Rebecca Nurse Monument, Nurse Family Cemetery, Pine Street, Danvers, Massachusetts. (Frank Cousins Photo, 1891)

This monument was erected in 1885 in Danvers (Salem Village) to honor the memory of Rebecca Nurse, one of the accused witches executed in Salem in 1692. According to family tradition, Rebecca's body was retrieved from Gallows Hill by her son, Samuel, and buried in an unmarked grave at the family homestead. This was done in defiance of the law, which stated that an executed "witch" could not receive a Christian burial. The monument is inscribed with a poetic epitaph written by John Greenleaf Whittier. It reads: "O, Christian martyr! who for truth could die,/ When all about thee owned the hideous lie! / The world, redeemed from superstition's sway, / Is breathing freer for thy sake today."
(courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA) close window