Sarah Good was the daughter of a wealthy Wenham
innkeeper, but her life had been a long downhill slide since her father's
suicide from drowning. Her mother had quickly remarried in order to block
the children's inheritance rights. Sarah married a landless man who hired
himself out as a laborer. But even with a chronic labor shortage in the
colony, individuals hesitated hiring her husband because that would mean
taking Sarah into the household, and she was considered shrewish, idle,
With matted grey hair and a leathered, lined face, Sarah Good looked
seventy years old even though she was still of child bearing age. (In fact
she was pregnant at the time of her arrest.) With her clay pipe, Sarah
Good even looked the part of a witch. She didn't attend church, and
recently she had been begging door-to-door and making a general nuisance
Along with Tituba and Sarah Osburne, Sarah Good was among the first three
women named as witches. All three were arrested on February 29th, 1692. A
strong woman, Sarah nearly overpowered the sheriff who came to arrest her.
During the initial questioning of the three women, Good accused Sarah Osburne of being a witch, and Tituba
confessed to witchcraft. Tituba was
released while Good and Osburne were sent to jail. Osburne, who was
already ill, died in prison. Good's newborn child also died in prison.
Good was joined in prison by her four year old daughter, Dorcas - even
though Dorcas had testified against her mother. Dorcas was to remain
mentally impaired for the rest of her life as a result of her
imprisonment. Even Sarah Good's husband testified against her.
On June 29th, along with five other women, Sarah Good was tried and
convicted of witchcraft. She was hanged on Gallows hill on July l9th.
Sarah Good remained defiant to the end. When Reverend Noyes urged her to
confess and repent on the scaffold, she replied "I am no more witch than
you are a wizard. If you take my life away, God will give you blood to
drink." Years later when Reverend Noyes died of a hemorrhage in the mouth
- in fact drinking his own blood - many in Salem remembered Sarah Good's
curse. In fact Nathaniel Hawthorne, descendent of the hanging Judge Hathorne of the witch trials, borrowed this incident for the death of
Judge Pyncheon in his famous novel, The House of the Seven Gables.