Thomas Putnam (March 22, 1652 [O.S. March 12, 1651] – June 3 [O.S. May 24], 1699)[3] was a member of the Putnam family and a resident of Salem Village (present-day Danvers, Massachusetts) and a significant accuser in the notorious 1692 Salem witch trials.

Thomas Putnam
BornMarch 22, 1652 [O.S. March 12, 1651] (1652-03-22)[Note 1]
DiedJune 3 [O.S. May 24], 1699 (1699-06-04) (aged 47)
Known forAccuser in the Salem witch trials
Spouse(s)Ann Putnam (née Carr)
ChildrenRuth Ann Putnam, and 11 others
  • Thomas Putnam Sr. (1615–1686)[2]
  • Ann Putnam (née Holyoke)

His father, Lt. Thomas Putnam Sr. (1615–1686), was one of Salem's wealthiest residents. He was excluded from major inheritances by both his father and father-in-law. His half-brother, Joseph, who had benefited most from their father's estate, married into the rival Porter family, fueling ill will between the clans. Putnam, his wife, and one of his daughters (Ann Putnam Jr.) all levied accusations of witchcraft, many of them against extended members of the Porter family, and testified at the trials.[2] He is responsible for the accusations of 43 people, and his daughter is responsible for 62.[4] He and his wife had 12 children in total. Both Thomas Putnam and Ann Putnam Sr. died in 1699, leaving 10 children orphans, two children having predeceased them.[5]

Arthur Miller's the CrucibleEdit

In the play, the Crucible, by Arthur Miller, Thomas Putnam is married to Ann Putnam, and together have a daughter, Ruth Putnam, who is afflicted with a grave illness, similar to that of Betty Parris. They both have lost seven children in childbirth, and pointed to witchcraft as the cause of it. He appears in Act 1 and is apparent during Act 3. Thomas twists Reverend Parris to make him on his side, urging him to see that it is witchcraft that is making Salem go mad. He uses the trials to get the other villagers' land, such as Giles Corey's. Giles later takes Thomas to court regarding the issue.


  1. ^ Contemporary court records, which used the Julian calendar and the Annunciation Style of enumerating months and years, recorded his birth as 12:1m:1652, indicating the twelfth day of the first month (March) of Old Style 1651, New Style 1652. For further useful reading, see: Old Style and New Style dates; Dual dating


  1. ^ a b Carleton, Hiram (1903), Genealogical and Family History of the State of Vermont: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Founding of a Nation, Volume, Vermont: Lewis Publishing Company, p. 137, retrieved 24 March 2013
  2. ^ a b Boyer, Paul S. (1974), Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft, Harvard University Press, pp. 133–140, retrieved 24 March 2013
  3. ^ Putnam, Eben (1891), A History of the Putnam Family in England and America. Recording the Ancestry and Descendants of John Putnam of Danvers, Mass., Jan Poutman of Albany, N.Y., Thomas Putnam of Hartford, Conn, Volume 1, Salem, Massachusetts: Salem Press Publishing and Printing Company, p. 38, retrieved 24 March 2013
  4. ^ "Thomas Putnam: Ringleader of the Salem Witch Hunt?". History of Massachusetts. 2013-11-19. Retrieved 2016-12-03.
  5. ^ Bower, Glenn. Just a Family History,; accessed December 25, 2014.