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Class Year

2015

Abstract

The Salem witch trials have fascinated historians since the eighteenth century, but as Mary Beth Norton aptly states there is still “much of the complicated Salem story [that] remains untold.” Previous scholarship has failed tell fully the story of the trials’ aftermath. In this paper, I follow the story of a group of witch trial victims and their families to illuminate the religious and political tensions after the trials ended in 1693. I argue that reconciliation came only after the resignation of the Reverend Samuel Parris and the out-migration of the disaffected families to a new community. I discuss the emigration of the Nurse, Cloyse, and Bridges families to Framingham in light of conflict over the extension of church membership through the Halfway Covenant during the Reverend Thomas Green’s tenure in Salem Village. Green’s efforts to heal the parish were met with limited success because of the persistent factionalism in the community. After 1692, the religious and political conflicts in Salem Village provided the impetus for community formation and expansion in the new town of Framingham.

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