; subscribed by 105 persons,* who say, "We are sensible that the removing of Mr. Parris will not unite us in calling another Minister," nor in "any ways be for the upholding of the Kingdom of, God amongst us ; for we have had three Ministers removed already, and by every removal our differences have been rather aggravated. Therefore, we justly fear that the removing of the fourth may rather prove the ruining of the interest of Christ amongst us, and leave us as sheep without a shepherd. Therefore, we desire that Mr. Parris may continue in his present station." And accordingly we find that "two messengers from Sutfield, looking out for a Minister, and, by the. direction of some Elders in Boston, making application to " Mr. Parris, " who is willing to go with them if 'the brethren please;' the members of the Church " and some other Christian neighbors," at a meeting upon June 3d, "all (not one excepted, save the four known Dissenters) declare their a "erseness to the motion;" whose decision is acquiesced in by the Pastor, and also (at the desire of said Suffield members,") signified to the Rev. Messrs. Increase and Cotton Mather at Boston.


April 20, 1696

At a Church-meeting, upon a motion sent to us from ye Honoured Coll. Gidney of Salem, who is willing to Advocate between ye two Parties in this Village, upon condition that Mr. Parris surcease his Ministeriall station here, (Mr. Parris having signified his "readiness to give a way, if he be but fairly dealt with in payment of all his dues,") Voted, that our Brethren Lft. Nathanael Putnam, Capt. John Putnam, Jonathan Putnam, and Benj. Putnam, together with our Pastor, be fully impowered to discourse, conclude and agree with as many of our Dissenting Brethren and neighbors, who likewise shall be fully impowered by ye rest of their Party in writing under their hands to agree and conclude on their part according to ye Tenor of ye following propositions. all of whom so chosen on both parts are to choose

Arbitrators to determine (if need be) the second proposition, Viz. :

1. That ye Pastors Disbursements on the Ministry, Land and Buildings shall be duly Re-paid by ye Inhabitants each his proportion.

2. That as to said Pastors Arrears for maintainance wee do engage to pay ye whole thereof to him, Or what shall be awarded by Four men, each party choosing Two to hear and determine what thereof shall be paid. And if those Four so chosen agree not among themselves, then ye same Four to choose a Fifth. And what shall be Awarded by any Three of those five so elected, shall be made good and paid by all the Inhabitants, each his proportion, according as he shall be found to have fallen short of paying his part thereof.

  • 24 Female, 29 Male-Householders; 25 Male, 27 Female -- Church-members.

  • "Sergt. David Winchill, and Corp'll Victory Sikes."

3. That all Persons, both of Church and other Inhabitants, shall attend ye Directions of our Law in calling and settling some Able, Pious, and Orthodox Minister in ye place, and procuring him to enter and engage himself therein.

4. That upon ye fair and full performance of all ye abovesd propositions, our Pastor then to attend ye Providence of God in Removing, or to acquit his Ministeriall station amongst us.

An extract of ye abovesd premises was ye same day sent to Col. Gedney, and Benjamin Putnam.

October 11, 1696, Sabbath

The Dissmission of our Brethren and sisters Wm Way and Persis his wife, and Aaron Way wth Mary his wife, together with their children, to ye Church of Christ lately gathered at Dorchester in New England, and now planted in South Carolina, whereof the Reverend Mr Joseph Lord is Pastor, was consented to by a full or universall vote at ye motion and.desire of sd Brethren and sisters: and accordingly Letters dismissive were written, 17th inst.

[This is the last entry in the Ch'h Book in the handwriting of Rev. Mr. Parris. W. T. H.]

1697, sometime in October

A day of public fasting-prayers put up by ye Rev. Mr. Hale and Mr. Noyes; from which time God has smiled on ye people.


