More About Balch House

The Balch House is not only the oldest house standing in Beverly, but the oldest part of it is among the oldest standing structures in Massachusetts. John Balch, who lived on this property by 1638, was one of the first five original “Old Planters” who settled the area, coming to Salem with Roger Conant from Gloucester in 1626.


Two years before the witchcraft hysteria arrived in Essex County, David Balch, grandson of the patriarch John Balch, was ill and bedridden in this house. He died at the age of 18 in 1690. During the witchcraft trials of 1692, Mary Gage (alternate spelling Gadge) testified that she had witnessed David’s illness, and had heard him claim to be tormented by witches at the foot of his bed. He identified these tormentors as Sarah Wildes, Dorcas Hoar, and an un-named witch from Marblehead, most likely Wilmott Redd. His claims were a portent of what was to come in 1692.


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