"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Wednesday, June 04, 2003 What happened in Salem? A new history examines the role of Indian wars in the Witch Trials.
Beginning with the Pequot War of the 1630s, New Englanders had regular military conflicts with their Native American neighbors. In the 1670s New Englanders barely beat back the resistance of Wampanoag sachem Metacom in King Philip's War, which they also called the "First Indian War." They saw the hostilities that began in 1689 with French-sponsored Wabanakis as the "Second Indian War," in which Maine settlers faced regular Wabanaki attacks, and lurid reports emerged from the front of surprise attacks, the torturing and dismemberment of English farmers and their families, raids that seemed to come from the pit of hell. (How the Indians saw the colonists is another story.)
This war with the Wabanakis provides Norton's critical backdrop to the witchcraft crisis. Though she cannot produce a "smoking gun," Norton provides much circumstantial evidence to show that many accusers and accused had connections to the Indian wars. Numbers of the accusers had lost one or both parents in frontier battles and raids, while some of the accused had suspicious connections on the frontier that might have raised the prospect that they had actually colluded with the French or Wabanakis. Norton makes a plausible case that the accusers and judges believed that a Satanic conspiracy was afoot to destroy New England. Some of Satan's forces were visible, in the form of marauding Wabanakis, while others were invisible, in the form of witches' specters, come to torment the accusers and threaten them with the same fate that had befallen the frontier families in Maine.More