November 10, 1698, Thursday - Rev. Joseph Green ordained minister of the Salem Village church

Rev. Joseph Green ordained. "Rev Elders and Messengers of ye Church of Salem, Beverly, Whenham, Redding, and Roxbury, Mr. Hale ordained J. G. a Minister of ye Gospel, a Pastor of this Church, and a preacher to this Congregation, after he had asked ye consent of the Church by a vote, and of ye Elders and messengers, and of the Inhabitants of this Village, and of the whole Congregation which consent was given by silence. And Mr. Noyes gave to me the right hand of fellowship as a minister and fellow-labor - and by me be gave the right hand of fellowship to this Church in-the name of the Messrs of ye Churches.


January 19, 1700

Whereas there are many Persons ye dwell among us and belong to ye Congregation who are not babtized; And we liveing in hopes and expectations ye God will by his word and spirit persuade and incline them, (or some of ym at least) to seek after ye Ordinance of Baptisme.

We do freely consent yt our Pastour should baptize such of them as may seek after it, provided they do in order to Baptisme.

1. Submit to the examination of the Pastour or Elders of this Chh, and upon such examination they be found neither fundamentally ignorant nor erronious.

2. That timely notice being given to the Congregation (of ye desires of such persons to be baptized) there be no sufficient evidences appear to testify ye they are vicious in their lives.

3. That they in publick do consent to the Covent. propounded unto ym by our Pastour in these words (or words to ye like effect) --

You -- A. B.[person's name] do before ye holy Assembly acknowledge ye only Living and true God to be yr God, & do give up yrself to him to love, fear, serve him, and to be happy in the enjoyment of him forever.

You do also acknowledge ye Lord Jesus Christ the Eternal son of God to be your only Saviour and Redeemer; and (under a sense of yr sin and misery & need of him) do give up yrself to him to be saved by him from sin and from the wrath of God.

You do also acknowledge the Eternal Spirit of God to be your only Sanctifyer, and do give up yrself to him to be sanctifyed, comforted, and guided by him to Glory.

You do also submit to the discipline and government of Jesus Christ in ye Chh, and do promise yt you will live in ye use of all means yt so you may be fit to come to all ye ordinances of Christ in his Church.

This was first voted by the Chh.

4. We do also consent yt the children of such persons be baptized provided the parents publickly give ym up to God, and promise yt if God shall spare their lives they will see such their children educated in the nurture and admonition of ye Lord.

This was voted by itself -- and there was none that manifested any dis. Satisfaction -- but all gave their consent to each particular.

Blessed be God for such a peaceful meeting.


June 18, 1701 - A Day of Public Thanksgiving

A day of Publick Thanksgiving. God smiled on ye season, ye work of ye day was carryed by Mr. Noyes (who prayed) & Mr Pierpoint preachd, & concluded. "The reasons for the Thanksgiving were, 1. Yt God has so far discovered ye wiles of ye Devil which might have been more hurtfull and distructive to us, if God had not in judgmt remembred mercy. 2. Yt when ye people were farthest from peace & unity yt God was pleased to hear prayers & unite us, & especially to hearken to those prayers yt were put up here on a day of publick fasting & prayer by Mr. Hale & Mr. Noyes, from wee day God was pleased to succeed all publick endeavours for a peaceable settlemt. 3. & yt God has now for some years continued peace and prosperity to us. 4. that he has been carrying on his work in ye midst of us, &c."

October 19, 1701

The Pastor read a Letter to the Church at Beverly, to desire our assistance in ordaining Mr. Blower -- & three messengers were chosen with ye Elder &c.

October 29, 1701

We assisted in Mr. Blowers ordination, all impediments removed.


December 1702

The Pastor spake to ye Chh. on ye Sab. As followeth Brethren I find in ye Chh book a Recd of Martha Corys being excommunicated for witchcraft. -- Andye Generality of ye land being sensible of ye errors yt prevailed in yt day -- some of her friends have moved me several times to propose to ye Chh whether it be not our duty to recall yt sentence yt so it may not stand agt her to all Generations and I myself being a stranger to her & being ignorant of what was alledg'd ag her -- I shall now only leave it to your consideration, and shall determine the matter by a vote ye next convenient opportunity.


January 13, 1703

We kept a day of fasting and prayer on account of r small pox, &c.

