People of the Salem Witch Trials: John Proctor

Pop Culture Crime
2 min readMay 14, 2022
The John Proctor House in Peabody, Massachusetts via Wikimedia Commons

John Proctor was one of the few men accused of witchcraft in Salem Village. During the Salem Witch Trials, several members of the Proctor family were accused of witchcraft. Proctor’s story, like the stories of many others accused, is tragic.

John Proctor’s Life Before the Salem Witch Trials

John Proctor was born on October 9, 1632, to John Proctor, Sr., and Martha Harper. He was born in Suffolk, England, but the entire family moved to the current United States in 1635.

Growing up, John and his family owned several properties and accumulated some wealth. When he grew older, he started his own businesses. In 1653, he married Martha Giddens. Together, they had four children: John, Martha, Mary, and Benjamin. It seems as if most of their children died quite young. Benjamin is the only child who survived the marriage, and Martha died in childbirth in 1659.

In 1662, John married Elizabeth Thorndike, who was about 10 years younger than him. Together, they had seven children, several of whom did not survive. It was during this time that John received a license to operate his tavern and inn just outside Salem Village. In 1672, Elizabeth died after birthing their seventh child.