Elizabeth Johnson Jr.

Accused Witch - Salem Witch Trials

Salem Witch Trial
Salem Witch Trial - Trial of George Jacobs. Douglas Grundy / Three Lions / Getty Images

Elizabeth Johnson Jr. Facts

Known for: in the 1692 Salem witch trials 
Age at time of Salem witch trials: about 22
Dates: 1670 – about 1732

Family, Background:

Mother: Elizabeth Dane Johnson, known as Elizabeth Johnson Sr. (1641 – 1722) – an accused witch in the Salem witch trials

Father: Ensign Stephen Johnson (1640 – 1690)

Siblings (according to various sources:

  • Elizabeth (1662 – 1669)
  • Ann (1666 – 1669)
  • Francis (1667 – 1738), married Sarah Hawkes (1655 – 1698), Hannah Clarke
  • Stephen Johnson (1672 – 1672)
  • Mary Johnson (1673 – 1673)
  • Benjamin Johnson (1677 – after 1726), married Sarah Foster (1677 – 1760)
  • Stephen Johnson (1679 – 1769), married Sarah Whittaker (1687 – 1716), Ruth Eaton (1684 – 1750)
  • Abigail Johnson (1681 – 1720), married James Black (1669 – 1722)

Husband: Not known.

Elizabeth Johnson Jr. Before the Salem Witch Trials

Her grandfather, Rev. Francis Dane, was an outspoken critic of an earlier witchcraft trial, and criticized the Salem events early in their progress.

Her father had died just a few years before the accusations broke out.  Her mother had been in trouble for another reason, either (according to different sources) charges of witchcraft or fornication.

Elizabeth Johnson Jr. and the Salem Witch Trials

Elizabeth Johnson was mentioned in a January 12, 1692, deposition by Mercy Lewis which also accused Philip English and his wife and Thomas Farrer.  This may be the mother, Elizabeth Johnson Sr., though no action was taken at this time, apparently.

On August 10, 1692, Elizabeth Johnson was, according to the court records, being examined by the judges.  She confessed to working with Goody Carrier and said she’d seen George Burroughs at the “Mock Sacrement” and Martha Toothaker and Daniel Eames another time. She confessed as well to afflicting Sarah Phelps, Mary Wolcott, Ann Putnam and several others.

The next day Elizabeth was again examined, and continued her confession. She said that she had seen not only Martha Carrier and Martha Toothaker but two Toothaker children. She described how she had used poppets for afflicting harm.

Her aunt Abigail Faulkner Sr. was arrested and examined on August 11, accused by Ann Putnam, Mary Warren and William Barker Sr.

On August 29, Elizabeth’s younger siblings, Abigail Johnson, 11, and Stephen Johnson, 14, were arrested, along with Elizabeth’s mother, Elizabeth Johnson Sr.  Abigail and Elizabeth Sr. were charged with afflicting Martha Sprague and Abigail Martin of Andover.

On August 30 and 31, both sisters, Abigail Faulkner Sr. and Elizabeth Johnson Sr., were examined and confessed.  Elizabeth implicated her son and sister.

Elizabeth Johnson Jr.’s brother Stephen was examined on September 1. He confessed to afflicting Martha Sprague, Rose Foster and Mary Lacy.

On September 8, a group of Andover women were suddenly arrested after two of the “afflicted girls” were sent to diagnose an illness of a man and his wife.  When the girls touched some of the women in town, they flew into fits – and these women were brought immediately back to Salem Village, jailed and examined.

  The group included Deliverance Dane, wife of Nathaniel Dane, brother to Elizabeth Johnson Jr.’s mother.  Deliverance Dane and the others confessed, though they later tried to recant.

On September 16, Elizabeth’s cousins Abigail Faulkner Jr., 9, and Dorothy Faulkner, 11, were arrested. They, too, confessed, and testified their mother had made them into witches.

The next day, the court tried and convicted Abigail Faulkner, Rebecca Eames, Ann Foster, Abigail Hobbs, Mary Lacey, Mary Parker, Wilmott Redd, Margaret Scott and Samuel Wardwell, and they were condemned to be executed.  Abigail Faulkner’s sentence was delayed, though, as she was pregnant, and could not be executed until she was delivered.  The last hangings were in September 1692.

Elizabeth’s siblings, Abigail and Stephen, along with neighbor Sarah Carrier, were released on payment of 500 pounds bond, to the custody of Walter Wright, Francis Johnson and Thomas Carrier.

  Her cousins Dorothy Faulkner and Ann Faulkner Jr. were also released, also for 500 pound bonds, to the custody of John Osgood Sr. and Nathaniel Dane.

In December, Elizabeth’s condemned aunt, Abigail, escaped her sentence entirely when the governor granted her clemency and a release from prison.

In January, Elizabeth Johnson Jr. remained in jail, as did many others. The Superior court met to clear up the backlog of cases.  Sarah Buckley, Margaret Jacobs, Rebecca Jacobs and Job Tookey, who had been indicted in September, were found not guilty of the charges. Charges were dismissed for many others of the accused. Sixteen more were tried, with 13 found not guilty and 3 convicted and condemned to hang.  Elizabeth Johnson Jr., Sarah Wardwell and Mary Post. Margaret Hawkes and her slave Mary Black were among those found not guilty on January 3. Forty-nine of the accused were released in January because the cases against them relied on spectral evidence.

It is not clear when Elizabeth’s mother or aunt, Deliverance Dane, were released.

Elizabeth Johnson Jr. After the Trials

The Dane family pursued exoneration for Ann Faulkner Sr., to wipe away legal impediments that her conviction carried, and to clear her name.  In 1711, the legislature of the Province of Massachusetts Bay restored all rights to many of those who had been accused in the 1692 witch trials. Included were George Burroughs, John Proctor, George Jacob, John Willard, Giles and Martha CoreyRebecca NurseSarah Good, Elizabeth How, Mary Easty, Sarah Wilds, Abigail Hobbs, Samuel Wardell, Mary Parker, Martha Carrier, Abigail Faulkner, Anne Foster, Rebecca Eames, Mary Post, Mary Lacey, Mary Bradbury and Dorcas Hoar.

Motives

Elizabeth Johnson and her family may have been targeted because of her grandfather’s criticism of the witchcraft trials, because of the wealth and property in the control of her aunt Abigail Faulkner Jr., or because of Elizabeth’s mother, Elizabeth Johnson Sr., who had something of a reputation, and also controlled her husband’s estate until she remarried (which she never did).

Elizabeth Johnson Jr. in The Crucible

The Andover Dane extended family are not characters in Arthur Miller’s play about the Salem witch trials, The Crucible.

Elizabeth Johnson Jr. in Salem, 2014 series

The Andover Dane extended family are not characters in Arthur Miller’s play about the Salem witch trials, The Crucible.