February 14, 1703

The Pastor moved ye Chh to revoke Martha Corys excommunn. -- but sevll dissented and there wast not a full vote for ye revoking it, tho' a maj'y.

1706 =

August 25, 1706

Recd Ann Putnam to full communion.

The confession of Anne Putnam when she was received to communion: 1706.

I desire to be humbled before God for yt sad and humbling providence that befell my fathers family in the year about 92, yt I then being in my childhood should by such a providence of God be made an instrument for yt accuseing of severall persons of a grievous crime wherby their lives were taken away from them, whom now I have just grounds and good reason to believe they were innocent persons, and yt it was a great delusion of Satan yt deceived me in that sad time, whereby I justly fear I have been instrumental with others tho' ignorantly and unwittingly to bring upon myself & this land the guilt of innocent blood Though what was said or done by me against any person I can truly and uprightly say before God & man I did it not out of any anger, malice, or illwill to any person for I had no such thing against one of them; but what I did was ignorantly being deluded by Satan. And particularly as I was a chief instrument of accuseing of Goodwife Nurse and her two sisters I desire to lye in the dust & to be humbled for it in that I was a cause with others of so sad a calamity to them & their familys, for which cause I desire to lye in ye dust & earnestly begg fforgiveness of God & from all those unto whom have given just cause of sorrow & offence, whose relations were taken away or accused.

(Signed) Anne Putnam.

Ye confession was read before ye congregation together with her relation Aug: 25. 1706. & she acknowledged it. -- J. Greene. Past'r.


February 14, 1707(?)

The major part of the brethren consented to ye following &

Whereas this Church passed a vote Sept. 11. 1692 for the excommunication of Martha Cory, and that sentence was pronounced agt her Sept. 14 by Mr. Samll Parris formerly the Pastour of this Church; she being before her excomn condemned & afterwards executed for supposed witchcraft: and there being a record of this in our Chh book page 12. We being moved hereunto do freely consent & heartily desire that the same sentence may be revoked, and that it may stand no longer agt her for we are thro' Gods mercy to us convinced yt we were at that dark day under the Power of those errours which then prevailed in the land ; and we are sensible that we had not sufficient grounds to think her guilty of that crime for which she was condemned & executed; and yt her excom -- was not according to the mind of God; and therefore we desire that this may be entred in our Church book, to take off that odium that is cast on her name and that so God may forgive our sin, & may be atoned for the land, & we humbly pray that God will not leave us any more to such errours and sins, but will teach & enable us always to do that which is right in his sight.

There was a majr part voted -- & 6 or 7 dissented. J. G. Pr.

[I know not by what accident this entry -- 1702-3 -- is thus transposed to the end of the year 1707-but so it stands in the Church Book. W. T. H]


June 5, 1717(?) Wednesday

Rev. Peter Clark ordained. Rev. Elders and Messengers of ye Chhs of Salem, Beverly, Wenham, Topsfield, & Reading convened. Rev. Mr. Gerrish gave ye Charge, ordaining him a minister of ye Gospel, Pastor of the Chh in Sal: Village &c with ye consent of ye Chh & ye Inhabitants-and Rev. Mr. Curwin gave to him ye Right Hand of Fellowship, and to this Chh."


February 13, 1718

This Day was kept as a Day of Solemn Fasting & prayer to God, occasioned by a Sore Visitation, by Sickness & mortality; some of ye neighboring Elders assisted &c.

October 3, 1718

At a Chh meeting before ye Sacramt was read a Letter from ye first Chh in Salem to request ye presence & assistance of yr Pastour & messengers at ye Ordination of ye Revd. Mr. Fisk on ye 8th of Octob: 1718. The two Deacons & Capt. Jonath: Putnam were chosen as messengers by a vote of ye Chh.


April 5, 1719

A Letter from ye Chh newly gathered in Salem was read, wherein was desired ye presence & assistance of yr Pastour & messengers at ye Ordination of ye Revd. Mr. Staunton on ye 8th of April 1719. Same messengers as in last extract chosen.

