Andover, MA

It took 329 years to pardon the last "witch" from the Salem Witch Trials

Anita Durairaj
A "witch" in the Salem Witch Trials depicted in an image from a paintingPhoto byThomas Satterwhite Noble (1835–1907) ; CC-BY-SA-4.0

Elizabeth Johnson Jr. (born in 1671) is believed to be the last "witch" and victim of the Salem Witch Trials.

Johnson was a woman from Andover, Massachusetts who confessed to practicing witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials. She was just 22 years old at the time and was unmarried and had no children.

She may have had a mental disability that made her a target for the Salem Witch Trials.

Johnson was sentenced to death in 1693 but then granted a reprieve many years later. She died at the age of 77 in 1747.

Along with Johnson, 20 members of her extended family also faced similar allegations but they were also granted a reprieve and avoided the death sentence.

Most people convicted at the Salem Witch Trials were able to get their name cleared. However Johnnson's name was not cleared for a long time.

In May 2022, more than 300 years after Johnson was convicted, she was officially pardoned and exonerated of the charges of witchcraft.

Johnson's exoneration may have been too late for her since she was already deceased but it clears her name in history.

Her exoneration was due to the efforts of a group of eighth graders who made it their goal to clear her name. There were other efforts to exonerate the victims of the Salem Witch Trials but Johnson was overlooked for a long time.

It took three years of lobbying by the eighth grade class and the help of a senator to clear Johnson's name.

The exoneraton was conveniently tucked inside a $53 billion state budget signed by the governor.

In the end, Johnson became the last person in the history of the Salem Witch Trials to be exonerated of witchcraft.

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Trained with a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati, I write unique and interesting articles focused on science, history, and current events.


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