Dorothy Good

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Dorothy Good
Born ca. 1687/1688
Died Unknown
Residence Salem Village, Massachusetts
Other names Dorcas Good
Known for Youngest accused of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials
Parent(s)
Relatives Mercy Good (1692–1692; sister)

Dorothy Good (historically referred to incorrectly as Dorcas Good; ca. 1687/1688 – ?) was the daughter of William Good and Sarah (née Solart) Good. Both Dorothy and her mother were accused of practicing witchcraft in Salem at the very beginning of the Salem witch trials in 1692. Only four years old at the time,[1] she was interrogated by the local magistrates, confessed to being a witch and purportedly claimed she had seen her mother consorting with the devil. Mary Walcott and Ann Putnam Jr. claimed the child was deranged and repeatedly bit them as if she were an animal.

Dorothy, incorrectly written as "Dorcas" on the warrant for her arrest,[2] received a brief hearing in which the accusers repeatedly complained of bites on their arms. She was sent to jail, becoming at age five the youngest person to be jailed during the Salem witch trials. Two days later, she was visited by Salem officials. She claimed she owned a snake given to her by her mother that talked to her and sucked blood from her finger.[3][4] The officials took this to mean it was her "familiar", which is defined as a witch's spiritual servant in human form.[citation needed]

Dorothy was in custody from March 24, 1692, when she was arrested[5] until she was released on bond for £50 on December 10, 1692.[6] She was never indicted or tried. Her examinations by the magistrates were conducted on March 24, 25 and 26, according to Rev. Deodat Lawson:

The Magistrates and Ministers also did informe me, that they apprehended a child of Sarah G. and Examined it, being between 4 and 5 years of Age And as to matter of Fact, they did Unanimously affirm, that when this Child, did but cast its eye upon the afflicted persons, they were tormented, and they held her Head, and yet so many as her eye could fix upon were afflicted. Which they did several times make careful observation of: the afflicted complained, they had often been Bitten by this child, and produced the marks of a small set of teeth, accordingly, this was also committed to Salem Prison; the child looked hail, and well as other Children. I saw it at Lievt. Ingersols After the commitment of Goode. N. Tho: Putmans wife was much better, and had no violent fits at all from that 24th of March to the 5th of April. Some others also said they had not seen her so frequently appear to them, to hurt them. ... On the 26th of March, Mr. Hathorne, Mr. Corwin, and Mr. Higison were at the Prison-Keepers house to examine the Child. The child told them there, it had a little Snake that used to Suck on the lowest Joint of her Fore-Finger. When they inquired where, pointing to other places, The child told them, not there, but there, pointing on the Lowest point of the Fore-Finger; where they observed a deep Red Spot, about the Bigness of a Flea-bite.[3][4]

Dorothy had a younger sister, Mercy, who was born after Sarah Good's arrest and died shortly after birth, likely from malnourishment and the harsh conditions of imprisonment.[citation needed]

"Dorothy" v. "Dorcas"[edit]

Good's first name was incorrectly written as "Dorcas" by Magistrate John Hathorne on the warrant for her arrest dated March 23, 1692, but was correctly called "Dorothy" everywhere else in the legal records. Deodat Lawson's accounts of her examinations never mention her first name, but later writers, such as Charles W. Upham in his influential book Salem Witchcraft (1867), repeated the initial error from the arrest warrant and she has subsequently come to be referred to by the wrong name.[7]

Fictional portrayals[edit]

  • Earhart, Rose. Dorcas Good: The Diary of a Salem Witch. Pendleton Books, NY, 2000; ISBN 1-893221-02-4
  • Rinaldi, Ann. A Break with Charity. Simon and Schuster Books, NY, 1992; ISBN 0-15-204682-8

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hill, Frances. A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press *2nd edition; 2002), pg. 94.
  2. ^ Margo Burns and Bernard Rosenthal, "Examination of the Records of the Salem Witch Trials", William and Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., 65, no. 3 (July 2008): 401–22
  3. ^ a b Rev. Deodat Lawson. A Brief and True Narrative Of some Remarkable Passages Relating to sundry Persons Afflicted by Witchcraft, at Salem Village Which happened from the Nineteenth of March, to the Fifth of April, 1692. Boston, Printed for Benjamin Harris and are to be Sold at his Shop, over-against the Old-Meeting-House. 1692.
  4. ^ a b Profile, virginia.edu; accessed July 5, 2015.
  5. ^ "Warrant for the Apprehension of Dorothy Good, and Officer's Return", Doc. 22, Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, Bernard Rosenthal, Editor, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2009, pp. 153-54.
  6. ^ "Recognizance for Dorothy Good by Samuel Ray", Doc. 719, Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, Bernard Rosenthal, Editor, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2009, pp. 711-12, 754.
  7. ^ Margo Burns and Bernard Rosenthal, "Examination of the Records of the Salem Witch Trials", William and Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., 65, no. 3 (July 2008): 401–22