Although there have been additions since, the original part of the house was built in 1670. That's an old house. A friend of mine used to live in a house built in the 1680s, and you could feel the history seeping out of the walls. I imagine the Solart-Woodward house would feel the same.
|The Solart-Woodward House|
Sarah married Daniel Poole, an indentured servant who incurred heavy debts. She inherited these when he died in 1682. Sarah's second husband, William Good, paid off her debts but had to sell most of his property to do so. He and Sarah became homeless, wandering through Essex County begging for food and shelter with their young daughter Dorothy (often erroneously referred to as Dorcas in older scholarly works).
Many witch accounts from colonial New England follow a familiar pattern. A poor person (usually a woman) asks a wealthier person for food or money. When the wealthier person refuses them the poor person mumbles threats. The wealthy person then hits a string of bad luck (sick children, dying farm animals, household mishaps) and accuses the poor person of being a witch. Puritans were expected to take care of each other and offer hospitality, but resented it when they felt they were being taken advantage of. Witch accusations often arose from that resentment.
That resentment could sometimes turn deadly. It did for Sarah Good. When the afflicted girls of Salem began to name witches Sarah was among the first. As a poor female beggar she was an obvious target. She denied being a witch until the end, but the judges still found her guilty. They thought the contortions of the afflicted girls were credible evidence. They were convinced when four-year old Dorothy Good admitted to being a witch and accused her mother. They took William Good literally when he said he felt like his wife was a witch when she treated him poorly. Absurd as it now seems, it all added up to a death sentence for Sarah.
Sarah Good was executed on July 29, 1692. A well-known story claims that she uttered a dying curse. After she was sentenced to hang the Reverend Nicholas Noyes asked her once again to admit her guilt. She refused, reportedly saying, "I am no more a witch than you are a wizard, and if you take away my life God will give you blood to drink!" Sarah was executed, but twenty-five years later Reverend Noyes died from internal hemorrhaging. Blood gushed out of his mouth as he expired. Witnesses thought back to Sarah Good's dying curse.
Sarah Good's problems and death were caused by poverty. Ironically, after the witch trials ended William Good sued for damages and won. He received thirty pounds, which was several times more than the average laborer earned in a year.