The formal proceedings in the Salem Witchcraft hysteria began 320 years ago today, when Sarah Goode, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba, an Indian slave from Barbados, were charged with practicing witchcraft. The three were examined by Magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin. Tituba subsequently confesses and names Goode and Osborne as her co-conspirators.
There is a wealth of primary source material related to the Salem Witch trials available online including Salem Witch Trials: Documentary Archive and Transcription Project from the University of Virginia. That site provides access to a wide array of digitized materials such as court records, historical maps, and record books of Salem Village churches. In addition, The Famous American Trials website from the University of Missouri Kansas City also provides access to Salem Witch Trials resources . Among the items you’ll find there are digitized copies of arrest warrants and transcriptions of petitions for mercy from convicted witches awaiting execution.
The image above is of the painting The Trial of George Jacobs of Salem for Witchcraft by artist Tompkins Harrison Matteson. The image comes from the Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs Division.