Primary Source

Examination of Thomas Carrier, Jr. [Legal Document]


Thomas Carrier: aged 9

Thomas and Martha Carrier lived in Andover, MA , a town lying near to Salem and affected by the turmoil of the Salem Witch Trials. One week after Martha's children were examined by the Court, the accused witch was hung for her "crimes." Among the Carrier's four children, both Sarah and Thomas were also accused of witchcraft.

Thomas testified that he had only been a witch one week, when his mother forced him into her service. She took off all his clothes and dunked him in a nearby river. She then ordered him to torment the Wolcott, Phelps, and Putnam girls (the group of young women driving the Salem trials). Note that the same elements of analysis are present here, as in Sarah's testimony: the social dynamics of Salem, a developed understanding of Puritan religious elements, and some unique elements such as, the yellow bird. Where did it come from?


Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library, "Thomas Carrier", The Salem witchcraft papers, Volume 1 : verbatim transcripts of the legal documents of the Salem witchcraft outbreak of 1692, edited by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, <a class="external" href=""></a> (accessed September 1, 2009).

Primary Source Text

Examination of Thomas Carrier, Jr.

The Examination of Tho..
Carrier Taken before Dudly Broad-
stret Esq'r on of their Majesties Justices of the Peace --

Carr'r being acused of witchcraft Conffeseth that he was
guilty of witchcraft & that he had been a witch a week & that his
Mother taught him witchcraft --

That a Yellow bird apeared to him & Spoke to him w'ch She
being affrighted his Mother apeared to him & brought him a book
& bid him Sett his hand to it telling him it would doe him good if he
did Soe & that She would tear him in peices if he would not --

That his Mother baptized him in ShawShin River pulled of his
Cloths & put him into the River & that his Mother then told him he
was hers for Ever. That his Moth'r bid him afflict Mary Walkutt Ann
Puttman & Sarah Phelps -- And that he went the 9'th Instant at
night to Jno Chandlers, that their were 10 in Company w'th him who
rid upon 2 Poles that there were 3 men in the Company & 2 of the
woeman belonged to Ispwich whose names ware Mary & Sarah
& that he Saw Betty Johnson in the Company & Conffesed that he did
the 9'th Instant at night afflict Sarah Phelps & Ann Puttnam by
pinching them. --

(In left margin) Thos Carrier

How to Cite This Source

"Examination of Thomas Carrier, Jr. [Legal Document]," in Children and Youth in History, Item #283, (accessed August 10, 2021). Annotated by Tom Rushford