May 6, 1719

A Contribution being made by this Chh & Congregation on ye Publick Thanksgiving Dec. 11.1718. on ye account of the Brief for ye Propagating & maintaining ye Gospel ministry &c. amounting to ye sum of 5lb was transmitted & put into ye hands of Edward Bromfield Esq. according to ye Directions of s° Brief. By ye Pastor of sd Chh."


April 10, 1720

A Letter from ye neighbouring Society at Lyn-End who had entred upon ye foundation of a Chh State, was read, requesting ye assistance of yr Elder & messengers in yr proceeding to an Ordination on Apr. 13. The two Deacons & Mr. Cheaver were chosen as messengers by a vote of ye Chh.

June 19, 1720

A Letter from ye Chh newly gathered in Reading North Precinct desiring ye assistance of ye Elder & messenger of this Chh in joyning wth those of other neighbouring Chhs in ye Ordination of ya Revd. Mr Danll Putnam, was read, & ye two Deacons & Capt. Putnam were chosen as messengers by a vote of ye Chh."


Nov. 28, 1723

A Letter from ye Chh in Reading North Precinct was read, to desire ye presence & assistance of yr Elder & messengers in Council with ye Rev. Elders & messengers of other Churches, in order to ye composing some matters of difference among yin to be held Dec. 3. 1723. & Deaco Edward Putnam & Mr. Ezekiel Cheaver were chosen as messengers by a vote of ye Chh.


October 29, 1727

Being Lord's Day, at night, between 10 & 11 oclock, yre happened a very Great Earthquake accompanied with a terrible noise & shaking wch was greatly surprizing to ye whole Land ye rumbling noise in ye bowels of ye Earth with some lesser trepidation of ye Earth has been repeated at certain intervals divers weeks after.


[Church Records, between Jan. 7th & Jan. 14th, 1727- 8.]

May 12, 1728

A Letter from ye Chh of Christ belonging to ye East Parish in Salem was read, desiring ye presence & assistance of yr Elder & messengers at ye Ordination of ye Revd Mr. Wm. Jenison, appointed to be on May 22, 1728. The two Deacons & Brother Ezekiel Cheever were chosen as messengers by a vote of ye Chh.

November 24, 1728

A Letter from. ye Chh of Christ to Topsfield was read, desiring ye presence & concurrence of yr Elder and messengers with those of other Chhs, in ye Ordination of ye Revd. John Emerson Nov: 27. 1728. The two Deacons & Capt. Jona Putnam were chosen as messengers on yt occasion.


November 16, 1729

A Letter read from y`eChh of Christ in Middleton, requesting ye presence & assistance of yr Elder & messengers to joyn with those of other Chhs in ye Ordination of ye Revd Mr Andrew Peters Nov: 26, 1729. The two Deacons & Mr. Ezekiel Cheevers were chosen as messengers on yt occasion by a vote of yt Chh. At yt same time were propounded yt Desires of several of ye brethren & sisters of ye Chh to be dtsmist to ye Chh of Christ in Middleton, whose names are as follows, Viz. Males. Henry Wilkins, Danll Kenny, Jona. Fuller, Joseph Fuller, Isaac Wilkins, Ezra Prutnam, Edward Putnam, Benja. Wilkins. Of ye Females. Sarah Fuller, Mary Fuller, Sarah Putnam, Elie. Putnam, Mary Wilkins, Mary Kenny, Susanna Fuller, Elie. Nichols, Mary Wilkins, Hannah Carril, Margery Wilkins, Eunice Lambert, Eliza. Eliot, Penelope Wilkins, Susanna Fuller, Susanna Hobbs. In complyance with whose desires. Letters of Dismission were granted ym with consent of ye brethren.


Aug. 15, 1731

A Letter was read from ye Second Chh in Lynn, requesting ye presence of ye Pastour & Delegates to joyn with other Elders & Delegates in Council upon ye affair of ye dismission of yr Pastor Mr Natll. Sparhawk. The two Deacns & Joseph Hutchinson were chosen as Delegates. To meet Thursday, Aug: 19, 1731.


