A Quest for Security: The Life of Samuel Parris, 1653-1720 by Larry Dale GraggA Quest for Security: The Life of Samuel Parris, 1653-1720 by Larry Dale Gragg

A Quest for Security: The Life of Samuel Parris, 1653-1720

byLarry Dale Gragg

Hardcover | November 1, 1990

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A Quest for Security is the first book-length biography of Samuel Parris, the man who led the 1692 struggle against the scourge of witchcraft. While an examination of Samuel Parris's actions reveals his crucial part in the witchcraft crisis, this biography also serves as a reminder of the concern of early Americans to sustain economic independence for their families. Fully documented with endnotes and featuring a complete bibliography of primary and secondary works, this volume fills a noticeable gap in the literature on Salem witchcraft. The first chapter looks at Samuel Parris's early years. Born in London in 1653, Parris moved with his family to Barbados in the 1660s where both his uncle and father had prospered as sugar planters. Next, the book examines his stay in Boston where he met with modest success as a merchant and started a family. The book then recounts the eight years Parris spent in Salem Village as that divided community's pastor. Beginning with his "call to the clergy," the book examines his life as a Puritan pastor, and then covers the conflict in his congregation. In the first year of his ministry, a faction had developed that sought to oust Parris by refusing to pay him. Next the book covers Parris's actions in the spring of 1692 which changed a seemingly ordinary case of a handful of accusations into a full-scale witchhunt. Convinced that an organized witch cult threatened his congregation, Parris sought to root out all conspirators. His leadership in the effort led to an ever increasing escalation of accusations. When the episode finally ended, family members of some of the twenty executed "witches" conducted a campaign that ultimately resulted in Parris's removalfrom the pulpit. The final chapter looks at Parris's last years, in which he moved from one small Massachusetts community to another. Parris died in obscurity in 1720. But he achieved his most important goal--that of providing material security for his children.
Title:A Quest for Security: The Life of Samuel Parris, 1653-1720Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9.6 × 6.38 × 0.86 inPublished:November 1, 1990Publisher:GREENWOOD PRESS INC.

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0313272824

ISBN - 13:9780313272820

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Editorial Reviews

?Scholarship on witchcraft in Salem Village has grown into a flourishing minor industry within the larger field of Colonial American history. In the last 30 years at least three collections of documents dealing with the subject were printed or reprinted, a dozen or more articles on various facets of 17th-century New England witchcraft appeared in learned journals, and numerous high-quality monographs have been published. Gragg's book-length biography of Samuel Parris, the minister of the Salem Village church and a major figure in the events of 1691 and 1692, is a useful contribution to the literature. The spare documentary trail that preserves Parris for the present requires the author to expand the context of his discussions far beyond the usual bounds of biography but the additional materials do not detract from the book's value. It is a competently done and capably presented investigation. Barring discovery of a previously unknown trove of documents, it contains virtually all that scholars shall ever know about the Reverend Samuel Parris. University libraries.??Choice