First Wave Communities

First Wave Map

Centers of First Wave Accusations

While seventeenth-century Massachusetts town boundaries and names have sometimes changed from those of today, a contemporary map provides a proximate location of each community involved in the 1692 outbreak.

Using the towns pivot table to determine the timing and number of accusations experienced by each community, there were nine communities where five or more residents were accused. The table also indicates that four of these communities participated primarily or exclusively in the first wave of accusations between February and early June, when the Court of Oyer and Terminer adjourned before resuming deliberations at the end of the month:  Salem Village (Danvers); Salem Town; Topsfield; and Lynn.  One additional community, Reading, recorded more than half of its seven accusation before June. Aside from Reading, this group had no or very few cases after June; at least in terms of accusations, the Salem outbreak was essentially over for them.

Plotting these five communities (see map above) shows that the initial wave of accusations concentrated in and around Salem Village.  With the exception of Topsfield, the communities lie on the southern perimeter of the village: Salem Town to the southeast, Lynn to the south-southeast, and Reading to the southwest. Topsfield, the exception, is located north of Salem Village, though close-by.

To broaden the geographic analysis by examining first wave communities in which even a few residents were accused, click here. (Users can experiment with different standards of analysis: e.g., all communities involved.)

To investigate communities involved in the second wave of accusations, click Next.