Increase Mather

Increase Mather

Dorchester, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 23 Aug 1723 (aged 84)
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial ID 2690 · View Source
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Puritan Colonial Leader, Educator. He was a Clergyman, College President, Pastor of North Church, Boston, and the first president of Harvard College. He was the son of Richard and Katherine Mather. He and four of his five brothers would follow in their fathers footsteps and become ministers.  He graduated from Harvard College in 1656 and later would become their first president. In 1674, he delivered a sermon, entitled "The Day of Trouble is Near", this would be the first of many speeches that would make him an influential Puritan leader in Boston and across the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Because of his predominant role in Puritan society he headed a commission sent to England to negotiate for a new charter for the colony. When he returned to New England in 1692, the events of Salem Village had already begun. The jails were filled with the accused witches. The new governor looked to him and other Boston ministers for guidance. He along with his son, Cotton, who was also a minster developed doubts as to whether the witchcraft trials were achieving justice and urged caution in the use of spectral evidence. He had only attended one trial, that of George Burroughs, Jr., but despite his doubts to the trials, he would not denounce the judges, because many of them were his friends. After the trial he presented his "Cases of Conscience", where he argued that it would be better that ten witches go free than the blood of a single innocent be shed. His strong disapproval for spectral evidence so prominently used by the Court ended the trials. He was later criticized for his delay in putting his moral authority against the trials.

Bio by: Denise

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 2690
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Increase Mather (21 Jun 1639–23 Aug 1723), Find a Grave Memorial no. 2690, citing Copp's Hill Burying Ground, Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .