Visit Salem Witch Trials Sites:
Itinerary: Part A, Danvers
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We only had a day in July 2014 to visit Salem Witch Trials sites in Massachusetts, exploring the Witch Hysteria, Victims, & Executions of 1692. We squeezed as much into the day as time, closing hours, & 4 kids would allow! Salem (& Danvers) are rich in diverse history, but in our 1 day, we focused on the Witch Trials alone. As mentioned in my Salem Witch Trials Mini History Refresher, it’s important to start your day in Danvers, the original ‘Salem village’- the beginning & site of much of the Witch Trial events, before it split, later, with the current Salem (town). Many, if not most, of Salem’s visitors are unaware of Danvers & that Salem was part of two. They don’t realize its significance to the Salem Witch Trials and they don’t know to visit. But, it includes 2 of the Top 5 Salem Witch Trial Sites to Visit and if you don’t include this Must See Gem in your Salem trip to explore the Witch Trials, your visit will be sorely incomplete.
We had 7 stops in Danvers, a town not 25 miles NE of Boston, just a 45 minute drive- but check an app for traffic times, they vary greatly in Boston depending on time of day, potentially adding nearly an hour- but well worth it! There is also a ferry & commuter trains available to Salem town. Leave early enough to get there by 10a, so you’ll have time to fit it all in. Danvers is a gem abundant of historic houses and many colonial homes still standing from the 1600s that saw not only the witch trials, but the American Revolution, Civil War era & more. We don’t have homes with this age & history in the Midwest, it was a privilege to visit!
Our 1st Stop was the Rebecca Nurse Homestead @ 149 Pine St, Danvers, Mass, the only Witch Trial victim whose home is open to the public & site of the only known remains of any of the executed Witch Trial victims. It is a Must See Gem & part of the Top 5 Salem Witch Trial Sites to Visit to walk in the footprints of the 1692 Witch Trials history. Rebecca was one of those accused as ‘witches’, though a deeply religious, well-loved woman. She was hanged as a ‘witch’ at 71 years old, a frail and deaf, Godly woman, despite being acquitted, originally. I discuss highlights & review her Homestead in detail in my Rebecca Nurse Homestead post. The site includes her home & excavated artifacts, exhibits & outbuildings, a replica Meeting House built on site for a movie, and the Nurse family graveyard where Rebecca Nurse & George Jacobs Sr, both executed victims of the witchcraft accusations, are now buried. Both were wrongly convicted & hanged as ‘witches’ in 1692. www.rebeccanurse.org
3rd Stop, a block away, is the 2-story, tan Ingersoll House (Ingersoll Ordinary) @ 199 Hobart St (Hobart & Center)- a 1670 Inn & tavern where the Witch Trial judges stayed, Tituba’s husband worked, some accused were held, & some alleged afflictions occurred. Many interrogations were held here, but the large crowds caused them to be moved to the Salem Church Meeting House (site is Stop 5). Today, the Ingersoll House is a private residence.
Stop 4- The Beginning, Rev. Samuel Parris Parsonage Home Site
4th Stop, 1/2 block away, behind 67 Centre St- on the right when going North. Tucked away, at the end of a drive among a neighborhood block is the foundation of Rev. Samuel Parris’ parsonage home– where Tituba & the 1st accusers lived & the ‘afflictions’ & the 1692 Salem Witch Hysteria began. There is a marker on Centre St behind the fire hydrant; you have to walk down the short lane to see the foundations. Excavations on this archeological site began in 1970, a time when many in the town still wanted to bury the shame of the events, trying to forget and distance the town, rather than research and discuss the history.
5th Stop, 1 1/2 blocks away, @ 175 Hobart Street is the Site of the Salem Village Church Meeting house (replica @ Rebecca Nurse homestead) where the 1st interrogations were held, after the crowds quickly outgrew Ingersoll’s Ordinary. One of the ministers who preached there, Rev. George Burroughs, was later, himself, accused & hung as a ‘witch.’ Rev. Samuel Parris (stop 4) later ministered there- it was in his home that his daughter, niece & slave started the hysteria & were the original Salem witch accusers. Church members, too, were accused & put to death, one of them accused by one of the ‘witch’ accusers in the middle of a church service. The home at this site is privately owned.
The 6th Stop, across the street from the Site of the Meeting House where the Interrogations took place. The Memorial, at 176 Hobart St, is quite beautiful, even if sobering. The Danvers (Salem village) Witch Trials Memorial stands in a beautiful, serene park setting. Memorializing the innocent witchcraft claim victims- the 20 executed & the 5 who died in jail awaiting their fate. It is the only Memorial to mention all 25 victims, not just the executed ones, but the accused who died in jail, too. It was dedicated in May 1992, on the 300 year anniversary. It is only within recent history that the town(s) of Salem Village & Salem town have come to accept & be open about their beloved town’s painful past. Even shortly after the ‘witch’ trials & executions, Salem town and villagers realized the horrible tragedy that had taken place and many records of the time were destroyed & hidden in shame. Though the country & the world still believed witches existed. The Danvers (Salem village) Witch Trials Memorial is a true Must-See Gem, one of the Top 5 Salem Witch Trial Sites to visit. www.danverslibrary.org/archive/witchcraft-victims-memorial/
7th Stop, 3 minute drive, Goody Sarah Osborne’s house @ 273 Maple St. Sarah was one of the 1st accused. She died in jail @ just 49 years old, awaiting trial. She refused to confess or accuse anyone else of being a witch. It is a private residence.
We had a quick lunch in Beverly, Mass, on our way to what is now Salem (town) and is just a 20 minute drive. The next part of our day to visit Salem Witch Trials sites is under Salem Itinerary- Part B.
“Well! Burn me, or hang me, I will stand in the truth of Christ!”
– George Jacobs, Sr.,
Hanged August 19, 1692
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