Sarah Poole’s husband died in 1682 leaving her in debt. Sarah then married William Good, but creditors seized their Salem home, and by 1692, Sarah Good and her husband were homeless beggars. Sarah had long been a melancholy and somewhat confrontational woman, and was accused of witchcraft on February 25, 1692 by the girls Abigail Williams and Elizabeth Parris. On March 1, 1692, Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne, and the Rev. Paris’ servant Tituba were arrested.
Sarah’s daughter, Dorothy (the name Dorcas was also recorded erroneously) was only four years old at the time. On March 24, she was taken custody, and was interrogated (“examined”) by the local magistrates for two weeks. Hungry, cold and missing her mother, Dorcas broke down and told the inquisitors what they wanted to hear, that her mother was a witch, consorted with the devil, and also that her mother had given her a snake that bit her. She was delivered to the Boston jail, but as the jails overflowed with the accused, she and her mother were transferred to the Ipswich jail.
The Court of Oyer and Terminer met on June 30th, and Sarah Good, Rebecca Nurse, and Elizabeth How of Ipswich were put on trial. Having gained the contrived evidence they sought, Sarah Good was convicted on the basis of her daughter’s forced testimony. While she was in prison, Sarah Good gave birth to a daughter she named Mercy, but the infant died. Sarah was taken from her daughter Dorcas, and was hanged on July 19, 1692.
The Deposition of Ann Putnam, 3th March 1691/92
“I saw the Apparition of Dorothy Good, Sarah Good’s daughter who did immediately almost choke me and tortured me most grievously: and so she hath several times since tortured me by biting and pinching and almost choking me, tempting me also to write in her book, and also on the day of her examination, the Apparition of Dorothy Good tortured me during the time of her Examination and several times since.”
Dorothy Good was in custody from March 24, 1692 until December 10, 1692. She was never charged, but was kept in the cold Ipswich jail until her her poor father managed to gather up £50 for Dorothy’s bail and “board.” By that time, the child suffered from grave psychological damage that would destroy the rest of her life. By some historic accounts, she had become insane.
More about the Salem witchcraft trials
- The witchcraft trial of Elizabeth Howe, hanged July 19, 1692
- Lucretia Brown and the last witchcraft trial in America, May 14, 1878
- Mary Perkins Bradbury, charged as a witch
- Peg Wesson, the Gloucester witch
- “We walked in the clouds and could not see our way”
- The witchcraft accusations against Sarah Buckley and Mary Witheridge
- The Witchcraft Trial of Elizabeth Morse of Newbury, 1680
- The Legend of Goody Cole, 1680
- Rachel Clinton arrested for witchcraft, May 28, 1692
- Ipswich and the Salem witchcraft trials
- Four-year-old Dorothy Good is jailed for witchcraft, March 24, 1692
- The Spectre Leaguers, July 1692