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George and Lydia (Gedney) Corwin

George Corwin was born February 26, 1665/6.

First he married on April 23, 1688 a Susanna Gedney who was born March 4, 1663 and died April 23, 1693. He married a second time to Lydia Gedney who was born March 9, 1669 and baptized April 17, 1670 in the First Church of Salem, Massachusetts.

To this union only one known son was born: 1. Bartholomew, born June 21, 1693, died in May of 1747.

George Corwin was a captain in the mad expedition of Sir William Phips in 1690 against Quebec and was rewarded for his work by the Governor in 1692, when he (at only 26 years old), was appointed Sheriff of Essex County, Massachusetts. Although I had once thought he was just unfortunate to have been the sheriff during the Salem Witch trials and thus the executioner, I later learned he was a cruel man. It was the practice that if you accused someone of being a witch and they were convicted or confessed, then you obtained all their property. George Corwin was accused of making many false accusations in the name of greed. Feelings ran high against him for his part in the executions and, even though the superior court absolved Corwin of blame for his official acts in an attempt to protect him from acts of vengeance, it didn’t prevent a demonstration at his funeral by Philip English who had suffered under those official acts.

Salem Witchcraft by Charles W. Upham states: “(Capt.) George Corwin came to Salem in 1638. . . . residence mostly in the town, first on a lot on Washington Street, near the corner of Norman Street, where his grandson the sheriff lived in 1692.”

Sheriff George Corwin died April 12, 1696 of a heart attack, and Lydia died four years later on December 23, 1700.


This is the house of Joshua Ward, a wealthy sea captain. It is built on the grounds of George Corwin's, the High Sheriff during the witch trail, old house. For many years Corwin was buried in the basement. His body was eventually moved to the Broad Street Cemetery, but many believe his spirit still lingers around the house and all sorts of strange things have happened there, such as objects have moved on their own and candles have been removed from their holders and bent into "s" shapes.

Hixson Trails - Margaret Madara Free
Genealogy Dictionary of New England
Internet Sources
Salem Witchcraft With an Account of Salem Village and A History of Opinions on Witchcraft and Kindred Subjects – Charles W. Upham

Sherriff George Corwin Signature
Gedney and Corwin Mentions In Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records 1627 - 2001 Essex County, Salem