N is for Nimrod, the Indian who made it into the Essex Court Records a few times. At first, he was like most of the other Native Americans from the area and hoped that the Puritans would help to defend his tribe against their more aggressive enemies. Eventually, Nimrod began more antagonistic actions towards the Puritan community. The delicate and controversial topic of the Puritans and the Native Americans needs to be reviewed before Nimrod’s actions can be understood.
The Puritan’s initial contacts with the Indians were mostly for trade and diplomacy. In the earliest colonial decades, Puritans were vastly outnumbered by the Native Americans and were attempting to establish themselves in the area. Missionary attempts to convert the native populations were still considered too much of a risk.
It is in our human nature to blame others for our own troubles, and the Puritans in New England were no different. Numerous problems beset the Massachusetts Colony, and the community sought to uncover the cause of their plight. The contemporary thinking was that God was angry with the Puritans and had sent Satan to test their faith.
God did indeed test the Puritans’ beliefs and convictions. The disastrous wars with the Native populations and the “Papist” French had taken their toll, not only with mounting causalities but also economic decline. Extreme weather, crop failure, increased taxes and inflation combined with an unstable government and uncertainty with a new governor.
Giles Corey holds the distinction as the only person in the New World executed by pressing or peine forte et dure, the death he met as an accused witch during the Salem witchcraft hysteria. Corey achieved fame by calling out for “more weight” as men placed more stones and rocks on top of a board placed over his body. Pressing was considered one of the most severe forms of execution and had been abolished in the colony. Evidently, most Christian civility and common sense were cast aside during the year of 1692 in Salem and Ipswich.
Five Things You Might Not Know About the Salem Witchcraft Trials and Hysteria
Witches and witchcraft are popular areas of interest in today’s culture and media. To feed this fascination and curiosity, recent movies and fantasies have perverted and distorted this important and fascinating period in American history. So, here is my attempt to educate the American public!