Bassett Family Association Database

John Proctor

Male - 1692

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  • Name John Proctor 
    Gender Male 
    _UID AFA6A2248941BF408DCD1FD194DAF39A2977 
    Died 19 Aug 1692  Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Cause: Hanged 
    • John Proctor was from Danvers and was a widower with several children.

      Mary Warren, one of the silly, hysterical girls responsible for the witch trouble at Salem Village, was a servant in the household of John and Elizabeth Proctor, and it was she who accused her mistress of being a witch. When Elizabeth was arrested her husband staunchly defended her, and said publicly that the foolish girls should be sent to the whipping post. Shortly thereafter he was denounced as a wizard. There were so-called trials, and both were condemned to death, along with a number of others. John Proctor was hanged on 19 Aug 1692, but Elizabeth was given a reprieve "on account of her peculair circumstances", or, until her child could be born. By that time the terrible trials had been stopped, although one of the judges stubbornly insisted that all those condemned should be executed. Nineteen men and women had been hanged and one man pressed to death with rocks. Governor Phipps refused to sign the order for further executions, so Elizabeth Proctor and others were eventually released. Her child was born in prison on 27 Jan 1693. The records have been preserved in the Essex County Archives, with the complete account of the trials, the petitions signed by citizens of Ipswich to protest John Proctor's condemnation, and his own letter of appeal.
      Their tragic story can be found in "The Devil in Massachusetts" by Marion Starkey, 1949, a fine, authentic account of the Salem witch trials. Shirley Jackson's "Witchcraft in Salem Village" is similar, but written for younger readers. John and Elizabeth Proctor are the central characters of Arthur Miller's play, "The Crucible", but the author admits it is not historically accurate as far as individuals are concerned, and that liberties were taken in fusing various characters. According to records, John Proctor was quite unlike the man portrayed in the play.
      When Elizabeth (Bassett) Proctor was set free she, her children and stepchildren were impoverished, for she had lost everything. Her home had been looted and most possessions taken even before John Proctor's death. Because she had been condemned to death she was considered legally dead, and therefore could make no claim for her husband's property. Restitution was made to many of those accused of witchcraft, but Elizabeth received nothing until the General Court paid her 150 pounds in 1703. She must have gone back to Lynn to live after her release, possibly to the home of her parents, for there is a record of intention to wed declared 22 Sep 1699 for Elizabeth Proctor and Daniel Richards. In her father's will she is called Elizabeth Bassett, alias Richards.
    Person ID I26  4B William Bassett of Lynn, Massachusetts
    Last Modified 15 Jun 2012 

    Family Elizabeth Bassett,   b. 1650, Lynn, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married 1 Apr 1674 
     1. William Proctor,   b. 6 Feb 1675
     2. Sarah Proctor,   b. 28 Jan 1676
     3. Samuel Proctor,   b. 11 Jan 1685/1686
     4. Elisha Proctor,   b. 28 Apr 1687,   d. 11 Nov 1688  (Age 1 years)
     5. Abigail Proctor,   b. 27 Jan 1689
     6. John Proctor,   b. 27 Jan 1693,   d. 1774, Danvers Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years)
    Family ID F12  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart