Notable Women Ancestors - Susanna Martin Trial
The Trial

Preliminary Trial, May 2nd 1692

[Note - there are actually two transcripts of Susanna's Prelimnary Examination which have survived and are similiar in content. They have been combined here solely for the purpose of easier understanding.]

For the crime of witchcraft and sorcery, Susanna Martin pled not guilty. As soon as she came in many had fits.

Magistrate: Do you know this woman?

Abigial Williams saith it is Goody Martin, she hath hurt me often. Others by fits were hindered from speaking. Eliza Hubbard said she hath not been hurt by her. John Indian said he had not seen her. Mercy Lewis pointed to her and fell into a little fit. Ann Putnam threw her glove in a fit at her. The examinant laughed.

Magistrate: What! Do you laugh at it?
Martin: Well I may at such folly.
Magistrate: Is this folly, the hurt of these persons?
Martin: I never hurt man or woman or child.

Marcy Lewis cried out, she hath hurt me a great many times and pulls me down. Then Martin laughed again. Mary Walcott saith this woman hath hurt me a great many times.

Magistrate: What do you say to this?
Martin: I have no hand in witchcraft.
Magistrate: What did you do? Did not you give your consent?
Martin: No, never in my life.
Magistrate: Pray, what ails these people?
Martin: I don't know.
Magistrate: But what do you think ails them?
Martin: I do not desire to spend my judgment upon it.
Magistrate: Do not you think they are bewitched?
Martin: No, I do not think they are.
Magistrate: Tell us your thought about them then.
Martin: No. My thoughts are my own when they are in, but thwen they are out they are another's. Their master.
Magistrate: You said their master. Who do you think is their master?
Martin: If they be dealing in the black art, you may know as well as I.
Magistrate: Well, what have you done towards this?
Martin: Nothing at all.
Magistrate: Why, 'tis you or your appearance.
Martin: Well, I cannot help it.
Magistrate: Is it not your master?
Martin: I desire to lead myself according to the word of God.
Magistrate: Is this according to God's word?
Martin: If I were such a person I would tell you the truth.
Magistrate: How comes your appearance just now to hurt these?
Martin: How do I know?
Magistrate: Are not you willing to tell the truth?
Martin: I cannot tell. He that appeared in the shape of Sam[uel] shape a glorified saint may appear in anyone's shape.
Magistrate: Do you believe these do not say true?
Martin: They may lie for aught I know.
Magistrate: May not you lie?
Martin: I dare not tell a lie if it would save my life.
Magistrate: Then you will speak the Truth.
Martin: I have spoke nothing else. I would do them any good.
Magistrate: I do not think you have such affections for them whom just now you insinuated had the devil for their Master.

Eliz Hubbard was afflicted and then the Marshall who was by her said she (Martin) pinched her hard. Several of the afflicted cried out they saw her upon the beam.

Magistrate: Pray God discover you, if you be guilty.
Martin: Amen, Amen. A false tongue will never make a guilty person. < P> You have been a long time coming to the Court today; you can come fast enough in the night, said Mercy Lewis.

Martin: No, sweetheart.

Then Mercy Lewis and all many of the rest were afflicted. John Indian fell into a violet fit and said it was that woman, she bites, she bites, and then she was biting her lips.

Magistrate: Have you not compassion for these afflicted?
Martin: No, I have none.

Some cried out there was the black man with her and Goody Vibber who had not accused her before confirmed it. Abigail Williams upon trial could not come near her. Nor Goody Vibber, nor Mary Walcott. John Indian cried he would kill her if he came near Hear but he was flung down in his approach to her.

Magistrate: What is the reason these cannot come near you?
Martin: I cannot tell. It may be the Devil bears me more malice than another.
Magistrate: Do not you see how God evidently discovers you?
Martin: No. Not a bit for that.
Magistrate: All the congregation think so.
Martin: Let them think what they will.
Magistrate: What is the reason these cannot come near you?
Martin: I do not know, but they can if they will, or else if you please I will come to them.
Magistrate: What is the black man whispering to you?
Martin: There was none whispered to me.

Susanna's Arrest, Trial and Witness Testimony

EmailAny comments or queries are welcomed by Bonnie Johnson.

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