Salem Witch Trials - People

Rev. Cotton Mather (1663 – 1728). One of Boston’s most influential ministers and son of Reverend Increase Mather, his excellent reputation as a religious leader and theological scholar was damaged by his involvement with the Salem trials, which he supported.   Later in his life he would be plagued by feelings of guilt, bitterness and self-doubt concerning his role in the witchcraft episode.

Hon. Samuel Sewell (1652 – 1730) kept a famous diary of the court proceedings and in 1696, stood before the congregation of Boston’s South Church to apologize for his involvement as a member of the court.

Portrait of Reverend Samuel Parris (c. 1685).   The only known image of Reverend Samuel Parris, this miniature portrait was discovered recently by archivist Richard B. Trask, while researching the Salem witchcraft trials among the collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society. It shows Parris at a time when he may well have been enjoying short-lived success as a West Indian merchant, prior to his arrival at Salem Village.