John Proctor was a landowner and a central figure during the Salem witch trials. He is portrayed by Daniel Day-Lewis in the 1996 film The Crucible. John was born in Suffolk, England on October 9, 1632. At just three years old he moved to America with his family, on a ship called Susan and Ellen. The family settled in Ipswich, MA, and John's father became one of the wealthiest residents of Ipswich. In 1666 John, along with his wife and children moved to Salem. Two years later in 1668 opened up his own tavern, where his wife Elizabeth, and some of his children ran the tavern. John and his eldest son Benjamin would tend to their extensive farm properties throughout Salem and Ipswich during this time. During the witch accusations in Salem, it was Elizabeth who was first accused. It wasn't until John was adamant and very vocal in not only his defense of her, but also the lunacy of the claims, that he was also accused. These claims set into motion a slew of horrid events, one of which saw the Proctor family lose their house, and some, their lives. Keep reading to see the John Proctor House, which still stands to this day.
One of John’s accusers, Mary Walcott, stated that John tried to choke her and forced her to "touch the devil's book." Despite this, John continued his disbelief, and even had 32 of his neighbors sign a petition in his favor. Despite the petition and his denial, both John and Elizabeth were tried, found guilty, and sentenced to hang. John died on August 19, 1692, while Elizabeth, who was pregnant, had to wait until she gave birth before she was executed. Lucky for her, she gave birth to a son she named John after the trials had ended. Despite being saved from hanging due to the end of the trials, Elizabeth was still considered a "dead woman" in the eyes of the law, and therefore could not inherit any of John's estate.
The John Proctor House is a historic house located in Peabody, MA. It is a First Period style house, which was an architecture style in America between 1626 and 1725. It was primarily used by British colonists, mostly in Massachusetts and Virginia. First Period homes were typically south facing with a central chimney, an asymmetrical rooftop and small diamond shaped casement windows. The interior of the homes featured heavy oak, exposed chamfered summer beams, and an L shaped staircase.
The John Proctor House….Right?
The John Proctor House is said to have belonged to John Proctor, however there's a bit of controversy to this claim. Proctor died by hanging during the Salem witch trials in 1692, and dendrochronology studies have determined that the house was most likely built around 1727, so it seems impossible that Proctor actually lived in this home. However, his son Thorndike Proctor purchased the home from Charles Downing around the time it was built, and it remained in the Proctor family well into the mid-19th century. I guess John being the most famous of the proctor family, it sounds better to name it the John Proctor House.
The interior of the home, which is showcased in the video below, details the history of the hone. From the candlelit chandelier, dark wood floors, brick wood burning fireplace, and low ceilings.
I love reading about history, even haunting and devastating history like the Salem witch trials. If you enjoyed reading about John Proctor and his house, take a look at another New England historic house, the Nathaniel Russell House here.
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Meet Julie, the creative Head of Content at Urban Splatter. Since her move from the East Coast to Los Angeles in 2017, she's been bringing the world of celebrity real estate to life through her engaging articles. Julie has honed her passion for storytelling into a thriving full-time career, producing innovative content ideas and contributing to multiple websites. With a self-published book and several novels to her name, she's continuously expanding her horizons in the freelance writing sphere.
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