#10 – John Proctor
Born in England in 1632, John Proctor moved to the United States with his parents when he was only three years old. Once settled in Massachusetts, the Proctor family became one of the wealthiest in town, which inspired John’s incredible work ethic as an adult. Marrying three times and widowed twice with a total of 17 children, Proctor worked as a farmer and bartender in Salem until he became a victim in the infamous Salem Witch Trials when he was accused of witchcraft after defending his third wife, Elizabeth, from similar accusations.
Fingers quickly pointed at John as Abigail Williams, Mary Walcott and Mary Warren accused him of witchcraft and physical harm. Despite family members and friends petitioning to their Christian beliefs, John and Elizabeth were found guilty and sentenced to be hanged at their trial on August 5, 1692. Once in jail, the government took all of their possessions and granted Elizabeth, who was pregnant, a reprieve. On August 19, John was hanged leaving his wife to spend another nine months in jail before being released with nothing left to her name.