Margaret Scott was hung as a witch on September 22, 1962. Very little information on Margaret Scott has survived over the centuries. What is known though shows a tragic tale of false testimonies and ultimately the death of an innocent person.
Her origins are unknown but what is known is that she was born Margaret Stevenson in England sometime around 1615. The record books show her first appearing in them in 1642 when she had married Benjamin Scott.
Around 1654 Margaret and her husband Benjamin had moved to Rowley, Massachusetts which was a small town a little ways north of Salem. Benjamin died there in 1671 leaving his widow a small estate in which to live off of.
Scott would survive the only way she could and this would open her up for accusations of witchcraft. Scott would beg and seek charity from her neighbors, those that refused to help her turned on her. Sadly to say that instead of offering her help, they condemned her a witch.
Another factor that opened Scott up to being accused of witchcraft was her high infant mortality rate. Out of seven children that Scott had only three of them made it to adulthood. In New England one was vulnerable to witchcraft charges if she had trouble raising children, as Margaret Scott did.
Frances Wycom testified against Margaret Scott claiming that she had used witchcraft to hurt her. Stating that Scott came to her and choked her and tried to press her to death. Wycom’s testimony stated that Scott had afflicted her many times till the 5th of August 1692. Also that Scott did afflict her during the time of her examination as well as many times since then. The court records show that in the final part of Wycom’s testimony that she stated she believed Scott to be a witch and to use witchcraft to afflict her.
Phillip Nelson and Sarah Nelson also testified against Margaret Scott. In their testimony they spoke of Robert Shilleto. In their testimony apparently two or three years before Robert Shilleto died they had heard him many times complain about Scott. They testified that Shilleto claimed that Scott was a witch and that he would never be well so long as she was alive.
Four other false testimonies would be given against Scott.
Reports show that Margaret Scott spent 45 days in prison from her arrest until her execution. She was hanged on Gallows Hill along with seven other people on the day of her execution. Reports also show that Scott was still declaring her innocence at her execution.
Scott’s family was one of the few families that did not ever apply for restitution offered by Massachusetts Legislature in the early 1700s. In 1954 Scott’s name was officially cleared and she was absolved of her crimes.