Carrier, Martha

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Martha Carrier

Calling her a "rampant hag" and the "Queen of Hell," the Reverend Cotton Mather harbored no doubts that Martha Carrier deserved to

be executed as a witch during the Salem outbreak on August 19, 1692. The Salem documents themselves, however, reveal that her

crime was not witchcraft but an independence of mind and an unsubmissive character. A daughter of one of the founding families of

Andover, Martha married a young Welsh servant, Thomas Carrier, in 1674, by whom she had four children. The Salem accusation

against Martha came only two years after the selectmen of Andover blamed a smallpox epidemic on her witchcraft. Although

historians have blamed her accusation on causes ranging from a conspiracy against Andover's proprietary families to reaction

against threats to patriarchal inheritance, her contentious spirit and the earlier charge of witchcraft seem the most plausible

explanation.

See Also

Important persons in the Salem Court Records Salem Witch Trials, Univ. of Virginia

In the devil's snare : the Salem witchcraft crisis of 1692 by Mary Beth Norton.