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Who were the Putnams of Salem?

The Putnams were a prominent family in Salem, Massachusetts during the time of the witch hysteria in 1692. John Putnam arrived in Salem around 1634 from Buckinghamshire, England when he was 54 years old and quickly became a large landowner. His son, Thomas Putnam, Sr., continued to build upon the family’s land holdings and by the time Thomas senior’s son, Thomas Putnam, Jr., came of age, the Putnams were among the wealthiest and most influential citizens in Salem.


When the witch hysteria struck in 1692, Thomas Putnam, Jr. was forty years old and a veteran of King Philip’s War, a brutal conflict with Native Americans in southern New England that took placed fifteen years earlier. His oldest daughter Ann, who was twelve-years-old, was among the first to claim to be afflicted by so-called witches. Thomas’ wife, also named Ann, claimed to be afflicted as well. The three Putnams were the most prolific accusers during the witch hysteria, having collectively accused over a hundred people of witchcraft.


The Putnams of Salem is a historical fiction novel told from the perspectives of Thomas and his daughter Ann. What must have been going through their minds during these frenetic and frightening months as Ann writhed in agony from her supposed afflictions and Thomas struggled to gain control of an uncontrollable situation?

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