More About Nicholas Noyes Sr. Homestead, Site of

The trio was among the 40 colonists who arrived in Newbury in 1635, having sailed from England the previous year.  Nicholas married Mary Cutting circa 1640, and the couple had thirteen children over the next twenty-five years. Nicholas Jr., born in 1647, was their fourth child.


Nicholas Noyes Jr. was the only sibling never to marry. He was educated at Harvard College, ministered in Haddam, CT for thirteen years, and then was ordained as the assistant minister to Salem, MA’s Rev. John Higginson in 1683. Noyes worked by Higginson’s side until the elder minister’s death in 1708.


While respected and admired by his lifelong friends, among whom was Judge Samuel Sewall, also born in Newbury, Rev. Noyes is most remembered, and not kindly, for his involvement in the Salem witch trials. He took part from the start, from 1689 when Rev. Samuel Parris was ordained in Salem Village, to the winter of 1692, when trouble first broke out in Parris’s parsonage, to the accusations, examinations, trials, and executions. Noyes presided over the excommunication of his parishioners Rebecca Nurse and Giles Corey. He testified against some of the accused. The convicted Sarah Good hurled a memorable insult at him – “You are a liar. If you take away my life, God will give you blood to drink.” When Noyes died in 1717, reportedly from a hemorrhage that caused bleeding at the mouth, some believed Good’s long-ago curse had come true. Noyes is also remembered for his unforgettable comment at the last hanging on September 22 – “What a sad thing it is to see eight firebrands of hell hanging there.”


After Rev. Higginson’s death in 1708, Rev. Noyes became the senior minister of Salem. At Noyes’s home in 1712, Rebecca Nurse’s excommunication was reversed, at the urging of her son Samuel. For the remainder of his life, Noyes continued to serve Salem, and was greatly admired for his erudition, amiability, and his “learned and pious performances in the pulpit.” It is likely he was buried in the Bradstreet tomb in Salem’s Burying Point cemetery. The tomb was sold in 1789 to a member of the Hathorne/Ingersoll family, who reportedly discarded the remains (including those of former Governor Simon Bradstreet, Rev. John Higginson, and Rev. Noyes) into a nearby, and unmarked, hole.


The exact location of the Nicholas Noyes Sr. homestead is unclear. Rev. Thomas Parker and Rev. James Noyes lived together on the west side of what is known today as the Upper Green. It may be that Nicholas Noyes Sr. raised his family on the east side of the green, perhaps in the neighborhood of Rolfe’s Lane and High Road. Research continues.