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Price Realized: $31,200 With Buyer's Premium Show Hammer Price
Sale 2273 Lot 214
ONE OF THE SALEM WITCHES COMES TO TRIAL! (MASSACHUSETTS.) Original indictment of Margaret Scott for "certaine detestable arts called Witchcraft and Sorceries." Manuscript, one page, 12 x 7 1/2 inches, with docketing on verso; minor wear and foxing, pinholes at intersection of folds. [Salem, MA], [17 September] 1692
Estimate $25,000 - 35,000
When the Salem witch mania struck, Margaret (Stephenson) Scott was an impoverished woman in her seventies living in Rowley, MA, a few miles north of Salem. On 4 August 1692, a teenaged girl named Mary Daniel gave testimony accusing her of various supernatural assaults, and other residents of Rowley joined in the chorus. Scott was indicted by the present document on or about 17 September, on charges that she had practiced "certaine detestable arts called witchcraft and sorceries." Scott was found guilty and sentenced to death that same day, and was hung five days later, part of the last group to die in the trials.
The substance of the indictment reads: "The jurors for our sov. Lord and Lady the King and Queen doe present that Margarett Scott of Rowley in the County of Essex, widdow, about the latter end of July or the beginning of August in the yeare aforesaid and divers other days and times as well before as after, certaine detestable arts called witchcraft and sorceries, wickedly, mallitiously and felloniously hath used, practised and exercised at and in the towne of Rowley in the County of Essex aforesaid in upon and against one Mary Daniell of Rowley aforesaid, single woman, by which said wicked acts the said Mary Daniell ye day & yeare aforesaid and divers other days and times both before and after was and is tortured, aflicted, consumed, pined, wasted, and tormented, and also for sundry other acts of witchcraft by the said Marg't Scott comitted and done before and since that time against the peace."
Provenance: This indictment was published in Gage's 1840 History of Rowley. It was acquired by a collector circa 1900, and remained in his family for the next hundred years. It was sold by the William Reese Company to Eric Caren.
Original manuscripts from the Salem Witch Trials are extremely rare in private hands. No other examples have been spotted at auction since 1983.Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $31,200