People of the Salem Witch Trials: Susannah Martin

Pop Culture Crime
3 min readMay 3, 2022
Part of the memorial for the victims of the 1692 witchcraft trials, Danvers, Massachusetts; principal inscription (Wikimedia Commons)

Susannah Martin was one of 19 people executed for witchcraft during the Salem witch trials. Susannah was executed on June 19, 1692, having been accused of witchcraft multiple times in the years leading up to her death.

Susannah Martin’s Life Before Witch Accusations

Susannah North was born in England sometime around September 30, 1621. She was the youngest child of Richard and Joan North. Joan died when Susannah was young, and Richard remarried a woman named Ursula. When she was 18, Susannah and her family moved to Salisbury, MA.

In 1646, Susannah married a widower named George Martin, a blacksmith. Together, they had eight children and settled about 30 miles away from Salem.

The First Witchcraft Accusations

Susannah was actually accused of witchcraft long before the Salem witch trials began. In 1669, a man named William Sargent, Jr., accused her of witchcraft and slandered her, saying that she had a son out of wedlock. Some sources say he accused her of killing a child as well. Her husband, George, sued Sargent for slander, but the witchcraft charges stood. Ultimately, the case went to a higher court, which dismissed the charges. Still, Susannah had become hardened by the town gossip and judgment.

George died in 1686, and Susannah was left with almost nothing. In the span of a few years, the accusations would hit her harder than before, from multiple sources.

Susannah Is Targeted Again

Susannah was an easy target when the Salem accusations began. Her name was already known based on former accusations. It was not surprising that she was arrested on May 2, 1692.

On trial, Susannah was accused of trying to recruit people of Salem Village into witchcraft. John Allen claimed she bewitched his oxen and drowned them. Abigail Williams, Ann Putnam, and Mercy Lewis, all had fits in her presence, locking in her guilty verdict.

Susannah surprised some villagers by quoting the Bible freely when on trial. This was not something a witch was supposed to be able to do, but Cotton Mather (yeah, that asshole again), said that servants of the devil would be able…



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