Dec. 31, 1732

A Letter from ye Chh of Christ in Wenham was read, desiring ye presence & assistance of yr Elder & messengers in orders to ye Ordinations of ye Revd Mr John Warren, Jan: 10. 1732-3. The two Deacns. Edward & Nathll Putnam & Brother Joseph Hutchinson were chosen as messengers by a vote of ye Chh.


Dec. 5, 1736

A Letter read from those Brethren of ye Chh of ye First Parish in Salem meeting in ye ancient place of publick worship, requesting ye presence & assistance of this Chh by yr Elder & messengers with yr Elders & messengers of other Chhs, in ye Ordination of Mr. John Sparhawk to ye Pastoral Office, on Decembr 8th, & also a Letter from ye Revd. Mr. Samll Fisk & his adherents of ye First Chh in Salem objecting agt our proceeding in that affair.

Dec. 6, 1736

A concurrence with the request of the first letter above mentioned was voted by a considerable majority of ye Brethren present; and ye two Deacons present & Capt Jona Putnam & Brother John Putnam were chosen as messengers of ye Chh on yt occasion.


May 8, 1737

A Letter read from y' Brethren of y' Fourth Chh in Salem requesting y' presence & assistance of this Chh by yr Elder & messengers, with y' Elders & messengers of other Chhs, in y• Ordination of Mr James Diman to y' Pastoral office over ym on May 11th, 1737. Accordingly the Brethren consented, & y' Deacons & Capt. Jon`. Putnam were chosen messengers on yt occasion."


January 1, 1738

A Letter from ye brethren of ye Chh in Marble Head lately under ye Pastoral care of ye Revd Mr Edwd Holyoke was read, desiring ye presence & assistance of this Chh by yr Elder & messengers, with ye Elders & messengers of other Chhs, in ye Ordination of Mr Simon Broadstreet Junr to ye Pastoral Office over them; on Jan. 4. 1737-8, in compliance with we request Deacn Whipple, Capt Jona Putnam, and Capt Thos Flint were chosen messengers by y' vote of ye Chh.


September 5, 1746

At a Chh meeting appointed on ye Lecture ye Day before, on ye occasion of several persons in this Parish being reported to have resorted to a woman of a very ill reputation pretending to ye art of Divination & fortunetelling &c to make enquiry into yt matter, & to take such resolutions as may be thot proper on yt occasion. The Brethren of ye Chh then present came into ye following Votes. Viz.

1. That for Christians, especiallv Chh members, to seek to & consult reputed Witches or fortune tellers this Chh is clearly of opinion & firmly beleives, on ye testimony of ye Word of God, is highly impious & scandalous, being a violation of ye Christian Covt sealed in Baptism, rendring ye persons guilty of it subject to ye just censure of ye Chh.

No proof appearing against any of ye members of ye Chh (some of whom had been strongly suspected of this crime) so as to convict them of their being guilty, it was further Voted

2. That ye Pastor in ye name of ye Chh should publickly testify their disapprobation & abhorrence of this infamous & ungodly practice of consulting Witches or Fortunetellers or any yt are reputed such; exhorting all under their watch who may have been guilty of it to an hearty repentance & returning to God, earnestly seeking forgiveness in ye blood of Christ, and warning all against ye like practice for ye time to come.

Sept. 7. 11, 1746

This Testimony, Exhortation, & Warning, Voted by ye Chh, was publickly given by ye Pastor, before ye Dismission of ye Congregation.

Sept. 14, 1746

A Letter was read from a number of y- Brethren of ye First Church in Woburn, requesting ye presence & assistance of ye Elder & Messengers of this Church to joyn in an Ecclesiastical Council. Capt Thos Flint & Deacn Cornelius Tarbell were chosen as Delegates.


