More About First Church of Salem Meetinghouse, Site of
Also questioned on April 11 was Sarah Cloyce, whose sisters Rebecca Nurse and Mary Easty were also accused of witchcraft. Cloyce was held for trial. Of the three sisters, only Cloyce would escape execution. Nurse was hanged on July 19 and Easty was hanged on September 22.
On June 2, Bridget Bishop was escorted from the Salem jail to the courthouse; this marked the first formal witchcraft trial. On this same day preliminary testimony was being gathered in several cases, and the intimate searching for “witch marks” on the bodies of Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Good, Elizabeth Proctor, Susannah Martin, and Ann Parker was underway in the Salem jail. As Bishop passed the meetinghouse, it is said, she glanced at the building at the same moment something crashed inside. A board was later found, torn from its usual place and lying some distance away. Many whispered this was confirmation of Bishop’s witchcraft, failing to note the building’s disheveled state and significant need of repair. The jury found Bishop guilty by day’s end and she was hanged on June 10.
The meetinghouse of the First Church was also where Reverend Nicholas Noyes oversaw the excommunication of Rebecca Nurse. On July 3, Nurse was taken to the meetinghouse and publicly excommunicated in front of the elders of the church, “by unanimous vote.” During his torture, Giles Corey was also excommunicated here, as he was “either guilty of witchcraft or suicide.”
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