The New International Encyclopædia/Parris, Samuel

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PAR'RIS, Samuel (1653-1720). A New England clergyman. He was born in London, went in youth to Massachusetts, and studied at Harvard College, but did not graduate. After being a successful merchant in Boston, he entered the ministry, and was pastor of the church at Danvers, Mass. (then a part of Salem), in 1689-96. He is remembered from the fact that the delusion of Salem witchcraft originated in his family in 1692, his daughter and his niece accusing Tituba, a South African slave living as a servant in the family, with bewitching them. Mr. Parris beat her and compelled her to confess herself a witch. The delusion and persecution thus commenced lasted sixteen months. Mr. Parris having been a zealous prosecutor in the witchcraft cases, his church brought charges against him. He acknowledged his error, but was dismissed. He preached afterwards at Stow, Concord, and Dunstable. Consult his Life by Fowler (Salem, 1857).