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 Giles Corey

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Giles Corey

Salem Witch Trial Defendant. Born in Northampton, England, he emigrated prior to 1644, and became a prosperous farmer in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1659, he settled in Salem Farms, just south of Salem Village. He had developed a reputation as a hard uncompromising man, and had appeared in court on several occasions, including June 1649 for theft, for which he was fined; and December 1675, after he “...unreasonably beat Jacob [Goodale] with a stick...nearly a hundred blows....” Goodale never recovered from the beating and died with two weeks. At trial, Corey was convicted of causing the death, and ordered to pay fines. In March, 1692, his third wife, Martha, was arrested on a charge of witchcraft. A month later, he, too, was accused of witchcraft, and a warrant issued for his arrest. Their case finally went before the court in September, he refused to enter a plea, stating that he was not willing to submit himself to a trial by a jury that he believed had already decided his guilt. Because he refused to enter a plea, he was sentenced to peine forte et dure ('pressing') to force him to plea, even though the practice had been deemed illegal by the colony government. About September 19, he was stripped and a board placed upon his chest, and then heavy stones piled upon it. A contemporary report stated, "About noon, at Salem, Giles Corey was press'd to death for standing mute." Judge Jonathan Corwin ordered the body buried in an unmarked grave on Gallows Hill, where two days later his wife was hanged. In 1957, the state of Massachusetts formally apologized for the witch trials.

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 25 Jan 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8299
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Giles Corey (11 Sep 1611–19 Sep 1692), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8299, citing Salem Witch Trials Memorial, Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .