Rebecca Nurse Homestead

In the winter of 1691/92, girls living in Salem Village began to fall into fits, and their parents tried to discover what was causing their distress. The village doctor concluded that the girls were being afflicted by witchcraft. The girls named three witches: Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne.

Then on March 19, 1692, the girls named the 71-year-old matriarch, Rebecca Nurse, as one of their tormentors. When informed of her being accused of practicing witchcraft, Rebecca exclaimed, “…as to this thing, I am as innocent as the child unborn, but surely what sin hath God found out in me unrepented of that He should lay such an affliction upon me in my old age?”

On March 23 constables arrested Rebecca and took her away from her homestead. In June, Nurse’s trial took place with 40 of her neighbors signing a petition commending her exemplary character. Nurse was at first found innocent by the jury. When the afflicted girls renewed their terrifying torments, the jury reversed its decision. Rebecca was finally hanged on July 19, 1692.

I was quite surprised to learn that her homestead was largely preserved. I assumed the property of a hung witch would have been seized and re-purposed.

You can read more about the history of the site on the website for the Rebecca Nurse Homestead. Or you can just visit the site. It is one of the 1,000 Great Places in Massachusetts.