Rebecca Towne Nurse hanged as a witch on July 19, 1692
324 years ago a 71-year-old frail, nearly deaf, ‘God fearing’ Christian woman was hanged as a witch on Gallows Hill. Taken from her home, reportedly from her sickbed, she was imprisoned and repeatedly questioned by the local authorities from March through July. She was found guilty based on the testimony of a few deluded children and adults, despite a long list of character witnesses who spoke in her defense. Below is the transcript of her first “examination”.
Retrieved from http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/texts/tei/swp?div_id=n94
The examination of Rebekah Nurse at Salem Village 24. mar. 1691/2
Mr. Harthorn. What do you say (speaking to one afflicted) have you seen this Woman hurt you?
Yes, she beat me this morning
Abigial . Have you been hurt by this Woman?
Ann Putman in a grievous fit cryed out that she hurt her.
Goody Nurse , here are two An: Putman the child & Abigail Williams complains of your hurting them What do you say to it
N [Rebecca Nurse]. I can say before my Eternal father I am innocent, & God will clear my innocency
Here is never a one in the Assembly but desires it, but if you be guilty Pray God discover you.
Then Hen: Kenny rose up to speak
Goodm: Kenny what do you say
Then he entered his complaint & farther said that since this Nurse came into the house he was seizd twise with an amaz’d condition
Here are not only these but, here is the wife of Mr Tho: Putman who accuseth you by credible information & that both of tempting her to iniquity, & of greatly hurting her.
- I am innocent & clear & have not been able to get out of doors these 8. or 9. dayes.
Mr Putman: give in what you have to say
Then Mr Edward Putman gave in his relate
Is this true Goody Nurse
I never afflicted no child never in my life
You see these accuse you, is it true
Are you an innocent person relating to this Witchcraft.