Mary Osgood Biography

Salem Witch Trials

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Known for: accused of witchcraft, arrested and imprisoned in the 1692 Salem witch trials

Age at time of Salem witch trials: about 55

Dates: about 1637 to October 27, 1710

Also known as: Mary Clements Osgood, Clements was also written as "Clement"

Before the Salem Witch Trials

We have little information other than basic civil records for Mary Osgood before 1692. She was born in in Warwickshire, England and came to Andover, Massachusetts province in about 1652. In 1653, she married John Osgood Sr. who had been born in Hampshire, England and arrived in Massachusetts about 1635. John Osgood owned considerable land in Andover and was a successful husbandman.

They had 13 children together: John Osgood Jr. (1654-1725), Mary Osgood Aslett (1656-1740), Timothy Osgood (1659-1748), Lydia Osgood Frye (1661-1741), Constable Peter Osgood (1663-1753), Samuel Osgood (1664-1717), Sarah Osgood (1667-1667), Mehitable Osgood Poor (1671-1752), Hannah Osgood (1674-1674), Sarah Osgood Perley (1675-1724), Ebenezer Osgood (1678-1680), Clarence Osgood (1678-1680), and Clements Osgood (1680-1680).

Accused and Accuser

Mary Osgood was one of a group of Andover women arrested in early September, 1692. According to a petition after the trials were over, two of the afflicted girls were summoned to Andover to diagnose an illness of Joseph Ballard and his wife. Local residents, including Mary Osgood, were blindfolded and then made to lay hands on the afflicted. If the girls fell down in fits, they were arrested. Mary Osgood, Martha Tyler, Deliverance Dane, Abigail Barker, Sarah Wilson, and Hannah Tyler were taken to Salem Village, immediately examined there, and pressured to confess. Most did. Mary Osgood confessed to afflicting Martha Sprague and Rose Foster as well as various other deeds. She implicated others including Goody Tyler (either Martha or Hannah), Deliverance Dane, and Goody Parker. She also implicated Rev. Francis Dean who was never arrested.

Motives for Her Arrest

She was accused with a group of women from Andover. They may have been targeted because of their wealth, power, or success in town, or because of association with Rev. Francis Dane (his daughter-in-law Deliverance Dane was in the group arrested and examined together).

Fight for Release

Her son, Peter Osgood, was a constable who, with Mary’s husband, Captain John Osgood Sr., helped pursue her case and get her released.

On October 6, John Osgood Sr. joined with Nathaniel Dane, husband of Deliverance Dane, to pay 500 pounds for the release of two children of Nathaniel’s sister, Abigail Dane Faulkner. On October 15, John Osgood Sr. and John Bridges paid a bond of 500 pounds for the release of Mary Bridges Jr.

In January, John Osgood Jr. joined again with John Bridges, paying a bond of 100 pounds, for release of Mary Bridges Sr.

In a petition, undated but probably from January, more than 50 Andover neighbors signed on behalf of Mary Osgood, Eunice Fry, Deliverance Dane, Sarah Wilson Sr., and Abigail Barker, attesting to their likely innocence and their integrity and piety. The petition stressed that their confessions were made under pressure and were not to be trusted.

In June of 1703, another petition was entered on behalf of Martha Osgood, Martha Tyler, Deliverance Dane, Abigail Barker, Sarah Wilson, and Hannah Tyler to gain their exoneration.

After the Trials

In 1702, Mary Osgood’s son, Samuel, married Deliverance Dane’s daughter Hannah. Marty was later released from jail, probably on bond, and died in 1710.