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Ann Putnam, Jr.
Ann Putnam, Jr., along with Betty Parris and Abigail Williams, was an important witness in the Salem Witch Trials. Born October 18, 1679, she was the eldest child of Thomas and Ann Putnam. An intelligent and well-educated young lady, she was friends with some of the afflicted girls and, in March 1692, became afflicted herself.
Ann was one of the most active (and youngest) accusers during the trials. She claimed to have been afflicted by 62 different people, and testified in many trials. Some believe the continuance of the Trials was due to the attention given to the accusers, which was unheard of in Puritan times.
In 1706, Ann Putnam Jr. was the only girl to offer an apology for her part in the witch trials. She stood before her church as her apology was read:
"I desire to be humbled before God for that sad and humbling providence that befell my father's family in the year about ninety-two; that I, then being in my childhood, should, by such a providence of God, be made an instrument for the accusing of several persons of a grievous crime, whereby their lives were taken away from them, whom, now I have just grounds and good reason to believe they were innocent persons; and that it was a great delusion of Satan that deceived me in that sad time, whereby I justly fear I have been instrumental, with others, though ignorantly and unwittingly, to bring upon myself and this land the guilt of innocent blood; though, what was said or done by me against any person, I can truly and uprightly say, before God and man, I did it not out of any anger, malice, or ill will to any person, for I had no such thing against one of them; but what I did was ignorantly, being deluded by Satan. And particularly, as I was a chief instrument of accusing Goodwife Nurse and her two sisters, I desire to lie in the dust, and to be humble for it, in that I was a cause, with others, of so sad a calamity to them and their families; for which cause I desire to lie in the dust, and earnestly beg forgiveness of God, and from all those unto whom I have given just cause of sorrow and offense, whose relations were taken away or accused."
Some historians have speculated that her parents and community elders coerced Ann to accuse those they were feuding with or sought revenge on. Many of the accused had some sort of relationship with the powerful Putnam family.
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