More About First Burial Ground

This fascinating cemetery, aka the Old Burial Ground, or, since 1708, the North Parish Burial Ground, has a number of graves related to the witchcraft hysteria of 1692.  Among them are:


Reverend Thomas Barnard (1657-1718), who was the junior minister in Andover in 1692. His son, Reverend John Barnard (1690-1757), succeeded Thomas as minister of the North Parish and is also buried here. See for more information.


William Barker Sr., who was 47 years old when he was accused of witchcraft, and his son, William Barker Jr., who was 14 years old when he was accused of witchcraft, confessed to signing the Devil’s book in exchange for a more comfortable material life. William Sr. escaped from jail and fled before his trial. William Jr. was released on bail in October and acquitted in May of 1693. Both Barkers lived the rest of their lives in Andover – William Sr. until 1718 and William Jr. until 1745.


Captain Timothy Johnson (1679-1771). His 40-year-old widowed mother, Rebecca (born Alsbee, Aslebee, or Aslett) Johnson and his 17-year-old sister, Rebecca Johnson Jr. were accused of afflicting Martha Sprague, Rose Foster, and Abigail Martin in 1692. The two women confessed to witchcraft but both eventually had their charges dismissed. Rebecca Sr. confessed to using folk magic to ascertain if her brother-in-law was dead or alive after he was taken captive by natives and claimed she was given the folk magic method by Reverend Thomas Barnard. According to Marilynne Roach in The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-By-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege, “Even before her case had reached the Grand Jury [in 1693] Rebecca Johnson [released on bail in December] resumed her old job of cleaning the Andover meeting house, a position that she would keep for years to come.” Rebecca Sr. died by 1728, in Andover. Rebecca Jr., also released on bail in December, married Joseph Ballard Jr., son of Joseph and Elizabeth Ballard. Rebecca Jr. died in Andover, in 1740.


Also buried here is Captain Christopher Osgood (1643-1723), whose daughter Mary (Osgood) Marston was accused of afflicting Martha Sprague, Rose Foster, and Abigail Martin. Captain Osgood’s first wife and Mary’s mother, Hannah (Belknap), died in 1679. When Mary confessed, she claimed to have been a witch since “about the time when her mother died and she was overcome with melancholy.” Martha Carrier, the first to be arrested in Andover, was accused of murdering Hannah Osgood. Mary Marston was released on bail in December and found not guilty in January, 1693. In 1711, Christopher Osgood’s son Ezekiel married Rebecca Wardwell, daughter of Sarah and Samuel Wardwell, the former accused of witchcraft and the latter executed for it. When Rebecca was a baby, her mother confessed to squeezing her in an image-magic effort to cause harm to Martha Sprague.


Twenty-nine-year-old Timothy Swan was at the center of Andover’s afflicted accusers in 1692. Suffering from an unknown illness at the time, Swan was said to be tormented by more than a dozen people from the area. Several people confessing to witchcraft agreed that they did, indeed, afflict Swan. This may have been brought about by animosity toward him: in 1685, Swan was accused of raping his neighbor Elizabeth Emerson and fathering her child. Among those confessing to or accused of harming Swan were Martha Carrier’s son Richard, elderly widow Ann Foster and her granddaughter Mary Lacy Jr., Martha Carrier’s sister Mary Toothaker, and several women residing in Haverhill (where Swan was born). Swan died of his illness, still undiagnosed, on February 2, 1693.


Moses Tyler (circa 1642-1727) was the stepfather of Martha Sprague, at sixteen years old the most prolific accuser during the Andover witch hunt. In 1691, Martha’s widowed mother, Sara Sprague, married Tyler and moved with her family to his home in Boxford, near the Andover border. Sara’s seven children, of whom Martha was the oldest, joined a household with eight Tyler sons. Next to the gravestone of Moses Tyler is a memorial to his father, one of the earliest settlers of Andover, Job Tyler.


Located on Academy Road at Court Street.