Description[Salem Witch Trials]. Jonathan Corwin Autograph Endorsement Signed. One page, 16.5" x 13" (sight), [Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts], December 30, 1698. Jonathan Corwin (1640-1718), best known as a judge during the Salem witch trials of 1692 and 1693, has written four lines of text, along with his signature, to the lower margin of this land deed. Five other signatures exist, including Henry Trouitt of Salem and his new wife, Mary. The couple is selling land that Mary brought to the marriage from her first marriage to Joseph Holloway. The document is framed to an overall size of 18" x 14.25". The document has not been examined outside of the frame. There appears to be weakness and some discoloration along some folds.The document can be removed from the frame for further inspection upon request.
Jonathan Corwin, wealthy resident of Salem, served his community as a politician, merchant, and magistrate. As such, he responded early to reports of witchcraft in Essex County in 1692, holding hearings early on with fellow magistrate John Hathorne. The pair jailed several accused of being witches. The lack of records from the Salem witch trials makes it difficult to know Corwin's exact role in the trials, though it is known that he signed many arrest warrants. This document, though not dealing directly with the infamous trials, is one of the few surviving documents illustrating Corwin's role as a local magistrate, just five years after the trials ended.
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