Nicholas Noyes

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Reverend Nicholas Noyes Jr. (December 22, 1647, Newbury, Massachusetts - December 13, 1717, Salem, Massachusetts) was a colonial minister in Salem, Massachusetts, during the time of the Salem witch trials. He was the second minister, called the "Teacher," to Rev. John Higginson. During the Salem witch trials, Noyes acted as the official minister of the trials.[1]


Noyes graduated at Harvard in 1667, and, after preaching thirteen years in Haddam, Connecticut, moved in 1683 to Salem, where he was pastor until his death.[2] He spent time as the chaplain with troops in Connecticut during King Philip's War in 1675-76.[3]

Before the execution of Sarah Good on July 19, 1692, Rev. Noyes asked her to confess. Her famous last words were, “You are a liar! I am no more a witch than you are a wizard, and if you take away my life God will give you blood to drink.” Ironically, twenty-five years later, Noyes died of a hemorrhage and literally did choke on his own blood.[4]

On September 22, 1692, Rev. Nicholas Noyes officiated as clergyman at the final hangings of the those accused (Mary Parker, et al.) of witchcraft. It is reported that he turned toward the suspended bodies of the victims and said, “What a sad thing it is to see eight firebrands of hell hanging there.”[5]

He afterward retracted his opinions, and publicly confessed his error with respect to the witchcraft persecutions.[2]


  • Election Sermon (1698)
  • a poem on the death of Joseph Green (1715)
  • verses prefixed to Cotton Mather's Magnalia


  1. ^ David Lindsay, PhD., Mayflower Bastard: A Stranger amongst the Pilgrims (St. Martins Press, New York, 2002) p. 205
  2. ^ a b Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "Noyes, James". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton. 
  3. ^ David Lindsay, PhD., Mayflower Bastard: A Stranger amongst the Pilgrims (St. Martins Press, New York, 2002) p. 163
  4. ^ "Sarah Good". Salem Witch Trials. University of Missouri - Kansas City. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  5. ^ Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases, 1648-1706

Further reading[edit]

Upham, Charles (1980). Salem Witchcraft. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 2 vv, v.1 pp. 117, 271, 299, v.2 pp. 43, 48, 55, 89, 170, 172, 184, 245, 253, 269, 290, 292, 314, 365, 485, 550.