Samuel E. Sewall (Samuel E. Sewall)

Samuel E. Sewall

Printer, Merchant, Legislator, Judge, Chief Justice. He arrived in the colonies as a child, his education was towards becoming a minister, having earned several degrees in theology from Harvard College Cambridge. However, his marriage to the daughter of a prosperous Boston family, changed those plans and he would instead become a wealthy and highly respected merchant and later enter politics. Although considered a man of great decency who would later pen one of the first anti-slavery tract in this country in 1710, he would unfortunately be swept along into what is considered by most historians as the darkest period of American history, the Salem witch trials of 1692, in which he was appointed as a judge to the court of Oyer and Terminer. Having kept a diary from 1673 to 1729, his entries and other writings are considered by historians as an invaluable source of what life was like in Colonial Massachusetts. His writings during the five years following the trials showed great remorse for his part in condemning 19 innocent people to their death. In 1697, after suffering the death of his young daughter and believing that it was God’s punishment for his earlier actions, he publicly confessed his guilt before the entire congregation at the Old South Church in Boston on the day of prayer and fasting‚. He was the only magistrate to ever concede personnel guilt for his part in the trials. He was a judge of the superior court of the colony from 1692 to 1728, the last ten of these years serving as chief justice. He was married twice more after the death of his first wife and had fourteen children of which only three would survive him. (bio by: Mark Alexander Oliver)  Family links:  Parents:  Henry Sewall (1615 – 1700)  Jane Dummer Sewall (1627 – 1701)  Spouses:  Hannah Quincy Hull Sewell (1658 – 1717)*  Mary Shrimpton Sewall (1667 – 1746)*  Children:  John Sewall (1677 – 1678)*  Samuel Sewall (1678 – 1751)*  Hannah Sewall (1680 – 1724)*  Elizabeth Sewall Hirst (1681 – 1716)*  Hull Sewall (1684 – 1686)*  Henry Sewall (1685 – 1685)*  Joseph Sewall (1688 – 1769)*  Siblings:  Hannah Sewall Toppan (1649 – 1699)*  Samuel E. Sewall (1652 – 1730)  John Sewall (1654 – 1699)*  Stephen Sewall (1657 – 1725)*  Jane Sewall Gerrish (1659 – 1716)*  Anne Longfellow Sewall Short (1662 – 1706)*  Mehetable Sewall Moody (1665 – 1702)*  Dorothy Sewall Bradstreet (1668 – 1752)* *Calculated relationship


  • March, 28, 1652
  • England


  • January, 01, 1730
  • USA


  • Granary Burying Ground
  • Massachusetts
  • USA

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