Judge Sewall and the Salem Witch Trials

Nov 17, 2017

Friday, we’re talking to historian Richard Francis about Samuel Sewell. He was one of the judges during the Salem Witch Hunt in 1692. There were actually 9 judges who sent 20 people to their deaths, but only Sewell came forward to say he was sorry.

The Salem witch trials haunt the American imagination as a time of extreme injustice. The story is most often told from the perspective of the accused and the accusers, but historian Richard Francis has spent years exploring the actions of Samuel Sewall. Sewall was among the judges who issued the harsh verdicts, but five years later, he became the only judge to issue an apology for his role in the trials. Richard Francis joins Doug to talk about Sewall, his idealism, and his conscience. (Rebroadcast)

  • Richard Francis is a biographer, historian of American culture, and novelist. He's the author of 15 books, including Judge Sewall's Apology [Indie bookstores|Amazon] and Crane Pond: A Novel of Salem [Indie bookstores|Amazon]