Dorcas Hoar

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Dorcas Hoar (née Galley; c.1634 – July 12, 1711) was a widow 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 after which the trials had already ended.

Born Dorcas Galley in Beverly, Essex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, daughter of John and Florence Galley, she married William Hoar and was the mother of one son, named for his father and 2 daughters. Her sisters were Mary Ross and Elizabeth Giles. A fortune teller and accused burglar, it appeared inevitable she would be named as a witch. She was ordered arrested on April 30, 1692 by magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin, after Jonathan Walcott and Thomas Putnam of Salem Village had made complaints 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. Marshal George Herrick delivered Hoar and Murrell to Ingersoll's tavern in Salem Village on May 2, but was unable to locate English, who had fled Salem.[citation needed]

While imprisoned awaiting trial, Hoar confessed to acts of witchcraft to John Lovett, III, son of John Jr. and Bethiah (née Rootes) Lovett. John was visiting his own grandmother, Susannah Rootes, who had also been accused of witchcraft and was awaiting trial. Jonathan testified to this confession at Hoar's trial; she was found guilty.[1]

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."[2]

Actress Jean Smart was discovered to be a direct descendant of Dorcas Hoar on the Season 10, Episode 6, of the television show Who Do You Think You Are?[3]


  1. ^ Profile,; accessed December 25, 2014.
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ "'Who Do You Think You Are?' Season Finale: Jean Smart Discovers Family From 1635". TV Insider. Retrieved 20 January 2019.