May 19, 1747

At a Chh meeting to consider ye petition of Capt John Gardner & Eliza his wife to be dismissed to ye Chh in Salem under Mr Leavits Ministry, and to come to some conclusion upon it

Proposed to be Voted

Considering that Church in Salem where Mr Leavit officiates lies under scandalous imputations & at least a suspicious character for having broken in upon ye Rules of ye Gospel & ye Order of these Churches in their late proceedings in ye settlemt of that Society, Whether this Church apprehend [it] consistent with their care of their members, and with their faithfulness to ye Order of ye Gospel in these Churches, to dismiss any of their members to ye Communion of that Society, till they have clear'd up a good understanding with their sister Churches?

Voted in ye negative, nemine contradicente.


March 11, 1750

A Contribution made for. David Woodwell of Hopkinton, towards paymt of the Ransom of his Daughter out of Captivity. Gather'd about

13lb. 8s.

March 18 (year?)

A Letter read from ye Chh of Christ in Lynn End, requesting ye presence & assistance of yr Elder with a Delegate in Council, on ye affair of ye Dismission of yr Pastor ye Revd Mr Chase from his Pastoral Office; Capt Thos Flint was chosen as ye Churches Delegate.


May 18, 1753, N. S.

Letters missive read from the Chh of Chris in Wells desiring ye presence & assistance of yr Elder & Delegate, with other desiring is ye Ordinan of Mr Samll Feyrweather on ye 23d.

May 20, 1753

"Capt. Thos Flint was nominated & chosen for ye Chh's Delegate."

[Last Page of Church Record Book]

Persons Departed by Death in Salem Village


Nov. 30. Nathaniel Sheldon son to WO Sheldon, well on Monday, sick Tuesday distracted on Thursday & so continued till Friday it dyed, 10 years old.
Dec. 20. Samuel Wilkins a very naughty man & died very hopefully, 52 years old.
Jan. 1. "Samuel Fuller at meeting the Sabbath well before day Tuesday was speechless & dyed this day, 1/2 an hour before I came" 27 years old.


Mar. 11. Tabitha (daughter to James) Smith well & dead in 4 days" 3
Apr. 11. Job Switherton 88
Apr. 17. John Byshop kill'd with the Indians" 18
Sept. Nicholas Reed Edw: Putnams man killd wth ye Indians 18


July Godfrey (killed) Sheldon kill'd by the Indians 24
"Tho: Alsot kill'd at Casko"
"Ed w° Crocker kill'd at Casko"
"George Bogwell kill'd at Casko"
Sept. 19. "Jacob Phillips of the Small Pox"


Dec. 2. Wm Sheldon cut his knee then hurt by a fall above 2 weeks 80


May 16. Dan: Wilkins Bewitched to death 17
May 29. daughter to Ann Douglas by Witchcraft I doubt not


May 30. John Andrews of a Consumption at Cambridge
June "William Tarbell souldier at the Eastward" 21


Oct. 11. " Eliz: wife to Timothy Allen of Groton" 70 odd
Oct. 27. Ruth daughter to Job Swinnerton, & buryed the 28 instant being the Lords day, & ye corpse carryed by ye meeting-house door in time of singing before meeting afternoon & more at ye Funerall than at ye Sermon 28


Feb. 3. Jacob only son to Jacob Fuller well yesterday & dead this day" 11 three year old 5 March next 3
Nov. 22. Francis Nurse 77


Jan. 31. wife to John Martin not sick a fortnight"


June Thomas Fuller Senr 80


Apr. 7. Sab. Job Swinnerton 70
May 19. Sab. Sarah wife of Joshua Rae, Sr, 70
July 23. Nathaniel Putnam Senr about 79 or 80" 80


Jan. 1. Bray Wilkins-1702 aged 92
Jan. 2. William Buckley aged 80


Dec. 3. Daniel Andrew Senr Dyed of ye Small pox 59


Jan. 6. Thomas Andrew ye 2d son of Danll Andrew dyed of ye Small pox 24
Jan. 12. Samll Andrew ye 3d son of Dan" Andrew dyed of ye Sin. pox" 19