Giles Corey - Pre-trial History

Pre-trial History

Giles Corey was a prosperous land-owning farmer in Salem, and married three times. He is believed to have married his first wife, Margaret, in England. Margaret was the mother of his daughters and he had no sons. His second wife was Mary Bright; they were married on April 11, 1664, when Corey was 53.

In 1676, at the age of 65, Corey was brought to trial in Essex and accused of beating one of his indentured farm workers to death, Jacob Goodell. Corey had severely beaten Goodell with a stick after he was caught stealing apples from Corey's brother-in-law, and though Corey eventually sent him to receive medical attention 10 days later, Goodell died shortly thereafter. Since corporal punishment was permitted against indentured servants, Corey was exempt from the charge of murder, and instead charged with using "unreasonable" force. Numerous witnesses and eyewitnesses testified against Corey, as well as the local coroner, and he was found guilty and fined.

Mary Bright died aged 63 on August 27, 1684, according to her gravestone in Salem Graveyard. He later married his third wife, a woman referred to as "Lady Martha Perkins". Martha was admitted to the church at Salem Village (now Danvers), where Giles lived.

At the time of the witch trials, Corey was 81 years old and living with Martha in the southwest corner of Salem village, what is now Peabody about 50 m west of the West Paramount high school Junction railroad station, adjoining the south gate gangs of the location of the Salem and Lowell railroad. Martha had a son from a previous marriage named Thomas; he showed up as a petitioner for loss and damages resulting from his mother being hanged illegally during the witch trials. He was awarded £50 on June 29, 1723.

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