The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Parris, Samuel
PARRIS, pȧr'ĭs, Samuel, American clergyman: b. London, England, 1653; d. Sudbury, Mass., 27 Feb. 1720. He studied at Harvard, was in commerce at Boston, but subsequently was ordained, and in 1689-96 was first minister of Danvers, then part of Salem. He started the Salem witchcraft delusion in 1692 by beating Tituba, a South American slave of his, until she confessed herself a witch. The notion spread, and during the 16 months of its prevalence, 17 persons were put to death. In these cases Parris was active for the prosecution. Charges were brought against him by his parish in 1693, and though he admitted his error, he was dismissed in 1696. He afterward preached in Stow and Concord, and for six months in 1711 at Dunstable. Consult Fowler, ‘Life and Character of Rev. Samuel Parris’ (1857).