Parris, Samuel

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Samuel Parris (1653 – February 27, 1720) was the Puritan minister in the town of Salem Village (now Danvers, Massachusetts) during the Salem witch trials, as well as the father to one of the afflicted girls, and uncle of another.

The events that lead to the Salem witch trials began when his daughter, Betty Parris, and her cousin Abigail Williams accused the family's slave Tituba of witchcraft. In February of 1692, Betty Parris began having "fits" that the doctor could not explain. Parris beat Tituba and compelled her to confess that she was a witch. The hysteria lasted sixteen months, concluding with the Salem witch trials.

His church brought charges against him for his part in the trials, leading him to apologize for his error. However, despite the intense dislike of the villagers, Parris stayed on for another four years after the panic had run its course. In 1697, he accepted another preaching position in Stow, and eventually moved on to Concord and Dunstable before his death in the town of Wayland on February 27, 1720.

See Also

Salem possessed; the social origins of witchcraft by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum 1974.