By Alyssa Grace AlKhowaiter, Co-founder
Part II of our Salem Town “Witch Sites” Walking Tour begins in the historic Derby Street neighborhood.
The first stop is The House of the Seven Gables at 54 Turner Street. Enter through the Seamans Visitor Center at 115 Derby Street to take a guided tour of the 347-year-old timber-framed mansion, most famous for being the inspiration for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1851 novel. The plot of Hawthorne’s story was heavily influenced by the author’s familial connection to “Hanging Judge” John Hathorne, but is the house a real “Witch Site”? Sort of. Built in 1668 by sea merchant John Turner, it is one of the few buildings remaining in downtown Salem that stood during the witchcraft panic of 1692-93. Additionally, the Turner name appears in the court records, but neither as accuser nor accused. In May and again in September of 1692, afflicted girl Mary Warren, maidservant to John and Elizabeth Proctor, testified that the specter of Ann Pudeator was responsible for throwing John Turner II out of a cherry tree, nearly killing him.
Take a right onto Derby Street and walk until you are in between….
54 and 58 Derby Street. Near where you are standing stood the small house that Alice Parker, hanged for witchcraft on September 22, 1692, and her husband, a fisherman, rented from Philip and Mary English. Turn around and backtrack a few steps, then take a right onto English Street. Walk until you reach the intersection of Essex and English Streets. Observe the house at….
11 Essex Street. On the site of this house once stood the home of Philip & Mary English, both accused of witchcraft in 1692. Philip was born Philippe d’Anglois on the Channel Island of Jersey. He immigrated to Salem in 1670 and became one of the most successful merchants in New England. He and his wife Mary, born Mary Hollingsworth, were jailed in Boston, but subsequently managed to flee to New York, returning to Salem in 1693 once the trials had ended. The grand First Period house that stood here was built around 1685, but was devastatingly torn down in 1833. It’s probably my favorite of all of Salem’s lost 17th-century houses. Next, walk down Essex Street toward downtown until you arrive at….
39 Essex Street. You’ve come to another one of the oldest houses in the Derby Street neighborhood, the William Murray House, built in 1688 (though greatly modified since). Not only did the house stand here in 1692, William Murray himself served as court clerk at several examinations of the accused, and also testified against his neighbor Alice Parker along with notorious witchcraft accuser, Thomas Putnam. Continue on Essex Street and take a right onto Washington Sq. E. Follow the easternmost boundary of Salem Common and then take a left onto Washington Sq. N, following the northernmost boundary. Walk until you are standing across from the first brick mansion after Winter Street. Cross the street at the crosswalk. You’ve reached….
35 Washington Square North, the site of the home of Ann Pudeator, executed for witchcraft on September 22, 1692. Ann made her living as a nurse, and was hired in 1675 by a wealthy blacksmith named Jacob Pudeator to care for his sick wife, Isabel. After Isabel died, Jacob married Ann, despite their age difference (she was 20 years older than him). When Jacob died in 1682, he left his estate to Ann and her five children from a previous marriage. Needless to say, Ann had already been a subject of suspicion for years. Her home is long gone, but the Federal-era brick mansion that stands in its place is no less historic. It was built for merchant Joseph White Jr., brother-in-law of Judge Joseph Story and nephew/adopted son of Captain Joseph White, who was famously murdered by Richard Crowninshield in 1830. Continue along Washington Square North until you reach number 19 ½, the address of….
The Salem Witch Museum. This popular attraction stands on property that once belonged to Rev. John Higginson, senior minister of Salem Town during the witch trials. Higginson’s home that he occupied with his middle aged, mentally ill daughter Ann Higginson Dolliver stood nearby. Ann was accused of witchcraft in 1692 and subsequently confessed to the crime (one of over 50 confessions that were given during the course of the panic), but was released. Continue down Brown Street, take a right at St. Peter Street, walk past St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, cross the street at the crosswalk, and continue until you reach the corner of St. Peter Street and Federal Street, the site of....
Salem Gaol (Jail). Here is where many of the accused and convicted were held. It is also the location from which all of the condemned were led to the “place of Execution.” Not coincidentally, St. Peter Street was known at the time as Prison Lane. A plaque marking the site can be found around the corner at 10 Federal Street. Backtrack down St. Peter Street and take a right onto Church Street. Continue to Washington Street, cross at the crosswalk, and take a left. Stop when you reach 72 Washington Street. Opposite this spot, in the middle of what is now Washington Street stood….
Salem Town House. Constructed between 1677 and 1679 and replaced in 1712, the wooden building with a chimney on either end housed a school for boys on the first floor and a courtroom on the second floor. This courtroom is where the specially appointed Court of Oyer and Terminer held the Salem Witch Trials.
Roach, Marilynne K. A Time Traveler’s Maps of the Salem Witchcraft Trials.
Watertown: Sassafrass Grove Press, 1991.
Roach, Marilynne K. The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege. Lanham: Taylor Trade Publishing, 2004.
Baker, Emerson W. A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.
The 2013 Salem Witch Trials Calendar: A Month by Month guide to the tragedy of 1692. Edited by Timothy Kendall.
The Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive. http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/home.html.