Samuel Wardwell

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Samuel Wardwell
Samuel Wardwell's memorial marker
Born May 16, 1643
Boston, Massachusetts
Died September 22, 1692(1692-09-22) (aged 49)
Salem Village, Province of Massachusetts Bay
Cause of death Execution by hanging
Nationality English
Known for Convicted of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials
Spouse(s) Sarah Wardwell
Children Mercy Wardwell

Samuel Wardwell (May 16, 1643 - September 22, 1692) was a man accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials of 1692. He was executed by hanging on September 22, 1692, along with Alice Parker, Martha Corey, Mary Eastey, Ann Pudeator, Mary Parker, Wilmot Redd, and Margaret Scott.

Wardwell was born on May 16, 1643, to Thomas Wardwell and Elizabeth Woodruff in Boston, Massachusetts. His father had been a follower of John Wheelwright and Anne Hutchinson.

Samuel's wife, Sarah, controlled a one hundred and eighty-eight-acre estate, which she had inherited from her first husband, Adam Hawkes, upon his death. The Province of Massachusetts Bay passed a law which provided attainder for "conjuration, witchcraft, and dealing with evil and wicked spirits", which meant the loss of civil, inheritance, and property rights of those accused.[1]

William Baker Jr., 14 years old, accused Samuel, Sarah, and their 19-year-old daughter Mercy Wardwell of witchcraft. All three confessed the very day they were interrogated.[2]

Samuel was executed at Proctor's Ledge in Salem after retracting a "forced" confession.[3] Eventually, his widow, Sarah Wardwell was reprieved and released. In 1712, after Sarah died, their son, Samuel Wardwell Jr., was left destitute and later sued the Colony and won some compensation for the family's ordeals.[1]

Per the TV show Who Do You Think You Are?, actor Scott Foley is a direct descendent of Samuel Wardwell.[4]


  1. ^ a b Carol F Karlsen (1987) Devil in the Shape of a Woman New York: W.W. Norton and Co. pp. 105–06
  2. ^ Mary Beth Norton (2002) In the Devil's Snare. Alfred A. Knopf
  3. ^ Elizabeth Wardwell Stay (1906) Wardwell, Sketch of the Antecedents of Solomon Wardwell .. E.A. Hall & Co (via Internet Archive)
  4. ^ "Scott Foley – Who Do You Think You Are – "God Knows I Am Innocent"". April 9, 2016.

Further reading[edit]

  • Upham, Charles (1980). Salem Witchcraft. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 2 vv., v. 2 pp. 324, 384, 480.
  • "Samuel Wardwell". Retrieved 2009-03-02.