Dorcas Hoar

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Dorcas (Galley) Hoar, a widow from Beverly, Massachusetts, was accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials of 1692, found guilty and condemned to hang, but then confessed and with the support of several ministers, was given a temporary reprieve.

The order for Hoar's arrest was issued on April 30, 1692 by magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin, after Capt. Jonathan Walcott and Sgt. Thomas Putnam of Salem Village, Massachusetts complained that Hoar, Phillip English of Salem, and Sarah Murrell, also of Beverly, had afflicted Mary Walcott, Mercy Lewis, Abigail Williams, Ann Putnam, Jr., Elizabeth Hubbard and Susannah Sheldon. Marshall George Herrick delivered Hoar and Murrell to Ingersoll's tavern in Salem Village on May 2, but was unable to locate English.

While imprisoned awaiting trial, Dorcas Hoar confessed to acts of witchcraft to Jonathan Lovett, son of Jonathan and Bethia (Rootes) Lovett. Jonathan was visiting his grandmother Susannah Rootes, also accused of the act of witchcraft and awaiting trial. Jonathan then testified to this confession in the 1692 trial of Dorcas Hoar where she was found guilty.

Rev. Deodat Lawson wrote of her, "only one Woman Condemned, after the Death Warrant was signed, freely Confessed, which occasioned her Reprieval for sometime; and it was observable, This Woman had one Lock of Hair, of a very great length, viz. Four Foot and Seven Inches long, by measure, this Lock was of a different colour from all the rest, (which was short and grey) it grew on the hinder part of her Head, and was matted together like an Elf-Lock; the Court ordered it to be cut off, to which she was very unwilling, and said, she was told if it were cut off, she should Dye, or be Sick, yet the Court ordered it so to be."[1]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Lawson, Deodat. Christ's Fidelity the Only Shield Against Satan's Malignity. Asserted in a Sermon Deliver'd at Salem-Village the 24th of March, 1692. Being Lecture-day there, and a time of Publick Examination, of some Suspected for Witchcraft. Second Edition, 1704. Reprinted in London, by R. Tookey for the Author; and are to be sold by T. Parkhurst, at the Bible and Three Crowns in Cheapside; and J. Lawrence, at the Angel in the Poultrey. p. 112