Sarah Cloyce (Salem witch trials)

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Sarah Cloyce (née Towne) (bap. 3 September 1648 – 1703) was accused of witchcraft but never indicted by a grand jury in the Salem Witch Trials.

The daughter of William Towne and his wife, née Joanna Blessing, Cloyce was the sister of Rebecca Nurse and Mary Easty, both of whom were hanged as witches at Salem in 1692. Her first husband was Edmund Bridges, Jr. of Topsfield and Salem, who she married in 1659/60. They had at least five children; he died in 1682. Her second husband was Peter Cloyce; he was the father of six when they married, and they had three additional children together.

Sarah Cloyce was accused of witchcraft the day after she had defended her sister Rebecca against the same charge. A few days later she was named in warrants and arrested, and transferred to Boston prison. She petitioned the court for an opportunity to present evidence which supported her innocence, and to exclude spectral evidence (testimony that the spirit of someone did something). Charges against her were dismissed on 3 January 1693. Her husband paid the fees demanded by the prison and she was released. Subsequently, she and her husband relocated, first to Marlborough, and later to Sudbury.[1]

In Popular Culture[edit]

In the short story, Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne (himself a descendant of one of the Salem witch trial magistrates), a social criticism of Puritan culture, a character named Goody Cloyse addresses the devil, confessing to practicing witchcraft. It is a shock to the protagonist (Brown) as she had taught him his catechism in his youth. She makes a reference to "...that unhanged witch, Goody Cory...", a possible reference to Martha Corey, who actually was hanged as a witch in 1692.[citation needed]

Sarah Cloyse is the protagonist and narrator of the 1985 public television miniseries chronicling the trials American Playhouse: Three Sovereigns for Sarah

References[edit]

  1. ^ Timeline of the Salem Witch Trials, salemwitchtrials.com; accessed December 23, 2014.

Further reading[edit]

  • Upham, Charles (1980). Salem Witchcraft. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 2 vv, v. 2 pp. 60, 94, 101, 111, 326.